Europe, USA, Africa… where should I go? Let’s ask an expert.
Whether you are looking for a sympathetic town for holidays or a good country to study, the choice can be complicated. Indeed, there are so many amazing places on this planet. But how are you supposed to choose if you know nothing about the living standards or the cultures? This is why we have travel guides and blogs. As an aspiring tourist or international student, you need the wisdom of accomplished globetrotters.
Honorat Mbemba is one of them. This student had already travelled a lot for his young age. As a wanderlust victim, I am fortunate to be friend with such an inspiring sightseer. He accepted to meet me for an interview to talk about the places he visited.
Honorat Mbemba is a young Congolese man from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is currently living in Cape Town for his studies. “I am studying at CTI Education group,” he says. “I am currently in my second year for my Bachelor of Commerce.”
However, he explains that Cape Town was not his first choice. When he finished high school, he applied for a visa to go to the UK. “I wanted to study in London. Unfortunately, I did not get the visa,” he admits. “It was quite disappointing for me since I have already been to England twice before. I also have two siblings who are already studying there as well.”
As he talks, I notice a glimmer of sadness in his eyes.
Then, he tells me that he went to Belgium for three months in order to study English. “I was actually prepared to go the United States afterwards,” he says. “At the same time, I was coming to Cape Town for my holidays. It was also my first time visiting this country.” The young man smiles as he says how much he loved his stay, to the extent that he decided to study in this city.
Having triggered my curiosity, I ask him his opinion about the South African education. He replies that he likes the fact that South African universities offer a wide range of courses. In his opinion, the quality of education is correct. “Personally, I am still doing fine in commerce,” he laughs.
Like many international student, Honorat Mbemba got used to the pleasant Capetonian lifestyle. He believes the living standard is reasonable. “I also had the chance to travel a lot, especially in Europe and America as well,” he adds. “There, the infrastructure in general is just amazing and much more developed.”
But my friend does not regret coming to South Africa at all. “The country is amazing and Cape Town is just so beautiful,” he says. “I love this city, and right now, I am not even thinking about going back to DRC.” He also confesses not having too much trouble with money “I receive my income in dollars so the exchange rate is very beneficial to me.”
Nevertheless, as a black foreign man, Honorat Mbemba insists on the fact that some people can be really racist or xenophobic here. This makes it very difficult to have lasting relationships with some locals. “Most of my friends are either from Europe, America or other African Countries,” he says. “I wonder why?”
As mentioned before, Honorat Mbemba had travelled a lot and like me, he is a “wanderluster”. “I love travelling,” he explains. “The airports, the planes, the different people and cultures, seeing something different… I actually believe that my numerous travels made me who I am today. It clearly opened my mind.”
Besides, his list of adventures is already long. “I have been to South Africa, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Germany,” he says proudly. “In the United States, I have been to Virginia, Washington DC, Philadelphia, South Carolina, New Jersey and Atlantic City.”
A bit jealous, I ask him about his favourite travels. As for him, Luxembourg was particularly welcoming and clean. He thinks that Switzerland is also nice. “Its inhabitants was a mixture of people from all over Europe,” he says. “I enjoyed this mix.”
However, it is The Vatican City which made the biggest impression on him. “The city was just fantastic to see, especially for its architecture,” he explains. “When I went there, some Swiss guards were the official protection of the Vatican. I also had the opportunity to see the Sistine Chapel decorated by Michelangelo. I will remember this for the rest of my life.”
Despite those memories, Honorat Mbemba would not like to live permanently in Europe. “It is just too expensive there,” he says. “South Africa’s lifestyle is as good and less pricey.” But in his opinion, going to Europe or the USA to study is an opportunity to cease for the students who have the means to afford it. “I actually hope to finish my studies there,” he adds.
He tells me that all the places that he visited are worth seeing, at least for holidays. But now he would like to discover Asia. He cites countries like Thailand, China and Japan. “But my biggest dream is to go to the Bahamas,” he admits.
I ask him to conclude on a small anecdote on the USA, an unknown territory to me. Surprisingly, his story is not as exciting as I was expecting. “My family decided to travel from Philadelphia to South Carolina by car,” he says. “The car was overload with people and luggage and we got stopped by the police. The American police is very strict. They often categorize people as criminals. We waited for an hour and ended up with a fine.”
Advice from people like Honorat Mbemba is important before embarking on a new adventure. These personal experiences, together with some more objective travel sources, will certainly widen your perspective. Surely, the decision on where to go will seem simpler, but you will also be fully prepared for the chosen destination.
So I insist: READ MORE to travel better.