Amazing but difficult Past Review

By (Psychology, Middlebury College) - abroad from 07/06/2015 to 11/26/2015 with

CIEE: Cape Town - Arts and Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A broader perpsective and an understanding of different worldviews. I also realized that the world is a complicated and difficult place and that

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.

Academically very rigorous, although it wasn't easy to access resources at the University of Cape Town due to very complicated bureaucracy among other things. CIEE itself did a wonderful job, however.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CIEE does a fabulous job, especially considering the chaos with the student protests in South Africa which completely hijacked the original scheduling of exams.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was not happy at Liesbeeck Gardens, the first place I stayed, mainly because of poor building administration and location. Once I moved to Rondebosch Court, I was very happy with accommodations.

* Food:

Food was very good and easily accessible.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had a number of South African friends and there were more than enough opportunities for cultural engagement locally.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got sick once and was able to get to a doctor without much issue.

* Safety:

The student protests made the UCT campus much less safe, although I do not blame CIEE in the slightest for that. Crime is a big problem but I was able to avoid it.

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)

With the currency exchange rates as they are, everything in South Africa is extremely inexpensive, so I was easily able to live within a budget. I did spend too much on tourist activities and souvenirs, though.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Sales people are really aggressive in Cape Town; don't be guilted into buying things.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

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

I was very encouraged to use Xhosa, it's just that it's hard to tell if people you are talking to actually speak Xhosa, considering that there are 11 official 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? Level 1
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Xhosa is a from a language family unfamiliar to I assume the large majority of study abroad participants. It is a tonal language with clicks, so it is hard to expect fluent speech in just a few months. I'd say don't worry too much and just take in as much as you can.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?
  • Cultural Immersion
  • Independence
* What could be improved?
  • Better Communication with UCT
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I understood ahead of time how tense political and race relations still were in South Africa. I thought I knew, but I really didn't until I saw for myself.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Introduction to Clinical Neuropsychology

Course Department: Psychology
Instructor: Robyn Human
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very very challenging and relevant. The only issue was that standards of evaluation were not always the clearest and the amount of information was overwhelming.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Social Psychology and Intergroup Relations

Course Department: Psychology
Instructor: Buhle Zuma
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was culturally interesting, but it was not about social psychology. Only a couple discussions touched on psychological principles, while the rest were really about the political situation in South Africa and on race relations. I think the class was valuable, but I did not get what I wanted from it and feel like I still need to learn social psychology.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Xhosa Additional 1A

Course Department: African Languages
Instructor: Tessa Dowling
Instruction Language: English/Xhosa
Comments: It was challenging, but learning a new language usually is. Learning Xhosa was amazing and I think I learned a lot not only about the language but the culture as a result. Tessa did an amazing job of making sure each student participated at almost every lecture.
Credit Transfer Issues: