Summer in South Africa

Ride an ostrich, visit a colony of beach penguins, and explore Tsitsikamma National Park this summer. Field trips, hands-on community service projects, and expert guest lecturers make this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

We’ve got dynamic South Africa–focused courses.  From Apartheid and After to Botanical Diversity of South Africa, the courses offered in this program combine lectures, group discussions, and field trips so you really understand the whole picture.

We’re with you every step of the way. At CIS, all our advisors have studied or lived abroad. We have the knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your summer abroad.

We’ll get you to South Africa without breaking the bank. We offer one of the most affordable summer study abroad programs in South Africa. Savings for you means additional money to shop, safari, and travel.

Our Summer in South Africa study abroad program offers you an amazing college experience in an exotic destination, studying at Stellenbosch University.  Ideally situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands, the University is at the core of Stellenbosch, the country’s oldest college town. Your summer study abroad program in South Africa includes hands-on courses, guest lecturers, and opportunities to learn both inside and outside the classroom. 

6-day Garden Route Safari Tour – Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride an ostrich? On the 6-day, 5-night Garden Route Tour, you can try it at an ostrich farm, visit a colony of beach penguins, and explore Tsitsikamma National Park. If you have an adventurous side, there are also opportunities to safari, surf, sand board, and ride horses on the beach.

Cape Town and the wine country – When you arrive in South Africa, we’ll give you a detailed and comprehensive orientation, during which we’ll take you on a tour of Cape Town and the Stellenbosch wine country.  

South Africa-focused academics – Summer in South Africa provides you the unique opportunity to study the history of South Africa, as well as issues faced today.

Community development projects - In the classroom, you will develop an understanding of the issues affecting community life in South Africa. You then have the opportunity to participate in a service-learning project in your new community. 

There are many reasons to study abroad in South Africa on our Summer in South Africa program, but here are a few of the key highlights that make this program unique.

  • Excursions around Cape Town and the Stellenbosch Winelands
  • Extensive adventure opportunities
  • 6-day, 5-night Garden Route Safari Tour
  • Classes at a world-renowned university
  • Community development and service-learning projects
  • A college town on the outskirts of a cosmopolitan city
  • An innovative, South Africa–focused curriculum
  • Extensive sports facilities on campus

Summer in South Africa incorporates excursions into your course material. You’ll gain an understanding of the culture by visiting such places as Swellendam and Cape Point. Regardless of the courses you are taking, you’ll visit places of historic importance, such as Robben Island (weather permitting), and places of natural beauty, such as Cape Town, the Waterfront, and Table Mountain.

Also included in Summer in South Africa is the Garden Route Tour.  You will travel along a stretch of land that is like no other in the world in terms of beauty, natural attractions and unique flora and fauna.  During these amazing six days, you will visit an elephant sanctuary, go whale spotting, have the chance to go surfing, and even ride an ostrich (if you want to!).  Students say this is the highlight of their summer study abroad experience. 

Below is the current itinerary for the Summer 2017 Garden Route Tour. Please note that this schedule is subject to change.

DAY 1 –Friday 14 July: Stellenbosch to Oudtshoorn

  • Route 62-Along South Africa’s famous country road you’ll capture the beauty of high mountains, twisting passes, rugged Karoo plains, vineyards and orchards.
  • Wine tasting -Sample some localwines en-route to Oudtshoorn
  • Elephant bush walk-An experienced elephant guide will inform you all about these incredible gentle giants as you walk alongside them in their natural habitat.
  • Overnight in Oudtshoorn 

DAY 2 –Saturday 15 July: Oudtshoorn to Addo Area

  • Ostrich farm visit –Visit an ostrich farm where you learn more about the world’s largest bird. 
  • Cango Caves –These caves are an illuminated wonderland of subterranean magic and mystery, with passageways and chambers meandering far below. The tour will explore the narrow passages and vast halls filled with colourful ancient stalactites.
  • Overnight in Addo Area

