South Africa Study Abroad: The Ultimate Guide

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Summer in Cape Town

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College Study Abroad

South Africa is simply astonishing. From its varied topography and rich culture to its complex history and diverse wildlife, a South Africa study abroad program promises the adventure of a lifetime.  

Let’s dive in as we provide The Ultimate Guide to Study Abroad South Africa!  

Is South Africa a Good Place to Study Abroad?  

South Africa isn’t just a good place to study abroad – it’s excellent! And the experience will certainly deepen your global perspective.  

In each of our culture-packed South Africa study abroad programs, you’ll take on big topics like power, privilege, injustice, and reconciliation while exploring this stunning country, known for its beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, beloved vineyards, and more.  

When you study abroad in South Africa, you’ll take meaningful steps to truly becoming a global citizen while discovering new and interesting passions, making it an ideal study abroad location.  

Take a look at what we consider a few must-sees while you’re on your South Africa study abroad program:  

  • Addo Elephant National Park: A diverse wildlife conservation park known for its varied elephant species 
  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden: This extraordinary botanical garden features indigenous South Africa flora and much, much more  
  • Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa: Home to a large collection of artwork, from paintings and sculpture to photography and modern mixed media; you could spend weeks alone in this intriguing attraction 
  • Robben Island Museum: As one of South Africa’s most significant museums, you’ll learn more about Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment and the country’s complex history  

And that’s just scratching the surface – there’s a ton to see and do during your South Africa study abroad program!  

south africa students abroad owls

Read More: 4 Best Countries to Study Abroad in Africa  

Which City is the Best Place to Study in South Africa?  

Each city in South Africa is a marvel. But we consider Cape Town one of the best places to study in South Africa. In fact, it’s where all our South Africa study abroad programs take place!  

Cape Town is one of South Africa’s capital cities (the country has three!) and serves as a major port. Surrounded by the stunning Table Mountain, the natural landscapes and views in Cape Town are unmatched.  

The city is also quite cosmopolitan, with a diverse multicultural population, fascinating customs and traditions, as well as a modern and lively vibe. You’ll be plenty busy doing just about anything in this city, from surfing and hiking to touring its bustling restaurant scene and scenic vineyards. See for yourself why studying abroad in Cape Town is marvelous! 

How Safe is South Africa for International Students?  

As one of the country’s major economic hubs, Cape Town is a popular tourist destination with regular international visitors. As with any major city (including the U.S.), students should take certain precautions to keep themselves and others safe, including keeping valuable items on your person and in secure places, traveling with a buddy, and heeding the advice of your CIEE center teams – they’ll provide you with guidance and support if you’re ever unsure about something.  

Plus, with CIEE, you’re guaranteed reputable housing. You’ll also study at well-known institutions, like CIEE Cape Town, or one of the country’s top universities, University of Cape Town (UCT), depending on the South Africa study abroad program you choose.  

It’s always a good idea to remain cautious and vigilant when traveling in any new place, including when you study abroad in South Africa.  

cape good hope abroad students

How Much Does It Cost to Study Abroad in South Africa?  

The cost of your South Africa study abroad trip depends on the program you choose! Currently, our programs range from $3,950 to $20,850. The program costs vary based on a variety of factors, including length of program and credits earned. 

However, our one-time program fee covers most expenses, no matter which South Africa study abroad program you choose, including:  

  • Tuition 
  • Housing 
  • Pre-departure advising  
  • Orientation 
  • On-site staff and 24/7 emergency support 
  • Culture and co-curricular activities 
  • Travel protection  

Read More: How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in 2023? 

Are There Study Abroad Scholarships for South Africa?  

Of course! Each of our college study abroad programs provide scholarship opportunities, including when you study abroad in South Africa. 

We offer millions in scholarships and grants each year to make studying abroad a reality for as many students as we can. Check out our How to Apply For Scholarships page to see what type of financial aid you might be eligible for. We’re always available for questions, too.  

