South African Delegation

Courtesy of Brescia Secondary School

Courtesy of Brescia Secondary School

Courtesy of Brescia Secondary School

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Intro by Molly D. ’18
Getting to Ursuline Academy of Dallas from Johannesburg, South Africa takes 18 hours and 35 minutes with one or more stops. With a seven hour time difference and over 299 mammal species in the whole country, there is no denying that South Africa is very different from Texas.

The Brescia House School in Johannesburg, South Africa, is an all-girls Catholic day school with students ranging from ages 5 to 19. Brescia was founded in 1966, and the relationship with Ursuline began in 2012. The first Ursuline delegation visited South Africa in March 2014.

While many people stereotype South Africa as a bare land with animals roaming wild, the girls from Brescia assured us that you must leave the inner city to see this kind of wildlife. South Africa has eight world heritage sites, 291 conservation parks, 299 mammal species, 858 bird species and over 20,000 insect species.

South Africa is made up of nine provinces, and there are 11 official languages. The number one language is Zulu. One of the 11 languages is English.

Though both Ursuline and Brescia are all-girls and Catholic, there are many big differences. We start our year in August at the end of summer, but Brescia starts school in January at the official start of the year. In addition, they take all their sciences at once, rather than spreading them out through the years. They also have a class called consumer studies. In this class they learn basic home economics. Instead of having a cafeteria like Haggar, they have a place called the tuck shop where they buy their food and eat lunch separate from the main building.

Another big difference is the uniforms. The uniforms for Brescia change during the different seasons and girls are required to wear their blazers every day to school. They also have hats to wear with the formal uniform. Like the seniors at Ursuline, the girls at Brescia get different uniforms as they grow older. Tenth, 11th and 12th graders are all considered seniors, while here the upperclassman are 11th and 12th grade and seniors are only 12th grade.

Other differences include Interhouse Events, like our Intramurals, having netball instead of basketball (but without the backboard) and differences in simple words like chips instead of French fries and Braai instead of barbeques.

One of this biggest differences the Brescia girls say they have noticed between their school and ours are the bathrooms! They told us that here the bathroom stalls do not go all the way to the floor and the toilets flush themselves. Another big difference one said are the concrete streets. In South Africa the roads are dark, which they say makes everything seem darker. Also in Texas, we have a lot of fast food restaurants and a variety of food all over the city. They say that they only have a few fast food restaurants and that most of them are not very good.

They also said the campuses were very different. While theirs is a three story single building, our campus is large and spread out. There is a different area for everything and the school itself covers a lot of ground. They also do not have a brother school right down the street. They unofficially have a boy’s school they sometimes interact with, but the girls say they rarely hang out with them.
Let’s meet the girls one on one !

Courteney Morgan de Kock, 11th grader at Brescia House School, had been to the U.S. before the exchange with Ursuline Academy.
“When I went to Florida there was a lot of talk of America about obesity and people being rude,” said Courteney, “but Dallas people are a lot nicer.” She did not originally know it was such a populous city either. “I pictured cowboys and horses everywhere.”

Courteney loves to play sports like netball and participate in field athletics such as relays in South Africa. “I was on a netball team, but I quit because I wanted to earn my academic and leadership colors,” she said. She added that the sport with the all the “school hype” at Brescia is hockey, meaning field, not ice.
“We have an orienteering team,” added Courteney, “which is a group that competes in other schools to find its way from A to B only given maps and a few directions.”

School socials are organized differently at Brescia. “Last year in grade 10, we had a sweet 16 dance. In grade 11 we raised money for the Matric dance. We can go to the dance, but we can’t have dates or wear long dresses,” said Courteney. Outside of socials, individuals grades also have their own traditions. For example, in grade 7 students are paired with grade 9 students like the Big Sis/Lil Sis program. Courteney is even still friends with her Lil Sis who is now in grade 10.

“We have things called Houses,” explains Courteney, “where different grades are split up randomly. Brecia is red, Lora is yellow and Merici is blue.” Interhouse events and competitions are common, with grade 11 hosting Interhouse music, a form of an art performance.

In Brescia, girls choose three specific subjects to study outside of the compulsory subjects which are math, English, theology and a second language. Courteney has chosen biology, geology and physics. Going into the future, Courteney wants to be a doctor. “To go into medicine [in college] I need to get like 300 hours and 7 As. I really want to specialize in neurology or radiology or pediatrics,” said Courteney.

MIA E. ’18
Ursuline Academy of Dallas has a variety of sister schools all around the world, but for the past week we have been enjoying the company of our sisters from the South African Ursuline school.

One of these students, Nicole Harwood, has been enjoying her stay in Dallas. Even though this is not Nicole’s first time to travel to America, she is still excited to be in a new, big city and state. Surprisingly, Nicole has travelled to many different places in the U.S., including big cities such as New York, Los Angeles and her all-time favorite San Francisco.

