With a population of over 1.1 billion people, Africa is the second largest continent on earth, and is home to some of its oldest and most influential civilizations. However in wake of centuries of colonization and exploitation, many African countries continue to face steep developmental challenges while catching up to the industrialized world in areas regarding infrastructure, healthcare, and education. Travelling to earn your degree abroad in Africa will place you squarely in one of the world’s most diverse, deep, and dynamic emerging regions; are you ready for an adventure?
There are some 54 countries on the African continent, the most of any in the world. Because of its vast internal diversity and central position in the planet’s geography, many sub-regions within the African landscape have formed distinct identities in relation with neighboring and foreign influences. Typically Northern Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa are all thought of as distinct sub-regions, with many more cultural and ethnic complexities therein.
As a BRICS country, South Africa is the most economically and infrastructurally advanced country on the continent; it may come as no surprise, then, that many of the most prestigious universities where you can earn a degree abroad in Africa are located there. The University of Cape Town, University of South Africa, and University of Pretoria are all examples of internationally ranked universities where you might consider earning your degree abroad in Africa.
While the continent does not boast many globally ranked academic institutions outside of South Africa, this should not stop you from pursuing a degree wherever your heart is set on. Countries as geographically and culturally varied as Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ghana can offer further rewarding opportunities for international students to study abroad in Africa full time.
Academics & Degrees
International students will generally share the opportunity to choose from a full course catalogue of degrees abroad in Africa while studying at a local university. While this opens the door to pursue a wide variety of different academic subjects, some of the most popular fields for foreign students on the continent tend to include diplomacy, international relations, liberal arts, and foreign languages. You will, however, by no means be limited to these areas.
Universities across the continent differ in the language they use for higher-level education, so this is an important factor to keep in mind while researching potential universities where to earn your degree abroad in Africa. There are over a thousand languages which currently exist in usage throughout Africa; the most common at universities are usually English, French, Arabic, Afrikaans, or Swahili.
As an international student, some African universities may expect you to pass a language proficiency exam or other such pre-requisite test in order to be considered for enrollment. Degrees abroad in Africa are conferred across the undergraduate and graduate levels, generally requiring three to four years or one to two years of study respectively, but keep in mind that each country may structure their academic tracks differently.
Scholarships & Costs
While African countries will vary widely across the continent in the affordability of their tuition fees and other costs of living, you can expect these expenses in most places to cost less than in the industrialized world. Sub-Saharan Africa at large deals with higher levels of poverty than Northern Africa, so many living expenses are necessarily lower within these regions.
Take expense estimates into account while deciding where to earn your degree abroad in Africa, and plan a budget out accordingly. You can also check out our Scholarship Directory to learn about more financial aid opportunities for international students on the continent.
Accommodation & Visas
Student dormitories, off-campus apartments, and homestays are all potential accommodation styles that you might take into consideration while you pursue your degree abroad in Africa. While you will be made comfortable as an international student abroad in Africa, do not always expect an excessive degree of luxury; African countries vary widely in their level of infrastructural development, and rural and urban areas therein do as well.
African countries also vary across the spectrum in their visa policies for international students, but as a general rule you should expect to obtain a student visa with the endorsement of your host school. For more information regarding the visa policies of specific nations, check out our Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Diversity. Culturally, ethnically, linguistically, and religiously, the world’s second-most populous continent boasts an extraordinary degree of internal diversity. And this is to say nothing even of the continent’s tremendous environmental and biodiversity, either!
History. From the reigns of ancient civilizations to recent independences from colonial oppression, Africa’s history is a tale which embodies the glory and heartbreak of humanity at large. Studying abroad in Africa is the opportunity not only to learn about the continent’s history, but to live it.
Development. African countries face an uphill battle in developing a sustainable and productive continent-wide infrastructure which can help elevate the region from poverty. If education is indeed a key to a brighter future, then earning your degree abroad in Africa is the chance to join a powerful movement.
Moving to study abroad in Africa full time is understandably an intimidating prospect, but by pushing yourself to make the leap, you will come to learn an incredible amount about the world we live in. Africa is the origin and the heart of humanity; it’s time to discover what it’s all about.