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  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA: 2.75 Housing Options: Student Community Living
Class Eligibility: Junior, Second Semester Sophomore, Senior Language of Instruction: English
Internship: No Service Learning: Yes
Program Type: Semester Academic Areas: Art, Communication Studies, Decision & System Sciences, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, Gender Studies, History, Interdisciplinary Health Services, International Relations, Leadership, Ethics and Organizational Sustainability, Linguistics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, Theology
Language Pre-requisites: None Scholarships: Center for International Programs
Visa Required for U.S. Citizens: Yes
Program Description:


The University of the Western Cape has a history of creative struggle against oppression, discrimination and disadvantage. Among academic institutions it has been in the vanguard of South Africa's historic change, playing a distinctive academic role in helping to build an equitable and dynamic nation. UWC's key concerns with access, equity and quality in higher education arise from extensive practical engagement in helping the historically marginalised participate fully in the life of the nation.

"Going somewhere out of my comfort zone forced me to learn about myself - who I am, what I value and the direction I want my life to go." - Caitlin Courshon

Put your education to work to address global challenges. You will serve with a community-based organization two days a week during the semester. These service learning sites let you make a difference in the ongoing transformation of South Africa through working on community education, health issues, gender inequities, sustainable living and youth education.

The selected organizations provide services for and advocate on behalf of people whose voices are not heard and who continue to struggle with injustice and pervasive poverty. They encourage those they serve to empower themselves and to be voices for change. Your interests and professional goals will be strongly considered in your placement.


The South Africa Service Learning Program, in conjunction with the University of the Western Cape, builds upon Marquette’s strong tradition of service learning. The program offers you the unique opportunity to increase your understanding of the people, history, culture and traditions of South Africa through integrated academic course work and direct immersion into the culture through community-based service.

To help ensure a positive experience, a full-time resident director is on site in South Africa to guide you and help you delve more deeply into issues you encounter as you immerse yourself in South African society.

Courses and Curriculum
From education to political science to nursing majors, students from all disciplines are eligible to study in South Africa. Throughout the semester, you will take four or five courses, two of which are designed specifically for program participants. You can choose the other two or three courses from University of the Western Cape curriculum. Required Program Courses The following required courses are taken with fellow program participants on Fridays throughout the semester.

Bridging the Racial Divide - South Africa THEO 3420
Reflect on the theology of apartheid and explore the process of truth, reconciliation and justice that took place. Also, reflect on the theology of forgiveness and reconciliation expounded by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and John de Gruchy, and as implemented through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Develop your own theology to move forward in your work, study or life, seeking to understand yourself, others and the world around you.

Leaders in Grassroots Organizations: Community Development and Social Analysis - SOWJ 3400
Investigate how people, empowered by leaders at the community level, address their development needs and bring about change through analysis of the economic, social, political, environmental and cultural structures that create poverty and conflict. Test and refine your own developing models of grassroots leadership through service learning placements two days a week.

Elective Courses
Choose two to three electives from a variety of disciplines at the University of the Western Cape, including education, health sciences, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences and social sciences.

Students may also take courses from the UWC's Institute for Social Development which offers graduate level courses on the social and economic challenges that developing countries have to meet to transform successfully. These courses are designed for those planning a career in the field of economic and social development as policy-makers, activists, administrators, developers, researchers or teachers at universities.

Your instruction will also come from government, religious, business, civic and community leaders who continue to build this nation, citizens who have dedicated their lives to a new South Africa, people who have contributed to its ability to rise above apartheid to bring about reconciliation and inclusiveness. You will observe firsthand how people of traditionally divided groups come together to act collectively for the common good — and succeed.


You will live with fellow program participants in the Kimberley House in the Observatory neighborhood of Cape Town. Known locally as "Obs," the neighborhood is an intimate community with great energy and a lively atmosphere. It is a popular community with students and faculty because of its proximity to the University of Cape Town. Everything you need from restaurants to coffee shops to grocery stores are within blocks from the house. This community will be your base to explore Cape Town and South Africa.