Nicole and her family absolutely love America and everything that it has to offer. She exclaimed, “There is so much light in the U.S. that my Instagram pictures don’t even need filter. The places are so beautiful and colorful without the edits.”

Some of Nicole’s passions include field hockey, dance and theatre. She also wants to major in business at university in hopes of going into hotel management or the catering business. Someday, she would love to have her very own hotel named after her.

Nicole shared some of the highlights of her stay which included the 6th Floor Museum, Trolley Ride in downtown, the tasty barbeque at Sonny Bryan’s, Starbucks and Chipotle. While enjoying her stay, Nicole noticed some differences between South Africa and Dallas that stood out to her. Things appearing really different in Dallas include more fast food chains, more than one type of Oreo, many people who can’t impersonate South African accents and a lot of political drama.

Even though there are some major differences between the two places, Nicole has really enjoyed her stay in Dallas and hopes to travel throughout the U.S.

MOLLY D. ’18
Mbali Refilow Pooe is a 17-year-old student at Brescia House School in Johannesburg, South Africa. She told us that the flight from South Africa to Atlanta was around 17 hours, and the flight from Atlanta to Dallas was about two hours. This entire journey including air time and airport time was in all about a 24 hour travel day. The students from Brescia House School are staying in Dallas for just under two weeks.

Mbali has traveled a lot with her family, but this is her first time in America. She loves Ursuline’s campus because it is so big. One of the most interesting things she has noticed about Dallas is the roads. She said in South Africa the roads are made of tar so they are black, but here they are made of concrete, making everything much brighter. If she could visit anywhere in the U.S., she said she would visit New York City.

So far she has visited the JFK Memorial, the Omni Hotel and downtown Dallas. Mbali’s favorite activity so far has been going to the Dallas Mavericks basketball game! Mbali and her host sister had fun watching the Mavs play even though they lost! One of her favorite foods is tacos. This is the first time she has had a taco or Tex-Mex in general!

After she finishes high school next year, she will attend a university. She hopes to attend Wits University in Johannesburg so she can stay close to her family. After university, she will take over her family’s business, but if she had the opportunity to study anything else, she says it would be nuclear engineering.

SAM H. ’18
Paige Whittock is 16 and is technically supposed to be a junior according to the American school system. She plays field hockey for her school and for a club as well. She was surprised to see that field hockey is not very popular here.
One thing she has really enjoyed is the food in America. She likes Chick-fil-a and Tex-Mex the most so far. It is different for her because in South Africa there is not a lot of diversity when it comes to food choices. Paige was very interested to find out how Americans get to drive at 16, but they have to wait until they are 18 to vote. Paige was also surprised to see that we drive on the right side of the road , whereas they drive on the left. She enjoys to listen to alternative music, like Twenty-One Pilots.
If she comes back to the U.S., her two cities that she would really like to visit are Los Angeles and New York because she feels they personify the U.S.’s values as a culture. She is excited to go to Northpark Mall and go to the Urban outfitters store there. She has really been enjoying her time in the U.S.

Ntando Khuzwayo is a 15-year-old who attends the Brescia House School in Johannesburg, South Africa. In school, she takes “easy” advanced placement math classes to help her achieve her goal of becoming a doctor. She speaks Zulu, Afrikaans English and hopes to become fluent in French soon. After she graduates, Ntando wants to attend either University of Cape Town or the University of California at Los Angeles. Outside of school, Ntando enjoys field hockey, soccer, watching sports, visiting museums and going to parties with her friends. Her favorite restaurant in Africa is a pizza restaurant that she goes to with her family.

Besides Texas, Ntando has always wanted to visit New York and Asia. Besides the 19 and a half hour flight, she has loved every part of her trip to Dallas, even though it is very different than she thought it would be. Expecting horses, Ntando was surprised to discover that Dallas is actually very similar to Johannesburg. She said that “besides the bigger roads, cooler buildings, wooden fences and fast food in Dallas, almost everything else is pretty much the same.” While she is here, she hopes to try Mexican food, attend a rodeo and go to Six Flags with her host family.

A typical school day for 16-year-old South African student Jamie-Leigh Mcloughlin consists of studying math and French, practicing hockey and watching the occasional rugby match; however, her time spent in Texas is far from her normal routine.

This is not her first rodeo; she has been to the Lone Star State once before to visit family friends in San Antonio and has also been to Disney World in Florida. “I love Texas! The country music is great, the people are so friendly and I also love the food, especially Chipotle and Chick-Fila, ” Jamie said.

Although it is not her first time in Texas, it is her first time in Dallas, and she has enjoyed herself while exploring Downtown and seeing what the daily of an American student is like at Ursuline. When asked what she is most looking forward, she exclaimed, “Prom!”

