Matie alumnus, Kyle Miles, has been calling Kansas City, Missouri home for the last 10 years. This senior programme manager met his wife, an international exchange student, in Stellenbosch and the rest as they say is history. Kyle, originally from Simon’s Town in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, says he sometimes misses a cup of rooibos tea on a chilly winter’s day in Cape Town.
Tell us about yourself
Although I currently live in Kansas City, Missouri, in the United States, I am originally from Simon’s Town in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. I completed a BSc in Sport Science in 2009 and a BSc Sport ScHons in 2010 at Stellenbosch University (SU), graduating cum laude and being awarded the Dean’s medal for graduating at the top of the High-Performance Sport Science Programme. While at Stellenbosch, I engaged in various activities and societies, including Maties Sports; Pieke PSO (Pieke Intramural Sports, Pieke Residence Committee, and Pieke Wine Club), the Golden Key International Honor Society, the United Nations Association of South Africa, and Habitat for Humanity.
I currently work as a senior programme manager for Cerner Corporation, a large healthcare IT company based in Kansas City. I am married to my wonderful wife, Bethany, whom I met at Stellenbosch, and I am a proud dog dad to two lovable little yorkiepoos, Bear and Scout. I have numerous hobbies and interests but my main passion is sport. I enjoy watching and participating in various sports, including rugby, soccer, cricket, hockey, cycling and running. I also like travelling (domestic and international travel), taking time for service rendering and volunteering (in the local Kansas City community and globally), and spending time socialising with family and friends over food, coffee or a cold beer.
Why did you choose to study at Stellenbosch?
The laid‑back atmosphere and beauty of Stellenbosch always appealed to me. That, combined with SU’s excellent academic programmes, paved the way for me to pick Maties over UCT after graduating high school. I had a few close friends from high school who were also going to Stellenbosch, so from day one I knew I would be in good company as a Matie.
What have you been up to since graduating from Stellenbosch?
We moved to the States where I completed a master’s degree at Kansas State University. I started my current job after graduating from Kansas State. Since joining Cerner, I have worked in various programme/project management and consulting roles that involve implementing programmes and solutions for large organisations. These include leading the development and execution of operational strategies and solutions with partners and clients.
What is your favourite memory of your time at Stellenbosch?
I have many happy memories of my time at Stellenbosch. I loved the close‑knit community and beautiful setting of the University. I made countless close friends and am still close to many. I loved going to Varsity Cup games, playing intramural sports, hiking the trails around Stellies, and enjoying the many wineries close to campus. The opportunities to engage and learn from the local communities were especially meaningful and memorable to me.
What brought you to the States?
I met my wife, Bethany, who hails from the US, on her first day as an international student at Stellenbosch and we have been together ever since.
How long have you been there?
Bethany and I have been in the Kansas City area, Missouri, for the past 10 years.
Tell us a little about your work. What do you enjoy about it?
I drive the strategy and development of health and wellness programmes for our 28 000 global employees and their dependents, while also creating our go‑to market strategy for various client service offerings. I enjoy the opportunity to be at the intersection of healthcare and technology and be part of an organisation focused on using technology to drive positive change in healthcare.
What is your favourite spot or place to go in your neighbourhood?
Kansas City is known as the ‘City of Fountains’. Over weekends, Bethany and I can often be found at a local city park admiring some of the many fountains and enjoying time out with friends.
Living abroad, what do you miss most about South Africa?
That would have to be the food and drink! I find that I often crave food such as bobotie, biltong, and other South African culinary delicacies. I always loved braais, al fresco lunches, and trips to the local wine farms. I also miss having a refreshing Hunters or Savannah Dry on a hot summer’s day, or a cup of rooibos tea on a chilly winter’s day in Cape Town. Fortunately, we have a relatively large and active group of South Africans in Kansas City, so I get my biltong fix at least a few times a year.
What message would you like to share with future Maties who are in their final year at SU?
Take time to connect with the international student population if you have not done so already. I valued the opportunity to establish connections and learn more about the life and cultures of international students. Marrying Bethany, as an international exchange student who studied abroad for six months at Stellenbosch, was the best decision I ever made. There is so much to learn from each other, and I really believe the international experience enriches university life in general.