Transformational experience that changed my life and dreams for my future. Past Review

By (University of Redlands) - abroad from 01/26/2011 to 06/15/2011 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained incredible independence and a desire to live and work overseas, particularly in Africa. I also made amazing local friends which made all of the challenges of the program worthwhile.

Personal Information

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

One of the most challenging academic semesters of my college career but also the most rewarding.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very good communication between Connect 123 and the students involved in the program. I never felt as though I was trying to make everything happen on my own. Program staff went above and beyond to fix mistakes found on the original transcripts sent to my home university.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Amazing apartment in the center of Cape Town with roof access for the best view of the city in town!

* Food:

You cook for yourself so its depends upon your cooking skills and how creative you are. Otherwise the food you can find in area restaurants is all very good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

With this program it is easy to stay with the international students and not mix much with local students. However, if you have the drive to meet people you can, it just takes effort but is well worth it in the end.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There are a number of required vaccines but they are relatively typical of travel. Nothing unusual and in Cape Town there is no need to take malaria pills, yay!

* Safety:

I had some valuable personal goods stolen from a car while in Cape Town, however I do not hold any resentment towards what happened. The city is safe you just have to use common sense and follow the locals. Example: if the street is empty at night you probably shouldn't walk there at night. Also most crimes are very opportunistic so as long as you don't provide the opportunity for someone you are 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)

Cost really depends on you. If you are going out all of the time it will add up quickly. Also if you choose to travel around the country it will also add up. Taxi fares also add up. Food prices in the city seem to be slightly cheaper than in the US but otherwise living is pretty comparable. It really depends on what you think is important.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are looking to travel and go out a lot you need to watch your budget. Otherwise, it is possible to live cheaply as long as you are aware of your spending habits.


* 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
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The mix of UCT classes and field work with a non profit.
  • Living in the center of Cape Town.
  • Making local friends (on my own initiative).
* What could be improved?
  • Free transportation around the city.
  • More program directed intermixing with locals.
  • Cost of room/board.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I was unaware that we were going to be so far away from the UCT campus and where most of the students live. It would have been nice to live closer to the student population. Also the classes are post graduate level, which is in between our undergraduate and graduate level in the States. This means that they were more challenging than I initially expected.