South African Brothers Catching up after Move


Jessica Rosiak and Gracie Woidat

As a result of their move from South Africa to Moraga, Oliver and Dylan Michley have missed 9 months of school.

The brothers, who moved to America as a result of their mother’s new job, explained that there were months of schooling lost due to the academic calendar in South Africa going from January to December and California schools graduating in June, 6 months earlier.

In South Africa, Dylan Michley, now a senior, and Oliver Michley, now a freshman, would have been in 11th and 8th grade, respectively. “I skipped a year so the work here is a lot harder,” said Oliver Michley.

Dylan Michley said that Campolindo is “quite different” compared to his previous school, as “people are more expressive with themselves because they don’t need to wear uniforms, [and] the diversity is quite different because South Africa is obviously like a rainbow nation so you see every color and possibility and you don’t really see that here.”

Not surprisingly, the brothers have found their new community to be less culturally diverse. “…in South Africa the culture is very strong, like people used to do traditional dances and stuff at my school,” said Oliver Michley.

The older sibling has found the transition to be less difficult than he imagined it would be however. “I feel like the differences between South Africa and America are smaller than I thought they would be. [There is a] pretty similar dynamic, and I find that pretty interesting,” Dylan Michley said.

According to Dylan Michley, the underlying social structure on campus is familiar. “Where we had the rugby players you have the football players,” he said.

Upon moving to Moraga, Dylan Michley joined the cross country team, which he believes helped him acclimate to the new culture. “In South Africa, I was the only person in my school who took long distance running seriously, and here, over the summer was extremely fun, like running with a big group and running in very cool locations is awesome when you love running,” said Dylan Michley.

As a participant in summer cross country team activities, Dylan Michley established relationships with several of his school peers before the academy year began. “I feel like running with other people made the first day of school really easy,” he said.

“Running in the summer [with Dylan] was a lot of fun, we had a lot to talk about and he was super interesting being from South Africa. We talked about cultural differences, like how he was so surprised when he came to Campo how crowded the halls are,” said senior Owen Hunger.