Start your South African adventure in Cape Town, an iconic city and popular spot for those who want to explore Southern Africa. Located between the Cape of Good Hope and Table Mountain, Cape Town is the southern-most city in the country, with a beautiful landscape of flora and fauna.
Through our program, organized in partnership with Howard University, you directly enroll in the University of the Western Cape (UWC), a university with great historic significance. Founded in 1960, under the separate University bill of 1957, the UWC became a center of the student struggle against apartheid. After the end of the apartheid, many UWC alumni and academics played an active role in the South African government.
Today, UWC is heralded as the leading university in South Africa in its long-held commitment to include South Africa’s non-white population in its education. This research university is one of the most diverse universities in South Africa, ranks among the top third of South African universities, and has a highly selective admissions process. You can take courses in Art, Education, Economics, and Natural Sciences.
Cape Town will also be your classroom. With 11 official languages, South Africa is a melting pot of cultures, giving you a great opportunity to meet new people and learn about their heritage. Local students will be your roommates while you stay at UWC’s residences. Through living and learning in Cape Town, you will be able to witness first-hand a society undergoing exciting and dynamic changes. The “Mother City”, as Cape Town is called, is also the legislative capital of South Africa. Welcome to study abroad!
When you’re not learning in Cape Town, you’ll be exploring beautiful South Africa. One highlight of our field trip offerings is a 3-hour game drive in an open safari vehicle at Kruger National Park. See exotic animals up close and visit Blyde Canyon, which is one of the largest in the world.
We want you to feel at home in South Africa, so we will do everything we can to help you integrate into life there. We invite you to take advantage of volunteer opportunities, experience traditional African cultures, and partake in an internship through the University to fully experience all that Cape Town has to offer.
After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. That is why we partnered with the University of the Western Cape.
You take 15–19 credit hours per semester. Full year students may elect to take all of their courses at the University of the Western Cape in their second semester.
You will create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional program components:
About University of the Western Capewww.uwc.ac.za
Explore the cultural and social landscape of the Republic of South Africa through a semester of study abroad at the University of Western Cape (UWC), a major research university with a highly diverse student body. The University has a strong tradition of outreach in local communities, in particular the townships that are still home to tens of thousands of people of color in the Cape Town area. It is a hands-on opportunity to study the social and economic transformation of the country.
UWC is located in the attractive northern suburb of Bellville, and its scenic campus, which includes a nature reserve, blends into the natural scenery and provides beautiful views of the surrounding mountains of the Cape Peninsula and Stellenbosch. Bellville is just 12 miles from the center of Cape Town and is known for its active music scene.
Challenge yourself at UWC in a wide variety of courses, including the Natural and Social Sciences, the Humanities, Economics, Business, Psychology, Social Work, Exercise Science and Education.
Qualified students can elect courses in the faculties of Art, Education, Economic and Management Sciences, and Natural Science. A limited number of courses in the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences are also available for IES Abroad students.
The undergraduate fields offered at UWC include:
This is a list of planned course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.
While adding study abroad to your resume is impressive enough, adding an international service learning experience is even more powerful.
Service learning provides an invaluable cultural experience, and helps you develop professional and personal skills. With our service learning elective, you can participate in field experiences in the community. IES Abroad’s service learning course will help you link your placement and academic interests to be sure you get the most out of your experience.
IES Abroad Field Experience Course (Optional)
The IES Abroad Field Experience Course provides you with service learning that focuses on social and economic development in South Africa.
Field placements in NGOs in the Cape Town area offer you a direct insight into the efforts to create opportunities for all South Africans.
Even though you’re directly enrolling in one of our partner universities, there’s something IES Abroad wants you to know: we’re here for you if you need us.
Choosing and directly enrolling in courses abroad can be confusing and overwhelming. This is why we offer you predeparture advising that’s specific to your needs. Our goal is to provide support and guidance throughout your application and enrollment process.