At the Kimberley House, students share double rooms, a full kitchen, a dining room, multiple bathrooms, a living room, computers and Internet access. Students are responsible for cooking their own meals and often share the responsibilities as a group. Transportation is provided to and from classes, as well as service learning placements.

To ensure a positive experience, a full-time program director is on site in South Africa to provide ongoing support and guide you through the logistics of your academic and service learning experience. In addition, a local graduate student from the University of the Western Cape will live and work as a hall director at the Kimberley House. Both individuals will help you delve more deeply into questions you encounter as you immerse yourself in South African society.

Past program participant Corinne Stubbs explains: "Living in Cape Town is really no different than living in any large city. It is about the size of Los Angeles, and I felt safe following the same common sense I would follow in any big city." As part of pre-departure and on-site orientation, you will be advised of key precautionary measures and the safety resources available, such as how to access neighborhood security escort services.


Please refer to the "Budget Sheets" link above


Marquette's South Africa Service Learning Program is based in cosmopolitan Cape Town, at the southern tip of the African continent.

The people of South Africa call their country the Rainbow Nation to demonstrate pride in their racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity. The country has 11 official languages. In the Cape Town area, you will predominantly hear Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.

While living in Cape Town, you will become acquainted with South Africa's rich history and see firsthand how the country is rebuilding itself after decades of government-enforced-apartheid. Cape Town's diverse socioeconomic communities will become your classroom and its leaders your teachers.

You will have the opportunity to visit significant South African historical and cultural sites, such as Table Mountain, historic District 6 in the city's center and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were incarcerated during apartheid. In addition to a spectacular array of wildlife unique to South Africa, you will experience powerful literary and artistic voices, traditional music, delicious foods and diverse architecture.

Quick Links

South Africa Brochure

SJU Spotlight On: Service-Learning

Tess Martin, Fall 2014 / Major: Food MarketingSouth Africa Service Learning

When and where was your service abroad?
I worked in a pre-school in a township in Cape Town, South Africa. I was there for the duration of the Fall 2014 semester – from July to November. 

What was your service-learning course?
Our service-learning course – Leaders in Grassroots Organizations - was a class focused on community development. Through it, we were able to address the issues we faced in our service sites and discuss the possible actions that could be taken to create change. 

What made you decide to participate in service learning while abroad? 
I’ve always enjoyed giving back to the community, and I felt that being able to do so while immersing myself into a new and unknown culture would be a unique experience – which it was. I was able to see firsthand and fully understand the political, social and economic issues that exist in South Africa. 

What did a typical day of service look like for you?
I worked at a crèche (a pre-school), which consisted of helping the kids with their daily routines, assisting with English lessons, playing with them outside, etc. I also led an after-school program in the afternoons, which was more structured. Through the after-school program, I was able to lead math and English lessons with the children. 

What did you most enjoy doing during your placement?
I have a huge love for kids. I enjoyed the relationships I was able to build with them, despite the language barrier. We found ourselves learning to communicate with each other in many different forms. 

What were some of the benefits and challenges of doing service while abroad?
The biggest challenge was the language barrier; it was extremely frustrating at times. Things also move at a much slower place there so it was hard when we were eager to accomplish things – such as starting up the after school program. It took a couple months for kids to even show up at all. It was tough not seeing concrete results, but I know that we did make an impact. 

Related Scholarships
Center for International Programs Study Abroad Grant
Please apply for this program before applying for the CIP Study Abroad Grant (due October 15th or March 15th).  Use the 'Featured Program' Search to apply to this grant.  

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  • You must meet with a CIP advisor before beginning your application. 
  • Per the Semester Abroad Policy, a limited number of completed applications will be approved on a first come, first serve basis.
  • This program requires a separate, on-line application to be submitted directly to them. Please refer to their website for deadlines and application requirements.  
  • If approved by the CIP, you will be required to submit a non-refundable $300 Confirmation deposit WITHIN 10 BUSINESS DAYS of receiving your approval notice. 
Cherundolo SAfrica1

Program Ratings:
Overall Experience:
1 2 3 4 5
Program Value:
1 2 3 4 5
Academic Experiences:
1 2 3 4
Cultural Experiences:
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4
Overall Learning:
1 2 3 4 5
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.