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SIT South Africa Education & Social Change

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Summer

Location:

Durban, South Africa

Credit:

Transfer

Program Features

Affiliated Program

Eligibility:

- 2.5 GPA

- Good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

3/4

Taxi driving down street

SIT Study Abroad offers more than 60 accredited semester and summer study abroad programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. SIT also offers the International Honors Program, which is multi-locational.

Note: This program is not available for the Summer 2021 session.

The SIT Experience

  • Rigorous academic programs through a field-based, experiential approach
  • Undergraduate research through an Independent Study Project
  • Cultural immersion through fieldwork, language classes, and urban and rural homestays with local families
  • A small group of students in each program, supported by SIT faculty and staff, homestay families, in-country experts, and community members
  • Access to SIT's extensive local resources and networks
  • A commitment to reciprocity as the foundation of our educational philosophy

Academic Program

Learn through hands-on experiences, including observation sessions and practicums in urban primary schools in Durban and in a secondary school in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

Develop a multidimensional and holistic understanding of education issues in South Africa.

Compare educational approaches within South Africa during excursions to Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Major topics of study include:

  • The ways in which educational institutions reflect difference—and differential access—in South Africa
  • Education policy and the role of education in South Africa’s development
  • Diverse and differing perspectives on education issues in South Africa
  • The legacy of apartheid in South Africa’s educational system and current challenges
  • Educational approaches within South Africa, including multicultural and non-formal education and the “demise” of outcomes-based education

For more information, see SIT's webpage.

Program Structure

city view of durban buildings

Interdisciplinary Seminars

Thematic seminars merge student experience with academic theory to examine critical issues from multiple perspectives. Students learn from SIT faculty as well as guest lecturers from local universities, research institutes, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and community and professional associations. Field-based activities and assignments complement readings, discussions, and research papers, allowing students to engage in a variety of study methods.

Cultural Activities

APARTHEID MUSEUM: The Apartheid Museum, which opened in 2001, traces the rise and fall of apartheid. The exhibits will expose you to deep insights into South Africa’s history, and help you understand what it was like to live under apartheid.

HECTOR-PIETERSON MUSEUM, JOHANNESBURG: Opened in 2002, the Hector Pieterson Museum memorializes 12-year-old Hector, shot on June 16, 1976, during the Soweto uprising that today symbolizes resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government. On the day Hector was killed, schoolchildren gathered to protest the imposition of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in township schools. They were singing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (“God Bless Africa,” now South Africa’s national anthem) when the police opened fire. At least 20 children died.

LUTHULI MUSEUM: Built in 1927, the Luthuli Museum encompasses the original home of Chief Albert Luthuli and is today a national monument. The grounds include landscaped gardens that provide an ideal setting in which to absorb the history and achievements of the man who was the first African to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace. He was a leader ahead of his time whose commitment to nonviolence, non-racialism, democracy, and human rights left an enduring legacy.

HLUHLUWE-UMFOLOZI GAME RESERVE: Tucked in the heart of Zululand, this is the only park under formal conservation in South Africa’s coastal KwaZulu Natal province, and the oldest game park in the nation. Established in 1895, along with the St. Lucia Reserve, it is historically where Zulu kings hunted and where the first conservation laws were put in place. Today, it is the oldest game reserve in Africa, home to the continent’s “Big Five”: lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and rhinoceros. You may also see giraffes and zebras.

CAPE TOWN: Compare and contrast educational approaches in the Cape Flats schools of Cape Town, and visit the center of lawmaking in South Africa to discuss educational policy with teachers, administrators, and activists in the Western Cape.

OTHER SITES: Other site trips may include the St. Lucia Reserve and Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park; the South Durban Basin, an education and environment project; and the South Coast, with fellow students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal; Inanda Seminary Environment and Language Education Trust, an education NGO; eTekwini Area-Based Management and various rural schools; and a Sharks rugby game.

Program Dates

Summer Semester: Late June - Mid July

For more information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with SIT, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa. 
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.
  


Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353
Email: study-abroad@uiowa.edu

Durban, South Africa

Harbor in Durban

Durban and KwaZulu-Natal have a rich history of political activity, and the area has long been associated with progressive forces in education and social justice. Apartheid greatly affected the educational integrity and opportunities afforded to non-white students, an issue that eventually triggered the Soweto Uprising in 1976, where thousands of students protested against the conditions of their schools.

The end of apartheid in 1994 brought with it an end to forty years of apartheid education where money was pumped into white education at the expense of black schools in the townships and rural areas. Despite a number of advances, however, the apartheid legacy lingers on, with the greatest challenges lying in the poorer, more rural provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal.

