A Wake-Up Call Past Review

By (University of Hartford) - abroad from 02/27/2018 to 06/12/2018 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about how big the world is, but also how small it is. I was encouraged to do a lot of self-reflection, which helped me learn about my biases and how my actions impact others. I was also here during the water crisis, so I learned how valuable natural resources are.

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 scale was very different, and it was hard to accept that no one got 100%. Locals said that 60% was an average grade.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our on-site coordinator, Hestea, was the most amazing person ever. She was our mom away from home, and she is always available to handle issues or just talk. She works in the international office, so she is always on campus and is easily accessible. She is super helpful and genuinely loves her job. She took the time to get to know each of us personally, which I really appreciated.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Concordia in Academia. I lived with three other people from the program, but we all had our own rooms and bathrooms with a shared kitchen and living area. I wish that I could have lived with other international students. I also didn't really like the building because there were a lot of post-graduate students so quiet hours were strict and there was less chance for socialization. That said, it was fairly conveniently located, about a 15 minute walk to campus, and there is a small shop to buy food close as well.

* Food:

There are too many good restaurants to count.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't personally have any health issues, but my friends said it was kind of expensive. The people in the pharmacy are very helpful though. I didn't need any vaccines coming here, but I took the typhoid one to be safe. Some areas in Africa require yellow fever if you plan to travel. Also, buy sunscreen before you come here. It is expensive.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Stellenbosch, despite locals warning me to avoid certain areas. It's just as safe as any other city. Just be smart. I felt a little less safe in Cape Town.

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

I loved everything about my experience, and I wish I could stay longer. I will definitely be back.


* 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)

The Rand has a very favorable exchange rate, and things are relatively inexpensive compared to the US.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Excursions
  • LSCE program
  • People
* What could be improved?
  • nothing
  • nothing
  • nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I have loved the surprise of each new day, so I wouldn't want to know anything or do anything differently.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Equity, Leadership, and Transformation in the Global Classroom

Course Department: International- GEP
Instructor: Jaco Brink
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Lectures were not engaging or helpful. They were mainly spent watching long YouTube videos that added nothing to the course. The lecturer did not clearly explain the content or assignments. I did not participate as much because he did not facilitate engaging discussions. We had 2 group presentations, an essay, and an exam.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: International- GEP
Instructor: Joe Warren
Instruction Language: English
Comments: There was a bit of an issue with communication in the beginning, but it was a very good course overall. It was 9 US credits, consisting of a 6-hour lecture on Mondays and a 3-hour site visit at a primary school on Fridays. The lecturer knows a lot about everything, which sometimes comes off as a superiority complex. I was, at times, hesitant to participate, but overall, I participated in some very interesting class discussions. The main take-aways were how to act as an informed global citizen, critical analysis, and critical reflection. We were assessed through a presentation, essay, weekly journals, a portfolio, a digital story, a documentary review, and a final exam.
Credit Transfer Issues: My university is not currently counting this course for credit because it does not fulfil any of my degree requirements. However, it was definitely worth my time. I would not worry whether your home institution will take the credits because the personal growth and insight is worth more than that.