Summer in South Africa

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Embark on a trip you'll never forget.

Climb up Table Mountain for a panoramic view of the oak-lined streets and the chic bars and cafés of this college town. Situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands, Stellenbosh University is nestled in a valley flanked by mountains on all sides. Field trips, hands-on community service projects, and expert guest lectures make this a once-in-a-lifetime summer opportunity to study the history and the current issues of South Africa today. Have an adventurous side? Surf, sandboard, see ostriches, visit a colony of beach penguins, or ride horses on the beach.


What to Expect:

  • Language: English
  • Average Courseload: 2-3 courses (6-7 U.S. credits)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.8

Highlights:

  • Community development and service-learning projects
  • Innovative, South Africa–focused curriculum
  • Trips to Stellenbosch Winelands
  • A college town on the outskirts of a cosmopolitan city
  • Private room a short walk from campus

Program Details

Stellenbosch University

Study at the world-class Stellenbosch University in the heart of South African wine country. The campus and surrounding communities are a melting pot of cultures. You’ll find a beautiful, safe campus with many international students. You can take innovative courses taught by highly qualified professors. And you’ll have access to Stellenbosch University’s amazing facilities, including a gigantic underground library, a music conservatory, open-air amphitheater, and a student center that has everything a student could want.

Affectionately known as “maties,” Stellenbosch University students (that means you!) can join a wide variety of student organizations, club sports, and social organizations. You can join university trips to Oudshoorn, shark cage diving, a color run, hiking, a trip to the Langa suburb of Cape Town, and a wine weekend! If you want to organize your own adventure, there’s something for everybody in and around Stellenbosch. Take a trip to a nature preserve to meet native South African species, make a toast at a world-famous vineyard, or simply grab a homemade ice cream at a relaxing cafe in town.

Founded in 1918, Stellenbosch University was ranked #11 in the 2016 BRICS & Emerging Economies Ranking and a top 50 University for Development Studies in 2015.

Accreditation: Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)

Areas of study with fewer than 3 classes available

  • Engineering
  • Natural & Applied Sciences

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study with 3 to 7 classes available

  • Business
  • Communications
  • Health
  • Humanities

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study which have more than 8 classes available

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Course descriptions and catalog:

There are 4 program offerings for Summer in South Africa:

1) General Summer Program (Up to 6 credits)
2) Service Learning Program (8 credits)
3) Doing Business in Southern Africa Program (7 credits)
4) Public Health Program (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.

Course for all students in week one:

Introduction to South Africa’s Political History
This course serves as an introduction to South Africa’s political history, aimed at familiarizing students with the historical context that shaped, and continues to shape, the country and its people. Understanding the interplay between the country’s political, social and economic issues and how the colonial and apartheid past impacts on the present allows us to better comprehend the challenges currently facing South African society. (Required)

GENERAL SUMMER PROGRAM:

For the General summer program, courses are worth 2 US credits each; you can take up to 3 courses (including the required Introduction to South Africa’s Political History) for a total of 6 credits. Students must choose one course from each Elective group.

Elective Group 1: (1 week, 2 US credits)
Course 1: Introduction to South Africa’s Political History
This course serves as an introduction to South Africa’s political history, aimed at familiarizing students with the historical context that shaped, and continues to shape, the country and its people. Understanding the interplay between the country’s political, social and economic issues and how the colonial and apartheid past impacts on the present allows us to better comprehend the challenges currently facing South African society. (Required)

Elective Group 2: (1 week, 2 US credits)
Course 2: Bio-Diversity: Plants for the People in the Western Cape
The extraordinary botanical diversity of the Cape Flora and the ecological processes that helped shape it are explored. Once a basic understanding is gained through lectures and two field excursion, the course adopts a more applied focus. We explore the horticultural potential of local plants in the international cut flower industry, and visit local flower farms. Finally we explore traditional plant use by local people, especially traditional healers, through lectures and visits to healers and/or traditional medicinal markets.

Course 3: Visual Controversies in South Africa, Past and Present
In this course, we will track major developments and changes in South African art and media from the Apartheid era (1948-1994) through the early years of democracy (1994-2000), to the 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. In particular, we aim to explore the notion of cultural identity as it manifested and still manifests in art, mass-media and visual culture in general.

Course 4: Ethics, Science and Culture in Philosophical Perspective
This course examines a number of key problems and discussions in contemporary science, ethics and culture. We will study the most basic of the everyday philosophical presuppositions concerning these subjects. The goal is to allow the students to develop and defend their own views concerning these corner stones of our conceptual world.