This program allows students to observe the experiences of urban primary schools in Durban and in a secondary school in rural KwaZulu-Natal. By introducing them to different types of educational environments, students will develop a multidimensional and holistic understanding of education issues in South Africa.

Safety

Skyline buildings in Durban

SIT places the highest priority on the health, safety, and security of all students. Through their 80-plus years of running international experiential education programs, they have developed sophisticated proactive and reactive risk management strategies. Their proactive risk management begins with in-country assessments of safety and continues through student orientation and emergency preparedness. Their reactive risk management strategies include 24/7 on-call availability, emergency/crisis response protocols, and comprehensive student insurance. Their structure also allows for rapid response and adjustment to changing situations.

South Africa Travel Information

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Victoria Street Market with stales selling goods
Victoria Street Market

Urban Homestay

The urban homestay, which takes place in Cato Manor and/or Newlands, exposes you to communities facing a number of social challenges. You will witness a strong and vibrant civil society as these communities initiate change from within.

In Cato Manor, you will live with a Zulu-speaking host family in a working-class township, where you will learn “survival” Zulu and gain an appreciation for the richness and challenges of township life.

Cato Manor has a rich history of African and Indian resistance and culture. The area is famous for the 1949 race riots and the 1959 beer hall riots, which resulted in the area being declared for “whites only.” The community was destroyed, houses were torn down, and residents relocated to other areas. The land remained vacant—save for a scattering of churches, mosques, and Hindu temples—until near the end of the apartheid period, when African and Indian families began to move back to reclaim their land. Acknowledging the need to redress the wrongs of the past, the post-1994 government designated Cato Manor a lead urban development project and built low-cost housing, a heritage center, schools, libraries, community centers, and clinics.

The homestay in Newlands is with Coloured and Indian families of differing socioeconomic status. This area, which was designated “non-white” during apartheid, has a rich cultural dynamic and offers an experience markedly different from that in Cato Manor.

Rural Homestay in Amacambini

Students are usually placed in pairs during a short homestay in a rural area of KwaZulu Natal, Amacambini, approximately 100 kilometers north of Durban. You will experience rural life and gain practical experience in a “winter school” for secondary school students. This experience clarifies the stark contrasts between rural and historically disadvantaged schools and the advantaged, predominantly white schools in South Africa’s urban areas.

Conditions in Amacambini are basic, and there is a marked difference between households; many do not have electricity, indoor plumbing, or piped water.

Amacambini is under the leadership of Nkosi Mataba, and the land is held in trust for the community by a traditional authority. Formal employment rates are low and livelihoods revolve around small-scale agriculture and remittances from family members living in nearby cities.

The Amacambini area has recently been earmarked for a multibillion-rand development project that would see thousands of families removed from their ancestral lands. The planned development initiative is for AmaZulu, a Disneyland-style African theme park. Members of the community have taken a strong stand over their right to determine any development that occurs on their land.

Educational Excursions

Buildings along beachfront

Hector Pieterson Museum, Johannesburg

The Hector Pieterson Museum opened in Soweto in 2002, not far from where 12-year-old Hector was shot on June 16, 1976, during the Soweto uprising that today symbolizes resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government. On the day Hector was killed, schoolchildren had gathered to protest the imposition of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in township schools. They were singing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (God Bless Africa, now South Africa’s national anthem) when the authorities approached, and before the children could disperse, the police opened fire. At least 20 children died.

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

The Apartheid Museum, which opened in 2001, traces the rise and fall of apartheid. The exhibits are fundamental to developing an understanding of South Africa’s history and they enable you to experience what it was like to live under apartheid.

Luthuli Museum, Groutville

The Luthuli Museum includes the original home of Chief Albert Luthuli. Built in 1927, the home today is a national monument. The grounds include landscaped gardens that provide an ideal setting in which to absorb the history and achievements of the man who was the first African to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He was a leader ahead of his time, whose commitment to nonviolence, non-racialism, democracy, and human rights left an enduring legacy.

Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal

The Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve is the only park under formal conservation in KwaZulu Natal. Established in 1895 in the heart of Zululand (along with nearby St. Lucia Reserve), this is the oldest game park in South Africa and the oldest game reserve in Africa. It is where Zulu kings hunted, and where the first conservation laws were put in place. Today, Africa’s “Big Five” (lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos) stalk the flourishing savannah. Game viewing is the principal attraction here.