DAY 3 –Sunday 16 July: Addo to Jeffrey’s Bay

  • 3 hour drive in Addo National Park(in tour bus) –In the early morning we leave to visit Addo Elephant National Park and do a game drive in the tour bus in the park.   The park was proclaimed in 1931 to provide a safe haven for the few wild elephants who survived government-sponsored culling to remove them in the early 20th century. Today the elephants number in their hundreds, thanks to the efforts of the National Parks Board and a unique vegetation type -subtropical thicket, or valley bushveld. It is this thick, impenetrable vegetation that has not only provided protection for the elephants and buffalo in the area, but also provided a rich food source, supporting what is now the densest population of wild elephants on the planet. Our tour concentrates on finding and viewing elephants.
  • Surfing and Shopping in Jeffrey’s Bay–We stay in a backpacker’s right on the beach, so go for an afternoon surf or just chill out.  The backpackers hire out surf boards and wetsuits at extra cost.  We will stop at the Billabong, Rip Curl and Quicksilver factory shops for excellent deals.
  • Overnight in Jeffrey’s Bay

DAY 4 –Monday 17 July: Jeffrey’s Bay to Myoli Beach, Sedgefield

  • Tsitsikamma National Park–Spend time in paradise as we explore the marine reserve with its unique combination of dramatic coastal and forest landscapes.Walk along forest trails to a suspension bridge and find a quiet spot from where to absorb this beauty.
  • Bloukrans Bungy Jump–Face your fear and jump from the world’s highest bungy jump or watch the adrenaline junkies as they scream through the air. (Optional extra at R950)
  • Knysna–This popular holiday town with a lively buzz lies between forested mountains and the sea, curving around a big lagoon.We will visit the Heads, where the sea crashes through two massive sandstone cliffs.
  • Overnight at Myoli Beach 

DAY 5 –Tuesday 18 July: Myoli Beach to Cape Agulhas

  • Myoli Beachis an undiscovered paradise and your accommodation is situated right on the beach, perfect for an early morning swim in the Indian Ocean.
  • Wilderness National Park–With 18km of beaches shrouded in sea spray, five lakes, five rivers and two estuaries, Wilderness is one of nature’s jewels in the crown.  Canoe on the Wilderness lagoon and watch the bird life while we glide over the water in our pure nature encounter.
  • Drive along the N2 to Cape Agulhas
  • Cape Agulhas–This is the official meeting place of the Indian and Atlantic oceans. It’s a wild, treacherous coastline that’s said to be the graveyard of ships. Walk to a shipwreck and take the necessary photos as proof of your visit to this special point.
  • Overnight in Struisbaai/ Cape Agulhas

DAY 6 –Wednesday 19 July: Cape Agulhas to Stellenbosch

  • Hermanus- The world’s most exciting land-based whale watching venue, Hermanus is a laid-back seaside town with excellent restaurants and impressive coast line.
  • Enjoy the morning in Hermanus shopping and whale spotting.
  • Kogelberg Biosphere–This UNESCO World Heritage Site has more plant species than many countries and is one of the best natural showrooms for the diversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
  • Clarence Drive–As we drive back to Stellenbosch the coastal road winds between the ocean and mountains, passing seaside villages of wild beauty and rugged mountain scenery.

Summer in South Africa is a 4 week program at Stellenbosch University during the months of June and July. Field trips, hands-on community service projects, and expert guest lecturers make Summer in South Africa a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

GPA Required: 2.8. If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement, do not despair! Use the "Contact An Advisor" button on this page or call us to let us know your situation. We'll do all we can to find the right program for you.

How to choose your courses
Now the fun part! As part of the application process you will be required to complete the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet found in the CISabroad Application Page. The following instructions will guide you through the steps of choosing your courses. You can select from 6 summer courses.

Course load:  2–3 classes (4–7 US credits). You can take up to 3 classes during the summer.