Course 5: Introduction to Muslim History, Society and Culture in Cape Town

The course provides an introduction and overview of Muslim history, society and culture in the greater Cape Town region of South Africa. It offers critical insights into the inner workings of the Muslim society with reference to its founding community dynamics; rites of passage, religious rituals and cultural practices; and the socio political, economic and educational dimensions of their lives at the southern-most tip Africa. Syllabus not currently available.

Course 6: Growth, Unemployment and Inequality in South Africa
This course takes the student on a broad but intense overview of the South African economic dilemma, using the past to better understand the future. It attempts to offer the student a more nuanced understanding of the nature and roots of the major socioeconomic problems of poverty, unemployment and inequality facing South Africa. The course thus challenges students to engage these issues critically, to understand the ways in which they intersect, and to think creatively about what they might mean for the future of South Africa and other countries like it.

Course 7: Multilingualism and Intercultural Communication
This course will cover Intercultural Communication as a field of academic reflection, Intercultural Communication in social interaction and theoretical approaches to the study of Intercultural Communication phenomena and methods of research in Intercultural Communication

Course 8: Equity & Leadership in the Global Classroom
This interactive experiential learning module will equip participants to critically reflect and evaluate their contextual worldview around contemporary global social justice issues. We will journey to deepen our understanding of how to achieve equality in an unequal society by exploring modern racism, privilege, discrimination, oppression and structural injustice.

Elective Group 3: (1 week, 2 US credits)

Course 9: Transitional Justice
Among the pressing challenges facing societies emerging out of war or authoritarianism is how to respond to human rights violations perpetrated in the mayhem of conflict. South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission represents one model that has been both celebrated and heavily critiqued. Offered by a practitioner who has worked with the UN in the African Great Lakes region, Nepal, and north Africa, this course sets the commission in historic and comparative context, critically highlighting questions about truth recovery, justice, reparations, and enabling non-recurrence.

Course 10: Global Migration: Origins, Crisis, Solutions

This course would provide students an in-depth understanding of global migration; one of the most important issues of our time. By way of lectures, readings, discussion and film, students will be exposed to population flows – where and why, through the ages, as well as participate in a targeted investigation of the current era: where each year this phenomenon increases, straining receiving countries’ resources, and acting as a national cultural change agent (as it always has across the ages). Finally, this course will end with small group research projects and peer presentations with the aim of producing solutions that attend to both migrant humanitarian concerns as well as host-country challenges.

Course 11: Marketing
This module aims to introduce students to the dynamic discipline of Marketing Management. A number of important variables such as market segmentation, positioning, product and brand development as well as advertising and promotion will be investigated in a practical way. The module is a must for everyone that is interested in following a career in the modern day business environment.

Course 12: Present Imperfect: Negotiating Identities in Film and Literature
This course explores the ways in which South African film and literature register and reflect socio-political conflicts and tensions. Students will engage with classic and contemporary South African poems and short stories, as well as a novel and three films, in order to explore how these fields of cultural production serve as a means of questioning and negotiating identity in South Africa.

Course 13: Understanding HIV in South Africa: A Health & Social Justice Perspective
This interactive course aims to develop a global understanding of HIV and AIDS, gender and sexuality through a health and social justice perspective. We will have a specific focus on the South African experience, evaluating how far have we have come regarding HIV and Aids, gender, sexuality and health social justice in post-apartheid South Africa.

Course 14: China in Africa
This course offers a comprehensive introduction to China’s engagement on the African continent. The course includes an overview of Chinese investments on the continent, including infrastructure, extractive industries and trade relationships; it also examines China-Africa relations within the context of global groupings such as BRICS and FOCAC, the role of historical and political relations and the growing role of Chinese security within Africa. The course familiarizes students with the controversy surrounding the relationship, including issues of labour and environmental degradation as well as mechanisms which African countries draw on to command more co-operative interaction.

Course 15: Biomedical Engineering – Designing solutions for African health
Biomedical engineering involves applying the concepts, knowledge and approaches of virtually all engineering disciplines to solve or improve healthcare related problems. The challenges created by the diversity and complexity of living systems and the unique context of South Africa, require creative, knowledgeable, and imaginative people working in multidisciplinary teams to monitor, restore and enhance normal body function. In this course students will be exposed to healthcare challenges faced in South Africa and will work together in teams to help address these issues using novel engineering approaches. – Syllabus in progress

SERVICE LEARNING PROGRAM: 8 US credits

Please note, if you choose the Service Learning Program (Learning, Sustainability, and Community Engagement), you will need to write an additional essay for your application. In addition, since students will be working with children, students are legally required to provide an up-to-date police clearance.

