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AIFS Showcase: Stellenbosch & Service Learning in South Africa

by AIFS Study Abroad
AIFS Showcase: Stellenbosch & Service Learning in South Africa | AIFS Study Abroad

AIFS programs in Stellenbosch, South Africa combine stunning scenery, first class academics and the opportunity to study subjects and have social and cultural experiences which are unique to the African continent. Studying abroad in South Africa with AIFS provides rich academics and student life, including options to earn a Service Learning Certificate over a semester abroad.

AIFS offers a Spring and Fall semester as well as a 4-week Summer program in conjunction with Stellenbosch University. Located in the Western Cape among beautiful winelands just forty minutes from the hustle and bustle of Cape Town, Stellenbosch is a picturesque town filled with stunning architecture, quaint cafés, museums, galleries, food and craft markets and distinctive shops.

Students on the semester program can select courses from a wide range of subjects, studying alongside South African and other international students. Popular offerings for study abroad students include the study of Transitional Justice, Afrikaans, Conservation Ecology and Health Sciences.

The 4-week Summer program offers four distinct academic streams from which students can choose, depending on their majors and interests. The general program offers a wide range of courses covering areas such as biodiversity, ethics, marketing and intercultural communication. Additional options include dedicated programs in Business and Public Health.

What really makes the academic program at Stellenbosch University stand out is the opportunity for students to take a Learning for Sustainable Community Engagement (LSCE) course. This Service Learning program offers students a rewarding experience of academic teaching combined with working within a local community to develop their global citizenship. Students taking this course gain an understanding of the historical background and current issues impacting communities within South Africa before working on projects which can include teaching life skills, art or sport.

After completing the LCSE program, AIFS students shared the following about the impact of their experience:

This class has introduced me to the art of community development and that coming in and “making a difference” is a very naive way to think. Real change begins from focusing on the strengths of a community and doing things that involve educating them as well as educating ourselves on how to better our interactions in future projects.
—Katie Hood, Appalachian State University

This class changed my life and the way I think about the world.
—Cecilia Mullin, Saint Michaels College

In this course, I have learned that I am one human being on this planet that is filled with issues and unfortunate circumstances, yet by arming myself with information, knowledge, and understanding, I can make a difference. I may not be able to change the world, but I can change the world for just one person at a time. Now that I have completed the LSCE course, I am prepared to be critical when looking at the world. The course has taught me to always question my surroundings in order to understand the truths that lie in this world, and with that, I can find a way to make it a better place for all.
—Kristen Rezuke, Providence College

Greatest class I’ve ever taken!
—Shannon Conway, High Point University

In addition to the academic program, AIFS students are supported by a full-time, on-site Resident Director Hestea De Wet (or Mama H as she is known by the students) and David Reiersgord, a former AIFS Stellenbosch student who returned to South Africa after completing his degree. AIFS staff work with the University to support our students and orient them to a new way of living—where sustainability is of primary importance—and provide them with a well-rounded student experience.

AIFS students have access to first-class sports facilities and a multitude of clubs and societies and a social and cultural program which includes daytrips, overnight excursions, a 6-night Garden Route tour, the opportunity to go whale watching or shark cage diving, enjoy winery tours or hike up Table Mountain as well as academic field trips to places of historical importance such as Robben Island and the opportunity to volunteer in a local township.

If you are interested in studying abroad in South Africa, learn more about AIFS programs in Stellenbosch

Click here to hear from AIFS Stellenbosch alumni.

Please enjoy the following video about the LSCE program to gain a deeper understanding of this unique experience:

AIFS Showcase: Stellenbosch & Service Learning in South Africa | AIFS Study Abroad

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