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Culture Shock: South Africa

By Silvia Stanciu, Staff Writer

Meet Hofstra junior Andrew Stephen Lumby, native to a small town outside of Capetown, South Africa, who is double majoring in English and Journalism. One can only imagine the culture shock that came with moving from a charming, liberal African town by the sea to the suburbs of Maryland. Despite relocating, Andrew does not forgo his love for his native town. "We were by the sea, and yet we had mountains as well, so my area was definitely a tourist attraction," Lumby adds. He seems to love the beauty of his native environment, which is common to most people who are abroad. There's no nicer land than one's homeland. However, Andrew has kept an open mind about moving, and tries to make the best of the American experience.

Andrew initially moved to the Maryland suburbs for high school, and later on considered Hofstra for his college experience. Hofstra made the cut, and Andrew is happy to be new to this collegiate community.

Moving to New York was no easy feat; Lumby admits that "there are so many people in New York City." The entire city of Capetown and its suburbs include under 3 million people, while New York's demographics are represented by over 8 million people. The numbers don't lie; New York City is certainly more imposing. Furthermore, Lumby claims that New York is "grimier" and more impersonal than his hometown. "South Africans are so welcoming," he states. New York's general vibe is competitive and cutthroat.

The Capetown native was definitely affected by the move; being nearly 8,000 miles from home is baffling to almost anyone. "I used to get homesick a lot, and I really missed my friends and my favorite foods." However, Andrew found ways to battle homesickness by bringing over snacks from home he loves to loves and joining Hofstra's cricket club. "Cricket's huge in South Africa," he claims.

In retrospect, Andrew remembers Cape Town as "quainter" and "more charming" than New York City. "I could only picture the New York I saw in movies, and I did not think it would be as dirty." Evidently, a city as large as NYC can seem "impersonal" and "daunting,"  but Andrew did not let his first impression dictate theoutcome of his experience. In addition, Andrew finds the city confusing and hard to navigate. However, Andrew loves the multifarious forms of entertainment that the city offers, so he is willing to get lost on occasion. "I wouldn't trust myself, by myself, in the city," he jokes, thus sharing many immigrants' perceptions about New York's safety, or lack thereof.  

Undergoing such a drastic move has its positive and negative aspects. According to Andrew, one of the great things about moving to New York is snowboarding. "It's not something I got to do in South Africa, obviously, and I love it." On a more serious note, Andrew appreciates the quality of the education he has received in America, as well as the greater opportunities available to him in the publishing industry. When asked about the negative aspects, Andrew joked that "the drinking age is certainly different." In addition, Andrew claimed that the language needed adjusting to. Back home he spoke English and Afrikaans, a West Germanic dialect primarily spoken by South Africans. "I had to get used to American slang. I miss Afrikaans, it was our own slang and no one speaks it here." But, Andrew admits that American slang found its way into his vocabulary, despite the fact that his native accent is unadulterated. "I speak like a Brit," he laughs, but he is very proud to correct those who assume that he is British. Naturally, his nationalism soars in a country as diverse as America because he keeps his identity alive–an admirable coping mechanism for all immigrants.

Andrew enjoys the New York city social life. (Photo Courtesy of Andrew Lumby)

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