Welcoming Monkgogi (MK) from Maru-a-Pula School in Botswana

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Monkgogi (right) will study at Catlin Gabel during the 2009-10 school year.  She is the fourth student from Maru-a-Pula School to come to Catlin Gabel.

Her responses to the first set of questions on the Cultural Transitions Interview Project.

Hey Mr. Spencer White:

Thank you so much for taking the time to get to know me BEFORE I even arrive, it is much appreciated. I have attached a picture of me and my best friend (I am the one in the black jacket) and I'm absolutely willing to answer your questions, actually it would be a delight.
 
Can't wait to get there,
Mk (that is what everybody calls me!)

I was given a scholarship to your school by my school (Maru-a-Pula) and I had been working at either going to Japan for a year or starting university in South Africa. I decided that this was a great opportunity for me to better myself in terms of education and culture so I went for it.
 
I do believe that travelling out of your community is important as to appreciate what you have in your own community you have to experience another culture. Also I think that learning about another community can help you enrich yourself as a person and in turn this can enrich the people around you and the community at large.
 
I have recently been allocated a host family and I'm afraid that we wont get along, unlike my real family they are not forced to put up with me and I'm afraid that they wont be as forgiving. I'm also afraid of travelling alone, I have never done that before but I'm also at the same time looking forward to that experience. I'm also afraid that because most of the students have been at CGS for a long time and they will already have 'set' friends and I will not be able to infiltrate these bonds and make friends of my own. I'm also afraid of the notorious workload that apparently is given at American schools.
 
I'm excited about being in a totally different environment with the possibilities of so many things now accessible to me. I can make new friends, enjoy a new community, culture and way of life, I can make a relationship with my host family that can be as close as my real family, I can have 30000 times more educational opportunities and most importantly I can finally see the beauty of Oregon that I hear so much about.
 
My goals are to excel at my studies, to make new friends and to have an experience that I will never forget. I also intend to look for a good American university that can take me on full scholarship, I'm very hopeful on that point.
 
The hardest thing is going to be being away for my family (we are REALLY close) and my friends especially the one in the picture. And two of my other best friends. I'm also going to find it difficult to be away from away from my grandma who is 88 and the funniest person I have ever meet.
 
I have always been heavily involved with drama and have worked on 2 major productions (Sarafina and Circus Of Dreams) as a stage manager. I have also been involved a community service called  Gabane Teaching which is an outreach programme that goes out of our capital city, Gaborone, to a little village called Gabane where we teach less fortunate primary school children basic English skills. I have been doing this for over five years and think it is one of those things that everybody should have the chance to do.
 
I am a Motswana from a land locked African country called Botswana. To be a Motswan is the greatest gift that my parents ever gave to me. I come from a country that has used its gems to better the country and not for civil wars or imperialistic ambitions. I have a strong culture that has been embedded in me through my name and by grandmother who refuses to see what her mother taught her to go to waste on me. To be a Motswana is an identity that is more than just being the citizen of Botswana but we are are part of a community that the norm of Africa of poverty, civil wars... does not apply to  and believe that we can do all that we want to if only we have the ambition.
 
I would describe myself as someone who likes to have a good laugh but acknowledges the importance of hard work. I am goal-orientated and believe in doing whatever it takes (as long as it does not compromise my principles) to get to where i want to be. I also believe in questioning everything as it is the only way that you can truly understand anything..
 
My friends, Valentina and Tebo, describe me: "Mk is responsible, caring, smart and very fashion-forward! There is always much to say about someone whom you have known for a very long time. But, in short, she has an amazing personality; full of life and laughter and fun."
 
I speak Setswana (the national language of Botswana).
 
I have lived in Botswana almost all of my life but I have made trips to England, Nambia and South Africa.
 
I hope to be seen as an educated African rather than an ignorant, illiterate person as many tend to see Africans.
 
I am definitely going to bring some recipes from Botswana, our traditional clothing and maybe some traditional paraphernalia (such as bracelets, farming tools....) And of course I'm bringing my experiences as a PROUD Motswana.
 
I intend to have an open mind about the entire experience so I would not like to make an assumptions quite yet.
 
FINALLY, I would like to apologise for the late reply and the length of it all but I felt I needed to let it be known.
 
Thanks for taking the time to read this,

Mk.