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South Africa

What can I expect from South Africa?

With its multiethnic population, eleven national languages, and varied physical landscapes and wildlife, South Africa embodies diversity. Students who are trying to add a little adventure to their curriculum will, therefore, find South Africa an ideal study abroad destination.

Students are attracted to the country’s world-class universities, diverse cultures, and natural beauty. Moreover, international students have realized studying in South Africa can prove more affordable than other international destinations. South Africa is home to some of the world’s most stunning natural scenery. Nature reserves, amazing mountain ranges and waterfalls, and miles of beautiful coastline – South Africa has it all.

Benefits of studying in South Africa

  • Great academic programs and cultural diversity.
  • A growing economy.
  • Spectacular weather.
  • Affordable.
  • The highest educational standard in Africa.
  • Easy transition into the workforce.
South Africa

“Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and also the legislative capital of South Africa.”

Typical living and learning costs

Accommodation – Sudying in South Africa has many appeals – it’s affordable, beautiful and with many cultures to soak in. This emerging economy on the African continent is home to leading universities and boasts natural wonders that will stir your wanderlust.

It’s no big surprise that South Africa’s most popular study abroad destinations, Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Cape Town, are also the most expensive in the country.

Student housing may also be a good idea if you are an international student who wants to participate in social activities with other students. You can also save money if you do not want to spend a lot on furnishing an apartment, as the furniture is often included with the room.

Most universities in South Africa offer some form of housing for students. It may be shared dorms, corridor apartments, or private rooms, and can usually be offered throughout a student’s studies. Some student accommodations also come with the added benefit of including meal plans in the cost and easy access to student dining facilities.

Luckily, compared to many of the other possible study abroad destinations, living costs still remain relatively affordable for students in South Africa. As an added benefit, students have options when it comes to finding affordable accommodation.

Food – Food and drinks are quite affordable on the low end. Food prices on groceries in South Africa are fairly cheap when compared with Europe, with locally produced fruits, vegetables and meat giving the greatest savings.

South Africa’s daily culinary timetable follows the British model. South Africa doesn’t really have a coherent indigenous cuisine, although attempts have been made to elevate Cape Cuisine to this status. The one element that seems to unite the country is a love of meat. It’s also well worth paying attention to South Africa’s vast array of seafood, which includes a wide variety of fish, lobster (crayfish), oysters and mussels. Locally grown fruit and vegetables are generally of a high standard.

Transportation – South Africa isn’t the cheapest place to travel, but for a developed country it’s excellent value.
Public transport modes include city buses, trolleybuses, trams (or light rail) and passenger trains, rapid transit (metro/subway/underground, etc.) and ferries. Public transport between cities is dominated by airlines, coaches, and intercity rail.

Johannesburg City Skyline Silhouette

Tuition fees – As is the case in most countries, tuition fees to study abroad in South Africa vary greatly depending on the university. Most universities, however, charge on a per module or credit basis. In some cases, international students are also expected to pay twice the amount that South African students are supposed to pay.

Fees will vary between institutions, courses and even modules, so it’s advisable to check what you could be charged before applying. As an international student of any South African institution, you’ll also be expected to pay a non-refundable international application fee, and in many cases an annual administration fee. You’ll also need to consider fees for joining sports team and socieities, as well as maintenance costs.

Money saving tips

Choose the right time to travel and make sure to take into consideration how the weather will be and its suitability for you.
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong.
Drive on the left. Mainly manual cars. When driving keep your doors locked and be aware.
Traveling to rural South Africa often means having to protect yourself from insects that can carry some nasty diseases.

What can I expect from South Africa?

Studying in South Africa offers some serious financial incentives thanks to favorable international exchange rates. Both tuition and cost of living expenses are a significant value for international students.

There are 26 public universities, and 42 private universities. Public universities are split into three distinct types.Traditional universities offer theoretically focused degrees, universities of technology (also known as technikons) offer vocationally focused degrees, and comprehensive universities offer both types of degrees.

There are 3 South African universities in the 2019 QS World University Rankings top 500.

If you study in South Africa, it will usually take three years of full-time study to complete a bachelor’s degree, and one or two years to complete a master’s degree. The academic year is split into two semesters, the first from early February to early June, and the second from mid-July to late November.

South Africa contains some of the oldest archaeological and human-fossil sites in the world. An area of Gauteng Province is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been dubbed the ‘Cradle of Humankind’. The country is considered megadiverse, due to its biodiversity and commitment to maintaining and improving this biodiversity. South Africa has a temperate climate, and is surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.



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