Back in her hometown, it is mandatory that students know what they want to study before attending college. At 16 it is hard to know what you want to do, but Jamie already has an interest in accounting and business.
While not studying, she enjoys spending her time the same way most Americans do, proving that we are more alike than we are different. She prefers watching classic movies but also enjoys comedies, some of her favorites being “She’s the Man” and “Mean Girls.” In addition, some of her favorite musical artists are Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez.

She has thoroughly enjoyed her time here and is sad to leave; however, she is looking forward to seeing her two older sisters when she gets back home. Maybe next time she will bring them back to Dallas with her.

To some, South Africa may seem like a world away. With a different culture and traditions it appears completely foreign; however, students who arrived on the South African Delegation to Texas show that we are all actually more alike than we are different.

Aimee Anticevich is a 16-year-old student from Johannesburg, and it was her first time in the U.S. Immediately, she was welcomed with open arms and shared that one of her favorite things about Texas is the southern charm.
“The people here are nicer here and always ready to help you,” she explained. “They come to see you and want to know more about you.”

While not touring Dallas and taking classes on the Ursuline campus, Aimee has enjoyed watching the Dallas Stars game and Jesuit baseball. Aimee is a very athletic girl, playing both hockey and track. She appreciated how music was played during games and the commentary that takes place during sporting events, saying she wished she could bring it back with her to South Africa.

Not only was she fond of the sports but she also enjoyed eating a few of Texas’ greatest foods such as Chick Fil A and Torchy’s Tacos and is looking forward to attending prom, a unique experience because school dances are not an occasion in South Africa.

In high school she is preparing to be a veterinarian, and after a long day she likes to relax by listening to music or watching a movie. His favorite type of music is “rave” music, which has fast upbeat songs with a strong beat. She prefers classic movies but also enjoys all types, one of her newest favorites being “If I Stay.”

We hope that she enjoyed her stay in America and comes back to visit soon. Now that he has been to the best city, Dallas, Aimee says that his next stop is New York!

CAREN B. ’17
Jessica Jooste spends most of her time in South Africa playing netball and tennis, participating in public speaking and debate clubs, and from February to November, doing homework.

Although this is her first time in the U.S., Jessica has traveled to Australia, China, Tanzania, Egypt and England. Since the beginning of her trip, she has visited downtown Dallas and White Rock Lake and has eaten food from Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, TGI Friday’s and more.

After saying that the workloads and people are similar at Ursuline and Brescia, Jessica explained that Brescia is different from Ursuline in that students have shorter classes, no frees and are sorted into three different houses when they enroll at the school. The three houses are named Marichi, Laurus, and Brescia, and the houses compete on special days.

As for the future, Jessica hopes to pursue a career in advertising, marketing or film production.

Gaby Simaan is outgoing and full of life. She said that she loved America and the different food and lifestyle we are accustomed to. She is a junior at Brescia at our sister school in Johannesburg, South Africa and is very athletic and loves to play field hockey.
She and Emma, who is also on the delegation, are best friends with equally giggly personalities. Gaby is extremely artsy and, based on her Instagram, an amazing photographer. She is excited to continue experiencing America and seeing all Texas has to offer. So far she and her family have gotten frozen yogurt and tried Dickey’s Barbeque. They have also gone to Klyde Warren Park and plan to continue seeing what Dallas has to offer.

BECCA H. ’17
Emma McCaann is a fun and bubbly, blonde 17-year-old. This trip was her first time visiting the U.S., but she has traveled all around Africa and Europe. She has loved Dallas so far and has visited Northpark, Klyde Warren Park and museums like the Sixth Floor Museum. Tasting American food, especially frozen custard, barbeque and Mexican, has been one of her favorite things in Dallas. With the South African delegation, she went on the trolley in uptown, experiencing urban Dallas. She also really likes Target.

1 Comment

One Response to “South African Delegation”

  1. Anonymous on April 26th, 2016 1:41 PM

    It was such a pleasure to have these girls visit the newspaper staff–we so enjoyed interviewing them.


If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • South African Delegation


    Wilmington comes to Dallas

  • South African Delegation

    School Features

    Humanities Day Held By English Department Inspires Students

  • South African Delegation


    Russian Critic Murdered Outside Ukrainian Hotel

  • South African Delegation


    Trump’s Budget Cuts Meals on Wheels

  • South African Delegation


    New Rangers Stadium Announced

  • South African Delegation


    Why We Chose the All-Girl Environment

  • South African Delegation

    School Features

    Looking Forward to Humanities Day

  • South African Delegation

    Sports and Wellness

    UA Alum Features: Marathon Runner Jordan Snyder

  • South African Delegation


    Survival Life of Apps

  • South African Delegation

    Partner Schools

    Upcoming Spring Delegations