sunset cape town mountain
Cape Town, South Africa

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

Study Program



8 weeks



6 semester hours

9 quarter hours


Application Deadline

The application deadline has passed.

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Do you want to spend your summer supporting and engaging with marginalized communities? Bring your service-oriented work ethic to South Africa, where you can put learning into action to make a meaningful impact in Cape Town.

Your summer in Cape Town will begin with theoretical work, followed by digging into hands-on projects to give you firsthand experience of post-Apartheid life in various Cape Town communities. This transformative study abroad opportunity will show you the real-world economic, political, and social challenges the people in this evolving, international city regularly face. In addition, you will have plenty of free time to explore the magnificent mountains, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife of this South African gem to fully immerse yourself in all that the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town has to offer.

Unique Experiences

Make a difference

with a series of small-scale projects and a two-week endeavor to boost Cape Flats community schools, orphanages, or NGOs

Begin to learn

about power, privilege, and the complexities of development aid in South Africa

Connect Locally

Enjoy a braai (barbeque) with locals in the township community of Langa, and sample Cape Malay cuisine in the Bo-Kaap


official languages

4.8 M

population of Cape Town


UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  • cape town students hiking platteklip gorge
  • cape town student doing "crane kick" on mountain overlook the city at night

The Destination

Cape Town is South Africa's most popular destination for many reasons. From the city's glorious climate to its natural attractions – like Table Mountain and stunning beaches – visitors from all around the world travel to this incredible port city. Cape Town is a microcosm of the challenges facing many African countries in transition. The city leads by example by demonstrating how to successfully operate within a global economy while grappling with the vast socioeconomic inequalities that are the legacy of the city's colonial and apartheid past.  

Cape Town's Mediterranean climate means the months from May to July bring cool days and some rain. Daily high temperatures are around 64°F, rarely falling below 57°F or exceeding 72°F. This summer program operates during Cape Town's winter season!  

CIEE Cape Town is conveniently located within 15 minutes of the Langa (isiXhosa for "Sun") community, where students serve local organizations and residents. Although there are 11 national languages spoken in South Africa, everyone in Cape Town speaks English, and students can easily communicate with residents and other students. Students don't need to speak isiXhosa, although learning a few casual greetings will open the pathway to new friendships. Molweni!

CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. Local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter in Cape Town.

The Culture

students take photos of each other abroad cape town

Excursions & Activities

Featured excursion

Your program begins with an intensive, immersive Expectations Workshop. We retreat for two days with instructors who help prepare you for the daily life experiences, challenges, and opportunities of the communities you will serve. This workshop takes place in a beautiful location away from CIEE Cape Town. We can’t wait to show you!

Other activities:

  • Explore iconic areas like Cape Peninsula and the Cape Flats. 
  • Catch a rugby or soccer match, theater, music, or dance productions. 
  • Gain new perspectives on social challenges here as you serve a community in deep poverty with iKhaya le Langa (House of the Sun), or do similar work at another NGO, school, or orphanage. 
  • Visit one of the New Seven Wonders of the Natural World, Table Mountain. 
  • Enjoy your creative side while you cook up a feast at a Food Jam. 

Program Blogs


South Africa Study Abroad: The Ultimate Guide

By College Study Abroad at CIEE

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... keep reading


4 Best Countries to Study Abroad in Africa

By College Study Abroad at CIEE

Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent on the planet. The people, the landscapes, the animals, and more that make up this magnificent region are diverse and profound. If... keep reading


The Cape Seal of Approval

By Cape Town Centre at CIEE

Authored by Kai Edem (she/her) (Kai is a second-year undergraduate student at Agnes Scott College, majoring in Neuroscience. She is excited to discover more about research opportunities available during her... keep reading

What People are Saying

  • "The CIEE CDSJ program has been very integral to my learning experience and professional growth."

    Malcom S., Occidental College



In this 8-week program, all students take the required courses: Poverty and Development Cape Town Case Study and Community and Partnership: Theory and Engagement. The program begins with theoretical work that provides a foundation for projects and an understanding of the challenges of daily life in Cape Town. Then, students put theory into practice with community projects in local community organizations. Students come away with a strong grasp of South African history, politics, educational challenges, values, and traditions. In-class work is augmented with co-curricular visits to the city’s rich variety of cultural institutions and organizations relevant to the course offerings.

