Situated at the southernmost tip of the African continent, South Africa saw the end of apartheid and a transition to democracy in 1994. Its nickname, "Rainbow Nation", reflects the diversity of South Africa’s people, whose cultural influences come from all over Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. South Africa’s Mediterranean climate makes it suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities including sand-boarding, surfing, rock-climbing and camping. Come delve into the history of this dynamic nation, whose blend of old customs and modern ways make it a fascinating place to study.



Languages Spoken:

Afrikaans, English, Zulu

Education System

EDUCATION SYSTEM

With the exception of professional programs such as medicine, law, engineering, and architecture, most undergraduate degrees in South Africa require 3 years of study. Admission into a graduate program in entails completion of an Honors Program, and a pass rate of 68% in the final year of a 3-year degree. Graduate degrees, depending on the program, are typically runs from one or two years.

Masters Degrees in most fields consist of a Dissertation/Thesis and depending on the program range in length from 1 to 2 years.

Higher Education Reform

Like many other sectors in South Africa, higher education has undergone enormous post-apartheid changes. Acting on a 1975 Report by the National Commission on Higher Education, as well as the 1997 White Paper, the country embarked on articulating the vision of phasing out a fragmented past, to a single, coordinated tertiary system that would meet the country’s development needs. Since the mid-1990s, South Africa’s government-financed tertiary institutions have been open to students of all races.

In 2004, South Africa started reforming its higher education system, merging and incorporating small universities into larger institutions, and renaming all higher education institutions "university", while incorporating several technikons (technical universities). As of January 2011, South Africa has 11 traditional universities, 6 technikons and 6 "comprehensive" institutions, which offer a mix of academic and vocational courses.

Restructuring higher education through mergers has laid the foundations for future change, and with government strategies to deliver the first four goals of access, equity, diversity, and growing research it will drive South African higher education in the future.

Academics

South African academic institutions follow the European tradition, with a mixture of lectures and seminars with individual laboratory time and library work. Students specialize early and study one or two disciplines for three or four years. In most subjects, assessment is based on continuous evaluations with assignments, orals, presentations, one mid-semester test and a concluding examination. Regular class attendance is compulsory. Please note that students who make travel arrangements that clash with their lectures, tests and examinations, will not receive a final mark for their courses or an academic transcript to take back to their home institution.

Visa and Residency

STUDENT VISA/RESIDENCE PERMIT

In order to enter South Africa as a student and be able to register for your classes you need to obtain a valid study permit. Application for such permits can be done at the nearest South African consulate/embassy. For US students there are consulates in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the Embassy in Washington DC; contact information is provided below. The Division of Internationalization will issue students an official letter of admission. The letter of admission must be presented to the South African embassy/consulate where you are applying.

You must have your Study Permit before departing.

Please contact the specific South African mission to which you are applying regarding the documents you will need to present. For general information, visit the Department of Home Affairs > Immigration > Types of Temporary Residence Visas > Scroll down to "Study Visas". Note that each mission has different requirements, so it is important that you consult with the relevant mission directly. As of May 2015, students must apply for their study visas IN PERSON. Students should contact the consulate for their region for more details.

The expiry date of your study permit is very important. It is your own responsibility to apply for an extension 6 weeks before it expires. Please note the following:

  • You are responsible for maintaining the validity of your study permit throughout your stay in South Africa.
  • Formal admission to the university does not guarantee the issuing of a study permit.
  • Students without valid study permits cannot be registered at the university.
  • Permit applications should be made at least 6 weeks prior to the date of departure.

U.S. Citizens:

U.S. Citizens should visit the Consular for Civic & Immigration Services Website > Temporary Residence Permit > Study Permit. Students should be aware that as of May 2015, sutdents must apply for their Study Permits IN PERSON at the nearest consulate. Students should contact the consulate for their region for more details. The following documentation is needed to apply:

  • Two copies of the application form (DHA -1738) signed by the applicant
  • Passport valid for no less than 30 days upon completion of studies
  • Two passport photos
  • Notarized copy of birth certificate
  • Proof of medical report or physical test by your phsyician
  • Radiolgical Report or skin TB Test
  • FBI Full Criminal Background Check. This process can take 6-8 weeks. Students should visit FBI.gov for an approved list of channelers with expedited services.
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Roundtrip flight itinerary
  • Offical acceptance letter from the University of Johannesburg
  • An official letter of enrollment in the from the institution of learning in the U.S. (See letter in your PPAF)
  • Proof of financial means in the form of a bank statement and notarized letter from the parents stating financial responsibility
  • In the case of a minor, a notarized letter of consent from the legal guardians
  • Proof of U.S. legal status
  • Non-refundable fee of $72 money order for processing

