South Africa Changed My Life Past Review

By (Economics., The University of Texas at Austin) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This program changed my life. It has completely altered my future plans, and I actually want to consider graduate school in Africa now. It's not something I can easily explain to someone else, it's something that has to be experienced.

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The Service Learning program was incredible. The instructor/program director is one of the most incredible people I've ever met, and he made the program what it was. His methods of instruction were unlike anything I had ever experienced, very different from American institutions---he uses experiential learning to really engage students, and the group dynamics of the program were strong and cohesive, thanks to him. I have never learned so much in my life. This program changed me, and the way I see the world and myself.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program administration was informative, helpful, and readily available to us.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in University housing, but only with other America students. I would have preferred living with local or international students, to get a better sense of the country and the local students. Otherwise, the housing was excellent, and well-equipped before our arrival. Bedding and cookware was provided.

* Food:

The quality of food in South Africa is excellent, and inexpensive. The cooking facilities in the dorm were mediocre, however, so eating out was the easiest option.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The trips organized by AIFS were amazing, especially Garden Route over our winter interval. We saw some amazing places and did incredible activities.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I experienced two crime incidents while in South Africa--my phone and laptop were both stolen, at different points during the semester. Other than that, I felt relatively safe, and used common sense to keep myself that way.

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? For me, there were aspects of the program that I did not use, but still ended up paying for (student account). Also, buying a cell phone and maintaining it was an expense I had not budgeted for.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program is for an open-minded student, looking for something different, and who's not afraid to face some very tough challenges, personally, socially, and academically.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Learning for Sustainable Community Engagement--Service Learning module

Course Department: LSCE 12308 - 214
Instructor: Grant Demas
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This service learning program was the most incredible thing I've ever done in my life...the program director was informative, influential, and dedicated. This program changed my life and career.
Credit Transfer Issues: I have not yet received credit for the service learning program, it is still being processed.
Course Name/Rating:

HIV/AIDS: A South African Perspective

Course Department: 12309 - 214
Instructor: Jaco Brink and Michelle Munro
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was informative and engaging, though a bit unorganized at times. But, considering the subject matter and the location, it was worthwhile.
Credit Transfer Issues: Credit for this course is still being processed.