About the new Inside Loyola



A one-stop-shop of Loyola's most popular and useful Web resources.

A - Z Index



Completing Courses and Our Stay in Johannesburg

It is a sunny and mild spring weekend at the Wedgwood Inn in Melville as our group of Intercontinental MBA pioneers moves toward the completion of their first international residency. Finals and projects are looming next week, so what appear to be bright, lazy days are divided between cramming, group meetings and power napping. Meals that are meant to be quick, end up leisurely (on South African time) as students try to squeeze in a final visit to a favorite local restaurant for one last taste of a much-enjoyed local dish.

The students shared a bit of American culture with our local friends in their celebration of Halloween. This is a non-event here. The Afrikaners, who have Dutch roots, are Calvinists and eschew the holiday. Without this holiday and the buffer of our Thanksgiving, our environment has taken on a very early Christmas theme. Add to this the current season of spring, the sight of numerous Christmas trees is a bit disconcerting.

Friday evening the IMBA students hosted an American Halloween party at the home of our local host. This was a bit profane, since it was All Saints Day, but this day did not seem of great importance in this diverse community. The students located a few scantly-available decorations (only available at the China Market), food (chips and sausages), candy and, of course, booze. They initially found no pumpkins, but decorated some butternut squash. Subsequently, they borrowed some ornately and artistically carved pumpkins (so beautifully detailed they could have been done by Martha Steward herself) from at an earlier event. Costumes are required and several were concocted on animal themes. We had a cheetah, an elephant, a springbok and more. Initially I was stumped, but swathed myself in African batik fabric and local beadwork.

The party was a Braai. This is a type of local cook-out that involves cooking meat on an open flame. The format is flexible, but the one requirement is a sausage known as boerewors, literally translated from the Dutch as “farmer’s sausage.” For this sausage to retain its designation, it must contain at least 90% meat – always beef and occasionally lamb and pork. The remaining 10% is reserved for herbs and small proportion of grain or filler. It is quite delicious and cooking it is an art. The boerewors is about 3 feet long and it is kept whole and coiled on the grill. It can only be turned once, so the cook must know how long to cook it and at what level flame so that it is neither dry nor raw. Our chefs to date have cooked these sausages perfectly. After cooking, it is cut into portions and eaten on a roll as a local version of the hot dog. Our students served it with sautéed sweet peppers and onions, we have also had it with a tomato, chili and onion relish. A true Braai also has pap, a traditional South African porridge of polenta. But, hey, this was an American Braai and we were stumped in the preparation of this side dish.

The weather was perfect for such an outdoor event and for our final days of study. Similar to our home in the U.S., spring is the rainy season here, but the rain is not perpetual. Often the first half of the day is clear and beautiful and afternoon brings a short, but intense deluge. The trees and flowers are in bloom and we are pleased to have witnessed the dramatic purple blooming of the jacaranda trees that blanket the city. We have adjusted to the quick changes in weather and plan our day accordingly.

It is hard to believe that at the end of this week everyone will be heading back to the U.S. Some days have seemed long, while the weeks have seemed short. It has been gratifying to witness the formation of our small community as we share South African experiences and learn more about each other. The students are already planning their next face-to-face reunion – in Santiago, Chile in January.

Mary Ann

  • By Sam Horn on 11.5.2013 at 9:35 am

    Amazing that our time in Johannesburg is almost at an end! It seems like just yesterday that we were filing into the institute for the first time, unsure of what faced us. However, despite the long hours of studying, papers, and presentations, the experiences we have had here will stick with us for the rest of our lives. Trips to Robben Island, soccer matches in Soweto, safaris in Pilansberg. Everyday is more exciting than the last, and I can’t wait to see what Santiago brings us!

  • By Wayne KImball, Jr. on 11.5.2013 at 9:52 am

    Two down, Two to go! It is hard to believe that we are in the middle of our fifth and final [exam] week in South Africa! Where did time go?

    When I joined this program I thought that we would travel to each location, study and return home. Little did I know that we would be grocery shopping to cook family dinner with our cohort, host festive gatherings for locals and move about the local areas as if we had lived here for years. This residency has been simply amazing. Learning in the classroom, while embracing the culture and working in the community is priceless!

    Immerse yourself globally…with Quinlan School of Business! #IMBA14

    IMBA Pioneer

  • By Tiffany Chan on 11.5.2013 at 10:11 am

    I too never thought that I’d be assimilating into the culture as much as I have during our 5-week residency. As a member of the PPC (party planning committee) for the American Halloween party, I found it an interesting challenge to find everything that we needed to throw an American-style party. It turns out boerewors don’t come pre-cut like hot dogs, which meant that we, of course, had to recruit a braai-master to help us. Luckily, all the South Africans we have met thus far are extremely nice and willing to help us!

    On a broader note, I am amazed at how quickly these 5 weeks have gone by, and although we have done so much, there is still so much yet to do in South Africa. I can’t wait to plan another trip to this gorgeous country and to explore more! #IMBA14

  • By Danielle on 11.5.2013 at 12:00 pm

    I loved reading about how you celebrated Halloween—it was so creative and multicultural! It sounds like everyone has already learned so much, and I can’t wait to read about what happens in January.

  • By Brendan on 11.5.2013 at 4:46 pm

    Safe travels back!

  • By Siya Jiang Singhal on 11.10.2013 at 1:29 pm

    It is so hard to say goodbye to the purple jacaranda trees and this country. Waiting for the flight back to the U.S. in JNB international airport, I want to write something for this amazing and wholesome journey. I still remember the stunning moment when the wild baby African elephant was eating the thorn plant in front of our Safari truck.I still remember the tears I had while visiting the Apartheid Museum. This country has an internal power of humanity which is called “Ubuntu”. I remember the breathtaking view on the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town. I remember the days and nights we spent on our projects and finals, rigorous yet fruitful.

    Thank you everyone ,pioneers! Thank you South Africa!

    Ubuntu –IMBA 2014!

Add a Comment


(will not be displayed) (required)