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CIEE Service-Learning in Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa
Program Terms: Fall,
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Sponsor: CIEE 
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Areas of Study: Africana Studies, Sociology Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0
Additonal Features: Service Learning Program Type: Affiliated, Service Learning
Academic Level: Junior Language of Instruction: English
Housing Options: Apartment
Program Description:


Study abroad in Cape Town and you’ll experience a program that offers an integrated approach to learning and community involvement. The program enables you to be active in service, while giving you opportunities to reflect upon the complexities and challenges facing both Cape Town specifically and South Africa in general.

The program intends to meet the needs of local communities, helping foster civic responsibility while engaging students in a rigorous academic program of social research methodology, language study, and development studies.

Study abroad in Cape Town and you will:


  • Enroll in a fully integrated, holistic service program that combines coursework and service to the community with integrated activities designed to support the academic service-learning goals, both in and out of the classroom
  • Design and implement a capstone project based upon community needs and personal interest
  • Meet with and discuss current South African economic, social, and political challenges with experts in the field
  • Discover the rich history and culture of the South African people through visits to landmarks and sites of importance
The CIEE Difference


Our courses are designed to give you the tools and skills necessary to interact and collaborate with the South African community:
  • Explore relevant socioeconomic issues—such as poverty—that impact South African communities and/or specific demographic groups today using Cape Town as a case study in Poverty and Development: Cape Town Case Study.
  • Learn about the methods social scientists use in their research, including quantitative and qualitative inquiry, and data collection and analysis in Social Research Methods.
  • Delve into the study of a language related to the community you’re serving: Afrikaans, a West Germanic language spoken by 13% of the population, or isiXhosa, a Bantu language used by nearly 18% of the South African population.
  • Reflect on and bring together all of the elements of your community engagement, research, and coursework in a final capstone project.
Community Engagement

If you choose to pursue service-learning in South Africa, volunteering isn’t a supplementary activity; it’s integral to the makeup of the program.

This all-encompassing, semester-long study abroad program is rooted in working in the communities and with the local people you are exposed to every day. You’ll apply theoretical principles of leadership in community service learned in class by working directly with a local community organization, school, or non-governmental organization in the area of health, education, development, or business. For example, you might work with HIV-positive children in Khavelitsha, the poorest township in Cape Town. You’ll gain an understanding of the realities and challenges of community service, will make a real difference in the community, and will become an agent of social change. It’s all inside you—we’ll just bring it out.

Activities and Excursions

Discover the beauty of diversity found in South African geography, history, and culture by going on field trips and excursions to important cultural and historical sites throughout the country. Spend a weekend living with a local family to learn about day-to-day life. Visit a rural agricultural cooperative to see the struggles local farmers face. Explore the South African Museum in Cape Town, the oldest museum in sub-Saharan Africa. Nights at the theater, trips to gourmet restaurants to taste the native cuisine, afternoons at local sporting events, and more will ensure you leave South Africa having had the time of your life.

Recommended Credit

Total recommended credit for the semester is 16 semester/24 quarter hours.

The Independent Research and Capstone Project course is worth 4 semester/6 quarter hours. All other courses are worth 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.

Program Requirements

All study abroad students enroll in the required core courses listed and then choose to study either isiXhosa or Afrikaans language.

About Cape Town

Situated on the southern tip of Africa, Cape Town is a vibrant multicultural city with a rich selection of day and night activities. Water sports, mountaineering, nightclubs, and restaurants are readily available. The city is also a microcosm of the challenges facing many African countries in transition: how to successfully operate within a global economy, while grappling with the vast socio-economic inequalities that are the legacy of its colonial and apartheid past.

Where You’ll Study

The University of Cape Town

Established as the South African College in 1829, the University of Cape Town (UCT) is internationally recognized as one of Africa’s leading research universities. Its campus has sweeping lawns, pathways, trees, ponds, and waterfalls that combine with attractive physical structures and extensive playing fields to create a pleasant study environment. A range of commercial, medical, recreational, and sporting facilities is available on campus. These include a swimming pool, gymnasium, basketball, tennis, badminton and squash courts, and a weight room. Students will take classes on the UCT campus. Students will not take classes with UCT students but with other Service-Learning students.

Housing & Meals

Housing is included in the program fee. Study abroad students live in a house near campus and share the residence with fellow CIEE program participants. Students generally have small single rooms and share facilities with other students, all of whom share basic cleaning duties. A small number of students share double rooms. Students are responsible for their own meals which are not included in the program fee. Students prepare their own meals in the residence or eat at establishments on or off campus. Local UCT students (CIEE Resident Assistants) are selected to live in the residence with CIEE students.

Academic Program

Since 1947, CIEE has engaged in fulfilling its mission “to help people gain understanding, acquire knowledge, and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world.” The Service-Learning study abroad program serves this mission by providing a framework for students to fulfill their educational and personal goals, while bridging relationships in the communities in which their learning takes place. In this sense, service-learning closes the circle on an experiential learning cycle, while providing benefits to all those who are touched by the program.

The American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) defines service-learning as, “A method under which students learn and develop through thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of a community and is coordinated with an institution of higher education, and with the community; helps foster civic responsibility; is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students enrolled; and includes structured time for students to reflect on the service experience.”

This program is built upon the four core principles of service-learning, with each component of the program addressing one or more of the principles:

1) Engagement
2) Reflection
3) Reciprocity
4) Public Dissemination

Academic Culture

The program runs during the fall and spring semesters and consists of 16 semester credits based upon five main components:

1) A Social Research Methods course
2) A course focusing on poverty and development issues in South Africa
3) A community-development project in a local NGO, school, or other service organization
4) An academic service-learning capstone project, which draws upon all of the other elements of the program
5) Language training that is appropriate to the communities where service is performed

This program is currently not accepting applications.