IES Abroad Cape Town DE - UCT

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About

University Of Cape Town
Service learning in and around Cape Town is a core component in our program. Students taking one of the IES Abroad courses are required to complete 60 hours of volunteer work while in Cape Town. Twenty of your 60 hours of volunteer work will be at Egoli, a settlement that receives no government services like water or electricity.

Interested in seeing our Center through a Virtual Tour? Check out https://www.iesabroad.org/study-abroad/virtual-tours to learn more!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 22 reviews
  • Academics 8.4
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 7.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 22
Cape Town
Analee
10/10

Life changing experience!

Studying abroad was always a dream of mine, but I didn't know if it would actually become a reality. Fast forward to my junior year, and in the fall semester, I start to seriously plan on going abroad. I originally planned on studying in Granada, Spain, until I became aware of the opportunity to study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa.

Before fully committing to Cape Town, I spoke to students who had studied abroad there during previous semesters, and ALL of them absolutely loved it and said it was the most amazing and beautiful experience of their lives. I decided Cape Town was where I wanted to go and started to get extremely excited.

The students who I had spoken to did not go through a study abroad program. Therefore I was very hesitant in doing so when my study abroad coordinator recommended that I did. She was right, going abroad with IES was the best decision that I made! Immediately from the moment of arriving at the airport, IES representatives were so welcoming and easy to locate, I remember that day like it was yesterday.

Of course, going to a new place for six months is nerve-wracking, but IES provided fantastic housing, support, and field trips just to name a few things. I miss my IES family in Cape Town and which I could go back immediately!

Yes, I recommend this program
Gwen
10/10

Breaking patterns abroad

Studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa with IES was everything I could've wanted and more. Academically, I was pushed hard, and the vibrancy of a major coastal city provided a multitude of activities to explore during my free time. I knew that I wanted to study abroad somewhere very different from the U.S., but I also knew that I'd do my best work in my home language. South Africa, then, was a great fit for me, and still provided the opportunity to hear and learn about the dozens of other languages that coexist there- even walking down the street is a stimulating experience. IES made me feel cared about as an individual, and supported me from the pre-departure phase all the way to my return to the U.S. If I could go back in time, I would choose them again. In such a creative and support space, I was really able to step out of my comfort zone and deviate from comfortable patterns I'd fallen into in the U.S. Incredible value and learning to embrace spontaneity were hallmarks of my time abroad with IES.

How can this program be improved?
Honestly can't think of anything to improve upon.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Anna
10/10

Cape Town Study Abroad: Daily Lessons

Studying Abroad with IES Abroad in Cape Town, South Africa has been more significant in my life than I could have imagined. I knew I would have fun, meet new people, and experience unfamiliar things, but I gained so much more than I expected to. I learned and improved skills such as understanding cultural differences, working in diverse teams, listening, tolerating ambiguity, and being flexible. I explored other countries in Southern Africa, including Botswana and Zimbabwe. I stepped out of my comfort zone daily, from trying new foods to learning new languages.

None of this would have been possible without the incredible support from IES Abroad. They provided medical, social, academic, mental, and cultural support in every way. They organized several (free!) field trips and excursions, many of which would have been impossible to do independently.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Bruno
10/10

Fun, challenging and meaningful

The University of Cape Town has a very beautiful campus that is centrally located. It is a short distance to the city centre. It also has many restaurants and bars nearby. The academics can be challenging at times but if you seek help should be ok. The campus life is very lively and there is always something happening. For those who are lovers of landscapes and nature this is the perfect experience for you. The highlight of my experience was the local tours we had as part of our program. We cooked local food, went to winelands, visited townships which overall created a very holistic experience. It was a life time experience which only helped me grow. Most importantly, the staff of the program is very supportive with anything. It really was home away from home.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Allison
10/10

Incredible experience and tons of unique opportunities with IES Cape Town

The city, school, and program completely exceeded my expectations and I could not have asked for a better semester. If I hadn’t been a senior, I would’ve extended my time in Cape Town for a second semester. The IES Cape Town staff went above and beyond for their students. They planned several fun activities and field trips throughout the entire semester so we were really able to experience everything. The RAs were also extremely helpful and involved. They showed us around the school, helped us set up our phones, schedule doctors appointments, etc. Cape Town is the perfect city for study abroad because there are so many different things to do and see.

