10/10 Experience Past Review

By (Case Western Reserve University) - abroad from 01/21/2019 to 06/08/2019 with

IES Abroad: Cape Town - University of Cape Town

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Sure, I acquired skills, but more importantly, the radically different culture and world I got to experience forced me to change. Admittedly, I'm rather introspective, but studying abroad led me to reflect on all the differences I saw between South Africa, America, and their respective citizens. Moreover, I then had to decide how I would think and live moving forward. So, when people say that studying abroad is a life-changing experience, they're not lying or overexaggerating. Studying abroad gives students the chance to reflect on and be changed by all that they experience. In short, I "gained" a new, better perspective on life, and IES Abroad made this process as smooth as it could have been.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

UCT is a great institution. Class sizes are large and students can be quite unresponsive, but the course material is engaging and critical

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Great staff. They will fully support you regardless of the need you have

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing at CampusKey was stellar. I was given a single suite with a bathroom, kitchen, desk, and TV

* Food:

Good food, great exchange rate.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

CampusKey is a sort of Afrikaans-bubble. Aside from that, I felt pretty integrated

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Personally, I had no major health problems, and the domestic and international coverage given to me was sufficient.

* Safety:

CampusKey had fingerprint security and UCT was present in the surrounding neighborhoods. Still, stray away from taking taxis or walking around at night.

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

Before I went to Cape Town, people would tell me that "studying abroad is a life-changing experience," and I had a hard time believing them. Initially, I thought that studying abroad was a chance to experience a different world. But I did not think that experiencing a "different world" would change me. To me, it made sense that study abroad students would experience a different world and gain skills in intercultural communication--among other things--as a result. However, I reasoned that experiencing a different world and having one's life fundamentally changed were two mutually independent events. That said, living in South Africa for a semester and being able to take classes at the University of Cape Town changed my mind.


* 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)

The exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the South African rand is about 1:12.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Uber and other taxi services are cheap if your destination is a short distance away.


* 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

  • 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?
  • The People!
  • The City!
  • The Weather!
* What could be improved?
  • Safety (that said IES Abroad did everything in their power to assure our safety)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I planned out the different countries I could have visited from South Africa!