It may seem like a bold endeavor to attempt to encapsulate the entire African continent – its history, geography, politics, economics, and culture – into one single degree track. Yet earning your African studies degree abroad is the opportunity to make good of this ambition, embarking on an unforgettable global adventure with the ultimate goal of understanding more deeply our planet’s cradle of humanity.
Why Earn Your Degree Abroad
Uprooting from the comfort of home to study in another country will greatly enhance your perspective of this world’s great diversity of cultures. Wherever you choose to earn your African studies degree abroad, even if it is not on the continent itself, placing yourself in a new immersive context will grant you much deeper insight throughout the course of your academic pursuits. Africa is a continent of infinite complexity and depth; are you ready to take it on?
Well, for starters, you could consider earning your African studies degree abroad in Africa itself. The world’s second largest continent is home to over 1 billion people amid some 54 countries (the most populous of which are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Africa). There is tremendous regional diversity throughout the continent, something you will undoubtedly explore during your studies, so it’s important to thoroughly research where might seem like the right fit for what you’re interested in.
While it is true that foreign students traditionally do not maintain a strong presence in African higher education, there are nonetheless hundreds to thousands of colleges on the continent where you could look into earning a degree abroad. Some of its most highly regarded universities include the University of Cape Town, Cairo University, University of Nairobi, and University of Dar es Salaam.
Another option is to earn your African studies degree abroad from a university somewhere else in the world, while further integrating on-the-ground work into your studies (research, internships, volunteer, and study abroad programs are all readily available in Africa). Many universities in the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia, for example, are internationally ranked and can help facilitate extracurricular work on the African continent.
Academics & Degrees
African studies is a comprehensive discipline that attempts to place the continent of Africa within its proper cultural, religious, historical, and modern geo-political contexts. You will likely take courses in a variety of interdisciplinary subject areas such as anthropology, international relations, development studies, and geography during the course of earning your degree abroad in African studies. Many schools may additionally require you to study an African language, such as Swahili, Hausa, or Yoruba.
A primary aim of African studies is to shed the common imageries of mystery and exoticness which have stemmed from the continent’s misunderstood place in the international community and dually contribute to its development challenges. A related overarching goal is to gain insight into Africa’s deep ethnic and cultural divides, and develop strategies to smooth the resulting tensions while maintaining respect for regional diversity.
Many universities around the world offer the opportunity to earn your degree abroad in African studies at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The former generally requires four years of general study, while the latter may require up to several additional years of specialization, independent research, and fieldwork. Many students who earn an African studies degree abroad continue on to enter into professional fields such as consulting, development, and international relations.
Benefits & Challenges
Demystify. Perhaps no other continent is looked at with more confusion and misunderstanding on the global stage than Africa. A deeply complex region with roots tracing back as far as humanity itself, this is your chance to begin unraveling the intricate web.
Gain Perspective. Living in another country while pursuing your African studies degree abroad will be both a challenging and immensely rewarding experience. You will begin to gain a newfound appreciation for the immense diversity, and sameness, our planet is home to.
Adventure. Lastly, the whole endeavor will prove to be one big adventure that you’ll never forget. It may not be often in life that you will earn the opportunity for as total a cultural immersion as while earning a full degree abroad.