Course approval:  It is best to get classes approved before you go abroad. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, but also courses that fulfill your elective requirements.

Course descriptions and catalog
There are 4 distinct program offerings in Summer in South Africa:

1) General summer program (take up to 3 of the 6 general courses listed below)

2) Service-Learning program (7 credits)

3) Doing Business in Southern Africa (7 credits)

4) Public Health (7 credits).

Please note that all summer school students must take the following course the first week, Introduction to South Africa's Political History. After this course the first week, the summer school groups split into their respective programs.

Also, for the General summer program, courses are 2 US credits; you can take up to 3 courses (including the required Introduction to South Africa's Political History) for a total of 6 credits.

If you choose the service-learning program, you will need to write an additional essay for your application. You will take both courses listed below for a total of 7 US credits.

General Summer Program courses:

Course 1: Introduction to South Africa’s Political History (mandatory for all programs)
This course will introduce you to South Africa’s unique 20th-century history and the interplay of the country’s political, social, and economic issues. In particular, the focus is on South African identities and how they were and continue to be shaped by the country’s past.

Course 2: Biodiversity: Plants for the People in the Western Cape (elective)
An introduction to South Africa’s incredible biological diversity, with special focus on the plants of the Cape Floristic Region (a global biodiversity hot spot). It starts with an evaluation of people as threats to biodiversity, and of the conservation efforts being applied to help people use of the flora sustainably.

Course 3: Visual Controversies in South Africa, Past and Present (elective)
This course will track major developments and changes in South African art and media from the Union years (1910 – 48), through the Apartheid era (1948-1994) and after (1994- present). The point of this broad historical perspective is not so much to provide a condensed history of South African art and media, as it is to explore the relationship between South Africa’s turbulent socio-political landscape and its visual culture.  

Course 4: HIV and Aids: A South African Perspective (elective)
This course aims to nurture and develop in students—as leaders and future professionals—the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to manage HIV prevention and care in the workplace, both locally and abroad. You will develop a global understanding of HIV and AIDS through the South African experience of the HIV epidemic.

Course 5: Growth, Unemployment, and Inequality in South Africa  (elective)

Economists usually view development from two perspectives. Firstly, we wish to understand more broadly why some economies are poor and why others have performed so well. Secondly, we consider how broad economic trends and policies impact households and individuals. The literature on economic growth is vast, and seeks answers in many focus areas: from the relationship between aid and growth, to the more long-term influences of geography, the slave trade, and legal and informal institutions. The lectures of this component of the forum will give a broad overview of the theoretical and empirical literature on economic growth, and hopes to understand a large spectrum of likely causes and influences. 

Course 6: Present Imperfect: Negotiating Identities in Film and Literature (elective)

This course focuses on the way in which literature and film in South Africa have registered and reflected the social and political conflicts and tensions of the Apartheid years, and how, since the first democratic elections in 1994, these fields of cultural production have served—and continue to serve—as a means of questioning and negotiating identity, not only nationally, but also at the level of the community and the individual. 

Course 7: Challenges for Democratic Consolidation (elective)
This course builds on some of the issues introduced in Course 1. Its focus is contemporary South Africa—a society in transition, characterized by elements of both change and continuity. You’ll explore some of the most urgent policy challenges facing the country (like crime, poverty, and social delivery) and further investigate the politics of identity, race, and nation building. In light of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the course will specifically focus on sport as a driver of national identity and also take a look at the role the South African state plays in Africa and internationally.

Course 8: Ethics, Science, and Culture in Philosophical Perspective (elective)

The three main themes that will be covered during the course are:

Science: We will discuss the question of what science is and why it matters to answer this question. We will focus on the different answers that Popper and Kuhn gave to this question.

Ethics: We will discuss utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics as three prominent ethical theories. We will also look at the relation between selfishness and altruism, the relation between ethics and science and the relation between ethics and evolutionary theory.