Course 1: Introduction to South Africa’s Political History – 1 week, 2 US credits
This course serves as an introduction to South Africa’s political history, aimed at familiarizing students with the historical context that shaped, and continues to shape, the country and its people. Understanding the interplay between the country’s political, social and economic issues and how the colonial and apartheid past impacts on the present allows us to better comprehend the challenges currently facing South African society. (Required)

Course 2: Learning, Sustainability, and Community Engagement – 3 weeks, 6 US credits
Learning, Sustainability and Community Engagement is a reading and writing intensive, experiential learning, trans- disciplinary course. The course has theoretical and practical components aimed at enabling social impact and transformation. It is a collaborative venture with local schools and non-profit organisations, located in historically disadvantaged communities and it provides a valuable means of promoting internationalization.

DOING BUSINESS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA PROGRAM: 7 US credits

Business Studies background is recommended, although not a requirement.

Course 1: Introduction to South Africa’s Political History – 1 week, 2 US credits
This course serves as an introduction to South Africa’s political history, aimed at familiarizing students with the historical context that shaped, and continues to shape, the country and its people. Understanding the interplay between the country’s political, social and economic issues and how the colonial and apartheid past impacts on the present allows us to better comprehend the challenges currently facing South African society. (Required)

Course 2: Doing Business in Southern Africa – 3 weeks, 5 US credits
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. The course will give students an acute knowledge of the development challenges facing Southern African countries and understand the growth of emerging Southern African markets and identify future growth potential. Students will have the ability to discuss and debate current and future policy issues in a development country context. Furthermore, they will get awareness of the additional social, environmental and ethical considerations for African businesses.

PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAM: 7 US credits

Course 1: Introduction to South Africa’s Political History – 1 week, 2 US credits
This course serves as an introduction to South Africa’s political history, aimed at familiarizing students with the historical context that shaped, and continues to shape, the country and its people. Understanding the interplay between the country’s political, social and economic issues and how the colonial and apartheid past impacts on the present allows us to better comprehend the challenges currently facing South African society. (Required)

Course 2: Public Health within the South African Context – 3 weeks, 5 US credits
This course introduces students to the health care system in South Africa and takes a thematic approach. These themes are informed by the determinants of health in the Western Cape, and are grouped as follows: HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis; Non-Communicable Diseases and Infectious Diseases; Substance Abuse; Domestic Violence; mental- and psychosocial health; Sexual and Reproductive Health. The course consists of class room instruction, readings and presentations which are integrated with an experiential component that include exposures to health care facilities in the Western Cape Province where students make observations and/or participate in planned activities on site.  This course includes the HIV Elective course which can be seen under General Electives.

Why Life in Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch, South Africa, is a breathtaking university town nestled in the foothills of the Hottentots-Holland mountain range, beneath the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve. Stellenbosch is sheltered in the Jonkershoek valley and is surrounded by soaring mountains on all sides. With dry, warm summers and cool, rainy winters, you’ll rarely see snow in this gorgeous locale!

Known as the center of the South African wine industry, Stellenbosch is the second oldest European settlement in the province after Cape Town. Rich in history and cultural activities, you’ll never have a dull moment. You can spend a weekend touring the many wine estates in the area, which are considered among the top in the world. Visit the Botanical Gardens of Stellenbosch University, or stroll through a nearby nature preserve if you prefer something more slow paced.

With a comfortable population of just over 110,000, Stellenbosch has a city-feel without being overcrowded. For a boost of excitement and energy, Cape Town is only a quick 30-minute bus ride away! South Africa can fit all sides of your personality, whether you’re looking for a scenic walk or are a thrill-seeking adventure. Leap from the highest bungee jump on the planet, dive with great white sharks, or go on safari to see lions, elephants, and rhinos . . . that’s only the beginning!

Live La Vida Local

  • Festivals and Music Gigs

    South Africans love their festivals! Every season offers something special, whether it’s music or fun events; it’s a great way to experience community.

  • Baphumelele Orphanage

    Visit and volunteer at this local orphanage. Participate in their monthly art and yoga program.

  • Long Street

    Lined with Bohemian coffee shops and bookstores, discover why this is the heartbeat of Cape Town’s city center.

  • V&A Waterfront Harbour

    Take a stroll along the harbour, enjoying the sweeping views of the Atlantic.

  • Bo-Kaap Neighbourhood

    Here you can learn how to cook local Cape cuisine!

