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Child Life Experiential Learning Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:



Cape Town, South Africa




2.5 GPA, rising junior standing or higher, and in good academic and disciplinary standing

Offered again in Summer 2019

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

This program is offered every other year. It will be offered again in summer 2019.

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 work 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

• Understanding the scope of practice to when and where Child Life Professionals work and provide services. Discussing the development of the profession internationally.

• To prepare students to work with children and their families in a variety of healthcare settings. And to prepare students to understand the impact of illness, injury, trauma, and healthcare environments on patients and families in South Africa and to 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. And to begin to understand how that effects 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 operates on a daily basis and the activities these organizations provide to families.

• To allow students a hands on opportunity to assist with a variety of tasks involved with the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Maitland Cottage Home and Sarah Fox Convalescent Hospital

Excursions and Cultural Activities

Hiking Table Mountain
Tour of Cape Peninsula
• Aquila Game Reserve

Program Dates

The dates for 2017 were: Monday, May 15- Sunday, June 4, 2017
Please note: These dates are the dates of the actual program, the flight you take will likely leave on Saturday, May 13 and return on Monday, June 5.
This program will be offered again in Summer 2019

For More Information

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

Cape Town

Penguins on beach in Cape Town

Perched between the ocean and the mountain, with a national park as its heart, there is nowhere like Cape Town. Cape Town, the "Mother City", is the oldest city in South Africa and has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years. Cape Town is the 2nd most populous city in South Africa, behind Johannesburg, with over a million people living within the city limits.

South Africa

Situated at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa has a landmass of 1 233 404 km² edged on 3 sides by a nearly 3000km coastline washed by the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic. It is bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and also wraps itself around two independent countries, the Lesotho and Swaziland.

The South African population of more than 49m people is extremely diverse. Africans are in the majority, approx. 80% of the population, followed by the white population approx. 4,4m; the coloured population approx. 4,2 million and the Indian/Asian population at approx. 1,2m.

Since the demise of apartheid, international tourist arrivals have surged, making tourism one of the fastest growing sectors. The tourism industry is well-established with an exciting sector of emerging entrepreneurs. The country is strong on adventure, sport, nature and wildlife travel and is a pioneer and global leader in responsible tourism.


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 would be 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 2.5 GPA and be rising junior standing 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 requirement or who are freshmen or sophomores, 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.

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.


Cape Town City Hall

The program fee for Summer 2017 is $4,200. This fee includes instruction, lodging, some meals, Table Mountain hike, two cultural events, and day tours of Cape Peninsula and 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 Diversity Ambassador scholarships awarded by Study Abroad. More information is available at:

This is the Cost Sheet for the Child Life Experiential Learning Program for Summer 2017. 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.

How to Apply

This program is offered every other year, it will be offered again in Summer 2019

The summer 2017 application can be found here: UI Online Application

The application process requires:
• Completed online application with short essay describing why you chose this program
• An academic letter of reference (the form is provided in the application and it should be signed and sealed in an envelope with your name and UID on it, then dropped off at Study Abroad UCC 1111)
• A copy of the information page of your passport (if you are applying for a passport, please indicate this on the application and you can bypass this requirement temporarily)

Non-University of Iowa students should contact Amy Bowes, the Study Abroad Advisor for this program for a paper application.

Withdrawal policy

After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to University of Iowa Study Abroad. The date on which the letter or e-mail message is received is the date by which your costs will be calculated. If for any reason you withdraw after the confirmation deadline and before or during the course of the program, the amount/percentage shown in the following chart represents what you will be required to pay to the University of Iowa.

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.

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
February 16- March 5, 2017 Administrative fee: $400
Portion of course fee: 10%
March 6- March 25, 2017 Administrative fee: $400
Portion of course fee: 25%
March 26- April 14, 2017 Administrative fee: $400
Portion of course fee: 50%
April 15, 2017 or later Administrative fee: 100%
Portion of course fee: 100%


Cape Town City Center Picture

• Flight information for the faculty director, Bri Swope, will be provided to all participants. If you wish to book yourself on the same flight, please keep an eye on your email for those details.

• UI Student Health Service Travel Clinic:

• Sample Syllabus (subject to change) Child Life SyllabusPDF

Vaccinations and Health/Safety

Lion's Head

We'll address many of the issues related to health and safety during the orientation sessions, but until then our general advice is that before you go abroad it is best to check with your doctor about any health concerns you have. Take a look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website for South Africa-specific health information and visit your doctor or the Travel Nurse at Student Health for any vaccinations you might need.


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 online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON 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

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.

Resources and Cultural Information

Additional Resources

List of books, documentaries, films, videos, and online materials related to AfricaPDF