Melinda Kin is an Honours Student in the Faculty of Humanities at Wits University
Statement: "The prospect of going to live, work, play; and most importantly, experience Washington, DC was an opportunity not to be missed. Going to DC was a life-changing chance. It was the chance to experience the ever elusive American culture. Whether it is navigating the bustling streets of the District or riding the red, orange, yellow or blue metro line it all boils down to the knowledge that you are doing it on your own. It is comforting to know that maybe, just maybe there is the possibility that you can survive in the ?big bad world? out there. It is guaranteed that leaving Washington DC will leave you restless ? always wanting to know more, learn more and do more.
Studying at an American style education institution (The Washington Center) makes one appreciate the value or the education received at WITS, and the value of being a student in South Africa. It seemed that coming from South Africa meant that as students, we were more in touch with reality. Being in another country talking and teaching others about South Africa makes one appreciate all the values, lessons and treasures South Africa has to offer. Being away from home makes one realise that the United States and South Africa are one in the same; different people, different places but they both have the same potential to make a real change."
Melinda Kin, Russel Brueton and
Andrey Gidaspov at The Washington Centre Fund Raising Gala 2009
Russel Brueton is a Masters Student in the Faculty of Humanities at Wits University
Statement: It is thus clear from these various programs that the Washington Centre has been able to provide me with an integrated academic and work experience, which will adequately prepare me for a life of achievement and civic engagement. I will forever be grateful for such an opportunity, and I pledge to never forget the life-changing lessons that I have learnt from these past three months. Indeed, I have been fundamentally influenced by all these unique experiences. I now realise, more than ever before, the importance of developing a civic culture, of balancing rights with responsibilities, of working hard, of following ones dream, and of making the impossible, a reality. There is now no doubt in my mind: ordinary people can do extraordinary things.?