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 in the world.


Grahamstown is a small city located about 125 km west of Port Elizabeth, the major city and airport in the region. Situated in South Africa’s “wild” province, the Eastern Cape features expanses of untouched beach, bush and forest. This was Nelson Mandela’s home province, and is an area with some enticing attractions–among them the Addo Elephant National Park, with the densest elephant population in the world; the dramatic Wild Coast; and Mandela’s home at Qunu.


The HWS South Africa program is hosted by Rhodes University, an institution with a world-wide reputation for academic excellence and rigor. RU is distinctive among South African Universities for its small size (7,000 students) which enables close mentorship and collaboration between students and faculty. In addition, Rhodes’ “residential college” structure is unique and promotes a strong feeling of community. The university has a long-standing commitment to community engagement and students will have the opportunity to elect structured service-learning classes for academic credit to foster an understanding of the wider community and the challenges facing the people of the Eastern Cape.


Students will select four courses from Rhodes University’s broad menu of opportunities. Most HWS disciplines are represented, but in particular there are rich opportunities for students interested in anthropology, art, biology, biochemistry, economics, English literature, environmental studies, geoscience, history, IR, physics, political science, sociology and the performing arts (music, dance and theatre). For more specific information on courses available through Rhodes 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, development studies, peace studies, non-western art, music and dance.


This program is open to juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Rising sophomores will be considered only if they have reached a 3.5 gpa or higher at the time of application. 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

Students will live alongside South African students in supervised and maintained residences located on the secure, selfcontained Rhodes University campus. Note that most halls of residence house only men or only women. The residences are clustered into groups that share a common dining hall promoting community and fellowship while offering inexpensive and balanced meals. There is no “meal plan” per se but a pay-as-you-go system. You may also choose to take meals off campus at area restaurants.


This program focuses more on “living” South Africa than in promoting a tourist experience. Nevertheless, an orientation session is offered each semester which includes visits to sites in Grahamstown and in the region of the Eastern Cape. Port Elizabeth is within easy reach by public transportation for the occasional urban weekend experience. The university provides students interested in travelling further afield with links to area travel agencies and group tour organizations. Students who join Rhodes U societies such as the mountain club will also have the opportunity to hike and camp. All students have an Easter break when they can travel together in small groups to more distant locales such as Cape Town, the Drakenburg Mountains and other areas of interest.


Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room fees and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, housing and all course-related expenses, including airport pick-up for those arriving on the designated group flight and transport to service sites for those enrolled in the service program. Note that no board charge is included: students should plan to bring their board fee to cover meal expenses throughout the program, which are estimated at approximately $1800 for the semester. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, immunizations, health insurance, visa and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, local transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $1600-$1800 from the East Coast, books at $200, visa at $100 and 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, but students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, talk to the CGE staff who can offer advice based on your specific situation.


  • This program is offered every Spring semester.
  • Applications are available at the Center for Global Education.
  • Applications are due at the CGE office at a selected date in March. For specific date contact the CGE.

NOTE: This information is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.



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