In Cape Town, every day will be like a choose-your-own-adventure book: imagine breathtaking views from atop Table Mountain, hiking Lion's Head at sunset, visiting beaches-there's even a beach with penguins!-and more.
When you study with us in South Africa, you will register for three to five courses at South Africa's leading research university, the University of Cape Town (UCT), which is located in a pleasant suburban area five miles from the City Center. UCT is South Africa's oldest university and has undergone incredible change since its opening, particularly since the end of apartheid, working to make quality higher education available to students regardless of race. UCT is officially recognized for its strengths in African Studies, Biology, Botany, Business, Environmental Sciences, History, Mathematics, Engineering, Sociology, and Anthropology.
Service learning in and around Cape Town is a core component in our program as it helps you understand some of Cape Town's most pressing social issues, while contributing your skills toward a community-driven solution. Our service learning course options in Health Studies and Sociology include completing 60 hours of volunteer work and research while in Cape Town.
Students will have options for their community-based service work, either through IES Abroad courses or by volunteering with other local organizations. In addition, UCT students often join SHAWCO, the University's volunteer progra.Through these opportunities, you will get a first-hand look at the city's social and economic issues affecting different groups in Cape Town.
Cape Town will be your classroom. In your free time, visit local gems like the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site) beautiful Camps Bay Beach, or climb the iconic Table Mountain and catch the cable car back down. We challenge you to take full advantage of South Africa’s beautiful climate and geography. We take you on optional field trips to the Eastern Cape's beautiful Garden Route and to the Kruger National Park where you can enjoy game drives experienced game rangers. Hopefully your adventure will include seeing the “Big Five": the lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhino. Other optional day trip excursions may include visiting the District 6 Museum and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for many years.
We want you to feel at home in South Africa, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible.
After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.
Arrive at the airport between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. in order to be picked up by IES Abroad staff. You will be responsible for making your way to your IES Abroad housing if your flight falls outside of this timeframe. If your flight arrives before or after this time, please be sure that your arrival information is reflected in your Arrival form and that your IES Abroad advisor is informed of your plans as soon as possible.
Arrive at the airport between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. in order to be picked up by IES Abroad staff. You will be responsible for making your way to your IES Abroad housing if your flight falls outside of this timeframe. If your flight arrives before or after this time, please be sure that your arrival information is reflected in your Arrival form and that your IES Abroad advisor is informed of your plans as soon as possible.
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 Cape Town.
You take 15–19 credit hours per semester as you enroll in University of Cape Town courses. You may also elect to take one of the IES Abroad courses.
Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional program components:
IES Abroad syllabi are available at http://www.IESAbroad.org/capetown.
After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.
About the University of Cape Town
The oldest university in South Africa, the University of Cape Town is also South Africa’s leading research institution. International students make up about 20% of the total enrollment at the University. UCT is located four miles from the Cape Town City Center. Your commute time to campus is between 15-30 minutes, which is common for local students.
Most courses at UCT are lecture-based, some with very large classes, and they usually meet between two and five days per week. Lectures are often accompanied by tutorials, which are much smaller and allow discussion of topics and concepts covered during the lecture. Past students have found these tutorials to be extremely useful.
Choose from many courses in the following faculties at the University of Cape Town.
South Africa-focused courses are available in fields such as Cultural Studies, Dance, History, Language, Literature, Music, Photography, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology. You may not enroll in courses in the Health Sciences faculty.
IES Abroad and the University of Cape Town reserve the right to cancel a course due to insufficient enrollment or circumstances beyond our control. Specific course listings and options are available to view on the University of Cape Town website at www.uct.ac.za/apply/handbooks.
Participating in a service learning experience in Cape Town is one of the best ways to gain a deeper understanding of the city's culture and society. Working alongside local people towards a common goal, you experience first-hand some of the social issues that affect Cape Town, while contributing your skills towards a community-driven solution.
A service learning placement consists of time spent with a local organization, accompanied by a weekly academic, for-credit service learning seminar. Through the seminar, you have structure time for reflection, discussion, and research on the issues of your host community. Many of the community organization connections are created through relationships with the IES Abroad faculty. IES Abroad will assist your efforts by facilitating introductions to organizations and through the coordination of group transportation to the location (for IES Abroad class-based community-service).
Each semester, our students work on a different project, depending on the needs of the community or organization where they are volunteering. You will visit the community at the beginning of the semester and return several times during the semester to work on projects that will contribute to the organization long after you return home. At the end of the semester, you are welcome to donate clothing, toiletries, and supplies left from your time in Cape Town to local organizations.
