Penn Abroad Ambassador John Annicelli

Lunch in Soweto hosted by an amazing and generous community
CAS '26
Economics, Legal Studies & History
PGS: Becoming Zimbabwe
Penn Global Seminars (PGS)


  • PGS: Becoming Zimbabwe

Ask me about...

  • Being proactive about asking locals for advice, despite a language barrier.

  • Optimizing your experience while traveling with people from different cultures (learning about their backgrounds while experiencing a new culture together).

  • Balancing academic and social opportunities in an unfamiliar environment.

My Experience Abroad:

As an Economics major, witnessing the socioeconomic diversity in South Africa was eye-opening. In Johannesburg, we witnessed three settings: a mine, a wealthy neighborhood, and the Soweto township. Historically, these settings have been, respectively, the place of work, the living space of the mine owners, and the living space of the miners. Seeing this dynamic was a tangible demonstration of the material I study in economics classes. Additionally, witnessing such a high level of unemployment has made me more conscious of the practical implications of my coursework, as I have seen how it can impact people’s lives.

Other Highlights:

  • Visited Mapungubwe National Park, where we saw elephants, zebras, and an amazing view of the intersection of South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.

  • Toured the Kliptown Youth Program, a school in Soweto, Johannesburg, that provides a great education to children of the surrounding community.

  • Ate dinner at the Yeoville Dinner Club, where we got to help prepare and eat delicious Pan-African cuisine.

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