South Africa: Human Rights and Multiculturalism

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About

Explore issues of human rights, multiculturalism, ethnicity, and identity in the context of South Africa, from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

Cape Town, the program base, was one of the first South African cities to voluntarily promote racial integration. In a typical semester, students complete four homestays —each providing the opportunity to meet and interact with South Africans from different geographic and ethnic backgrounds. The strong emphasis on the homestay as experiential learning complements lectures, discussions, field-based assignments, and excursions to provide a multidisciplinary analysis of the country.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.14 Rating
based on 7 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 71.43%
  • 7-8 rating 28.57%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 8.3
  • Fun 8.7
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 8.7
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience!!!

This program gave me the opportunity to meet incredible people and learn about the multicultural country of South Africa by immersing myself in the culture. All four homestays were unique and provided insight into the diverse cultures of South Africa. The host families were welcoming, kind, and eager to share their life with students. This program is incredible in giving students the confidence to explore a new country, meet new people and learn about this unique country. I learned how to become comfortable feeling uncomfortable and how to see the beauty in each day.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Sheepshead also known as "smiley" is a common dish in South Africa. It is named smiley because a sheep's mouth curls up into a smile when it is boiling.
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Anna
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Learning, Intensity, and New Friends

I learned a lot while abroad, focusing on race helped me better understand how I perpetuate white privilege which was valuable. I met a lot of wonderful people and had good conversations about the program and South Africa. The academic part of the program was less rigorous than I had expected and I wish I had known how much SIT would run my life while abroad. However, there was also a large lack of information and structure which was frustrating as I never really knew what was expected of me and it felt like I was sitting around doing nothing a large percentage of the time.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Trust the program staff. Ask them questions. They are there to help you and they want to do so. They are incredible people and you should rely on them.
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Taaj
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying Abroad in Cape Town

My study abroad experience in Cape Town is one that I wouldn't trade for the world. I met some absolutely brilliant people that I'm still close with today and got to explore with a level of independence that I'm sorely missing. My favorite part of the program was by far the period of independent study that we were allotted that allowed me to explore the city on my own. I met a lot of great people during that month as it was the only time I really had the free time to explore. The first couple of months are full of shifting homestays and rigorous academic content that kept me busy but did ultimately prepare me for that last month and left me feeling a lot more comfortable and familiar in the city.

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Lauren
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Home-stays

I think the most enriching part of my experience was the home-stays. Each family I stayed with were so different from the other. It allowed me to learn most about the culture, food, atmosphere, and religions that make up Cape Town & the Eastern Cape. The families were so kind and made me feel very comfortable. I always hung out with them outside of my scheduled classes and they took me to places that my instructors didn't think to! I went to their friends houses and family parties. It allowed me to test out the X'hosa language in different settings. I also really enjoyed that all of the families were different ages. Some families had a lot of children and some home-stays were just one person. It allowed me to get a good grasp of what the different generations in South Africa were like. I miss the families a lot!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Over pack on underwear! Pack less nicer clothes than suggested on the SIT packing guide. ALWAYS bring gifts for the families, they do so much for you while you're staying with them.
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Diana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience!

My experience was unique in the sense that I got to see how closely related SA was to the United States. The field trips were so thought out and in my opinion beyond important. They really set the tone for the learning environment. I think it takes a specific type of person to enjoy this program. You need to be okay with having little to no structure. Going with the flow is what made the program shine for me. I loved just being engaged with the content we were learning and the people we were meeting. The homestays were an amazing experience that really allowed me to practice the language and engage with the community. I will forever cherish the great relationships I built abroad and recommend this program to anyone else who is willing to put in the work, step outside their comfort zone and learn a whole new culture.

What would you improve about this program?
The people in my program did not seem interested in the topic as much as one would expect. If you want to go to Capetown just for the city this isn't the best. We spent a lot more time in the classroom than out .
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Samantha
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cultural Immersion

One of my favorite parts of my study abroad program was the opportunity to visit different parts of the country. We also visited many different museums and historical sites throughout the country to compare how history is represented. Much of the program is taught through experiential learning, so most of the learning takes place outside of the classroom. Hence, we visited many different places to discuss their importance and how they have influenced people. At the end of the program, students have the opportunity to complete a research project or an internship within the Cape Town. I conducted a month long research project. This opportunity allowed me to better understand what it is like to conduct research and the ethics around it. During this month, students live on their own with other students from the program. This independence helped me also helped me learn how to navigate the city.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The program provides most meals and transportation, so you do not need to spend a lot of money on that. However, internet access is limited in most places so you will need to budget for internet cafes or data.
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Jesse
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experiential Learning

One thing that I loved about this program was that the theme of the program, and what we were learning during lectures in class, was so engrained and related to the area in which we were, Cape Town. The places we visited, the people we met, and the experiences we had all informed my studies in ways that I had not experienced while at college. What we were learning felt very real, and although I had never been to the country before, I felt very invested in it once I left.

My favorite aspect of the program were the homestays. Although it had been the part of the program that I was most nervous about before arriving, I now feel as though I have family in South Africa. I am still in touch with some of my host moms. My host families treated me as one of their own children. Some of the most interesting conversations I had were with host siblings and parents, learning about life in South Africa and their experiences during and after apartheid.

Another aspect of the program that is especially unique is the ISP period, where you develop an Independent Research Project. This gave me the opportunity to do my own research and conduct interviews. With a month to design and complete my project, I felt as though I really had the opportunity to dig into books and other resources, and speak to people about my topic. As I result I gained a lot of new knowledge and was able to present a product that I was really proud of.

What would you improve about this program?
Sometimes the lectures that we felt introductory or repetitive, and could have included more challenging and deeper ways of thinking about race, gender, class, etc. One recommendation I would have would be to include more time for discussion amongst lecturers and classmates, as well as possibly fewer topics to cover, but covering each in a bit more depth and specificity.