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Study Abroad Programs in Africa

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Africa is an incredibly unique place for study abroad students. As the most underdeveloped continent, the country faces quite a few issues including poverty, government corruption, disease, education shortcomings, racial tension, and malnutrition. Despite its problems, the continent is still rich with culture, greenery, ani mals, and natural beauty (be sure to visit Victoria Falls!)

Many study abroad programs involve interesting field work and close interaction with local communities. That being said, Africa can be a great study abroad destination for lots of different majors and interests: international development, anthropology, sociology, politics and public policy, environmental studies, biology or zoology (lions, elephants, and giraffes, oh my!), and many more!

Cost of Living

Cost of living varies throughout Africa. In countries soaked in oil, like Angola and Nigeria, costs are very high. Zimbabwe is also quite expensive. South Africa is relatively cheap for Americans, with goods costing about 75% what they cost in the U.S. Most of the other African countries are cheaper to live in. Prices in Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Ethiopia range from 50% to 30% of U.S. prices, respectively.

If you are planning on traveling while in Africa, you should know that currency generally changes as you cross borders, so make sure to change your money as necessary! Also, take note! Some currency exchangers only accept recent money for fear of forgery so make sure your U.S. bill’s date is after 2005 to be totally safe.

Check out this super cool chart from Global Property Guide to see an expense comparison of African countries.

Scholarships for Study in Africa

Though Africa is generally an inexpensive place to study abroad, it never hurts to have a little extra cash in your pocket. Try asking your school and the program you select if they offer any scholarships. Here are some other scholarships for you to check out:

Languages

Because of the number of indigenous tribes, it is estimated that over 1,000 languages are spoken in Africa! Some researches even put that number closer to 2,000. Colonization also brought languages non-African originating languages to the continent. The major languages include English, French, Dutch, Arabic, Swahili (in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda), and Afrikaans (in South Africa).

Culture and Customs in Africa

For all you anthropology buffs, Africa is the birthplace of the human race! That being said, there is far from one culture on the continent. There are thousands of cultural and ethnic groups throughout the continent, and their cultures can be quite different from one another. Because of its colonial past, Africa also has an interesting cultural blend of the indigenous cultures and of the colonial cultures--particularly European and Arabic. While many African peoples still hold onto their cultural roots, South Africa in particular is becoming more Westernized.

Throughout the various cultures, one thing remains: importance of family! Elders are highly respected for their wisdom. Schedules are not as strict in Africa, which is likely a result of the uncertainty of day to day life in many African countries. Crafting, beading, music, dance, and storytelling are also also large parts of African culture. Because of colonialism, sports like cricket, soccer, and rugby are quite popular.

Like language, popular grub changes depending on what area of Africa you’re in. Starches and root vegetables are pretty popular throughout the areas. Eastern Africa has Indian and Arabic influences (think curries, lentils, spices, cinnamon), while Northern Africa has a mediterranean flair. Ethiopian food uses this really cool spongy sourdough bread called injera in place of utensils to pick up the various stews characteristic of the cuisine. Barbeque (called “braai” by the locals) is very popular in South Africa, along with fruit and seafood.

The University of Cape Town, Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand, and Stellenbosch University in Matieland all rank on Times Higher Education World University Rankings. All three schools offer lots of opportunities in lots of disciplines.

Though South African universities tend to dominate international rankings, other African countries definitely have some awesome opportunities for study abroad. Egypt’s Cairo University has high quality medical and engineering programs, while American University in Cairo is modeled after liberal arts schools in the U.S. Other notable universities include University of Botswana, University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, and University of Ghana, which was founded as a sister institution of the University of London.

Contributed by Emma Cramer

Showing 15 Programs

Cape Town
ISA (International Studies Abroad)
Study abroad with ISA in Cape Town! The University of Cape Town is the oldest and most prestigous university in South Africa....
1 reviews
Cape Town
CIEE
Be an active participant in the hope-triumphs-over-oppression culture of Cape Town during CIEE’s Arts and Sciences program. Y...
9 reviews
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Accra
NYU Global Programs
At NYU Accra you can gain firsthand experience of the public health system of West Africa by conducting fieldwork or voluntee...
1 reviews
Stellenbosch
AIFS Study Abroad
Spend a semester or year in the captivating city of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Earn up to 15 credits through a variety of co...
19 reviews
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Accra
USAC
Courses are offered in a long list of fields, predominantly nursing, arts, biological sciences and social sciences -- both at...
3 reviews
Cameroon
Middlebury Schools Abroad
The Middlebury program in Yaoundé offers cultural and linguistic immersion through a rigorous curriculum and adherence to the...
5 reviews
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Rabat
IES Abroad
Delve into the fascinating layers of this North African nation as you learn Modern Standard Arabic with courses at the beginn...
10 reviews
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Tunis
SIT Study Abroad
In Tunisia and Italy, crossroads of the Mediterranean, study the interplay of regional politics, migration, and religion. Exa...
5 reviews
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Arusha
IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
Students will have the opportunity to get a rich, traditional Tanzanian experience by living in beautiful Arusha - a traditio...
1 reviews
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Rwanda
Global Engagement Institute
Are you passionate about the educational power of storytelling? Would you like to volunteer your time and skills in a high-im...
0 reviews
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Tangier
University of New England
UNE's campus in Tangier, Morocco offers a variety of English-language courses in the sciences, humanities, business and the a...
3 reviews
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Cape Town
iXperience
iXperience is the only program that embodies the optimal summer. Hosted in Cape Town, students get invaluable experience in h...
10 reviews
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Tanzania
The School for Field Studies (SFS)
The School for Field Studies (SFS) offers semester and summer programs for students interested in studying abroad in Tanzania...
10 reviews
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Cape Town
IES Abroad
Designed for students interested in health-related careers, this program enables you to examine health care delivery in South...
6 reviews
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Mauritius
African Leadership College
Dive into the breathtaking Indian Ocean Island of Mauritius to discover its sights and sounds, volunteer with our NGO partner...
6 reviews
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