Cape Town - Health, Culture & Development


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Earn U.S. Credits Virtually This Summer

Get ahead! Earn extra credit through a globally recognized U.S. education program this summer on our Virtual World DiscoverIES program.

Just picture it: one day you're exploring business ethics with a professor in London and the next it's Japanese pop culture from Tokyo, studying alongside classmates from the U.S.’s highest-ranked colleges and universities. This is what it's like to take a course or two (of your choosing!) from IES Abroad’s most popular centers around the world this summer.

Learn more about how you can discover the world through IES Abroad.


Why South Africa?

Southern Africa is a rich, vibrant region and has become one of the world’s fastest-growing economic zones despite facing challenges of poverty, disease, and economic imbalance. Its burgeoning economy, youthful population, ecological and ethnic diversity, and evolving politics make the continent an increasingly important player in the world of the 21st century. Cape Town’s idyllic setting on the South African coast makes it the perfect base from which to study this fascinating region, and our Health, Culture & Development Program is designed to offer insight into the complexity and breadth of the contemporary issues facing the southern part of this continent.

What You'll Study

You have the opportunity to take specially designed courses with other IES Abroad students in a variety of disciplines. These English-taught IES Abroad courses were created with a comparative and interrelated curricular focus in order to help you learn more about South Africa and its neighboring countries. Choose from several Health Science or Sociology courses taught by local lecturers and learn how globalization, development, and disease affect different communities. You can also study relevant cultural aspects of Southern African literature, music, and dance, or language, or learn about the power of protest, gender, and sexuality, or the environment in the region. Through your instructors, you’ll learn new perspectives focused on the Southern African experience. Course-related trips will provide additional insight and enhance what you’ve learned in class.

Daily Life

We want you to feel at home in Cape Town so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing to cultural events and tours of the city and local sites, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible and offer you numerous opportunities to get to know South Africa and some of her closest neighbors.

Two amazing multi-day field trips through South Africa and its neighboring countries will further expand your understanding of the region, with visits to many stunningly beautiful and culturally significant places like the Drakensberg Mountains and Chobe National Park in Botswana.

The final field trip ends in Johannesburg, where the program concludes. Cape Town will be your classroom, as well as your base. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of everything this diverse, beautiful city has to offer—the fascinating people and languages, politics and culture, outdoor adventures, and so much more.


We offer unique courses that explore Health Studies, Sociology, Cultural and African Studies, Political Science, Psychology, and more through an in-depth and hands-on approach. These courses will include comparative perspectives based on Southern African examples. Our world-class professors enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.

While in Cape Town, you take 15 credits per semester; all courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise specified.


This is a list of planned course offerings. A final list of course offerings will be made available to you in your MyIESabroad account.

  • The Literature of Change
  • Power & Protest: Apartheid to Present
  • Childhood & Youth
  • Sexuality and Gender
  • Environment, Health & Development
  • The Impact of Globalization on Health & Development
  • Sexuality and Gender
  • Environment, Health & Development
  • Endemic Diseases & Their Socioeconomic Context
  • Health & Community
  • Power & Protest: Apartheid to Present
  • The Literature of Change
  • The Narrative of the Rainbow Nation: A Political History of Post-Apartheid South Africa
  • Childhood & Youth
  • The Impact of Globalization on Health & Development
  • Endemic Diseases & Their Socioeconomic Context
  • Health & Community
  • The Narrative of the Rainbow Nation: A Political History of Post-Apartheid South Africa

Field Trips & Events

Even though your adventure begins in Cape Town, our field trips take you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of your host country and beyond. In addition to trips and activities in and around Cape Town (such as a walking tour of Langa Township, a trip around Cape Peninsula, a District Six Cycling Tour, and a visit to Robben Island), the Eastern Neighbors field trip and Northern Neighbors field trip open you up to a range of cultures and experiences in and out of South Africa. Both the Eastern Neighbors and Northern Neighbors field trips are fully subsidized by IES Abroad and are included in your program fee. There is also the optional Garden Route Trip, which takes place at the beginning of the program and is partially subsidized by IES Abroad:

Garden Route

3 Days | Orientation

This optional, partially subsidized trip takes place shortly after orientation. Travel along the southern coastline of South Africa, better known as the Garden Route. Explore the Cango Cave system, and visit an ostrich farm and an animal sanctuary. Experience the beauty and diversity of the South African landscape as you hike and canoe along the Garden Route.

Eastern Neighbors Trip

8-10 Days | Mid-semester

Experience a range of Southern African cultures. Starting in Durban, you explore South Africa’s third-largest city, cycle along its beachfront promenade, and learn about the city’s strong Indian identity. From here you make your way inland through the Valley of a Thousand Hills where you visit an HIV/AIDS-focused community organization before heading into the Drakensberg Mountains. Next, you enter into the Kingdom of Lesotho (a mountainous landlocked country within South Africa’s borders). You then head north to Zululand, where you’ll learn more about the rich Zulu culture and history. You then visit a community and public health projects in the little country of Swaziland and enter Mozambique to see its beauty and learn about its unique cultural identity, before finally returning to Cape Town.

The cost of this trip is included in the cost of the program.

Northern Neighbors Trip

5 Days | End of semester

This end of semester field trip begins by flying to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, one of Southern Africa’s most exciting adventure hubs. Here you visit Mosi-ao-Tunya one of the world’s largest waterfalls at roughly twice the size of Niagara Falls. You will learn about Zimbabwean culture and taste some of the country’s delicious food. You then head west and cross the border into Botswana. In the town of Kasane, you enjoy a sunset cruise on the river that marks the border between Botswana and Namibia. The next day you board safari vehicles and head into Chobe National Park to see the game reserve’s famous elephants, as well as lions, hippos, giraffes and other wildlife. The field trip ends in Johannesburg where the program also comes to an end. You will fly home from Johannesburg.

The cost of this trip is included in the cost of the program.

Daily Life

Part of making you feel at home in Cape Town is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is an orientation program that makes you feel prepared, housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips and walking tours that take you to places off the beaten path— we’re all about our student services.


The program begins with an orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad Cape Town staff, your fellow students, academic matters, and the city of Cape Town and its surrounding areas.

Orientation continues with an optional trip along the Garden Route, the southern coastline of South Africa, where you explore cave systems, visit beautiful beaches, canoe, hike, and experience the breathtaking beauty of the South African landscape. During our orientation, you also enjoy a scenic drive through parts of Cape Town and a visit to a local township led by members of that community.

Our Comprehensive Orientation & Re-Entry Experience CORE™ begins right when you arrive and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.

Detailed information about housing, public transportation, culture, health and safety, and other important topics are also covered.


Residence Hall - Live in a private residence hall with IES Abroad, South African, and other international students. Students live in a furnished single room with a kitchenette, private bathroom, and a digital safe is provided. Living spaces are shared, and there is a gym on-site. Internet access is available. Meals are not included.

An IES Abroad Resident Assistant lives in or by your residence and can serve as a great resource for tips on integrating into the local culture.


Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Spring 2020

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Spring 2020 $14,865 $4,220 $395 $19,480

Our Center

The IES Abroad Cape Town Center is supported by IES Abroad staff and is a place where students can stop by and talk to staff, use WiFi, pick up their mail, and study in the Student Lounge. IES Abroad courses are also offered in the Center classroom, and special guest lectures and other events may be held in the Center space.

Features at our Center include:

  • Reception area
  • Student Lounge
  • Classrooms
  • Meeting space
  • Staff offices
Last updated May 2020

About the School

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectation ... Read More

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectations. Our goal is to rock the world of some 6,000 study abroad students every year. Read less
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