Cape Town, South Africa

Leadership Through Mandela's Example

Summer '23 applications open!
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Information for term Leadership Through Mandela's Example

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

January 18, 2023

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: January 18, 2023
  • Dates: Jun 18 – Jul 8, 2023 (3 weeks)

Application Deadline

January 18, 2023

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: January 18, 2023
  • Dates: Jul 9 – 29, 2023 (3 weeks)


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Spend three weeks working on projects that bring Nelson Mandela’s legacy to life.

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, is famous for his leading role in ending South Africa’s apartheid system of racial segregation. He was elected to office after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. But his legacy did not end there. During his five years as president (1994–1999), he also introduced housing, education and economic development initiatives to improve the living standards of the country’s black population.
Although Cape Town has come a long way, it’s clear there’s still much work to be done. Today Mandela’s mission continues through a variety of NGO service initiatives that address the inequality and economic disparity evident throughout the city. Ready to join in? This summer you can spend the Mandela Month of Service doing meaningful work where it matters most.
What will you get up to? It depends on the local communities’ needs, so no two summer programs are alike. Your team might be tasked with mural painting, gardening or maintenance projects at a local hospital or library; working with a service group that provides shelter and support for homeless people; or planting a community permaculture garden in a local township.
Back at your home base, you’ll bond with classmates at the CIEE Global Institute, where you’ll live, share meals, and attend classes. On group outings you can grab street food favorites like koeksisters (donuts) and boerewors sausage rolls. Cooking classes will give you a taste of Cape Malay curries and other regional cuisines. Field trips get you out and about to experience the full gamut of South African culture.
Once-in-a-lifetime excursions include a trip to Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned from 1964–1982 for leading the resistance to apartheid. Other trips take you to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. At the end of it all, you’ll take time to put the history you’ve absorbed into context and reflect on a global experience you’ll never forget.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

CIEE is requiring all participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling on programs. Read more ›

The Take-Aways


    Get perspective on South Africa’s progress in expanding access to education and appreciate the work that remains to be done. Reflect on your own leadership style and strengths as you learn how to work across cultural lines!


    After just 3 weeks away, you'll build self-confidence, gain a broader world view, improve your interpersonal communication skills and make lifelong friends from all across the U.S.


    Topics for your college essays, experience to inform your future career, a Certificate of 50 hours of Service Learning.

Location & Culture

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Cape Town is a multicultural city with many outside influences and a history as a trading city.

This harbour city boasts many natural landmarks such as Table Mountain and stunning beaches; it is no wonder that Cape Town is Africa’s number-one tourist destination. Cape Town offers much to do: hiking, museums, shopping at markets, and restaurants, and plenty of opportunities to interact with Cape Town's diverse population. As a microcosm of many African countries in transition, Cape Town illuminates the issues of joining the global economy while grappling with vast socioeconomic inequalities born from its colonial and apartheid past.


Upon arriving in South Africa participants will begin a three-day orientation in Johannesburg. Staying in a bed and breakfast will give you the opportunity to get to know one another while participating in different workshops focusing on a variety of themes — culture, language, academics, social norms, current events — all designed to best prepare you for your experience in South Africa. After orientation, you will depart for your host community in Cape Town. 

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.

Daily Life

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Daily Life

Every day brings new discoveries and fun, but you can always count on a perfect balance between interactive instruction, excursions and free time! Here's what to expect on a typical day:

  • 7:00 am: Get up and have breakfast at your dorm/hotel
  • 8:00 am: Walk or take public transportation to CIEE for morning instruction
  • 9:00 am - 12:00 pm: Interactive class with a local teacher. Format may change to workshops or guest lectures, depending on the day.
  • 12:00 pm - 1:00pm: Find a fun spot to grab lunch with your friends (your program tuition includes a stipend for lunches).
  • 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm: Gather back at CIEE to go on today's cultural activity or excursion.
  • 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm: Each activity or excursion is designed to echo what you learned in class that morning.
  • 5:00 pm - 7:00pm: Free time! Hang out with your friends and shop. Commute back to your hotel/dorm.
  • 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Dinner
  • 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Wrap up any homework. Usually just readings or personal research for your project.
  • 10:00 pm: Lights out!


Learn more about daily life on a high school study abroad program by reading our blog posts below.

  • Housing


  • Local Support

    24/7 Support from your CIEE program leader and in-country CIEE staff members

Program Blogs

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Program Blogs


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Sample Activities


  • Take a bike tour around the most southwesterly point of Africa.
  •  Observe penguins and ostriches!
  •  Visit Table Mountain, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
  •  Hike up Lion’s Head during a full moon.
  •  Visit landmarks that help define Mandela’s life – the Apartheid Museum, Mandela’s home, and the prison on Robben Island.
  •  Walk the route of the June 16, 1976, student uprising in Soweto.
  • Play rugby or cricket and enjoy downtime with local peers.

​Please note this list of activities is based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to both adapt to local circumstances and participant feedback. Our goal when revising itineraries is always to enhance your experience. Every activity is designed to provide you with a deep immersion in your topic, local culture and sights. Get ready for maximum fun!

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees


  • Program open to all current high school students: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. 
  • For scholarship eligibility requirements, please check our Scholarship page.

Application Fee


Program scholarships and tuition include iNext Travel Insurance, but do not cover the cost of flights. More details about tuition inclusions can be found here.


Application Due

Start Date

End Date


Summer Session I 2023 3 weeks Jan 18, 2023 Jun 18, 2023 Jul 8, 2023


Summer Session II 2023 3 weeks Jan 18, 2023 Jul 9, 2023 Jul 29, 2023


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