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Image001Post by Daniel Furente from University of Pittsburgh

Coming to Botswana can bring along with it many stresses: How do I sign up for classes? How do I catch a taxi or combi? Will people in my program like me? When I first arrived, I realized that I needed a way to cope with these stresses or else I would probably implode. Thankfully, I found some really good outlets. There are always the basic methods such as listening to music or going for walks but I found that the University of Botswana (UB) as well as Gaborone has some very useful facilities for stress relief.

For starters, I found that learning a new sport was not only fun but a wonderful coping mechanism. I started learning tennis the other day and found that I really enjoyed it. What’s even better is the courts are really nice. There are 5 tennis courts, 2 handball courts, 2 volleyball courts and a basketball court. There is also a tennis club where students, ranging from novice to experienced, can partake in competitive fun. Furthermore, UB has a large assortment of clubs that any student can join, as well as a gym and an Olympic sized pool complete with an Olympic diving structure.

Image004Another way I have learned to reduce stress is to hike through nature. Hills that possess numerous hiking trails surround Gaborone.

Image005So far, my favorite hiking trail has been Kgale Hill. Hiking this trail was amazing for multiple reasons. For starters, the views were breath taking. From one side of the hill, I was able to see an impeccable overlook of Gaborone. From the other side of the hill, I could see the rolling landscape as well as a quarry. Complementing these views was the diverse wildlife, ranging from butterflies to baboons, all along the trail to contribute to the relaxing atmosphere.

DanFoodPictureMy final stress relief came in the form of food. I have found trying a new restaurant each week with my girlfriend and friends has really helped ease the aches of life. There is something relaxing in trying different types of food from different places with people who just want to unwind as well and enjoy a good meal. Image008

Before, the daily stresses that I had would block me from my ultimate goal of learning something about myself as well as enjoying Botswana with my girlfriend, but by using these stress reducers and coping techniques, I found that I can feel at home here, and I can really focus on learning something new each day be it about Africa, Botswana, or myself.


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