The Best Study Abroad Program Out There Past Review

By (Social Entrepreneurship, Belmont University) - abroad from 01/26/2011 to 06/10/2011 with

Connect-123: Cape Town - Studies in Social Entrepreneurship, Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It's close to impossible to list everything I learned on this trip. Essentially, I gained an expertise in grassroots community development in South Africa, and I was equipped with all of the tools necessary to implement that. It changed my life and challenged me to overcome obstacles I didn't know I ever could, which forced me to learn about a side of myself that was more determined, more competent, more compassionate, more creative, and more resilient, that I didn't know existed.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: University of Cape Town, University of Stellenbosch
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.

This is a postgraduate program, which I was not aware of before coming. The classes were challenging, and the level of research was extremely detailed, but I had support from multiple Connect-123 employees and professors along the way. The amount of experience and education I got from this one semester is unrivaled by anything else I have done at my home university. It's hard, but it's worth every bit of work.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff at Connect-123 are so accommodating. They are always on site, or just a phone call away. They made the experience feel so much safer and more achievable because I had a multitude of resources at my disposal.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived on the 14th floor of our apartment building with a view of the ocean from my bedroom window. The gym, pool, and sauna are on the roof of the building. I had a full kitchen, two beds, 2 sofas, and I lived 5 minutes from the liveliest part of downtown. I couldn't have asked for any better.

* Food:

Food in Cape Town is incredible. There are plenty of amazing restaurants within walking distance, and the closest grocery stores are only a few minutes away.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was able to work with locals in the Mfuleni township to build a taxonomy for social and community development that I then got to present to the City of Cape Town Department of Social Development. Connect-123 was always looking for new ways to put us in the middle of South African culture by offering travel packages, new restaurants, and even Xhosa language classes. They truly make you feel like a South African while you're there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Cape Town can be a dangerous place, but so can Nashville, TN. Safety is about being smart when traveling and staying aware of your environment. If you follow the tips given to you by Connect-123 and avoid putting yourself in a vulnerable situation, you will be just fine.

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)

Cape Town can be cheap if you want it to be. However, for a student that is not able to make any income while you're there, it can be tough to cover the costs associated with being away from home.

* 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? I would say at least $70.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? When you study abroad, it is tempting to travel as many places as you possibly can. Don't bite at every travel opportunity. Some of them will be at a high cost for an experience you weren't that excited about. Take your time to make a list of all of the places you HAVE to go. Then find the most cost-effective options to accomplish those travel goals. I will say that Connect-123 provided some options that beat even the most competitive travel agencies on price and activities included. I was very appreciative towards their dedication to keep costs low and memorable experiences at the forefront.


* 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
  • 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?
  • Study Program
  • Opportunities to Interact With Local Community
  • Travel Options
* What could be improved?
  • Cohesion with Home University
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It gets pretty cold starting in April. Spend as much time on the beach as you can before then.