Learning for Sustainable Community Engagement Program (LSCE) Past Review

By (Public and Community Service Studies, Providence College) for

AIFS: Stellenbosch - Study Abroad or Service Learning at Stellenbosch University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I know myself better and have a much broader worldview. I have different priorities and definitely want to travel more. The things I have learned and the people I have met will remain with me throughout my development, and this has helped to form my plans for what to do after college.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The grading system is a bit more critical and 'harsh' than in the states, but definitely managable. Most evaluations are done by written papers and short essays periodically throughout the semester. My service learning course also included presentations, projects, reflection papers, and a final portfolio.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Hestea and Angelo (program coordinator and assistant) were INCREDIBLE. They not only answered all of my questions, helped me remain on top of everything I had to take care of, and made the transition seemless, but they made themselves available to talk about ANYTHING. It may sound corny but they became my South African family. The program offered an enormous amount of excursions where we got to know everyone in our program, see amazing sights and do amazing activities.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Concordia in the Academia complex, which was very nice. I had my own room, my own bathroom, and shared a commonroom with four other girls. The Academia complex houses American, international, and South African students, so I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. <br /><br /> Our program provided us with bedding, kitchenware, and a heater for when the nights got cold. While we were on the outskirts of campus and walking to class, the train, and the popular bars and clubs were a tad far, it was definitely doable and I got used to the distance very quickly. Walking around the Stellenbosch area during the day is extremely beautiful, and town is quite close.

* Food:

I am a vegetarian and was surprised with the options that were available for me. Certainly, when eating out at a restaurant, my choices were limited, but I never felt as if there was not enough of an option for me.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The Garden Route field trip is INCREDIBLE and allowed me to see elephants, bunji jump, learn to surf, ride an ostrich, and spend time with my program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Most things are rather cheap compared to in America, but beware of over spending early on. I was able to do a few more expensive activities near the end of my trip (shark cage diving, Mozambique vacation) because I had saved some money throughout. That being said, take advantage of opportunities you are given even if they cost a bit of money, you are only in South Africa once (although hopefully you'll love it as much as I did and go back)


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

LSCE: Learning for Sustainable Community Engagement

Course Department: Service Learning 12308-214
Instructor: Grant Demas
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was honestly one of the most eye opening and influential courses I have taken. It counted for nine credits. On Mondays, we paired up with two classmates and taught one grade of students at an elementary school in a rural farm area (I was with third graders all year). On Fridays we met at the school with Grant and had lectures, class discussions, and did group activities all focusing on community engagement, sustainability, reciprocity, human dignity, and how to best be a leader through service. Every single student in this class became very close and comfortable with one another and as a result, our discussions were open, honest, and I participated readily. This class was challenging in that it forced me to be a teacher and constantly reflect on different systems, actions, and theories that related to my work. We went on periodic field trip to better understand the poverty that exists within the community and appreciate the beauty and simplicity of Lynedoch (the community where we did our service and met for class). We learned about power dynamics, race relations, rights for women, and how to strive for equality. I highly recommend this program to ANYONE who is interested in public service, ESPECIALLY PSP majors and minors.
Credit Transfer Issues: I am still in the process of transferring credits but it will count for my PSP internship and a diversity class. I recommend discussing the course with advisors and with certain departments so they are aware of what classes it can count for and how the credits will best transfer. This is worth 9 credits so it is important to make sure it counts.
Course Name/Rating:

HIV and AIDS: A South African Perspective

Course Department: 12309-214
Instructor: Jaco Brink and Michelle Munro
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was very interesting but rather scattered. There were a lot of technical difficulties (almost ever class lecture relied on powerpoint slides) so sometimes we would have to wait a long time before getting into the lesson's topics. I learned a lot about HIV and AIDS, but it was more of a statistical overview than an in depth look at policy. We learned a lot about prevention, realities about living with HIV, and brainstormed ways to slow the spread of the disease. We had one guest speaker but I would have benefitted from more. We watched many videos about support groups and case studies. There was only one paper and one exam during the semester, so grading was very contingent on performing well on the test day.
Credit Transfer Issues: N/A
Course Name/Rating:

Truth Commissions

Course Department: Political Science, 62030-314
Instructor: Hugo Van der Merwe
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was very challenging but VERY interesting. Almost every week there was a guest speaker who gave us a lecture on the truth commission of a particular nation. We watched many documentaries and broke off into group discussion. We went on a VERY relevant and eye opening field trip that influenced my entire stay in South Africa. It puts the aparthied era into perspective while personalizing the realities of the horrors that people had to go through during that time. We had many class readings but they were all informative. We wrote three short article review papers, one short research paper, and one final large research paper. I learning so much in this class.
Credit Transfer Issues: