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“Zimbabweans are very open”

“Zimbabweans are very open” “Zimbabweans are very open”

Suzanne Tossings (21), a Dutch UCM student and co-ordinator for AIESEC’s Outgoing Exchange, who has seen 9 per cent of the world.

 

What is remarkable about Suzanne Tossings’ map, are the countries in southern Africa. “I went to Stellenbosch in South Africa last year, as an exchange student. The semester ended at the beginning of November and I didn’t need to be back in Maastricht until January so I went travelling.” With a group of eight people, they travelled through the African countryside. “We went from one highlight to another, but because we went by car, we also saw a lot on the way. Zimbabwe was really special. Everyone said beforehand: Do you really have to go there, isn’t it dangerous? But I felt very welcome. The people were very open and really happy that tourists were visiting their country. Tourism there has completely collapsed.”

The hostel on the Wild Coast was also very special; this is a region in the southeast of South Africa, which is famous for its rugged but beautiful landscape. “You first have to travel thirty kilometres on an impassable small road. It was extremely beautiful there – very unspoiled – and you don’t feel like the white tourist but part of the community. That is also because it is situated right among the other houses, instead of behind high gates like the rest of the country.” During her travels she never felt unsafe. “Maybe it turns out not so bad because you are made to feel so afraid beforehand.” Africa still holds an attraction. “Some of my travel companions continued on to Tanzania, Uganda; the centre of Africa. I really want to go there too.” 

A completely different kind of trip was her holiday to the United States last summer. “I travelled along the east coast for three weeks with my boyfriend. We saw places like Boston, New York and Washington DC. Especially the latter appealed to me.” Despite the fact that this is the democratic heart of the United States, Tossings thought the atmosphere very relaxed. “There are a lot of low buildings, an old European part. I found it such a relief after the big and busy New York. We mainly travelled by car but also went some of the way by train. That was fun, you see a lot more of the country that way.”

Tossings feels that the great thing about travelling is that you wake up in the mornings and only then decide what you are going to do that day. “I do make a general outline of the route, but I want to have the possibility to stop off somewhere longer and take the time to see things.” Her tip is to ask local residents where you should go. “That takes you places that other tourists don’t get to see.” 

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