• South Africa
    • Durban
Fall, Spring
Subject Areas
African Studies Peace Studies Political Science Sociology

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Classes Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Some Activities Airfare Meals SIM cards Visa
Jan 24, 2022
Jun 22, 2022
2 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Explore the dynamic socioeconomic, political, and cultural processes of South Africa — an extraordinarily diverse country in transition.

Following decades of systematic segregation under apartheid, South Africa is striving to free itself of a legacy of racial discrimination, economic exploitation, and political authoritarianism to build a democratic and equitable regime. Nation building is a complex process that involves reconciling the past and forging the way to a common future.

Please visit our website for more information by clicking on "Visit Site" above!

You have the option of a four-week internship on this program. It will provide you with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with an organization in Durban doing work on one of the many issues presented throughout the program. You will have the option of choosing an SIT-approved internship or seeking out your own opportunity.

Video and Photos


SIT Robert Kantor Memorial Scholarship

Each year one student will be granted $10,000 in scholarship aid to study abroad with a SIT program. Funded by individual donors and foundations, the requirements are tight: seeking first-generation college students who've never traveled abroad before, currently attend an HBCU, and demonstrate strong financial need.


Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 7 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 4.6
  • Housing 4.6
  • Safety 4
Showing 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

Extremely Immersive and Fast-Paced Experience

SIT's Social and Political Transformation program in Durban was a truly unique experience that checked off all the boxes for studying abroad. Durban is a very diverse city with a significant Zulu, Indian, Mixed-Race, and Afrikaner population, and as such has an abundance of culture to offer. The program is truly invested in creating a field-based experience, and much of our classroom time was spent on field trips to different organizations, museums, and historical sites in Durban. In addition, we went on various excursions to places such as Mozambique, Johannesburg, Cape Town, rural KwaZulu-Natal, the Drakensberg Mountains, and the Eastern Cape province. These excursions included a variety of activities, including hikes, safaris, prison visits, and bartering at local markets. Classes were very engaging and consisted of lectures from our professors as well as guest speakers, and assignments were both straightforward and meaningful. The final 4 weeks of the semester consisted of an independent study, which could be conducted in the form of an internship or our own project. The independent study allowed us to deeply explore a social issue of our choosing, and allowed us to gain professional experience. My independent study consisted of an internship with a local radio station, where I served as an on-air news host and explored the state of the press in South Africa. My internship experience was truly invaluable and is a fantastic addition to my resume.

  • Very diverse area and friendly locals
  • Staff and Professors invested in our development
  • Amazing Nature and Scenery
  • Poor and Expensive Internet Access
  • Not an Abundance of Healthy Food Options
23 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Experience of my Life

My semester in South Africa was amazing and I could not recommend participating in a program in Africa enough. This program gives you professional opportunities as well as the adventure of a life time. From going on safaris to meeting high level anti-apartheid activists, you're able to do it all through SIT. Traveling across South Africa and to countries like Mozambique is a once in a lifetime trip event because you get to see insider views of each country and deeply understand the politics and complexities of the countries you visit. The program also offers a period where you can participate in an internship or independent study project, and both are amazing opportunities. I was able to intern with The Umkhumbane Schools Project and work with a small NGO to provide educational resources to students in a township outside of Durban. Living in Durban is also an incredible experience, and unlike anything you will experience in the US. Durban is vibrant and diverse, it offers everything from high end restaurants and entertainment to working class diners (like Patel's, the restaurant that invented Bunny Chow and is a must see when you live in Durban)! The program offers you a deep look at the city by arranging excursions to learn from local NGO's, from the Gay and Lesbian Center to international environmentalists. You also meet politicians and see important historical spots all across Kwa Zulu Natal. All of my friends studied abroad in Europe, and I can't help but feel that I received a very different and valuable experience than they did. While my friend was skiing in Chamonix I was taking basin baths at my rural homestay with the local Sangoma, a traditional healer. This program gives you an understanding of South Africa, from the city and its politics, to its rural areas and prisons. I cannot recommend this program enough. It was life changing for me and has opened a door into international politics that I am planning to pursue. Because of this program I have international professional connections and a new world view that was informed by the unique experience of studying in the Global South. If you are looking for a study abroad experience that will offer you new experiences and further your academics through experiential learning then SIT South Africa: Social and Political Transformation may be perfect for you. I studied abroad during COVID, and even with the restrictions that came with the pandemic, I had an incredible and enriching experience that has changed my life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Invest yourself in the culture and language! Through this program you learn Zulu, and getting to practice this with the locals is one of the most rewarding things I did. People in Durban are always excited to hear foreigners learning and practicing their language. The people are so kind and welcoming, and engaging with them through Zulu led to some of my most memorable experiences.
29 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing Experience

