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Child Life Experiential Learning Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:



Cape Town, South Africa


Resident, 3 hours

Program Features

UI Faculty-Led


- 2.75 GPA

- Rising junior standing or higher

- Good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Opens

January 1, 2024

Application Deadline

January 26, 2024

Confirmation Deadline

February 9, 2024

Academic Program

Cape Town Aerial View

This program is a 3-week, faculty-led course based in Cape Town, South Africa. Students will have the opportunity to learn from staff in a variety of hospital and clinical settings. Students interested in health and child life are welcome to participate regardless of major or skill level. Excursions will include a trip to Cape Point, Table Mountain, a Township Tour, and a Garden Route Game Safari.

Objectives and Goals

Table Mountain Cable Car

  • To understand the scope of when and where Child Life Professionals work and provide services, and to discuss the development of the profession internationally.
  • To prepare students to work with children and their families in a variety of healthcare settings. Students will understand the impact of illness, injury, trauma, and healthcare environments on patients and families in South Africa and help them develop appropriate coping strategies.
  • To examine psychosocial and developmental issues and how they are impacted by childhood illness and hospitalization in South Africa; also, to understand how that affects communication, preparation, bereavement, and support for children and families coping with stressful situations.
  • To explore how the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Maitland Cottage Home, and Sarah Fox Convalescent Hospital operate on a daily basis and the activities these organizations provide to families.
  • To allow students a hands on opportunity to view a variety of tasks involved with the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Maitland Cottage Home, and Sarah Fox Convalescent Hospital.

Excursions and Cultural Activities

Program Dates

May 12, 2024 to May 29, 2024

For More Information

For more details about academic content, contact Faculty Director Bri Swope: For more information about studying abroad, contact the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 and schedule an appointment to meet with the advisor for this program.

Cape Town, South Africa

Penguins on beach in Cape Town

Learn more about Cape Town and South Africa by exploring the following webpages:

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.


People on top of Table Mountain

Students stay in a hotel with the program faculty member, sharing rooms with other program participants. An example of where students have stayed in the past is Mojo Hotel.

Travel Arrangements

Seals on Wharf in Cape Town

Students will receive instructions on making travel arrangements during a program-specific orientation session. There will be a suggested group itinerary; however, students will arrange their own flights to Cape Town. Those who do not have extensive travel experience are encouraged to book the same flights as the program director.


St, George's Mall in Camp Town

Students must have a GPA of at least 2.75, have rising junior status 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.

No prior knowledge of Child Life is required, but applicants should be interested in the topic. Student who do not meet GPA requirements or who are not yet juniors can schedule an interview with the faculty director. Please bring an academic letter of reference from a faculty/TA at the University of Iowa to your interview.


Cape Town City Hall

Summer 2024 Cost SheetPDF

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.

This fee includes instruction, lodging, some meals, the Table Mountain hike, two cultural events, day tours of Cape Peninsula, and the visit to the Aquila Game Reserve. It does not include the Study Abroad Administrative Fee, round trip airfare, Iowa Regents CISI health insurance, passport, immunizations, or any personal expenses.

Financial aid received to attend the University of Iowa may be applied toward the program cost. In addition, eligible program participants are encourage to apply for merit, need-based, and Global Access Ambassador scholarships awarded by Study Abroad. More information is available at:

Purchasing airline tickets

Students are advised NOT to purchase tickets until the program's status is confirmed. In late September, students will be informed about whether there is sufficient interest to offer the trip. Directions about purchasing tickets will be shared at that time.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Students are encouraged to apply for Need-based, Merit, and Global Access Ambassador scholarships awarded by Study Abroad. More information is available on the Study Abroad website.

Financial aid received to attend the University of Iowa (scholarships, grants, and loans) may be applied toward the program cost. Students are encouraged to speak with someone in Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

How to Apply

Please apply for the study abroad application.

UI students who apply to this program will be U-billed the $50 application fee. The application form, along with a copy of the information page of your passport, should be submitted by the application deadline.

Program admission decisions will be based on several factors:

• Course eligibility requirements met;
• Submission date of complete application

IMPORTANT: Please note that this program is highly competitive and there is a possibility that it will fill up before the designated deadline. We recommend that you apply for the program after it opens as soon as possible. Students are not advised to wait until closer to the deadline to apply as they will risk being waitlisted. We cannot guarantee placement in the program if students are waitlisted.

For More Information

For more information about your application or the financial implications, please contact the program coordinator, Ryan Ourada.


Health & Safety Planning

Students should carefully review the following materials starting at least two months prior to departure:

Prepare for Departure

Health and Safety

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the Health Preparation Guide for International Travelform 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.


Students will receive instructions for booking flights after the Confirmation Deadline. A suggested group flight will be shared with the group and students will make their own arrangements. Those who do not have extensive travel experience are encouraged to book the suggested group flight.


All program participants are required to complete immigration requirements to enter and study in your host country. UI Study Abroad and your program provider/host institution abroad will provide you with immigration instructions prior to departure.

Note that permission to enter and study in your host country is provided exclusively by the host country’s government based on that country's immigration requirements. Your host country’s immigration requirements may include considerations related to specific national origin, national heritage, criminal background status, and similar issues that can make it impossible to receive permission to enter the country in some cases. Contact your UI study abroad advisor for more information.

It is essential that you thoroughly review all of your immigration materials before you leave for your host country to ensure that they are absolutely complete and accurate. It is entirely your responsibility to ensure that all of your immigration materials are in order and fully accurate before you leave for your host country. If any of your immigration materials contain inaccurate information of any kind, contact your UI study abroad advisor immediately to discuss your options.

Do not take steps to complete your host country’s immigration requirements until you receive more information from UI Study Abroad.

Review the informaiton under the Visa heading our Prepare for Departure page for further guidance on the immigration/visa process.


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

Program-Specific Orientation

A mandatory, in-person orientation will be facilitated by the Faculty Leader and Study Abroad Coordinator before departure and will cover content specific to your program and host country.