Pretoria to Apex: A Big Move

Janelle Serfontein, a junior at Apex High School, just recently celebrated her one year in America on Oct. 1, 2018. I wanted to find out how different South Africa is from North Carolina and which place she prefers to live, if she has a preference. She and I got to speak about her experiences.

Serfontein was born in Pretoria, South Africa. Pretoria is in the northern part of the Gauteng province in South Africa. The Apies River runs through the city, and the city extends east into the Magaliesberg mountains. One of their main languages in Afrikaans, which Serfontein speaks. Sports like rugby, field hockey, netball, and cricket are very popular there. Janelle moved to North Carolina because of her father’s job. At first, Serfontein was upset about moving then became excited as she looked forward to the new experiences she would have in the United States.

Pretoria’s climate is different than North Carolina. It has long, hot, rainy summers and short, cool to cold, dry winters. You can’t drive until you’re 18, and “the culture is a lot different”, says Serfontein. Pretoria doesn’t have a Target or Chick-fil-A. Their transportation includes trains, busses, and taxis. Serfontein says that unlike South Africa, North Carolina “ deep fries everything.” Serfontein also didn’t dress at all like she does here and mostly wore “nice, fancy clothes and only had some casual clothes like sweatpants. We never wore oversized shirts and Nike shorts like I do here.” What the big difference is though are the school systems.  

Serfontein went to Afrikaans Hoër Meisieskool Pretoria (Afrikaans High School of Girls Pretoria). It is a public, all-girls school where they are required to wear uniforms. Students couldn’t wear their hair down and didn’t have as many choices for types of classes like we do here in Wake County. The students there were not allowed to bring their phones to school, and the school made sure the girls were always respectful towards everyone. Serfontein played field hockey and netball at her old school.  She was unable to decide if she likes Apex High School or her old high school more.

Serfontein enjoys her new friends, Chick-fil-a, Target, and lacrosse in North Carolina. In South Africa she would hang out with her friends, have parties, go ice skating, and go to the movies for fun.

She says she would go back to visit because that’s where all her family and friends are, but she doesn’t want to move back there anytime soon. We wish Janelle the best and to have a great high school experience at Apex!

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