Embassy of South Africa:

3051 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 232-4400
Fax: (202) 265-1607
E-mail: info@saembassy.org

For Consular matters (servicing Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Texas, US Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington D.C.)
(visas, passports, immigration)
please contact the Embassy Annex at:

4301 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 274-7991
Fax: (202) 244-9417
E-mail: consular@saembassy.org

South African Consulate-General, New York
(servicing Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia)

333 East 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 213-4880
Fax: (212) 213-0102
Email: nsulate.ny@foreign.gov.za
Website: http://www.southafrica-newyork.net

South African Consulate General, Los Angeles
(servicing Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)

6300 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Tel: (323) 651-0902
Fax: (323) 651-5969
Email: sacgla@link2sa.com
Home Page: http://www.dirco.gov.za/losangeles/

South African Consulate General, Chicago
(servicing Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin)

200 South Michigan Avenue, #600
Chicago, IL 60604
Tel: (312) 939-7929
Fax: (312) 939-2588
Email: sacgconsular@sacg.xohost.com
Website: http://www.sachicago.pwpsystems.com/

U.S Embassy in South Africa

US Embassy:
PO Box 9536, Pretoria 0001
877 Pretorius St, Arcadia, Pretoria
Tel: (27-12) 431-4000
Fax: (27-12) 342-2299

Cape Town Consulate:
Postal address: PostNet Suite 50, Private Bag x26, Tokai 7966
Street address: 2 Reddam Ave, Westlake 7945
Call Center:
(011) 275-6300
Tel: (021) 702-7300 or 0800-980-444
Fax: (021) 702-7493
Email: consularcapetown@state.gov

Culture

People

South Africa's population, recently estimated at 46 million, is very diverse. With the exception of the Khoi’s and San people, the country's original inhabitants, South Africans are descendants of the people who migrated to the southern tip of the continent from elsewhere in Africa, Europe and Asia over the course of several centuries. There are at least 20 ethnic groups and cultures, and four main race groups: Africans, mostly of Nguni origin; Whites, mostly descendants of European settlers; Indians, mainly indentured labourers who were originally brought to the country more than a century ago; and Coloureds, people of Malay or mixed origin. Rigidly separated according to race under the apartheid regime, South Africans have forged a new nation with a common identity. Nevertheless, the Apartheid-defined racial groups (Blacks, Whites, Coloureds, Asians) developed distinct cultures during the period of segregation, and although the distinctions may blur as assimilation progresses, many cultural differences still persist.

Linguistics

South Africa has 11 official languages. Zulu is South Africa's most-spoken mother tongue, followed by Xhosa, Afrikaans, Pedi and English. Since 1994, English has become the lingua franca used by most people in the country.

Food

Many South Africans enjoy dining out. While there are some restaurants that specialize in traditional South African dishes, restaurants featuring other cuisines such as Moroccan, Chinese, West African, Congolese and Japanese can be found in all of the major cities and many of the larger towns. In addition, there are also a large number of home-grown chain restaurants.

The braai or barbecue is widely popular, especially with whites, and includes meat, especially boerewors or spicy sausages. Mielies (maize) or Mielie-meal, often served as a porridge or pearl millet, is a staple food of black South Africans. Pastries such like koeksusters and desserts like melktert (milk tart) are also universally popular. Vegetarianism is becoming widely accepted.

Politics

The isolation of the country during the pre and post-apartheid periods is a thing of the past and it now plays an important international role, most notably on the African continent. South Africa's constitution, acknowledged as one of the most progressive in the world, underlies the country's political and legal systems.

Country Information

South Africa occupies 1.2 million square kilometers at the foot of the African continent and is larger than Germany, France and Italy combined, or roughly twice the size of Texas. South Africa shares borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho. The east coast fronts the Indian Ocean and is swept by the warm Mozambique-Agulhas current moving south. The west coast faces the Atlantic Ocean and has the cold Benguela flowing north along it. Differences in temperature between the two currents cause startling variations in climate, vegetation and marine life. Though it has grasslands, savanna and forests, most of South Africa is thornveld and semi-desert.

