Indescribable Experience in Stellenbosch and South Africa
Submitted by Nicholas Denegre - Eastern Connecticut State University | May 06, 2012
One tries to avoid setting expectations, however, any expectations I had before coming to this country and continent were incredibly exceeded in every way imaginable.
Classes are definitely different. I understood the professors fine. I just felt limited to what I could take because of the classes that I had my home university approve. I strongly recommend getting up to 8 classes approved, I only had 5 and chose 4.
The first week of classes is strange, they did not stick to the schedules given and changed the venue and times around to fit the majority of the class. If I had more classes approved I could have had more flexibility to decide. Anyway, my courses were great wound up great, I will never forget those about those courses. Mainstream classes have mostly domestic students where as IPSU is entirely international exchange.students to keep in mind.
Health and Safety:
Being a male, I felt safe most of the time. Of course, there are some sketchy places and theft is a BIG issue and at night it is strongly emphasized to be with somebody if you are walking.
The country gets a bad rep for crime and you really do hear about some messed up stuff happening in the news, but no students EVER need to worry about that happening and it should not discourage ANYONE from visiting this beautiful country.
I found absolutely no problem.
Exceeding all expectations.
Submitted by Sebastian Jackson - University of Maine - Farmington | July 01, 2012
Springbok steak with pap and chakalaka.
Submitted by Rachel Cushing - Agnes Scott College | December 14, 2012
I would recomend studying abroad at this university to anyone. I truly had a life changing experience in South Africa. Very happy with my choice to spend this six months in Stellenbosch.
Submitted by Maria Mercurio - McDaniel College | December 14, 2012
I'd been told by many people how beautiful South Africa would be, but no words can do this country justice. Mountains rising straight out of gorgeous blue oceans, historical sites at every turn, and restaurants and coffee shops with views and prices you wouldn't believe. The drive out of the airport is quite a shock, throwing the extreme poverty left from apartheid years straight in your face as you drive past miles of cardboard and plywood shacks, but the reality of the cuontry's history does very little to dampen its natural beauty and cultural diversity. Stellenbosch University is located in the Cape winelands and only an hour train ride outside of Cape Town, placing it ideally in a small community close to big city excitement. The atmosphere throughout the University, town, and country is courteous and friendly, although all travelers should stay on their toes and watch out for opportunistic thieves. Classes at the University tend to be large lectures, but it's easy to see that all of the professors are very enthusiastic about their field and are open to talking to anyone else who shares their passion. There's quite a large bar culture in Stellenbosch among the University students which usually leads to after-class pizza and beer at one of the many laid-back bars around town. Travelling is a must in such a diverse country, but a well developed tourism culture makes it quite easy. A highly diverse and life-changing study abroad experience.
Professors were knowledgeable, but almost all classes are straight lecture in large lecture halls, which is a style of teaching I was not used to.
Concordia was very nice; furniture and dishes being provided was extremely helpful. Cleaning staff came in every weekday and the administration staff was quick to take care of problems.
Since SA is an english-speaking country, cultural immersion was not too difficult. However, the international student courses and housing made it more difficult to expand outside of the international student bubble.
I didn't see much of our program administration, but I got emails that kept me fairly well informed.
Health and Safety:
South Africa is still plagued by the economic discrepancies caused by the segregation during the apartheid era. Although Stellebosch is a relatively safe town, opportunisic thefts are not uncommon. The basic rules that you should not go out alone after dark, should not carry big bags or purses with you, and should avoid leaving valuables out in plain sight are key throughout the country, but play it safe and be smart and you shouldn't have any problems.
A very vibrant town, there's lots to do in Stellebosch from shopping to wine tasting to hiking to just hanging out.