Cape Town

The concluding excursion to Cape Town provides you with the opportunity to compare educational approaches in Cape Flats schools, visit the center of lawmaking in South Africa, and discuss educational policy with teachers, administrators, and activists in the Western Cape.

Passport

US Citizens

If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Students without a valid passport should apply for a new passport or a passport renewal as early as possible.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.

Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

Non-US Citizens

Students who are not US citizens should contact Ryan Ourada (ryan-ourada@uiowa.edu) for information on how to ensure that their passport is valid for the duration of their time abroad.

Flights

Students will work with their program provider to make travel arrangements to their program site. The cost of travel is not included in the course fee. UI Study Abroad will not arrange a group flight to your study abroad destination.

Do not purchase plane tickets until you have received instructions on how to do so from your program provider.

Local Transportation

Within your host city and around the country, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Excursions and general travel require a lot of walking, so bring some comfortable shoes!

Eligibility

Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, and be in good academic and disciplinary standing. You must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university at the end of the semester, too. If you are not in good standing at the end of the semester, your acceptance will be revoked and you will be responsible for the associated withdrawal fees.

Note: This program is not available for the Summer 2021 session.

Costs

The UI cost sheet for this program is forthcoming. General cost information can be found on SIT's webpage.

This document outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective websites for further details. If the fee is inclusive of UI tuition, it is calculated by Current Tuition. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

Upfront, out-of-pocket expenses

Some costs are incurred prior to departure and will be due before financial aid/scholarships disperse. Here are the expected upfront costs for SIT:

  • Iowa application fee: $50
  • Airfare: $1,000-$1,500
  • Passport: $135

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities and Non-UI External Awards.

SIT automatically gives students from Big Ten institutions a $1,500 scholarship. There is no application necessary — the amount is automatically credited to your account. SIT offers additional awards that can be found on SIT's webpage.

Pell Grant Recipients will have their application fee waived by SIT, are eligible for additional SIT scholarships, and are competitive candidates for the Department of State's Gilman Scholarship. Please talk to your Study Abroad Advisor for more details.

Withdrawal policy

SIT's withdrawal policy can be found here: Withdrawal and Cancellation. After applying and being accepted students will then be asked to confirm their participation in the program. After confirmation, students are responsible for the following:

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
After submitting the Confirmation of Participation Study Abroad Administrative fee: $400
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT
Less than 30 days before the program start date Study Abroad Administrative fee: $400 or 50%, whichever is greater
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT
On or after the program start date Study Abroad Administrative fee: 100%
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Application Deadline

The application for this program is due on March 4.

How to Apply

You can find the application for this program on our website here: UI Study Abroad Application. Applicants must meet with a Study Abroad advisor before their application will be processed. You can schedule a meeting by calling 319.335.0353.

Participants must also complete the SIT application and complete all the application components by SIT's deadline. The SIT application can be found here: SIT Application.

Acceptance and Confirmation Materials

Coming soon.

Health & Safety Planning

In addition to submitting their Confirmation of Participation form, students should review the following:

Study Abroad Resources

Passports and Visas

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the PDFHealth Preparation Guide for International Travel form with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

For more information about receiving financial aid while studying abroad, please review the following:UI Financial Aid Information

You can find more information about options for funding your study abroad experience including scholarships on Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad.

In addition, take a look at SIT Scholarship website for information about scholarships offered directly through your program provider.

Visa

U.S. passport holders should follow the Visa batch process instructions provided by SIT. Make sure to submit all required documents by the submission deadline. Otherwise you will have to apply for your student visa independently.

U.S. Citizens will need a student visa if they are going abroad for a semester, or academic year. Typically, they will not need a visa for the summer sessions.

UI Study Abroad will hold advising appointments and/or information sessions to provide details on the visa application process. UI Study Abroad staff can provide some assistance on the Italian visa application process, but ultimately the individual traveler (the student) is the person who is responsible for providing correct information on the visa application and securing the visa and all other required documentation prior to travel.

Prior to starting the visa application process check in with SIT for more information; they have a preferred timeline that students need to follow.

Orientation

In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs ICON course "Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation" prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals, and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions, you can email safety-abroad@uiowa.edu

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

Pre departure Resources

SIT will provide you with a variety of pre-departure resources to prepare you for your study abroad experience. These will include a packing list, cultural information, housing instructions, etc. Ensure that you thoroughly review any information provided to you by SIT and refer back to it if you have any questions.

These materials may be periodically updated to reflect new program information prior to departure. Be sure to check your SIT Account often.