But our advising services don’t stop there. While you’re in Cape Town, our staff is available to help you transition into your new home.
The support services we offer IES Abroad direct enrollment students are specifically designed to help you achieve your study abroad goals as effectively and smoothly as possible. We know studying abroad is an adventure, and, at times, you may need help or just someone to talk to—that’s why our staff will be there for you.
We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Cape Town, it will feel like home.
University of the Western Cape Residence -- Live in a single or double room of a residence located on the University of the Western Cape’s campus. Your roommates will be South African and international students. No meals are included, but you will have access to a kitchen.
Houses or Apartments – Live in furnished houses or apartments in residential areas near the University of Cape Town. Residential advisors live in IES Abroad housing and are available to assist you throughout the semester. Student houses and apartments offer fully-equipped kitchens for meal preparation, but meals are not included in the program fee. It’s important to note that this housing location is between 20-30 minutes away by bus from UWC’s campus. Students who choose this option are responsible for all commuting costs.
Part of making you feel at home in Cape Town is doing our best to make sure you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is an orientation program that makes you feel prepared, housing that is well-located and comfortable, or field trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services. This is just one of the things we’re known for.
Our multi-day orientation introduces you to our IES Abroad Cape Town staff, your fellow students, and the city of Cape Town and the surrounding area. The program begins with a trip to Bo-Kaap Kombuis, followed by a visit to Muizenberg and Kalk Bay situated on the beautiful shores of False Bay. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, and health and safety are covered during this time.
Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.
Redefine the way you live and learn in Cape Town through cultural events, such as:
Although your adventure begins in Cape Town, our field trips take you to other exciting African locations to provide contrast and context to what you are learning in Cape Town. You share a portion of the cost with IES Abroad. Past destinations are listed below.
Kruger National Park/Soweto
Take a 3-hour game-drive in an open safari vehicle with one of Kruger’s experienced game rangers. Then, enjoy a 4-hour, ecofriendly bike tour in Soweto, Johannesburg’s historic African township, to see a workers’ hostel, the Meadowlands, the Hector Pieterson Memorial, and Nelson Mandela’s former home.
Along a stretch of coastline between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains, tour the Cango Caves, visit an ostrich farm, and hike the Goukamma Reserve.
Our main IES Abroad Cape Town Center is conveniently located on the upper campus of the University of Cape Town. Located on the slope of Devil’s Peak in a pleasant suburban area of Cape Town, the scenic campus blends into the natural scenery and provides beautiful views.
We also maintain an office at the University of the Western Cape, in Bellville. That office is located at the Kovacs Student Village in the Administration Building.
Features at our main Center include computers and a small library and sitting area. Both the University of Cape Town (UCT), and the University of the Western Cape (UWC), feature libraries, museums, theatres and cafes as well as robust sports facilities. At UCT, there is a student shuttle service (the Jammie Shuttle) for those attending classes on its campus. Students at UWC are often within 5-10 minutes walking distance from their classes.
Naomi ClaassenIES Abroad Center Director
Naomi Claassen has been the Director of IES Abroad Cape Town since 2006. She came to IES Abroad from the University of Cape Town, where she served as coordinator of study abroad students for nine years and as a recruiter for the University for six years. Naomi was also a resident Warden at Rochester House, a UCT residence. Naomi earned her diploma in Education at the Western Cape College of Education and has completed an Associate in Management at UCT’s Graduate School of Business. She also has an Advanced Certificate in Adult Education.
IES Abroad Staff
Portia AdamsAdministrative and Finance Officer
Maxine JacobsStudent Affairs Coordinator
Nick ShepherdAcademic Coordinator
Devonne BobbertIES Coordinator at the University of the Western Cape
Mr. David StephensHealth and Community Development in South Africa
Dr. Firdouza WaggieEco-Justice in Africa
Ms. Liziwe McDaidPolity, Community Development, Urban Life in South Africa