Courses are taught by CIEE faculty, Monday – Friday, with some activities taking place on weekends. Instruction is supported and augmented online by our learning management system, Canvas.

CIEE Cape Town is located in the Rondebosch district, near the University of Cape Town campus. 



Language Requirements

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

Additional Requirements

Students should have prior experience in community service or volunteer work. 

Please refer to the detailed Program Essential Eligibility Criteria.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


Students take the two required courses:

  • AFST 3003 CTSU / DEVE 3001 CTSU: Poverty and Development Cape Town Case Study 
  • CMBL 3001 CTSU: Community and Partnership: Theory and Engagement 

Program Credit

Total credit: 6 U.S. semester/9 quarter credits 

Course Credit

  • Poverty and Development Cape Town Case Study: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours 
  • Community and Partnership: 3 U.S. semester credits/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours inclusive of 90 service hours 

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Academic Culture

CIEE courses are designed to follow U.S. academic culture and standards. Each course is a full semester in content, so the pace is accelerated, and the workload is demanding given that a significant amount of time will be spent at students’ service site. To avoid falling behind, students should not plan personal travel out of Cape Town when classes are in session. 

Class Format

Classes taught at the CIEE Cape Town Center are for CIEE students only. The class environment typically features a combination of traditional lecture and discussion with co-curricular excursions and activities. Heavy emphasis is placed on student participation. 


The U.S. grading scale of A-F is used. Students are graded based on participation, reflection papers, a presentation, and a final exam. 

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Language of Instruction


Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


Course Information

Summer 2024

Semester Credit

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 canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
"(GI)" denotes courses that originated at CIEE's Global Institutes and that are offered at multiple CIEE sites.


Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers scholarships and grants annually to help students like you make your study abroad dream a reality.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Wollitzer Merit Scholarships in Area or Comparative Studies
  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant
  • MSI Grant
  • CIEE Stem Scholarship

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application.

Learn more about scholarships

Dates & Fees

Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.


Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Fees & Housing

Program Summer 2024 8 weeks Application Due Deadline Passed Start Date End Date Fees & Housing $8,650

To help you budget, keep in mind that students are responsible for the cost of international airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, visas, and personal expenses. In addition, your college or university may charge additional fees for study abroad, or may require you to receive a transcript via CIEE's School of Record, which carries an additional fee of $500.

Program Fees

CIEE offers the most student support of any provider in its program fee, including an airport greeting, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and CIEE iNext travel protection with benefits.

Participation Confirmation = $300*

Educational Costs = $6,303**

Housing = $1,850

Insurance = $197

Total Fees = $8,650

Estimated Costs

Students are responsible and manage costs related to travel, meals, books, and personal expenses. Below are estimates for consideration.

Meals not included in program fee = $520

International Airfare = $1,450

Local Transportation = $350

Books & Supplies = $50

Personal expenses = $150

Other = $80

Total Costs = $2,600

Financial Aid

CIEE offers the most grants and scholarships of any study abroad organization, including $8 million/year in travel grants, merit-based scholarships, institutional and MSI grants, and Gilman Go Global Grants.

See Scholarships


**direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students

For groceries if you plan on making your own meals, budget more money if you plan on eating out regularly.

What's Included



Pre-departure Advising

Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions

Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet


Introduction to your program plus practical information about living in your host city

On-site Staff

Full-time program leadership and support in your city

Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities

Excursions and/or Study Tours

Travel Protection

CIEE iNext travel protection

24/7 emergency on-site support


Our Staff

Nompilo Ndlovu

Center Director

Dr. Nompilo Ndlovu has over a decade of experience working within the academic, policy and non-profit sectors, focused on the African continent.

Shalom Chitanda

Student Life Coordinator

Shalom is a two-time graduate of the University of Cape Town, with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and a B.A. in History and Law. She currently holds the portfolio of...

Caleb Kay

Student Life Coordinator

Caleb has a degree in Political Science, Governance, and Sociology from the University of Cape Town.

Max Hoffenberg 

Academic Coordinator

Max graduated from the University of Cape Town with majors in Environmental/Geographical Science and Media Writing/Journalism.

Get Started Steps

Get Started

Here’s what you need to do to take the next steps:


Start an Application
You're one step closer to an amazing study abroad experience!


Connect With Your Campus Study Abroad Office 
Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad.


Contact Us 
Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.

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