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Experience the beauty and cultural diversity of South Africa while studying at one of nine South African universities that best fits your academic and personal goals. Offered through Interstudy, this program is co-sponsored by UW-Madison. You have the opportunity to study in South Africa for the semester, academic year, or calendar year, and will be directly enrolling in the university, taking courses alongside South African and international students.
The institutions available on this program are the following: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Rhodes University, University of the Western Cape, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Howard College), University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg), and Stellenbosch University.
Some excursions are included on this program as well. To help you get adjusted to your new setting and understand what life is like from your peers, Interstudy has implemented a mentor program. The Interstudy mentors are trusted students from your new host institution. Besides greeting you at the airport and helping you settle into your new surroundings, your mentors are available to answer questions you might have throughout the semester.
Getting to Your Program
Interstudy offers a group flight for this program. If you choose to make your own travel arrangements, you will be given guidelines for arrival dates and times. Provided you arrive on the designated day and time, an Interstudy staff member will meet you at the airport and travel with you to your university.
U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program. A student permit is required for U.S. citizens prior to departure. Interstudy will provide you with information and assist with this process.
OrientationIAP expects you to be an active participant in preparing yourself for your study abroad experience. As a participant on an IAP program, you will receive a pre-departure orientation, either in-person or online. The type and format of this orientation will vary by program and will be provided to you upon acceptance to the program.
Interstudy will also provide students with an on-site orientation. The on-site orientations include a wide variety of topics including the academic program, expectations, health and safety, local transportation, communication systems and other practical matters.
HousingDepending on the university selected, housing options may include university residence halls with local students, university residence halls with international students, or university-run apartment style accommodations with other international students. All students have single rooms (with a few exceptions) in self-catering residences.
Excursions and Activities
While in South Africa, you can join clubs as well as sports and recreational activities at your host institution, which provide a great opportunity to meet South Africans.
Each semester Interstudy sponsors four excursions: an orientation excursion, an overnight weekend excursion, a separate one-day excursion, and a farewell dinner. During these events, you will get together with other Interstudy students from your region or country to explore and get a taste of what you surroundings offer. This gives you the chance to meet your peers from some of the other Interstudy programs, exchange experiences from respective campuses, and travel to locations you may not see otherwise. The excursions include all transportation, accommodation, most meals, and ticket charges. Excursions for South Africa and Botswana students have included: Robben Island, De Hoop Nature Reserve, Valley of Desolation, Drakensberg, St. Lucia Estuary, and Theewaterskloof Dam. Students have gone on game drives, enjoyed braais, climbed Table Mountain, canoed, kayaked, mountain biked, camped, gone to surf school, etc.
You will be enrolled in the UW System required health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and the cost of the insurance coverage is included in program fees.
Returned Student Network
to contact a returned student.
How to Apply
First complete the IAP Online Application. UW Affiliate programs may require you to apply directly to the affiliate either simultaneously during the IAP application process OR after you have received a preliminary admissions decision from IAP. After you have completed the IAP Online Application, the following forms will become available to you through the application portal. Be sure to read the instructions carefully for information on when to apply to the affiliate.
Forms are subject to change. Complete the forms according to the checklist provided to you in the online application portal.
After the Deadline
IAP will review your application and make a preliminary admissions decision. You will be notified of the admissions decision via email. The affiliate university or organization will make the final admissions decision.
You will choose to study at one institution in South Africa and will take all of your courses alongside local and international students. A wide variety of course options are available to you at the institution that you choose. The following are some of the academic highlights at each institution:
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has two campus options for students, one in Durban and one in Pietermaritzburg. These universities are good choices for students who are interested in learning or speaking the Zulu language and also have the following strengths:
UKZN Howard College is an urban campus with strengths in curriculum in Drama, Music and Anthropology. The campus is situated in an environmental conservancy. The campus also hosts the annual Durban International Film Festival and is considered the jazz and ethno-music center of South Africa.
The UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus is in a smaller university town and has strengths in Dance, Drama, English, Fine Art, Nutrition and Religion. A service learning course is also offered on this campus.
Rhodes University is set in Grahamstown, a small town in Eastern Cape province. It is strategically located near the rural homelands of the Xhosa peoples, as well as the urban coastal area of Port Elizabeth. Modeled after the British tutorial system, this university offers a small campus with small class sizes. Some of the strengths are in the areas of Classics, English, Psychology, Kinesiology, Political Science and Xhosa language. There is a student volunteer program which matches students with local community-based organizations. The town also hosts one of the country’s biggest arts and music festivals every year.
Nearby is Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, located in the beautiful beach city of Port Elizabeth, not far from world-renowned surfing sites like Jeffries Bay. The university has strengths in Biological and Environmental Sciences, Education, Geology, Nursing and Exercise Science. There is also a Community service learning course available at this institution.
In the Western Cape Province, there are two possible university options. Stellenbosch University outside of Cape Town offers a small-town atmosphere with courses for International students in African Languages, Drama, Political Science, and South African Culture. Many of the courses offered on this campus are taught in Afrikaans. There is also a service learning course offered at Stellenbosch.
The University of the Western Cape (UWC) is in Cape Town. UWC has a history of creative struggle against oppression, discrimination and disadvantage. The university houses extensive materials from the apartheid era in South Africa and is strong in the areas of Development Studies, Education, and Political Science.
Program Web Page(s)
Interstudy semester programs in South Africa
Use the links below to see a list of courses that students have taken on this program before and the UW equivalents. Note: this list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses or departments. You will get instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
Sort by Foreign Course Titles
Sort by UW-Madison Course Titles
Group by host institution and Sort by Foreign Course Titles
Group by host institution and Sort by UW-Madison Course Titles