Culture: Culture is largely a matter of the institutions that a society adopts. We will look at the nature of institutions and discuss the status of questions like ‘capitalism v. socialism’. 

Course 9: China in Africa (elective)

During this course, you will be introduced to China’s growing role on the African continent. While China engaged with African liberation movements during the Cold War, it was only from the 1990s onward, following its shift to a market economy, that the Chinese presence in Africa became a topic of widespread public debate. Understanding the nuts and bolts of how China engages with Africa is crucial to grasping a much larger phenomenon, namely the rise of East Asia and the geopolitical realignment of global power which is currently taking place.

Course 10: Multilingualism and Intercultural Communication (elective)

The three main themes covered during this course are:

Intercultural Communication as a field of academic reflection: This theme will cover the historical background, and the reasons for scholarly and popular interest in the phenomenon of intercultural communication. It will also give definitions and general features as well as the main research themes currently covered in Intercultural Communication. In the course of introducing this theme, key concept in the field, such as ‘language’, ‘multilingualism’, ‘culture’, ‘communication’, ‘miscommunication’, ‘misunderstanding’, etc. will be introduced.  

Theoretical approaches to the study of Intercultural Communication phenomena and methods of research in Intercultural Communication: This theme will introduce a number of theoretical approaches and the associated methodologies within the field. These will include the contrastive approach, the interlanguage approach; the interactive-intercultural approach; pragmatic approaches; sociolinguistic approaches; ethnographic approaches, (critical) discourse analysis; linguistic analysis (e.g. structural features of codeswitching; pragmatic features such as irony and truism).

Intercultural Communication in social interaction: Here two broad themes will be covered, namely (i) Intercultural Communication which involves minority language groups, and (ii) Intercultural Communication in the workplace.

Course 11: Introduction to Marketing (elective)

The module provides the student with an introduction to marketing and will focus on marketing dynamics in a rapidly changing environment. The main aim is to assist students in understanding the discipline of marketing management from a brand building perspective, as well as the variables that are important when making marketing decisions. A strong focus will be placed on marketing in the South African environment, but the module also includes a section on marketing in global markets.


Service-learning option:

Course 1: Introduction to South Africa’s Political History (mandatory)
An introduction to South Africa’s unique 20th-century history and to the interplay of  its political, social, and economic issues. In particular, the focus is on South African identities and how these were and continue to be shaped by the country’s past.

Course 2: Learning for Sustainable Community Development (mandatory)
This program is an opportunity to demonstrate and develop your global citizenship through community engagement. You will come to understand the impact of both history and current issues on community life and problems in South Africa and experience it firsthand through engaging in a South African community—while earning academic credits.


Doing Business in Southern Africa option:

This course aims to help students investigate the unique institutional and policy conditions in Southern African countries which will not only allow future entrepreneurs and managers to understand the challenges that will confront their businesses, but also allow them to identify the opportunities that this rapidly growing region offers.

Course 1: Introduction to South Africa's Political History - 1 week, 2 USA credits (mandatory)

Course 2: Doing Business in Southern Africa - 4 weeks, 7 USA credits (mandatory)


Public Health option:

This course offers students an introductory look into the health care system of South Africa, with a thematic approach. Theme options are identified by determinants of health in the Western Cape, and grouped as follows: HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis; Non-Communicable Diseases and Infectious Diseases; Substance Abuse; Domestic Violence; Mental- and Psychological Health; Sexual and Reproductive Health. The courses consist of classroom instruction, readings, and presentations which are integrated with an experiential component that includes exposures to healthcare facilities in the Western Cape Province. Students make observations and/or participate in planned activities on site. 

Course 1: Introduction to South Africa's Political History - 1 week, 2 USA credits (mandatory)

Course 2: HIV and Aids: A South African Perspective 

Course 3: Public Health 

Did you know that 70% of all CISabroad students receive scholarships or grants to study or intern abroad? You can get a grant for something as simple as applying early, or a scholarship for blogging. 

