Eye-Opening Past Review

By (English and Gender Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/23/2012 to 06/10/2012 with

CIEE: Cape Town - Arts and Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about a new culture, gained friends, had amazing adventures and did some really fun things (travel around Africa, went bunjee jumping, wine tasting, mountain hiking, ect) and most importantly, learned more about the world and about myself.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academics were harder than I expected. Not as challenging as Brandeis but I definitely stayed up late writing papers.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I liked CIEE and found them very helpful (especially their orientation). However, while I was placed in a beautiful house with a great RA, I know other people on the program who were less happy with their situations. It seemed to be pretty hit-or-miss with CIEE. I was very lucky to have a good situation and didn't have much to complain about (and overall I found them very helpful).

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a house with other American students (rather than the dorms or a homestay) and I'd really recommend choosing this option. Not only do the houses get to go on really fun and informative monthly day-trips to cultural sights around Cape Town, I found it very comforting to live in a house with people who were experiencing the same transitions as I was. Additionally, it was very social.

* Food:

Lots of cheap, good places to go out to eat

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My classes at UCT definitely helped me feel more integrated.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Though nothing ever happened to me during my time in South Africa, I have many friends who were robbed. The most important thing is to BE AWARE. If you're not drunk or carelessly flashing your valuables (smartphones, ect) you'll most probably be fine. Don't let the safety issue deter you from choosing South Africa, though you may not feel as comfortable as you do at home, you'll be fine as long as you're being smart and paying attention.

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)

Pretty easily. Though taking cabs at night can get expensive (it's not safe to use public transportation at night) the dollar is very strong in Cape Town and can get you far.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50$
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Most students blew the majority of their money by going out and drinking. If you're going to go out and want to save money, I'd recommend buying your own alcohol beforehand and drinking it at home with friends before you go out.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

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

  • Local Students
  • 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 breath-taking beauty of the city (and how much fun it was).
  • The people
* What could be improved?
  • I didn't love UCT as a university and I'd have liked a better academic transition
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Follow your gut, don't worry so much about making friends (you'll make great ones, even if it takes time) and the experience is short- so try to enjoy it and as much as you can, to not stress about the small stuff!