A Life Changing Expereince Past Review

By (Franklin & Marshall College) - abroad from 08/23/2019 to 12/05/2019 with

SIT Study Abroad: South Africa - Social and Political Transformation

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have learned the importance of family values and the history of South Africa, which these were worthwhile and so important within how South Africa is today.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

We received a few assignments during our time in South Africa, which is less than the amount you usually receive in college, yet a lot of our learning was from our educational experiences living with our host families to meeting influential leaders who were actively present in dismantling the apartheid system.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration for my program was amazing! Imraan, Shola, Sdu, and Bonga were each patient with us. Whether we had any issues with our VISA information, receiving feedback on our assignments, feeling depressed and/ or homesick, to falling short of spending money. No matter our circumstances, they were always present to provide us with the best advice and remind us of the purpose of this program, which is letting go of our Western views, reflecting on our personal growth and knowledge, discovering our research/ internship/ career path, and understanding South Africa's political and economical hardships and cultural background. I remember inviting Sdu and his wife to dinner and celebrating his birthday, meeting Imraan's wife and children, expressing my frustrations with Shola, and spending time with Bonga because we have grown a strong bond with each and everyone of them and we will always reminiscence about our memories.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I enjoyed living with my host families very much. My host mothers and siblings were very welcoming to me, always checked up on me, and truly accepted me into their family. When living in house arrangements such as backpackers or hotels, just remember to pack lightly because there will be a lot of traveling, which made it a bit difficult for us because we had bits and pieces of our belongings with us or back in our school office, where we left our belongings most of our time during the program.

* Food:

The food our host families prepared for us was delicious. Before we left Durban, Imraan took us to get bunny chow, which I highly recommend if you love Indian curry.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were many South Africans who told me that they welcomed me into South Africa and that I am their sister. On the other hand, it was a bit difficult integrating with the local culture because we did not know much isiZulu to have much of a conversation.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Because the program offers health insurances, it was easy for us to meet with a doctor because the doctor's office was next to our academic office. On the other hand, because we went to a number of excursions, sometimes we were not in class to be able to meet a doctor as often. If you attend a doctor's appointment or buy anything that the doctor's prescribed, the health insurance will reimburse you in the future. Almost all of the students in my program were feeling under the weather, so it's good to have some pain, cold, and stomachache medicine, which you can all get in South Africa.

* Safety:

We always traveled together as three or four students in a group or more, especially in the night time. Because South Africa is still a very patriarchal society, we learned to sometimes avoid getting into any disagreements, and understand South Africa's traditions and culture and push aside our Western views.

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

This program has taught me so much about how the post apartheid system still has an lingering impact on the social and political development of South Africa, yet also about the meaning of Zulu transition and culture in Zulu communities.


* 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)

It was a bit hard to live on a student's budget. Although the administration provides us money each week, it was still difficult because I needed to buy data for my phone usage and pay for ubers. Once we started to live on our own, it became even more difficult having to buy our own food and pay everyday we called for Ubers to travel to and from our internship or research site.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $15-20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Always manage the amount of money you spend. The program provides its students with money, but its good to be aware in how much money you are spending and what it is going into because your money will go down fast if you are not diligent and observant about money spending.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* 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?
  • Living with Host Families
  • Hanging With the Program's Faculty and Staff Members
  • Going to Safari
* What could be improved?
  • Spending More Time Learning Zulu
  • Learning More About Racial Categories in South Africa
  • Learning More Unemployment, Land Distribution and other Issues that Affects South Africans
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I am not sure about this question, but learned to comfortable being uncomfortable and being open as well.

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.