I had an amazing time traveling in South Africa and meeting amazing people. I enjoyed living with my host families and learning their experiences and perspectives about the social, political, economic systems of South Africa. Learning about the history of South Africa was also very important as well because you also saw how it still has an influence on South Africans and their governmental system as well. Learning about the racial groups in South Africa and how they interacted with each other was also important. We learned in class and also when interacting with our host families and local South Africans, visiting museums, walking around the townships, and overall while living in South Africa the affects of the post-apartheid system on South Africans and how some racial groups are advantaged and have power while others are disadvantaged.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would advice being aware and open to the cultures in South Africa and the interactions of racial and ethical groups with one another. Be open to learning and do not let your Northernistic views influence your perspectives in how you think South Africa should be.
33 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life Time Experience!

Going to Durban, South Africa was an adventure. Even though I lived in Cape Town, South Africa for 8 years, I found myself not knowing much about the country. When I went to Durban, I learned more in depth about the country by interacting with different people. I met people such as an ex anti apartheid activist Mac Maharaj and former Constitutional Judge Albie Sachs. I took classes such as South Africa politics, history and culture. I home stayed in two homes which were located in a township and a rural area. This allowed me to be exposed to local Zulu culture. My favorite part of the program was Independent Study Project at the end of the semester. For a month, I interviewed local university students and wrote a report on what they think about Nelson Mandela.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Expect to learn a lot about South Africa. Be excited to be immersed into local South African culture, society and politics.
32 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Challenging and Transformative Experience

I absolutely loved this program and wouldn't change my experience for the world. I learned so much about Durban, South Africa, Zulu culture, Apartheid history, race, class, education, etc. I thought the homestay experience was one of the absolute best parts of the program and I still keep in touch with the families I lived with. The program is definitely difficult, but so profound and worth any hardships you may encounter. You will be uncomfortable, embarrassed, lost, and unsure, but it wouldn't be an authentic experience without times of feeling that way. This program will support you and the staff were some of the best people I've ever met. I enjoyed this program so, so much and it has changed the way I view the world and has inspired me to seek international experience post-grad.

What would you improve about this program?
More emphasis on Zulu language learning!
31 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Go to Durban and have the time of your life!

I went to Durban not knowing what to expect and walked away knowing it was one of the best experiences of my life. I had never been out of the country so as an African American to go to an African country was a privilege and a phenomenal experience. I fell in love with the city. I loved learning Zulu. The SIT staff are all amazing people who do everything they can to make your experience great. My ISP has informed my future career aspirations as I now want to pursue a career in Church ministry. My time in Durban will forever be a highlight of my life, let it be a highlight of yours too!

What would you improve about this program?
I wish that the program was longer than three and a half months as I was not ready to leave.
34 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Durban: Social and Political Transformation

Best semester of my life. Staff was amazing, learned so much, ISP was an experience I will cherish forever. Fell in love with South Africa. Rural village, Mandela's memorial, internship at Missing Persons Task Team, and the lifelong friends were the best parts. Never thought I'd get to live on the beach with my best friends, learn Zulu, discover the fates of political disappearances, learn from a man who was on the TRC and exiled, hear Obama speak at Mandela's memorial, and fall so in love with a new place and people. Best decision I ever made was to study abroad in Durban.

What would you improve about this program?
Would have liked a few lectures on South African economics.
31 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers