Study Abroad at Stellenbosch University Past Review

By (Global 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?
It was extremely worthwhile. Not only did it make me appreciate my own country it made me realize what I want to do with my life. It helped me gain a focus on the reality of the world that I didn't have before. I will always be idealistic in my thinking but being abroad turned me into a bit more of a realist and I am forever thankful for that.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was very light compared to that of PC. Each class generally only had 2 maybe 3 assignments for the entire semester, generally being research papers. The grading system worked heavily in my favor only needing a 75 and above to recieve an A. However some professors were expecting high quality writings. Most of my classes were taught in a discussion forum because I took mainly political science courses. I enjoyed having the different perspectives of students from Germany, China, and France.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program director for Stellenbosch South Africa, Hestea de Wet, is a one of a kind women. She knows how to run a successful program. The administration staff was on call 24/7 to help you with anything you needed. They honestly really took care of us completely. I never thought I would feel so safe and comforted in a foreign country the way AIFS administration made me feel in South Africa. I don't believe there were any weaknesses in the way the administration handles this program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an apartment style privately owned gated community on Stellenbosch campus called Academia. This gated community had hundreds of students living inside including many international students from Germany, France and the US. Also the community included hundreds of native South Africans. The apartments were set up with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and one bathroom. It was very comfortable living and easy to get around to see your new friends. <br /><br /> AIFS provided us with exceptional housing. Although the actual building had a few problems including the hot water in the shower not working and a very serious ant problem the housing overall was very comfortable. Academia had its own maintence and security staff that worked around clock to make sure everyone was satisfied. They provided a cleaning service that you could pay for to keep your apartment tidy. I throughly enjoyed having everyone in my program living inside Academia however we were scattered among 25 different buildings which allowed us to meet South African neighbors and mingle with the native crowd.

* Food:

The food of all around delicious everywhere I went.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I met some of the most incredible people and I truely learned a little about myself. I will never forget the people I met in South Africa and I will make it back there one day.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

For being a country with the highest criminal rate I felt extremely safe throughout the entire trip. At no point did I find myself in any situtation I could no handle. The people I met were for the most part extremely nice and welcoming.

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? The exchange rate worked heavily in my favor however I found myself spending a little more than I would have liked because I got caught up in the "everything is so cheap". Everything is so cheap but when you start actually buying everything is ends up not being that cheap.


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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? AIFS is the best program you can choose if you plan on studying abroad in South Africa. They provided the best physical and mental support. Go with an open mind because you will never know who you will meet or what you will learn about yourself.