Past Review

By (Sociology & Economics, University of Notre Dame) for

ISA Study Abroad in Cape Town, South Africa

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely worthwhile. My time in Africa had a profound impact on me, but you might have to leave Cape Town for your world to be rocked. Even if you never left Cape Town, though, you could hang out on beaches and in botanical gardens with interesting and smart people in a really amazing city and eat really fabulous food and go to the most gorgeous university in the world. It really can't be beat.

Personal Information

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.

I spent a lot more time on my academic work than I had expected to, but I really enjoyed it. Some classes were not very hard at all, but two were pretty challenging and one was especially time-consuming. I was really impressed by the quality of the education at UCT and I thought that my professors were almost all as good, if not better, than most of my lecturers at Notre Dame. Make sure to get your courses pre-approved by your University if you want the credits to transfer.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I thought InterStudy did a really great job from start to finish. I felt like I could have leaned on them if I had needed support in any way, but they didn't watch over us like babies either. We had a "mentor" who was sooo helpful showing us around and she became one of my closest friends. My expectations were surpassed in almost every category. When I was on InterStudy, the group was maybe 60 people or so, some of who are my very best friends now. I would never take back going with InterStudy, but it is a big group, so if you are trying to steer clear of Americans, maybe its not the best choice for you, although you could work on branching out once you get there.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an amazing house with amazing people. I must say though that I got about as lucky as you could get. InterStudy doesn't have any terrible places to live, but I certainly lucked out.

* Food:

South Africa has the best food in the whole world. You can eat cheaply around campus or downtown and I have so many favorite places that I can't even begin to start listing them. Go to Old Biscuit Mill market on Saturday.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

InterStudy took us to a township to walk in a parade and it was pretty hilarious and fun. We also played some African drums as a group and that was really fun as well. I can't attribute it to InterStudy, but the social and cultural experience in Cape Town and South Africa in general can't be beat.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The healthcare system is easy to navigate and luckily I didn't have anything too terrible happen while I was there. There is nothing that InterStudy could have done differently, but Cape Town does have a petty crime problem, so that is why I put only3 out of 5 stars. I never felt unsafe during the day, but you have to be very cautious and mindful of your possessions, and being on the street at night isn't really a good idea, except in a few places. I think a couple of people were mugged and there was at least one break-in during my stay, but InterStudy does as good job educating about ways to prevent this kind of stuff.

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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Someone who wants a different culture experience, especially one in an English speaking country. I really have only positive things to say about my abroad experience. Cape Town is incredible, and South Africa and Africa in general blew me away. I would recommend going to UCT and InterStudy to almost anyone.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

African Music

Course Department:
Instructor: Zweli and Desu
Instruction Language:
Comments: This was one of the most fun things I did while in Cape Town. I looked forward to my drumming lessons with Zweli twice a week and I learned so much from him besides drumming. I would recommend this to anyone, even if you can't keep a beat.
Credit Transfer Issues: Nope. This transferred as my fine arts requirement.
Course Name/Rating:

African Language and Literature

Course Department: ELL2007
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This is a huge lecture class, but you choose an additional class to go with it. You could get really lucky or not as lucky. Be sure to go and sign up as soon as you can if there is a certain topic that you are interested in. The teacher for the lecture was pretty good, but I had a hard time understanding my teacher for the smaller section.
Credit Transfer Issues: No, this transferred as my literature requirement.
Course Name/Rating:

Economics of Feasts and Famines

Course Department: HST 3038F
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was the most demanding class I was in at UCT, but it was great. The class is divided into different units and a guest lecturer who is an expert in his or her field comes to UCT to teach each unit. The workload is pretty serious. You read around 100 pages per week and write a response paper for each unit. I never did too poorly, but it's definitely not an easy A. I put a lot of effort into the papers.
Credit Transfer Issues: Nope. This one counted as one of my Economics major electives.