Recent community engagement placements for IES Abroad students include:
You may also participate in UCT-organized service learning opportunities through an organization called SHAWCO (UCT Students' Health and Welfare Centres Organisation). Here you can volunteer your time to ongoing educational and healthcare service projects. These are non-credit bearing, so many IES Abroad students join SHAWCO as part of their student life experience in Cape Town.
In Cape Town, you have two housing options.
Private Houses or Apartments - You may live with other IES Abroad students in a furnished house or apartment near the University of Cape Town. Furnished houses and apartments offer single and double rooms, a communal lounge, and a fully-equipped kitchen area. All houses and apartments are equipped with digital safes for storage of personal belongings. Internet access is available but not guaranteed.
UCT Residence Halls - You may also choose to live in one of the University of Cape Town Residence Halls or shared apartments with South African and international students. In a furnished single room in a residence hall, you will have access to a shared kitchen and a private bathroom. Laundry facilities on site are free to use and easy to access. Internet access is available but not guaranteed. Students can access UCT WiFi from their rooms. All residence hall rooms are equipped with digital safes.
Part of making you feel at home in Cape Town is doing our best to help 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 the field trips and walking tours that take you to places off the beaten path— we’re all about our student services.
Orientation in Cape Town is spread over two weeks. It starts with an IES Abroad orientation (3 days) where you are introduced to the IES Abroad Cape Town staff, your fellow students, the city of Cape Town and its surrounding areas, in addition to the University of Cape Town campus.
Orientation continues with a trip along the Garden Route, the south-eastern coast line of South Africa, where you explore cave systems, visit beautiful beaches, canoe, hike, and experience the breathtaking beauty of the South African landscape. During our orientation, you also enjoy a tour of downtown Cape Town and a local township.
You will then attend the University of Cape Town’s orientation (5-6 days) that gives you details on academics, extracurricular activities, and volunteer opportunities. The International Academic Programs Office’s activities include a tour around the Cape Peninsula and the chance to participate in an African-style drumming event.
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.
Even though your adventure begins in Cape Town, our field trips take you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of your host country. In addition to trips to the District 6 Museum and Robben Island, these two major field trips are optional and partially subsidized by IES Abroad:
Garden Route3 Days / Orientation
Travel along the south-eastern coast line of South Africa, better known as the Garden Route. Explore the Cango Cave system, tour a wildlife ranch, an ostrich farm, and select a visit to an animal sanctuary. Experience the beauty and diversity of the South African landscape as you hike and canoe along the Route.
Kruger National Park/Soweto Township
Explore the beauty and cultures of South Africa on this three-to-five-day excursion. This trip begins with a flight to Johannesburg where you will visit the Apartheid Museum and take a bicycle tour through the historic Soweto township. The next day, you’ll travel east to the Kruger National Park, where you'll spend a day and a half looking for the wide variety of animals who live there, including elephant, lion, leopard, hippo, giraffe, and rhino.
About the Center
The IES Abroad Cape Town Center is conveniently located by the University of Cape Town campus. The Center is a place where students can stop by and talk to staff, use WiFi, pick up their mail, and study in the library. IES Abroad courses are also offered in the Center classroom, and special guest lectures and other events may be held in the Center space. Located on the slope of Devil’s Peak in a pleasant suburban area of Cape Town, UCT’s scenic campus blends into the natural scenery and provides beautiful views.
Features at our Center include: reception area, library and lounge, classroom, meeting space, and staff offices. The University of Cape Town campus offers students access to libraries, museums, theaters, cafés, and university sports facilities. There is a free UCT shuttle service (the Jammie shuttle) around campus and nearby areas for students.
Natanya took up the position of Center Director at the IES Abroad Cape Town Center after working as the Assistant Director of the IES Abroad Center in London and as the Resident Director of an IES Abroad French language summer program in Quebec City, Canada. Originally from South Africa, she graduated from the University KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa where she majored in Spanish and French, and also studied Linguistics, Sociology, Drama, Zulu, and Afrikaans. She spent a year studying abroad in California as a Rotary International Exchange student and has also lived in the UK, Argentina, and France, and has traveled to over 40 other countries around the world.
IES Abroad Staff
Devonne BobbertService Learning & Short Programmes Manager
Mugove ChiwashiraAcademic & Internships Manager
Jody FeltonHousing & Office Manager