My name is Roni Eerikäinen and I’m a Finnish student of hospitality management. I am currently interning at Riverlodge Backpackers in South Africa and in this blog I’ll write about my 6 months stay here in Cape Town. I want to point out first that I’ve never written a blog before and in my own opinion I’m not really a naturally talented writer. So bear with me as this will be a learning experience for me.
So how did I end up in Cape Town? It all started after my I returned back to Finland at the end of July last year from my exchange semester in Hong Kong. I was studying there for 5 months and then spent 2 months traveling in South East Asia. When I got my feet back on Finnish soil again and met with my friends and family, whom I hadn’t seen for 7 months, I thought that I’d stay there until I graduated. It didn’t take more than a month when I started to think about the possibility of doing my internship abroad as well. I just wanted to get my bag and start traveling again - I’ve been like that ever since I did my first backpacking trip to Australia in 2013. So I guess you could say it all started from there.
So why South Africa? First of all, I had never been here before which was a big reason. Secondly, South Africa is the best place to get to see and learn more about the Great White Sharks, which I’ve always wanted to do. And thirdly, I wanted to experience a culture that I had not experienced before. I had been in Asia, Europe, Australia, so I started to think between Africa and South America. But because my Spanish skills are limited to Gracias, de nada, and a couple of swear words, I figured that option would be off the table. So I started to look for possible internships in South Africa and stumbled on to a post from Riverlodge Backpackers. I sent them an email, enquiring if the position was still available, sent them my CV and a week later was told to book my tickets for January 2017. Everything happened pretty quickly and came to me as bit of a shock, but after the initial anxiety, all I felt was excitement as I was getting to go travel again!
After the gruesome effort to get my Visa sorted out, the flights here that I had to pay twice and a frantic effort to get all of my school assignments on track before my departure, I finally landed in Cape Town International airport on the 18th of January 2017. There was still a bit of a mishap with my ride from the airport to the hostel, due to an hour long wait in the passport checking and the fact that I had no means to let the people at Riverlodge know about the delay. In the end everything worked out and now I’ve spent the last week working here in housekeeping. It is pretty similar to what I did back in Australia, so there wasn’t that much of a learning curve but through this I’ve got to familiarize myself with the establishment and the Pinelands area where it resides. I’ve also gotten to know the staff here and some of the locals and long term occupants of the hostel, and so far I can say that the people here have been really welcoming and helpful, which has made this experience that much better. In a week or so I’ll be moving in to the reception which will be a new challenge but I’m eager learn more about it and see what it takes.
Stay tuned and stay classy!
Written by Roni
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