Daily Life

People

South Africa's population, recently estimated at 46 million, is very diverse. With the exception of the Khoi’s and San people, the country's original inhabitants, South Africans are descendants of the people who migrated to the southern tip of the continent from elsewhere in Africa, Europe and Asia over the course of several centuries. There are at least 20 ethnic groups and cultures, and four main race groups: Africans, mostly of Nguni origin; Whites, mostly descendants of European settlers; Indians, mainly indentured labourers who were originally brought to the country more than a century ago; and Coloureds, people of Malay or mixed origin. Rigidly separated according to race under the apartheid regime, South Africans have forged a new nation with a common identity. Nevertheless, the Apartheid-defined racial groups (Blacks, Whites, Coloureds, Asians) developed distinct cultures during the period of segregation, and although the distinctions may blur as assimilation progresses, many cultural differences still persist.

Linguistics

South Africa has 11 official languages. Zulu is South Africa's most-spoken mother tongue, followed by Xhosa, Afrikaans, Pedi and English. Since 1994, English has become the lingua franca used by most people in the country.

Food

Many South Africans enjoy dining out. While there are some restaurants that specialize in traditional South African dishes, restaurants featuring other cuisines such as Moroccan, Chinese, West African, Congolese and Japanese can be found in all of the major cities and many of the larger towns. In addition, there are also a large number of home-grown chain restaurants.

The braai or barbecue is widely popular, especially with whites, and includes meat, especially boerewors or spicy sausages. Mielies (maize) or Mielie-meal, often served as a porridge or pearl millet, is a staple food of black South Africans. Pastries such like koeksusters and desserts like melktert (milk tart) are also universally popular. Vegetarianism is becoming widely accepted.

Politics

The isolation of the country during the pre and post-apartheid periods is a thing of the past and it now plays an important international role, most notably on the African continent. South Africa's constitution, acknowledged as one of the most progressive in the world, underlies the country's political and legal systems.

Country Information

South Africa occupies 1.2 million square kilometers at the foot of the African continent and is larger than Germany, France and Italy combined, or roughly twice the size of Texas. South Africa shares borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho. The east coast fronts the Indian Ocean and is swept by the warm Mozambique-Agulhas current moving south. The west coast faces the Atlantic Ocean and has the cold Benguela flowing north along it. Differences in temperature between the two currents cause startling variations in climate, vegetation and marine life. Though it has grasslands, savanna and forests, most of South Africa is thornveld and semi-desert.

Health and Safety

https://www.isepstudyabroad.org/guides-and-tips/health-safety

Currency

MONEY MATTERS

The currency in South Africa is the Rand (ZAR), which is equal to 100 cents. For current conversion rates, go to www.xe.com. There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency you may bring into the country, but it must be declared at Customs & Excise when you arrive. You may need some cash upon arrival, but it is wise to bring most of your money in traveler’s cheques or to just wait to withdraw money as you need it from an ATM (Be sure to tell your bank that you will be traveling and check with you bank about international withdrawal fees). Almost all hotels, shops and restaurants accept major credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club, and you can withdraw cash with a credit card at most automatic bank machines (known as ATMs). It is a relatively simple process to open an account at the major banks and transfer money into that account. Students are generally issued a bankcard valid for cash withdrawals.

Sources of Information

LINKS

http://www.gov.za/
South Africa Government Online

http://www.link2southafrica.com/Consulate.html#MISSIONS%20WITHIN%20THE%20U.S.A.
The South African Embassy's Web site.

http://www.unesco.org
Information about South Africa's Education System

http://www.southafrica-newyork.net/homeaffairs/index.htm
South African Home Department of Home Affairs

http://www.southafrica.net/
South Africa Net

http://www.internationalist.com/business/SouthAfrica.php
The Internationalist


BIBLIOGRAPHY

*All links below will take you to the Amazon.com Web site for content and purchasing information.


Guides


South Africa (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

Fodor's South Africa, 4th Edition: With the Best Safari Destinations in Namibia & Botswana (Fodor's Gold Guides)

Frommer's South Africa (Frommer's Complete)

Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland

The Rough Guide to South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland 4 (Rough Guide Travel Guides)

South Africa - Culture Smart!: a quick guide to customs and etiquette (Culture Smart!)


Literature

Paton, Alan. Cry, the Beloved Country (Oprah's Book Club)


Culture, History, and Politics


Biko, Stephen. I Write What I Like: Selected Writings

Gobodo-Madikizela, Pumla. A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness

Krog, Antjie. Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa

Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Mathabane, Mark. Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography--The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa

Sparks, Allister. Tomorrow Is Another Country: The Inside Story of South Africa's Road to Change

Traveler's Health

International Travel Health Guide

CDC Health Information for International Travel 2010 (Health Information for International Travel)

Staying Healthy in Asia, Africa, and Latin America

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