Yes, I recommend this program
woman standing by mural
Sarah
10/10

The Coolest Thing I have Ever Done

If I had the opportunity to go to Cape Town with IES Abroad all over again, I would go in a heartbeat. Being in Cape Town was amazing! The IES Abroad staff was helpful and super friendly. Our housing was nice and close to campus. Our RA's were knowledgable about Cape Town and easy to get along with. IES even puts together optional trips, such as our mid semester break trip to Kruger National Park. In Cape Town there are a million things to do and see. The hardest part about being in Cape Town was probably trying to get everything done!!

How can this program be improved?
The biggest way the program could be improved is by more clearly explaining the gradings system that is put in place at UCT so students can make preparations before arriving in Cape Town.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sally
10/10

the best semester!!

I had the most amazing time in Cape Town. I honestly cannot think of one thing I would change. IES did an amazing job of planning activities for us while also giving us enough free time to explore on our own. The academics in Cape Town are pretty different from in the states, but the program did a really good job of helping us prepare for that. We lived in an awesome location, right at the bottom of campus. Because it was a small program this year, we all lived on the same property which allowed all the IES students to get really close. Our RAs were amazing too. They were really supportive when needed, and were really helpful with respect to helping us get acclimated to the city. I am obsessed with Cape Town, as it had everything I wanted in an abroad experience. I was the only person from my home university going, which allowed me to really branch out. It's a large city, but I was still able to do a lot of things outdoors. I spent a lot of time hiking, which is one of my favorite activities. The people in Cape Town are amazing, and I met so many amazing South Africans that I am still in contact with. While there are challenging aspects of going abroad anywhere, I think the challenges I faced in Cape Town (like being faced with the realization of how much privilege I have) really stretched me in positive ways. Going to Cape Town was the best decision I have ever made.

How can this program be improved?
I truly cannot think of one thing that I would change.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Ellen
10/10

Home Away From Home

To say that my experience in Cape Town was life changing would be an understatement. My time in South Africa will be forever imprinted in my memory. There is not a single moment that I did not love, waking up in the morning and seeing Table Mountain, looking out at the view from the University of Cape Town, seeing the amazing IES staff almost every day, exploring this beautiful city, and meeting the amazing people in South Africa.

IES ensures that you have a support system while you are abroad. They keep you in the loop with what is going on, they make sure you are safe and healthy, and they always welcome you into the office. They truly become your abroad family.

Cape Town is not just a place I visited or studied. It is a place that changed my life and became a home... and I cannot wait to go back home again soon.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Lily
10/10

Semester to remember

Everything from the breathtaking views from Table Mountain to the dynamic and passionate student body at the University of Cape Town to the abundant opportunities for adventure attributed to a truly life-changing study abroad experience. The programs and staff at IES helped us integrate into a place that was so different from what many of us were used to and helped us find a home in South Africa.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Manal
8/10

Feels Like Home--But Much More Vibrant and Exciting

Cape Town is very much an vibrant city that looks/feels like any other western city. There is this prospection that Africa isn't as 'developed' or 'modern' as other continents. But honestly, South Africa has the same kinds of malls, 'organic' food stores, technology, pop cultural; essentially everything you find at your home can be found there as well. The biggest difference you notice right way once you arrive is how unfairly distributed these 'developments' are. My program director put it perfect, she says that South Africa has one leg in the developed world and the other in the underdeveloped world. (I recognize that the terms 'developed' and 'underdeveloped' aren't respective of the country's growth in other areas and seen as disrespectful to describe countries as such, so please disregard my lack of a more appropriate terminology.) But yes, the divide is very prominent.
Anyway, Cape Town was still incredible as it has several attractions to keep you busy for weeks (seal snorkeling, paragliding, hiking the three mountains there, festivals, the wine country, SO MUCH FOOD, the two oceans!..). But there are also various communities available that host cultural events for study abroad students (traditional Xhosa dinners, attend a famous braii restaurant, visit Nelson Mandela's home and IES even organizes homestay weekends) that allows you to experience the rich customs of South Africa. So if you are an adrenaline junky or inquisitive butterfly, Cape Town provides a lot of options to explore.
In terms of safety, it is simple: don't do something in Cape Town, that you wont do in a big US city (like NYC). Theft (pickpocketing especially) is a common crime in Cape Town and it happens because you're not aware of your surroundings, walking around with your Iphone out, or not properly putting your things away. Some friends of mine had their things taken because of these reasons, but it didn't happen to me because I tried to be cautious when I was in public streets. The IES program provides a lot of info that address how to protect your stuff and it really helps if you follow those rules, nevertheless they are available in case it happens to you, so don't worry too much!

