The Best Summer Yet Past Review

By (University of California - San Diego / UCSD) - abroad from 06/14/2016 to 07/30/2016 with

IES Abroad: Cape Town - Summer Health Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was absolutely a worthwhile trip. I gained insight into the health system in South Africa and learned about why things are the way they are. I hope to one day spend some time working there when I work in global health.

Review Photos

IES Abroad: Cape Town - Summer Health Studies Photo IES Abroad: Cape Town - Summer Health Studies Photo IES Abroad: Cape Town - Summer Health Studies Photo

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

There were no times where I did not feel safe, and if you took good care of your stuff, you wouldn’t lose anything or get anything stolen. As long as you don't go anywhere alone and were smart with your things, you were fine.

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

The IES Abroad summer program in Cape Town, South Africa was so amazing, it was almost impossible to leave. It helps that Cape Town is a wonderful city, full of things to do and places to explore, and that the program helped you to explore every bit of it. The program had just enough planned activities to keep us constantly moving, while still allowing us enough free time to squeeze in a huge bucket-list of things to do. Planned activities included touring the Garden Route, the Winelands, whale watching, gardens, and much more. This is all outside of the course and service-learning portion of the trip. I am a public health major, and global health minor, so the course was not only fit to my interests but counted as course credit for my minor at my home university. For those who had other majors, which there were many, the summer is a great way to get extra credit in between the regular school year. The course was an excellent way to study South African history and culture, in the context of health. The service-learning portion allowed you to experience what you were learning in class in the context of the health system. The research project was the best way to interact with the community, and potentially give back with recommendations based on the new research. The housing was within walking distance of the IES center, grocery stores, and restaurants. We could easily take a cab or Uber into other areas of Cape Town. Cape Town as a whole had the most amazing food, all extremely affordable. You could get so many different types of food, all excellent. The people I met, both in the program and locals, were all great. I learned so much just from conversations with people around the city and in our placements. The housing was nice and felt safe. There were multiple doors with locks before getting into the room, and a security guard outside 24/7. I hope others will be inspired by this experience as I have been.


* 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)

This was kind of up to you. There were people who spent very little money, and some of us spent quite a bit.


* 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

  • 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?
  • Opportunities
  • Environment
  • Activities
* What could be improved?
  • Doing more for the community
  • Better packing list
  • Spending more time with local students (they were on holiday most of the time)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It gets very cold for winter, so pack accordingly. Manage your expectations for everything, as time and planning in South Africa is different than in the United States.

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.