Interstudy Cape Town is for the Bro's Past Review

By (Biological Basis of Behavior, University of Pennsylvania) for

ISA Study Abroad in Cape Town, South Africa

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Everything beyond interstudy and UCT was awesome. South Africa is wonderful, I'd go back in a heartbeat. However, as for dealing with either of those programs - I could do without that again.

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.

The workload, teaching ability, and amount covered in each course was far less than I am used to at Penn. I was often bored at school and didn't really feel a need to go to class if attendance wasn't a factor in grading.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were able to answer questions, eventually. Emails and phone calls were answered only after multiple attempts. Registration process was difficult and there was not enough previous communication for students to prepare for it. UCT's administration is more at fault for this than Interstudy is.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was lucky, in that I was assigned the best apartment with a large kitchen, bathroom, and living area. Others would likely rate their living space a 2 or 3.

* Food:

We were responsible for our own food, which I'm used to.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We went to see the District Six museum, and Robben Island, which was great. However, township tours are demeaning, and the game reserve we went to was more like a zoo. Finally, the "boat cruise" was an unfortunate use of our fees.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Health was not addressed. Our gates were broken for a few days and it took forever to get Interstudy to send someone to fix them. Also we lived on alleys that were frequented by loud, obnoxious drunks.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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

  • Apartment
* 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? If you're looking for an intellectually stimulating abroad experience, Cape Town may not be the place for you. I look back on my time at UCT as a sort of vacation. School was a breeze, and I was able to go to the beach every day. South Africa was beautiful, full of culture, and an absolute blast. But I'm not sure if wasting a semester at UCT was worth it. That's something you'll have to decide for yourself. I would highly recommend going to South Africa for something else, like working with the Grassroots Soccer program, or just vacationing.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

African Traditional Religion

Course Department: REL2044
Instructor: Sibusiso Masondo
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Interesting, but not challenging. Some assigned readings were helpful, but many were dense and provided little usable information. Professor's lectures were difficult to follow and rarely followed the syllabus.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Clinical Psychology I

Course Department: PSY2011
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course has the potential to be great, if the instructor would stick to the syllabus. Professor had difficulty managing the class and got off track often. Was unable to finish all chapters originally listed. Exams were not based on concepts and applying them but on bizarre details of studies which weren't provided for reading. The textbook was very helpful.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Sacred Art

Course Department: HST2036
Instructor: Michael Godby
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Excellent course, covered a vast amount of material.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Developmental Psychology

Course Department: PSY2009
Instructor: Lauren Wild
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Excellent, organized, well-spoken instructor. Wide breadth of material covered. Tests could have been more challenging.
Credit Transfer Issues:


Hey Ashley! I took African Religions too!! I agree it was a little easy, but the opportunity to learn about African Traditional Religion from an actual African Religious Practitioner was awesome! I'm sorry it sounds like you had some difficulty abroad, but I have to disagree about the Interstudy staff, I don't think my experience would have been the same without Nj, Ouma, and Sebe :) The Interstudy office at UCT was like a little safe haven in the crazyness of Cape Town life.

kzack August 13, 2010

Hi Ashley, First of all, thank you for the feedback. We really appreciate hearing what students liked and didn't like about our program to see what we can change, and also about some things inherent about the location itself so we can advise students more properly in the future. As far as excursions go, I wanted to let you know that this semester the students were brought to a Rugby game instead of the Harbour Tour and went to Hermanus for whale watching rather than the Game Drive. While we do always try to incorporate some leisure activity into the excursion program your feedback about the boat tour is really helpful. Also, we know that Cape Town can sometimes be conducive to an American Bubble and if your peers have different objectives for studying abroad this can make for a different experience than many anticipate. Thanks to feedback like this, we've actually started a new program at UCT to incorporate more cultural discussions, outings & events through our Resident Mentor that will be onsite in our housing. Again, thanks for information like this as it reinforces the ened for our new program that we will continue to grow each semester. And I know this is a lot but to touch on the point about drunks on your street, I wanted to let you know that while it is hard to combat behavior like this in many student neighborhoods, UCT is actually working on an initiative to improve the neighborhoods around campus and our housing falls into that region. I wish it could have come sooner to more positively effect your experience. I hope that ultimately, these elements did not take away from your overall impression of the country, as it seems it did not. Good luck with the rest of your academic career and please let us know if you have any additional comments or suggestions.

Interstudy August 18, 2010