Read More: How to Apply to a Study Abroad Scholarship at CIEE: 4 Simple Steps 

Best Study Abroad Programs in South Africa  

We offer six exciting South Africa study abroad programs – check them out below!  

Summer in Cape Town 

What better place to spend your summer than in incredible Cape Town? Take fascinating courses on a variety of subjects that pique your interest at CIEE Cape Town and even learn to speak Afrikaans or isiXhosa with this amazing South Africa study abroad program.  

Program details:  

  • Length: Six weeks 
  • Credits: 6-7 per Block semester hours/9-10.5 per Block quarter hours 
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA  
  • Cost: $6,950 
  • Featured Course: South African Literature and Film  
  • Excursion Highlight: Hike the world-renowned Table Mountain 

Arts + Sciences 

Dive into South African culture and discover more about Cape Town with this remarkable semester-long South Africa study abroad program. You’ll get to study at the University of Cape Town, a top-ranked university in all of Africa that’s internationally recognized for its programs in Development Studies, Environmental Science and Engineering, and Oceanography.   

Program details:  

  • Length: 20 weeks 
  • Credits: 15-18 semester hours/22.5-27 quarter hours 
  • Eligibility: 3.0 Overall GPA 
  • Cost: $20,850 
  • Featured Course: African Studies at UCT  
  • Excursion Highlight: Join local fans at a sports stadium to watch cricket or rugby – popular games in South Africa  


south africa students selfie

Open Campus Block  

Spend six weeks, or up to 18 weeks, exploring Cape Town with our Open Campus Block program option in South Africa. Through the Open Campus Block program, you can earn credits in history, politics, literature, film, gender studies, communication, community health, international relations, STEM, and more while enjoying the city’s 72 khaki-colored beaches, its quintessential Rondebosch district, and restaurants galore.  

Program details: 

  • Length: Six to 18 weeks 
  • Credits: 6-7 per Block semester hours/9-10.5 per Block quarter hours 
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA 
  • Cost: $6,950 per block 
  • Featured Course: Cape Town as Emerging Global City  
  • Excursion Highlight: Travel to the Cape of Good Hope, the most southwestern point of Africa  

Summer Global Internship  

Gain work experience in fascinating Cape Town and learn more about South Africa’s challenges firsthand. CIEE Cape Town staff will work directly with you to connect you with the right professional opportunity in the city. You’ll gain incredible knowledge in a field you’re passionate about all while exploring South Africa – you can’t beat it.  

Program details:  

  • Length: Eight weeks 
  • Credits: 6 semester hours/9 quarter hours 
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA 
  • Cost: $7,450 
  • Excursion Highlight: Take a cable car to the top of Table Mountain and see a breathtaking view of the South Atlantic Ocean  

Cape Town Summer Community Development and Social Justice: Theory + Practice  

Support and engage with marginalized communities in Cape Town with this impactful South Africa study abroad program. If you have a passion for service-oriented work and making a difference, this option is perfect for you.  

Program details: 

  • Length: Eight weeks 
  • Credits: 6 semester hours / 9 quarter hours 
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA 
  • Cost: $8,650 
  • Featured Course: Poverty and Development: Cape Town Case Study  
  • Excursion Highlight: Enjoy a braai (South African barbeque) with locals in the township community of Langa  


sunset south africa abroad

January in Cape Town  

Spend part of your winter in gorgeous Cape Town! You’ll earn some extra credits toward your degree with this short-term South Africa study abroad option and adventure through one of the most beautiful places on earth.  

Program details:  

  • Length: Three weeks 
  • Credits: 3 semester hours/4.5 quarter hours 
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA 
  • Cost: $3,950 
  • Featured Course: From Rhodes to Mandela and from Apartheid to AIDS  
  • Excursion Highlight: Explore the District Six Museum  

South Africa is Calling 

A South Africa study abroad adventure will be an experience like no other. With the chance to meet people from all over the world, learn more about a mix of cultures and rich history, and feast your eyes on stunning landscapes, you’ll land back home with a deep global perspective and appreciation. We can’t wait for you to get started!