  • Greenmarket Square

    Shop in this local market and get great bargains for Pan-African crafts.

Housing at the University of Stellenbosch

Location

You’ll be housed in double rooms in a centrally located student dormitory on campus. The residence is a five-to-ten minute walk from the lecture halls and the heart of campus. Students in the dormitory share gender-segregated bathrooms. There is an internet connection available in your room, and we recommend bringing an Ethernet cord to get the best connection possible. It’ll be winter in South Africa, and you’ll be provided with a heater to stay toasty warm in your room.

The university offers a student center, where students can spend time together and also visit the many coffee shops, restaurants, banks, a convenience store, bookstores, and adventure and travel stores located inside. Living on campus will allow you to explore the area at your own pace; you’ll be in a great position to learn more about the South African culture and the people, which will only enhance your study abroad experience!

Meals

Breakfast at an on-campus cafeteria is included.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • BathroomShared
  • Bed linens
  • CommuteWalking
  • Desk
  • Double Room
  • MealsBreakfast

What's Included

Inclusions

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • Excursions to Cape Town and Stellenbosch Winelands
  • Weekend away
  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • Predeparture orientation and onsite orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • Stellenbosch University official transcript
  • La Vida Local cultural program

Welcome & Orientation

Upon arrival you’ll take part in both the university and CIS Abroad orientation program. You’ll learn the “do’s and don’ts” of South African life, like how to get around by public transportation, how to stay safe, what to do in case of an emergency and who to contact if you have any questions. We’ll also tell you all about our favorite places in town (restaurants, museums, markets etc). Oh, and you’ll join in on a welcome meal, something traditional and yummy (ever heard of “Bobotie?”) so that you can start to taste the local flavor.

Farewell & Re-Entry Program

Though you’re not an astronaut returning from space, re-entering your home culture after being abroad can be shocking to the system. We’ll walk you through some of the things to expect, rehash your time abroad so that you can remember the highlights and, yep, we’ll feed you again as part of our farewell to South Africa.

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.
Boulder

Boulder's Beach

This sheltered beach is made up of gigantic granite boulders which provides calm waters for swimming. You’ll have to share the beach with the African penguins who nest there.

Cape Point Nature Reserve

Cape Point Nature Reserve

This reserve marks the southwestern-most tip of the continent. Enjoy dramatic views, deserted beaches, and fantastic hiking trails.

Site Director

Sonya Bell
Travel Tip:

To really experience local culture, no matter where you are in the world, always watch where the locals go for lunch – they usually go for the best local cuisine at the most affordable prices. Also, always be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut.

Travel Tip:

To really experience local culture, no matter where you are in the world, always watch where the locals go for lunch – they usually go for the best local cuisine at the most affordable prices. Also, always be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut.

About:

On completion and graduating with a National Diploma in Travel and Tourism, Sonya decided to travel the world. Participating in a cultural exchange program led her to Vail, Colorado, where a 4-month working visa allowed her to experience what being away from home was all about. Upon returning home, Sonya worked for many years in both the airline industry and tourism in Cape Town, and has now ventured into self-employment by being appointed as an Accredited Assessor for the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. Excited to be able to tap into her own experience in working abroad, Sonya enjoys offering support and guidance to those embarking on new journeys, forming new relationships, and showing off her beautiful home country – as well as spending time with her husband and two fur babies.

Your Support Staff

Global Advising Team
Travel Tip:

We love what we do and want to talk to you! The Global Advising Center is here to help you decide on a program, and complete the Online Application. From the moment you first hear from us—be it through a text, phone call, email or personal visit—you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.

Hadley Byrne
Travel Tip:

When in doubt, reach out! More often than not, locals will respect and respond matching the effort that you put into communication. Practice makes perfect, and leaving your comfort zone means expanding your comfort zone!

Linda Hallbäck
Travel Tip:

Be patient with yourself and kind to those you meet along the way. Show gratitude daily, laugh often, and give thanks for the journey you are on. There will be hard days, but remember, the magic is in the journey and each day makes that journey complete. Smile!

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline:
    EXTENDED!May 15
    Mar 15
  • Arrival: July 12
  • Departure: August 7
  • Price: $5,890
  • Application Deadline:
    EXTENDED!May 15
    Mar 15
  • Arrival: July 12
  • Departure: August 12
  • Price: $6,390
  • Application Deadline: Mar 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: June 19 (Estimated)
  • Departure: July 17 (Estimated)
  • Price: $5,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Mar 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: June 19 (Estimated)
  • Departure: July 22 (Estimated)
  • Price: $6,390 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

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