Do the unexpected! Past Review

By (University of Northern Colorado) - abroad from 01/26/2018 to 06/13/2018 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Every minute was worthwhile. I grew so much as a person and had one of the best times of my life.

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 academic rigor was more challenging than I expected, but through this I gained a lot of knowledge that I wouldn't have had. I enjoyed the subjects and all the new perspectives within the studies.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Incredible!! Hestea is the most kind, supportive and caring person I have met. She is so amazing and taught all of us so much. She was by our side throughout the whole adventure and I will forever be grateful to have met someone like her.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I enjoyed the living arrangements. The apartments were very safe and diverse. I stayed with other Americans, but got to meet many international students while living abroad.

* Food:

I love the food in South Africa. There are 70 percent less preservatives in their food, so everything is fresh. There were many options for vegans or vegetarians as well... but the meat is very good as well! Among many aspects, the food was one of my favorites!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I ended up hanging out with many Afrikaan students and even went on a trip with other international students. I believe I became immersed within the many cultures that South Africa has. I also did the service learning course, so that helped many of my peers and I become more immersed in the Xhosa population as well.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

My host director (Hestea) really helped me out with this one. Make sure that you save some money, because things can happen..such as a bad cold and you want money to be able to pay for medicine. I was able to get most of my money back with my claim to CISI. Some students did get vaccines, but I did not. It is not required, but I know some of my peers felt more comfortable with getting vaccinations.

* Safety:

It is good to be aware of your surroundings wherever you go. Like most places, there is crime in South Africa. It's best to walk with others and be aware of your surroundings. I felt comfortable walking by myself in the day, but I wouldn't feel the same way at night.

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

AIFS and South Africa were incredible. The excursions included were beautiful, the people with AIFS and in South Africa are amazing and helpful. Everything was organized well and there was a lot of time for exploring.


* 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)

AIFS did give us $140 every month, which may not seem like a lot in the United States, but it is in other regions of the world. I would bring more money though... lunches ranged from $2-$8, but it is subjective to the person. My peers and I ended up buying groceries every week, so we saved money that way. It was nice to have saved up some money because I was able to travel around South Africa and then Namibia.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't try and do everything within the first month. Decide on what you really really want to do and do that. This is your study abroad trip, so enjoy it! Also, save before you go! You never know what opportunities may come up and it's better to save some extra money than not, it's worth it.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

There's 11 official languages in South Africa... some students tried to learn one of them, but I was never truly encouraged to use any of the languages.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? N/A

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?
  • The culture
  • The landscape/hiking
  • The food
* What could be improved?
  • I cannot think of anything..
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How hard the reverse culture shock can be.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.