Hestea de Wet, or Mama H as her American students call her, is the AIFS program advisor. She is there from the moment you get off the plane to when you return to the airport to come back to the States. She is the stabilizing force in a time when and place where it is easy to get overwhelmed.
My favorite excursion was probably the Cederberg Mountain trip. This trip happens about a week and a half after you arrive in Stellenbosch. It's a weekend to get away with Mama H and the other international students...and to conquer your fears if you're afraid of heights! Mama H cooks all the meals and takes you to the top of the Cederberg Mountains. Getting to the top of the Cederberg Mountains was an incredible experience I'll never forget. You also have an opportunity to do a wine tasting there. I would highly recommend this optional excursion. The Garden Route spring break trip, included in the program fee, is awesome as well. You also get time at the end of the semester (I had just about 3 and half weeks) to do your own traveling or to spend time in Stellenbosch.
Expect to do a lot of walking! Stellenbosch is a beautiful town...lots of restaurants and wineries. The campus is beautiful and after a few weeks you'll hardly notice how much walking you do. In terms of housing, you live on campus in either Academia or Concordia. You will share a room with AIFS students but live with international students from all over the world. Some South Africans do live in Academia but don't expect to naturally interact with them. If you make an effort to meet and get to know the South African students, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Stellenbosch is a safe area. Of course, that's not to say that bad things can't happen; just like with anywhere else, don't put yourself in a dangerous situation.
As far as classes go, I did the LSCE program and took South African History and HIV/AIDS in South Africa. I would not recommend the South African History class but the HIV/AIDS class was very informative and the LSCE program was probably the most rewarding experience I had during my time abroad.
I would highly recommend this program!