CIEE Cape Town South Africa - the best decision of my life. Past Review

By (Public Health, Tulane University) for

CIEE: Cape Town - Arts and Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My time in South Africa was undoubtedly the best experience of my life. I gained a new perspective not only on South Africa, but on how the rest of the world views my own country. If students enter their study abroad with an open mind and curiosity they will definitely have a similar experience. While abroad I was surrounded by more diversity than I ever have been before; I got the chance to volunteer at a local TB clinic; I felt what it was like to be in a place that only recently escaped years under an oppressive government; I gained more knowledge in those 5 months than I did in my entire time in college. If you want a new world view, for everyday to feel like an adventure, and to make lifelong South African friends CIEE Cape Town is a great choice.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload at UCT was not too heavy. While I was thoroughly pleased with some classes, some were lacking in depth. Each individual class is for a shorter duration but meet more frequently during the week than classes back in the States, so students should be prepared for that, but overall I had very helpful professors and a positive academic experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CIEE and the University of Cape Town are extremely helpful and accommodating. They allow you the freedom to make your study abroad experience as independent as you choose it to be.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing that CIEE provided exceeded all my expectations. Although I originally requested to live in the dorms I was placed in a house with all Americans and two South African RA's which wound up working out for the best. Houses are in a safe neighborhood of Cape Town close to campus and students should use the same precautions they would in any other major city.

* Food:

Food was really good. I tried a lot of new dishes but there is a wide range of food choices available for any type of dietary restrictions.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Cape Town and the rest of South Africa are overwhelmed with culture and attractions that students will definitely have the opportunity to experience. If you like the outdoors I cannot think of a more perfect place to be. The museums and tours around Cape Town really helped me understand South African history and apartheid. Our program arranged host family home stays for a weekend, wine tasting, professional soccer games, and a number of other field trips.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

While Cape Town is not the safest of cities, if you students use the same precautions they would in any other major city they will be fine. Avoid standing out as a foreigner and avoid broadcasting valuable items, as petty theft can happen.

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? South Africa is pretty inexpensive compared to the United States. You will be spending less than you would if you were in Europe but keep in mind there is a ton of things to do and see.


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

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The university, the diversity, the food, the culture - literally everything.
* What could be improved?
  • I honestly wouldn't change a thing.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Anyone with a sense of adventure and willingness to try new things would love this program.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Medical Anthropology

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I particularly loved this class because it allowed for open discussion and really expanded my knowledge on healthcare in South Africa. If you like a class that makes you think outside the box I would highly recommend this course. The professors had a wealth of field experience and were extremely knowledgeable. There was also a field trip to a heart museum where the first heart transplant in the world took place.
Credit Transfer Issues: None. Everything CIEE said I would receive in terms of credits was exactly what I got upon return.
Course Name/Rating:

African Dance

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was one of the most fun classes I've ever taken, and surprisingly taught me A LOT about the role of dance in South African culture and throughout history.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems