Steep, Steep Learning Curve August 22, 2019

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/23/2019 to 06/08/2019 with

CIEE: Cape Town - Arts and Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The experience was definitely life-changing. The learning curve is immense. I felt like I learned so much about South Africa but I know for a fact that I've barely even scraped the surface. The country has an incredibly rich culture and history-- the plethora of information you gather in a day is mindblowing.

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes at UCT are definitely rigorous, but the amount of knowledge you acquire is exponential. Sitting in classes and listening to the perspectives of South African students were incredibly eye-opening experiences.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Some staff members are easily reachable and ready to assist you, others not as much.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I don't think living in a country for a four and a half months is nearly enough to "fully integrate" yourself with the local culture, but I did learn so much more than I could have ever imagined.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

It's a city-- as long as you're street smart and alert while being aware of your surroundings, you'll be fine.

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

If money and time allow it, then I'd definitely go to Cape Town again. I'm not quite sure I'd stick with the same program though. CIEE was definitely helpful in some aspects on a micro-level (i.e the RAs are incredible, incredible people), but there were some structural issues that were a bit concerning like their lack of properly addressing prejudiced comments or behavior.

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy groceries and cook!! Also, be prepared to make some sacrifices if you're on a budget. You may have to pick and choose which experiences are worth it, and which ones to forego.

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The RAs
  • studying at the university
  • the excursions/field trips
* What could be improved?
  • address students' concerns more seriously
  • some staff members could be more readily available
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Having a life-altering experience isn't just going to magically appear out of thin air. Studying abroad is what you make of it-- it is a place and time where immense personal growth and self-evaluation will occur and you have to take note of that.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.