For details on all scholarship and grant offerings and to apply, please click here.

Stellenbosch is located in an area of South Africa that’s ideal for students. It is a safe college town with more than 100 bars, restaurants, and coffee shops around campus. If you’re interested in shopping, historical sightseeing, or the nightlife of South Africa’s most modern city, Cape Town is a bus or cab ride away. And don't forget about the beaches!.

Stellenbosch is the proud capital of the Cape Winelands and is situated on the banks of the Eersterivier (“First River”). While wine-lovers come for the more than 200 local vineyards, many other tourists seek out the wonderful mix of architectural styles. The town is filled with beautiful Cape Dutch thatched cottages, Gregorian double-story houses, and ornate Victorians, often presided over by large oak trees.  

Our Summer in South Africa program is located at Stellenbosch University. Founded in 1918, Stellenbosch University is accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training, South Africa. Stellenbosch is a public research university and has the only business school in Africa with "triple accreditation" – EQUIS, AMBA, and AACSB. The university ranked #17 in 2015 BRICS & Emerging Economies Ranking and a top 50 University for Development Studies. 

Stellenbosch University is not too far from nearby Cape Town and the ocean, in the picturesque Jonkershoek Valley. The University can be traced back to the 17th century, when the Dutch Reformed Church held regular school instruction on campus. Today, the University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education.

Stellenbosch University offers an ideal blend of academics, campus events, and social opportunities. Stellenbosch is a beautiful, safe campus with many international students. Both the campus and the surrounding communities are a melting pot of cultures. You can choose from 6 hands-on courses taught by highly qualified professors.  This program is special because you will also have the opportunity to explore the African continent, make lifelong friends, and assist a local community with development work.

As a CIS study abroad student, you’ll get outstanding support. We’re with you every step of the way, providing academic advising, personal help, and cultural counseling. We want to ensure that you hit the ground running and don’t miss a thing.

Upon arriving in South Africa, you will participate in an extensive orientation program, including a tour of Stellenbosch University and an excursion through Cape Town. You are also free to join other CIS students on a wine trip through the surrounding vineyards.
CIS students have access to acres of playing fields, 2 sports stadiums, 2 large swimming pools, and a high-tech gym. These amenities encourage more than 30 competitive and recreational sports. The hills and mountains surrounding campus are perfect for hiking, mountaineering, cycling, jogging, hang gliding, or just picnicking.

During the Summer in South Africa program, you will also have the option of joining other students on a 6-day, 5-night Garden Route Tour. The popular Garden Route is a scenic road that wraps along the southeastern coastline. The name comes from the lush and diverse vegetation, lagoons, lakes, and national parks found along the route. You will have opportunities to view penguins, ostriches, cheetahs, dolphins, whales, and of course the Big 5—lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo! You can also walk on the wild side and sandboard, bungee jump, surf, skydive, and cage dive with great white sharks.

Summer in South Africa has an incredible housing plan. Living in shared apartments with other international students and South Africans, you will make friends from around the world. 

Here are some highlights:

  • Shared room
  • 3–4 roommates 
  • Convenient location close to campus
  • Fully furnished (coffee tables, chairs, beds) 
  • A breathtaking view of the mountains surrounding Stellenbosch
  • Perfect for meeting other international students
  • Internet access
  • Recreational facilities

CISabroad’s Site Director in South Africa

Ever since her big brother started darting his journeys on a globe, Athena knew she wanted to travel.  Through her adolescence, she spent summer breaks visiting her yiayia (grandma) in Greece and road tripped through Europe with her uncle, Terry.  She migrated North from her hometown, Evanston, IL and attended Michigan State University to study Education and theories around the globe.  She used studying abroad as a vessel to experience different parts of the world, and with her camera in tow, she completed short and long-term programs in Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Brasil, South Africa, Greece, and Spain.  After college, she taught 2nd grade in Honduras and travelled through Central America.  Later, she founded an after-school arts & environment program and managed a surf Eco-lodge in Nicargua with her South African husband, Chris.  In 2008, they returned to South Africa to begin a new adventure, where her passion for food, film, language and nature collided in the city of Cape Town.

