South Africa: Amazingly Fun, Culturally Fascinating. Past Review

By (Mechanical Engineering., Tufts University) for

Arcadia: Cape Town - University of Cape Town

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Very worthwhile. An amazing experience being there in the buildup to the world cup and into the beginning of the games. I had so much fun and saw a completely different part of the world. I wouldn't trade anything for it.

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.

In general, there was not enough challenging content particularly in the engineering classes. Classes were often overcrowded and noisy, even at upper levels. It was alright, but did not come close to the education of Tufts.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Getting things fixed in our apartments was often a hassle. Our main organizer was often MIA, but the assistant, Emma, was a great help.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It was very small compared to many other programs housing arrangements. It would have been nice to integrate into the local community more by living with international students or South African students. Despite this, I made some life long friends living with people that I did.

* Food:

Grocery store nearby. Plenty of food around. Fairly cheap but not ridiculously low prices.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were many great trips to various outdoor activities. Hiking, beaches, safari etc. The nightlife in Cape Town is also great.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Cape Town is the safest of South African cities, but its still very dangerous relative to American cities. Don't walk anywhere alone after dark, male or female. Be smart, don't get in minicabs after dark or any sketchy cabs by yourself. Avoid alleys and poorly lit side streets. Lock your doors and windows. Always have your wits about you and you should be okay.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Can't remember. Food is cheaper there. Roughly half to 2/3 the price of here.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Everything seems cheap when you get there, so you feel justified spending more money. In the end you might spend more than if you stayed despite the good exchange rate.


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

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Someone who isn't afraid of not living with some 3rd world aspects. Its a land of two extremes. White, rich, first world, familiar. Black (other), poor, third world, shocking.