Arcadia University- University of Cape Town
98% Rating
(6 Reviews)

Arcadia University- University of Cape Town

If you’re looking for the widest choice of courses in South Africa and an institution with weight and prestige then studying abroad at the University of Cape Town (UCT) is probably the best bet for you. On Arcadia’s program, you can also add courses and experiences that get you involved with local communities and service efforts.

Perched on the side of Table Mountain, UCT has stunning vistas from every angle and is a popular choice for study abroad. Of its population of more than 20,000, about 4,000 students are international, creating a dynamic energy on campus and in the more than 100 clubs and societies. The Arcadia Cape Town Center is located right on campus at UCT, in the Ivan Tom’s Building, which sits between the upper campus and the Medical School on campus at UCT.

Cape Town
South Africa
Program Type
Direct Enrollment
Subject Areas
African Studies
Art History
Cultural Studies
English Literature
European Studies
Marine Biology
Media Relations
Natural Sciences
Theater, Drama and Dance
Visual Arts
Women's Studies
Degree Level
Academic Year
Online Application
Official Transcripts
GPA Requirement
Price Details
See website for details. Scholarships available!

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 6 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 8.3
  • Fun 8
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 7.8
Showing 1 - 6 of 6

Will Change Your Life

Studying abroad with Arcadia and having the resources to go on excursions with my "Arcadia Family" was something I couldn't find anywhere else. At first I wanted to go to Cape Town because I knew it was beautiful. It is, but it's so much more than that. There is a very complex and complicated history in South Africa and I learned more in this program than I would've anywhere else. It has left me curious to explore the rest of the world, have a very unique and undying place in my heart for South Africa, and I will never forget the people I met.

How can this program be improved?
I would be able to stay forever
Yes, I recommend

Wish I could do it all over again

I'm one of those annoying people that says studying abroad totally changed them. But its true, Cape Town changed me into a better, more worldly person and even beginning to write this review makes me so homesick.

The first day I woke up in my room in Cape Town, I was deathly ill. I'll save you the gruesome details but it was so bad I had to go to a doctor. I was in a new country with no friends yet and feeling completely hopeless. Everyone in my program had left for an overnight bonding trip and I was alone in this big house, sick as a dog. One of the Arcadia directors, Marsha, saved the day and came to be my mom for the next 24 hours. She dropped everything to take me to the doctor, made me soup, and slept in the house with me so I wasn't alone. I felt better the next day and I could already tell that I had chosen the correct program provider. Marsha is hilarious and she would always check up on me throughout the semester.

I was in Cape Town from end of January to mid June and I'm not sure where to even begin. Our program was small, about 45 of us and we all instantly bonded. All the directors always said they had never seen a group like us that were so close. We got there two weeks before school started and were able to explore South Africa. We did a trip called the Garden Route with Southern Ambition and it was a 4 day trip along the coast with stops along the way. We stayed in hostels, kayaked to a waterfall, bungee jumped from the tallest bridge in the world, rode ostriches, played with cheetahs and lemurs, and many other adventures. It was a great experience because of who we were with, the company that hosted us, and just being able to get a view of SA and set expectations for the rest of the semester.

School was challenging but doable. UCT is an esteemed school and the students there have worked their butt off to get there. It was actually really cool to be in such a dynamic school environment where students are engaged and debates are a common occurrence. Arcadia was a little different in the fact that we had a weekly class "Introducing SA" led by the director, Alan, where we would all attend. It was great because Alan is quite the character and we would all get to share experiences we had had or things we were going through. The best part of UCT for me was being able to hear opinions of those different than me with totally different backgrounds. Kentucky is very homogeneous so getting to have conversations with others about colonialism, supremacy, misogyny, and other tough topics was eye opening. I grew up believing what I did and never challenging it and left South Africa questioning why I believed the things I did and doing some self exploration. I went from caring about my little world and being uninformed to getting a better grasp of what the outside world looks like and trying to inform myself on important issues.

My favorite parts of Cape Town were the hikes (Lions Head cannot be beat), the small little towns a short Uber away like Houts Bay or Kalk bay, the friends I spent everyday with, living like kings because of the exchange rate, bunny chow (a dish only in SA), and always being able to go on an adventure. Being home and not constantly planning a weekend trip has made me restless.

I could carry on about my time abroad for hours but I will spare you my babbling. South Africa completely changed me in the best way possible and I walked away with experiences I will always hold dear and friends that I still talk to everyday. If you're looking for an experience a little outside of your comfort zone, look into Arcadia: SA. You will not regret it!