1. What is the cost of program tuition? What is included in the program fees?

The program cost for Summer in South Africa can be found here.

2. When are program fees due?

Program Fees for Summer in South Africa Sessions 1 & 2 are due on May 1st. CISabroad will email invoices to students approximately one month before the program payment deadline. For example, if your payment deadline is July 15, you should expect your invoice in mid-June. If you are using financial aid, please ensure all financial aid paperwork is returned to our office by the payment deadline. If your financial aid does not cover your entire balance, CISabroad accepts these payment methods.

3. What is due with my application and when is my application due?

The application process can be broken into easy steps!

1. The first step is to fill out the online application, which includes your contact information, what program you are applying for, etc. (Only takes five minutes!)

2. After filling out the online application, an advisor from our Global Advising Center will grant you portal access with a set of preliminary forms. 

3. The next step is to pay the $200 application deposit in order to secure your space in the program. This amount will be applied toward the final cost. 

4. Within a day after submitting your deposit, you will receive a welcome email from your Program Coordinator—the person you will work with until departure. Your Program Coordinator will then give you program-specific items in your portal. (Note: Both preliminary portal pieces and program-specific tasks must be completed by the application deadline.)

#CISabroadTip: Contact your school’s registrar and have them send us your transcript early on in the application process (you can send us your transcript even before you’ve made the $200 deposit!) since snail mail makes this the slowest piece to submit. (We also accept electronic OFFICIAL transcripts if your school provides them.)

For detailed instructions, see application instructions. For application deadlines, please check here or contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

4. Do I need a passport or visa? When should I apply for my passport/visa?

For Summer in South Africa, you WILL NEED A PASSPORT. Your passport must be valid for 6 months BEYOND the date you return to the United States. For detailed passport instructions, U.S. citizens should check the State Department's Travel Site. For Summer in South Africa, you will NOT need a Visa.

5. Is there a GPA requirement?

Yes! For Summer in South Africa, the GPA requirement is 2.8.

6. What are my housing options?

Summer in South Africa students will be living in shared apartments with South Africans as well as other international students - you will make friends from around the world.

7. Will other students participate in the program with me? How many?

CISabroad programs are not only a great way to meet local and international students, but also students from around the United States. Program size varies each year - if enrollment size is important to you, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

8. How many credits are offered in the program?

For Summer in South Africa, you will enroll in 2–3 classes (4-6 U.S. credits). You can take up to 3 classes per semester. To see the courses available, go here.

9. Can I combine this program with another CISabroad program like intern, summer, or semester abroad?

Yes! A great way to extend your CISabroad experience is participating in another program. Combine semester programs to create a full academic year or if an academic year is just a little too long and a semester is too short, combine a semester and summer session or a semester and a January term program. You can also participate in a semester abroad and combine that with a summer intern abroad. To find out more information on the application process for more than one CISabroad program, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

Term: Summer 2017
Arrival Summer in South Africa June 16
CISabroad Orientation June 18
Classes Start June 19
Classes End July 14
Departure July 19
Application Deadline March 15
Term: Summer 2017 Price: $5,990-6,690 more info

Dates posted here are for reference only and are subject to change. Please do not book flights until you have received the confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork.

To view expected additional expenses for this program, click here.

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • Excursions to Cape Town and Stellenbosch Winelands
  • 6-day, 5-night Garden Route Tour at end of program
  • Weekend away
  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • Predeparture orientation and onsite orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • Stellenbosch University official transcript
  • Carbon offset of travel & Green Travel Guide

CISabroad  reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.