- 18 years of age or above
- Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
- 2.75 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
- Sophomore standing or above at the start of the program
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.
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.
Fall: late July - late November
Spring: late January -early June
Refer to the program website for the specific dates, if available.
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.
Education Abroad in Countries with a Penn State Restricted Travel Designation
In order to comply with Penn State’s International Travel Policy, students interested in studying abroad in countries that Penn State has designated as “restricted” for travel, a petition for a waiver must be submitted. Once a petition is complete, and if the student is approved for study on the program in question, the student may be asked to meet with the Director of Education Abroad and the petition will be reviewed by the Penn State International Restricted Travel Committee (IRTC). The necessary petition will be included in the online application process for this program. To see if your program is taking place in a restricted travel country, please visit the Global Programs website.
Available Fields of StudyAfrican Studies, Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Global Studies, Health and Human Development, Health Policy and Administration, History, Human Development and Family Studies, Literature, Political Science, Sociology, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Course ListingsTo find courses on the IES: Cape Town, Health, Culture & Development program, follow the instructions on the host program page.
To see what Penn State students have previously taken on this program, see the Historical Course List, which is meant to be a guide as to what courses might be available and how they might transfer to Penn State. Courses listed here may not be offered during the semester you attend the program and the credit amount or course title may have changed.
Note: You are not limited to choosing classes on the program Historical Course List. You should consult the full list of courses on the host program page before choosing a program.
Course SelectionTo find appropriate courses that will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
- Research courses available on your program
- Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements
- Keep in mind that courses abroad may change or may be unavailable for your selected term, so you will need to discuss possible back-up course options
- To register for courses on this program you will work with your host program
- You must enroll in a minimum number of 15 credits and a maximum number of 15 credits
- You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
- World Campus courses should not be taken in addition to or as a substitute for courses offered abroad
- You may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad
- If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation
Course Equivalency ProcessIn order for courses from abroad to appear on your Penn State transcript, each course must be given a course equivalency. Please visit the Academics section of the Global Programs website for information on the course equivalency process.
Courses can be submitted for course equivalency before, during, or after the education abroad program, however, you should begin this process as soon as possible as it can take on average 2-4 months or more for courses to receive a Penn State course number. In some cases, it can be difficult to obtain syllabi from abroad before the start of the term, but when possible, courses can be submitted for review before departure. Talk to your Education Abroad Adviser about requesting syllabi.
Grade and Credit Conversion ScaleGrades and credit conversions from your host institution cannot be changed. They will be converted to Penn State credits and grades based on the following scales:
|Host Institution Grade||Penn State Grade|
|Host Institution Credit||Penn State Credit|
|3 Credits||3 Credits|
Housing and Meals
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.
Independent housing is not permitted on this program. There will be no exceptions.
MealsMeals are not included in the program and will be organized by the student.
Costs and Funding
Program CostsFall Costs
The cost of a program is based on Penn State tuition rates and partner institution fees. Due to the variety of locations and partner institutions, costs will vary depending on the program. Education Abroad works closely with our partners to ensure the most accurate cost estimates, however, fees can change quickly and without prior notice. Consult the cost sheets for your chosen program often and if you have any questions please contact your Education Abroad Adviser.
*Students choosing to study for an Academic Year on an IES program will receive a tuition reduction on their spring semester bill.
ScholarshipsThe Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Global Programs. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.
Student AidPenn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid.
Withdrawal & Refund PolicyWithdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies.
After CommitmentOnce a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.
Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. Additional fees from the partner institution will be assessed according to their withdrawal and refund policies at the date of the withdrawal notice.
After the Start of the ProgramIf a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.
For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
General InformationStudying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.
AccessibilityPenn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Global Program Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.
Gender and LGBTQAThere are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.
- Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity
- LGBTQA Resources for Study Abroad
- Education Abroad Guide for LGBTQA Travelers
- Education Abroad Guide for Women Travelers
Race, Ethnicity, and FaithWhen choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.
- Multicultural Resource Center
- Religious Diversity Abroad Guide
- Education Abroad Guide for Diversity and Study Abroad
Non-U.S. CitizensIt is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.
Steps to Study AbroadThe planning stages outlined on the Global Programs website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
How to ApplyClick the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!
Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Global Penn State website.
DeadlinesYou must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Global Programs website.
Contact Education AbroadIf you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email EducationAbroad@psu.edu.
Peer AdvisersEducation Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website.
Education Abroad AdvisersEducation Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Global Penn State website.
For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!
|Term||Year||App Deadline||Decision Date||Start Date||End Date|
|Spring||2021||09/10/2020 **||Rolling Admission||TBA||TBA|
** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Indicates that deadline has passed