How can this program be improved?
Might have my rose colored glasses on but I cannot think of anything negative to say about Arcadia! They rocked it.
Yes, I recommend
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Great Time

This program provided everything that was needed in order to ensure that I was able to get the most out of this experience. I really appreciated the constant support, but it wasn't over whelming support. I was able to live and learn in Cape Town however I saw fit. Overall, I loved this trip and it was truly life changing.

How can this program be improved?
I really do not see how this program could have been improved.
Yes, I recommend
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Good Memories, complicated lessons

I entered this program to go to an interesting and historically complex place and engage in an incredibly complex endeavor-- community development. The additional challenge for me was that I was tutoring children in a township, and I can't stand kids. Going to see these kids every day was exhausting, and I actually made myself sick once because I didn't want to go to work that badly. But when it was all over, I think I still represented a different kind of American to those kids, and provided an example for them by being okay with being different. In the end, I don't think I learned anything about community development, only that it is so much more loaded of a term then I was previously able to comprehend, and that revelation help me to mature a lot, emotionally and in regard to my education in social sciences. I still don't care for kids either, but I can stand to be in the same room as them now.

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked to go to class three days a week instead of 2. Perhaps 3 1.5-2 hour sessions instead of 2 3 hour sessions. Class discussions were extremely beneficial, especially for those who were not used to reading social theory and case studies as much as others.
Yes, I recommend
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Life in the Mother City

My semester abroad through Arcadia's College of Global Studies in Cape Town, South Africa was the single best experience of my life. Before leaving the U.S., I knew I was embarking on a trip of a lifetime, but little did I know the adventures that were in store for me and the personal challenges I would overcome. Leaving the U.S. in the dead of winter, and being greeted on arrival by Arcadia staff and a warm 80 degree sunny day was a good indication of the five months to come.

The classes that I chose at University of Cape Town (3) were very different to the small classroom setting I had been accustomed to. Going from classes of 20 students to lectures of 300 students was a challenge at first, but by the end of the semester I enjoyed the extra sense of freedom. A word for the wise, this is a top-tier university and as such the classes are rigorous in comparison to some study abroad classes. Yet, Arcadia's academic director, Alan, was very helpful in ensuring the success of all his students and making sure to help with any type of registration issues.

Cape Town itself is the perfect city to study abroad in. If you prefer the hustle and bustle of a vibrant urban city, Arcadia's residences are a quick 15 minute ride on a mini-bus taxi (for 6 rand/ $1usd) into the city. Day trips to the beach are easy; the train station was only a block away from my apartment, and about a $3 roundtrip fare. Similarly, if you prefer nature, hiking table mountain, lion's head, and exploring Kirstenbosch botanical gardens were frequent activities for me and my friends.

Other adventure activities that I was able to do while in Cape Town include going shark cage diving, bungee jumping off the tallest bungee bridge in the world, going on a luxury safari trip and seeing the "big 5", doing a full day wine tour in Stellenbosch, and going on a 10day horseback trek through the villages of Lesotho during Spring Break. The possibilities are simply endless for thrill seekers.

Overall, I've been looking for opportunities to return to Cape Town ever since I left. While I would recommend Cape Town no matter which study abroad company you choose, Arcadia's program is small and personal. My semester there were a total of 28 total student in our program, which meant that we all became close friends and we received the personal attention from the staff that you need during a new experience such as this.

How can this program be improved?
The internet in the Arcadia houses is on a pay-as-you-go basis. While I did use it some for the occasional email and facebook check, you need to do your main research and photo uploading on the UCT campus. But in the end, being less connected to technology was positive part of my experience.
Yes, I recommend
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The Arcadia staff was very supportive while still making sure students learned and practiced independence. Our living situations were very nice in my opinion; however, as the semester went on a lot of household items began to break and stop working. Our landlord was not very supportive, but the Arcadia staff was always trying to help the students be comfortable in their living situations.

How can this program be improved?
I honestly do not feel that this program needs improvement. I had the time of my life in Cape Town, and any hardships I faced were life challenges I personally needed to overcome. Cape Town is a beautiful city with beautiful people, so there was so much at my disposal to learn from.
Yes, I recommend

About Arcadia University Study Abroad

Students from colleges and universities throughout the U.S. study abroad with Arcadia University through The College of Global Studies, the first college of its kind in the U.S. With over 130 programs in 12 countries, we offer a wide range of...