South Africa provides unique opportunities for study abroad students. It is a highly industrialized country that maintains its African identity, thus bridging the gap between Africa and the Western world. Moreover, South Africa provides perspectives on the central issues of "race" and "ethnicity" unlike those found virtually anywhere else in the world. The apartheid system was the most stringent structure of racial domination outside of the segregated American South, but its demise has led to a wide rejection of all forms of discrimination in the new South Africa; the constitution also rejects discrimination along the lines of gender and sexuality. With this, South Africa has embarked on one of the most interesting social experiments anywhere.
Pietermaritzburg is a city of 300,000 located about one hour's drive from the Indian Ocean, the Drakensburg Mountains, and Durban, the second most populous city in South Africa. A city of charm which has maintained its colonial architecture and style, it is today a diverse city with tree-lined streets and bustling shops and restaurants.
The HWS South Africa program is offered in affiliation with InterStudy, an organization which has placed U.S. students in South African universities since the end of apartheid. The program is based in Pietermaritzburg on the campus of the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN), located in the suburban neighborhood of Scottsville, about a 20-minute walk from the city center. The students will reside and take all classes on UKZN's secure campus. The University of KwaZulu Natal aims to be a university that truly reflects the society in which it is situated, not only in terms of race, class and gender but also in its values, priorities and its response to human needs. It is an institution where HWS students who are interested in service-learning (in some cases for credit, in others as a co-curricular activity) can readily find opportunities to work alongside South African peers to assist local community-based organizations.
Students will select four courses from UKZN's broad menu of opportunities. Disciplines taught by the university on the Pietermaritzburg campus include: art, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, economics, education, English literature, environmental studies, geology, history, IR, mathematics, media studies, philosophy, physics, psychology, political science, religious studies, sociology, and a variety of European and African languages. Students will receive assistance from InterStudy in selecting appropriate courses in consultation with their HWS academic advisor. For more information about specific disciplines and courses available through UKZN, please visit this website.
This program is suited to students in many fields, but will be of particular interest to those studying Africana studies, environmental studies, studio art, and the social sciences.
This program is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 2.75 Due to the challenging nature of study abroad and this location in particular, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened. (Note that because of the timing of the South African academic calendar, seniors will not be able to return in time for commencement on the HWS campus.)
Students will live in single bedrooms alongside South African students in university residences located on the secure, self-contained campus of the University of KwaZulu Natal. The residences include furnished kitchen facilities for students to prepare their own meals. As an alternative, dining halls are available on campus where students will "pay as they go" for meals.
This program focuses more on 'living' South Africa than on the tourist experience. Nevertheless, an orientation session is offered each semester with all Interstudy students, in one South African locale, and there is generally an overnight excursion to another area of interest. This might be to Johannesburg, to the Drakensburg Mountains, to a game park, to Robben Island, or another uniquely-interesting South African location. Some day trips may be offered as well.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room fees and a $550 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, housing and all course- related expenses, including excursions, a cell phone and International Student ID card. Note that no board charge is included: students should plan to bring their board fee to cover meal expenses throughout the program. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa, immunizations, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $1600 from the East Coast, books at $150, and visa/immunizations at $200. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1000 above and beyond meal expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.
NOTE: This information is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.