The summer Community Development and Social Justice program in Cape Town, South Africa is designed for students from all academic disciplines who want to learn about the challenges and realities of post-Apartheid South Africa through innovative courses and an integrated community service study abroad project.
Through this combination of theory and practice, students become participants in, rather than mere observers of, this dynamic environment and gain a comprehensive understanding of the evolving story that is South Africa.
In South Africa you will:
- Acquire a greater understanding of issues around several topics in contemporary South Africa including economics, health, politics, the environment, etc., and how these issues inform the discourse on poverty and development and their relationship to globalization
- Develop and use specific Afrikaans or isiXhosa vocabulary necessary for community engagement activities and courses
- Choose from a host of quality community engagement opportunities
- Explore various points of interest in and around Cape Town and the Western Cape Province
The CIEE Difference
The CIEE Difference
In Cape Town, the community is your classroom. Whether you’re using the city as a case study to explore relevant socio-economic issues, or working alongside a social agency with a community-based organization in the Community Partnership practicum, study abroad in South Africa allows you to examine, act, and reflect upon the realities and challenges of developing communities by engaging with them yourself.
Community engagement is one of the central components of this summer study abroad program. As part of the academic program, CIEE staff will arrange community engagement projects and activities with various NGOs, schools, and orphanages throughout the greater Cape Town community for you.
The study abroad in South Africa program is supplemented with field trips and excursions to various points of interest around Cape Town and the Western Cape Province. Field trips and excursions may include visits to local theater, music, and dance productions, museum tours, rugby matches, local festivals, the Cape Peninsula, the Cape Flats, and a rural weekend stay.
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
We want to make sure you get the most out of your experience when you study abroad with CIEE, which is why we offer the most inclusions in our fees.
- Tuition and housing
- Pre-departure advising and optional on-site airport meet and greet
- Full-time program leadership and support
- Field trips and cultural activities
- CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits
Please note, program dates are subject to change. Please contact your CIEE Study Abroad Advisor before purchasing airfare. Click the
button to view more detailed information about dates and fees as well as estimated additional costs. Please talk with your University Study Abroad Advisor about additional fees that may be charged by your home institution when participating in a program abroad.
Program Date Notes
In addition to the items outlined below, the CIEE program fee includes an optional on-site airport meet and greet, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, field trips, pre-departure advising, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.
Participation Confirmation *
Educational Costs **
This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.
Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $340 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.
** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students
Estimated Additional Costs
Meals not included in program fee
International Airfare *
The estimated additional costs indicated are intended to assist students and parents in budgeting for those additional living and discretionary expenses not included in the program fee. Actual expenses will vary according to student interests and spending habits.
* round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure
- Overall GPA 3.0
- Demonstrated interest and experience in community service or volunteerism.
All participants take the two required CIEE courses. The Poverty and Development: Cape Town Case Study course includes 45 contact hours for a recommended 3 semester / 4.5 quarter hours. The Community Partnership: Theory and Engagement course includes 15 classroom hours, 5 reflection hours, and 90 service hours for a recommended 3 semester / 4.5 quarter hours. Total recommended credit for the program is 6 semester / 9 quarter hours.
All students enroll in the two required CIEE study abroad courses: Poverty and Development: Cape Town Case Study and Community Partnership: Theory and Engagement. All students also must enroll in a non-credit language workshop (Afrikaans or isiXhosa).
About the City
About The City
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.
Meet The Staff
Where You'll Study
Where You'll Study
Established as the South African College in 1829, the University of Cape Town 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, weight room, and basketball, tennis, badminton, and squash courts.
Housing & Meals
Housing & Meals
Housing is included in the program fee. Students share double rooms in houses with approximately 10 CIEE study abroad program participants and local students near the UCT campus. Local UCT students are selected as resident assistants and live in the houses with CIEE students. Meals are not included in the program fee and are the responsibility of the student. Students can prepare their own meals or eat at local restaurants and cafés.
You'll begin your study abroad experience in Cape Town even before leaving home by participating in a CIEE online pre-departure orientation. Meeting with students online, the resident director shares information about the program and site, highlighting issues that alumni have said are important, and giving you time to ask questions. The online orientation allows you to connect with others in the group, reflect on what you want to get out of the program, and learn what others in the group would like to accomplish. CIEE’s goal for the pre-departure orientation is simple—to help you understand more about the program, and to identify your objectives so that you arrive well-informed and return home having made significant progress towards your goals.
A two-day orientation session at the beginning of the program will introduce you to the city of Cape Town, South African culture, and the program. The orientation includes specially designed sessions on health and safety, local living logistics, and community engagement opportunities. Ongoing support is provided by CIEE staff on an individual and group basis throughout the program.
There are no major health concerns in the Western Cape Province; however, its recommended you follow CDC advice concerning immunizations prior to arrival in South Africa. Public and private clinics are located close to the University of Cape Town campus.
The CIEE off-campus houses are monitored by a local security company, and a guard is on-duty at each house. Although violent crime is rare, you must take care when traveling around the city. You are advised to travel in groups and avoid walking outside after dark.
Although you will live within walking distance of the CIEE Study Center and UCT campus, the CIEE program orientation includes information on using local buses and taxis safely and effectively. Local buses and taxis can be used to travel around Cape Town safely. Local transportation costs are not included in the program fee and are your responsibility. CIEE will provide vans for transporting you to and from your service site(s).
