5 weeks in Pretoria

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Dec 10th, 2005, 08:56 PM
  #1
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5 weeks in Pretoria

Hey! I'm a pharmacy student from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Next year is my last year of school and consists of a full year of clerkships. I have the amazing opportunity to do one of these 5 week clerkships at the University of Limpopo Medunsa Campus. From what I understand I would be living in Pretoria and commuting to the campus. I will most likely go in Mar/April of 2007 and at that time I will be 25. My concern here is that it may be unsafe for me as a young woman to travel by myself. Should I be greatly concerned about this? I've travelled internationally a few times before but never by myself. I also want to go on a safari after my 5 week period. Is April a good time to go? Would it be awkward to go on a safari by myself...do they somewhat accommidate for that? I really appreciate any feedback. Thanks so much
NatalieRx2007 is offline  
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Dec 12th, 2005, 12:33 PM
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Natalie, what a wonderful opportunity for you! Is the University of Limpopo Medunsa campus a new name for what used to be the Medical University of South Africa, also called Medunsa? If so, I worked there for a month in 1994, sent by the USAID. I stayed in Pretoria and drove to Medunsa daily.

I don't think you need to worry about being there alone. The drive is through a rural area, but as far as I know, a safe one. Be prepared for the fact that Medunsa is out in "the boonies" -- there are no nearby shops or restaurants or anything. But Pretoria and Johannesburg are full of things to do. The architecture of the college is pretty dull, but the landscaping is really beautiful. (Assuming, that is, that it hasn't changed much in the last 10 years or so!!)

Safaris do cater to single travelers; you'll have no problem. You may want to wait and make the arrangements after you get there. You will find that South Africans are very hospitable, and make friends quickly. Local people will be very nice about helping you decide where to go on safari, and what type of safari to do.

April will be a good time to be there. It won't be too hot or too cold, and the vegetation won't be so lush that it's hard to spot animals.

It sounds like a great opportunity!
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Dec 12th, 2005, 01:11 PM
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Upon re-reading my reply I see that I forgot to mention the fact that my husband's son did a 5-week medical rotation at Medunsa in 1996. (I can't believe I left that out of my note!) He loved it! He felt that he learned a lot, and he really liked the people he met.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 06:46 PM
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Celia, thank you so much for your response! I feel a lot better about going now! I believe that University of Limpopo is probably the same as Medunsa. That's pretty amazing that you and your husband's son were both there! I'm really glad to hear that he learned a lot and had a great experience. I definately think it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience (not to mention great experience for my future career!). Thanks again for your response!
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Dec 13th, 2005, 05:43 AM
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My husband was there at the same time as I was, but working at the University of Pretoria. We lived in the Hatfield area of Pretoria. When you know where you'll be staying, let me know, and I'll tell you what I can remember of the area.

Most of our South African experience was when we lived in Johannesburg, but we found a lot to enjoy in Pretoria too.
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