It's Time for Africa Past Review

By (Geography, University of Denver) for

ISA Study Abroad in Cape Town, South Africa

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This is a can't miss experience of a lifetime! If you are debating between Cape Town and anywhere else... stop debating!

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.

UCT is a very challenging school for most mainstream courses. I took some geographic information systems (GIS) and environmental science courses and found them to be very challenging (especially with the different style of grading). Most local students say that they will fail classes from time to time and barely passing is not as frowned upon as American students are used to. There are lots of easier courses geared towards international students which are much easier, but expect a less fulfilling cultural experience in class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Interstudy is a small program with a very personal connection to all of their students. Lots of group trips, excellent living situation, and an office on campus where you can print papers for class, talk with Sebe, and have pastries on Friday morning. Lots of year-long study abroad kids switched to Interstudy after the first semester because it is so much better. GREAT PROGRAM!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Fully furnished with oven, refrigerator, microwave, tv, etc. Rooms have large beds, desks, dresser, wardrobe, etc. Cold in the winter, but you will notice that every building in SA is for a few months.

* 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:

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)


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

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? Think about renting a used car by the month from German's. Relatively cheap when split between 4-6 students and allows for more trips around the city and around the country! We did it for the last month, and it seriously made the semester! Think about taking some elective classes so you are spending more time experiencing the beauty of Cape Town than the UCT library. Lots of hiking to be done!!! Cape Town and South Africa are simply beautiful.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Culture, Identity, and Globalization in Africa

Course Department: CAS 2001
Instructor: Heidi Grunebaum
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Heidi was a very scattered and disorganized lecturer, which made most classes worthless. I would try to go to all of Nick Sheperd's sections however. A very easy class with mostly Americans and other international students. It is impossible to fail, but can be frustrating dealing with the disorganization of the course.
Credit Transfer Issues: Yes, but it should work for an elective or social science credit.
Course Name/Rating:

Advanced GIS

Course Department: APG 3011
Instructor: Julien Smit
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Extremely challenging, but mostly because of inadequate resources and poor communication from the instructor. The content is not difficult with prior experience with GIS and a lot of studying. Half of the class was unable to even take the final exam due to low grades.
Credit Transfer Issues: Credits transfered easily, but my department head is very understanding of study abroad credits.
Course Name/Rating:

Contemporary Urban Challenges

Course Department: EGS 2014
Instructor: Jane Battersby-Lennard
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very interesting course. Three sections taught by three different professors is not uncommon at UCT and each had its own main topics and style of teaching. Not very necessary to attend class if you are doing reading and labs. Some students were challenged by the amount of work required, but it was not that bad.
Credit Transfer Issues: None.