Cultural Activities and Field Trips
The academic study abroad program is supplemented by field trips and excursions to various points of interest around Cape Town and the Western Cape Province. Field trips and excursions may include the Cape Peninsula, the Cape Flats, rugby matches, and a rural weekend stay.
The comprehensive cultural program developed by CIEE consists of visits to local theater, music, and dance productions, museum tours, and local festivals. Events and activities are chosen to provide you with a good overview of the diversity in South Africa and to complement the overall theme of transformation discussed in the core course.
A three-day homestay with a local family in the “coloured” community of Ocean View is also included in the cultural program. This will expose you to positive images of previously disadvantaged groups of people in South Africa, including the “coloured” and Muslim communities.
Community engagement is one of the central components of this summer study abroad program. As part of the academic program, CIEE staff will arrange community engagement projects and activities for all participants with various organizations and communities throughout the greater Cape Town area. The projects are designed to give you a first-hand look at the challenges facing South Africa today. CIEE has an established network of community partnerships with local NGOs, schools, and orphanages. You'll select your community engagement sites from existing CIEE community partners. There is a limit of five students per host organization/site. Community engagement sites and projects are chosen with organisational and community needs and assets in-mind. Amongst those that CIEE partners with on a regular basis is Children of South Africa (CHOSA) who offer the following engagement opportunities:
- Emasithandane Children's Organization provides education, food, and a safe home for abandoned, abused, orphaned, and other vulnerable children—many of whom are affected or infected by HIV/AIDS.
- QQ Section Children's Committee is a community-driven structure in the QQ section of Khayelitsha that addresses community-identified problems through hands-on participatory processes. The Committee addresses needs ranging from supplies and staffing at a local pre-school, to fixing a leaking roof at another local school.
- Ubuhle Babantwana Educare Center grew from a modest beginning in the home of its founder Pumla Gigi Ubuhle and has developed into a formalized education center providing early childhood education to almost 200 children in three different facilities.
- Richmond Farm Community/Amandla Esizwe grew out of the shackdwellers movement to help empower residents in their struggle for title-deeds for their houses, and against evictions from their shacks. With the help of activists from other communities, the Richmond Farm Community founded Amandla Esizwe (Strength of the Nation) to oversee the empowerment and education of children in the area.
For more information on CHOSA and its programs visit http://www.chosa.org/.
Community Action Plan (CAP):
CIEE resident assistants design a Community Action Plan (CAP) that includes projects and experiences to help enhance and reinforce learning while also taking advantage of local culture(s) and events.
The program is based on the University of Cape Town campus. The actual academic content of the program is designed and managed by CIEE, so participants should understand that they will not be taking regular UCT courses during this summer study abroad program. The program is appropriate for all students who want to learn about the country, its people, and the transformations that have occurred over the past 15 years in South African society. The program includes a combination of courses and an integrated community-based volunteer component designed to help students better understand South African history, politics, educational challenges, and societal values and traditions.
The courses for this program are for CIEE students only. The Poverty and Development: Cape Town Case Study course is frontloaded for the first three weeks to give students a theoretical foundation for their service projects and help them develop an understanding of the current challenges and realities of present-day life in Cape Town. The Community Partnership: Theory and Engagement course puts theory into practice and allows students to spend the latter half of the program fully engaged in community projects. Weekends and some evenings are reserved for program discussions, cultural activities, and reflection sessions.
Both of the required CIEE courses are taught in English. The program includes mandatory non-credit language workshops (Afrikaans and isiXhosa) that are designed to help students develop basic communication skills (greetings, basic vocabulary) that can be used to interact with members of the communities in which they are doing their community projects.
Nature of Classes
Classes are for CIEE study abroad students only.
Assessment for the summer courses is based on student participation, reflection papers, a presentation, and final exam.
Language of Instruction
The required courses are taught by the CIEE Resident Director and other local faculty and practitioners.
Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be cancelled due to insufficient enrollment.
CIEE Study Center Syllabi
To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Study Centers, visit our syllabi site.
AFST 3003 CTSU/DEVE 3001 CTSU Poverty and Development: Cape Town Case Study
[existing CTSL course to be condensed to three teaching weeks/45 contact hours]
Using Cape Town as a case study, this course explores relevant socio-economic issues impacting the local communities and/or specific demographic groups. Students discuss readings and analyze the ramifications of global issues on the local context. The learning in this course provides a foundation from which students have a broader understanding of the issues facing local non-governmental organizations, including their field placement site. Contact hours: 45. Recommended credit: 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.
CMBL3001 CTSU Community Partnership: Theory and Engagement
[existing CTSL course to be condensed to three teaching weeks/15 classroom contact hours + 90 service hours + 5 reflection hours]
This course has two related and interdependent parts. First, the theoretical portion introduces students to different schools of thought regarding the theory of service-learning and community engagement, including role of power, identity, African belief systems such as ubuntu, and the notion of 'community’ in such endeavors. It also asks students to question the terms that we use to describe our actions in regards to community, engagement, and partnership amongst others. This course uses a socio-spatial (geographical) approach to these questions. Second, the practical portion provides students the opportunity to work with a community based organization, in an already existing program or project offered by the community organization. Overall, the course is intended to offer students an opportunity to act and reflect about the realities and challenges of community engagement and to participate alongside the principal social agents in a community environment.