How can this program be improved?
I think the program needs to prepare students about how difficult UCT's standards are. The standards aren't impossible; they work on the system where there is less work meaning they weight extremely heavily ( i.e. the final is 50 to 60% of your final grade for example). Having some sort of sample syllabus or IES alumni testimonies about each class they took as to give students a look into what their prospective class' classwork is like, might help a lot.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sarah
10/10

Cape Town- Spring 2016

Making the decision to study abroad in South Africa was a daunting one, as I watched most of my friends leave for Europe/Australia. From the moment I landed in Cape Town, however, IES made the transition into a new continent and culture not only effortless, but also fun. The staff is incredible; they put the students first, and ensure that our happiness and safety are always taken care of. One of my first nights, I got extremely sick and had to be taken to an emergency room. Not only did my IES RA accompany me, but the director of the program came and stayed with me until I was able to go home. They assisted us with choosing classes, finding extracurriculars, and other travel plans! They also provided opportunities for all of the students to become close, which I really appreciated. I miss Cape Town and the IES faculty dearly!

How can this program be improved?
The program was great; the only thing that could slightly be improved is the transition into the University of Cape Town. That was the only time that I felt particularly stressed out!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Anna
9/10

An Incredible Experience

Going abroad with IES was potentially one of the best decisions I’ve made—other than the decision to study abroad, of course. The IES Cape Town staff were amazing, friendly, and helpful, especially when it came to registering for classes and adjusting to the difficulty of classes at UCT. They were always willing to listen to me and took my questions and concerns seriously. They were also happy to give restaurant recommendations as well! The activities that IES Cape Town planned, like going to a rugby match, a bicycle tour through a township, and a ferry ride to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela served his prison sentence, helped me to understand more about South African history and helped us bond as a group. I've definitely made friends that I'll keep for the rest of my life, and it's all because of this program. IES Abroad made my time in South Africa even more amazing than I could have imagined before leaving, and I'm so grateful to them for helping me make my study abroad experience so incredible.

How can this program be improved?
The first week of the program was an intensive orientation and field trip up the coast of South Africa, but after that there were two weeks of downtime before classes started at UCT. Those two weeks made me feel pretty isolated, and I found I had a difficult time adjusting to living in a different country. If there had been more scheduled activities in those two weeks, or if the program had started a little bit later, it probably would have been a little easier to adjust.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Annie
8/10

Fantastic staff and great experience

The IES staff in Cape Town have created an absolutely fantastic program. The activities and trips they organized - an overnight stay in a local township, a day trip to Robben Island and an outing to a local rugby match, just to name a few! - deepened my understanding of South Africa's history and current struggles, and gave me a chance to immerse myself further into their culture. On top of that the staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and always willing to help. Whether I was missing home or having trouble registering for my classes, they were there to help and served as my support system. My time in Cape Town wouldn't have been the same without them and I couldn't ask for a better experience!

How can this program be improved?
We arrived 3 weeks before classes started. Orientation and a trip filled up the first week, but after that it was mostly free time. I had a rough time adjusting in those first couple weeks and spent much of my free time missing home - I think the program could have started a bit later to avoid so much empty time in the beginning.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Brenna
10/10

Creating a Home away from Home

My experience studying abroad with IES is difficult to sum up in a paragraph, or in any amount of words for that matter. Cape Town stole my heart in so many ways and I miss it every single day. It is a fantastic location to spend a semester- the people, the natural beauty, the history, the culture, the opportunities for adventure, etc. will completely envelop you and open your eyes to a whole new perspective. One of the reasons why I was able to have such a positive experience is without a doubt because of the IES staff. They provided us with an extensive orientation, planned several fun and informative field trips for us throughout the semester, and were always a constant source of support and guidance. They helped make Cape Town home. The students in IES became like a community to me as well, who I shared many of my favorite memories and made lifelong friends with. The spring break trip that IES planned to Kruger National Park was one of my favorite weeks for sure. I cannot wait to go back to Cape Town someday.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Shayna
10/10

The most magical city I could imagine

I had never traveled abroad before going to Cape Town so I was extremely anxious going into the semester. The IES staff made me feel comfortable and at home. The center literally acted as a hangout space for all of the students on my program, quickly enabling us to become friends. The city has so much to offer between the beach, mountains to hike, museums to venture through, wineries, and so much more. Studying at UCT allowed me to immerse myself in Cape Town's culture and I truly left the country feeling like it was home.

Yes, I recommend this program

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IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...