The Best Decision Of My Life July 14, 2014

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/28/2014 to 06/14/2014 with

CIEE: Cape Town - Arts and Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was extremely rewarding to go to Cape Town, and I never would have had the wonderful experience that I had without CIEE.

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.

It was interesting to directly enroll into the University of Cape Town and take classes with local South African students. However, I was disappointed with the academics and professors.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CIEE was extremely helpful with everything from dealing with classes and enrolment at UCT to housing and learning about Cape Town. I would have not had the same experience without CIEE.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very fortunate to live in a CIEE house. I had a single room, multiple bathrooms, and shared a kitchen between about ten of us. The location in Rondebosch was perfect and maintenance issues were generally taken care of by CIEE or the landlord. Compared to any other study abroad students in Cape Town, I definitely had the best situation possible.

* Food:

Food was phenomenal and very accessible. There are so many restaurants and markets, and are all relatively inexpensive compared to the US.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I worked extremely hard to meet local South Africans by joining a team at UCT. However, my closest friends were all Americans from my program, and most other people studying abroad did not have many South African friends. One of my favourite parts about CIEE was that each house had a number of Resident Assistants who lived in the house. They were local UCT students and we became very close as they were both a resource and friends with us.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no healthcare issues, but most of my friends were satisfied with the care they received.

* Safety:

Cape Town is relatively safe as long are you are careful. The most common crimes were simple thefts when people went out at night and were careless with wallets and cellphones. Overall though I felt fairly safe. As long as you don't walk anywhere alone at night and never leave the house with too much money you should't have any problems.

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

Finances

* 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)

Although I spent a significant amount of money, I was able to accomplish ten times as many activities and experiences than I would have in any other country. Everything is significantly cheaper in South Africa, food especially, and is certainly a country to consider if you are on a budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save up as much as possible before you go abroad so you don't feel as restricted while you're there

Language

* 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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
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?
  • Housing and RA's
  • Advising with UCT
  • Accessibility
* What could be improved?
  • Better training for RA's
  • More mini trips
  • Improved maintenance in housing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how developed Cape Town is and had packed accordingly with simultaneously living in a major city while also embarking on camping trips in other parts of Southern Africa

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.