South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy
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“I felt truly at home in South Africa, and I cannot thank my friends and family enough for their immediate and all-embracing hospitality and love during my time with them. They opened up to me the way I hoped they would, and we were able to learn from each other in innumerable ways.”
—Margaret Variano, Tulane University
Living with South African families is one of the most important and meaningful aspects of the program. In the homestays, students learn more about the issues facing Zulu South Africans and develop relationships across lines of nation, class, and/or ethnicity. Students consider the need for health interventions for the majority of South Africans who cannot afford private healthcare and also consider the issue of healthcare accessibility and acceptability.
The main homestay is a five-week stay with isiZulu-speaking families in or close to the township of Cato Manor, near Durban, and within sight of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Families have been hosting SIT students in this community for more than ten years and take pride in ensuring students are safe and welcome. During these weeks, students have time to establish relationships of trust and learn the joys and struggles of living in a community facing multiple challenges.
Students also experience three additional short (three-night) homestays in the rural areas of Umthwalume, Nzinga, and Sandanezwe. Students stay in pairs with a variety of families. The homestay site of Umthwalume, near Hibberdene on the southern coast, is particularly picturesque, with cattle grazing on the slopes near the Indian Ocean. Here, students experience the realities associated with high unemployment in an area where chiefs (Indunas) still hold sway over the clan. Nzinga and Sandanezwe are remote rural areas quite far from the nearest hospital, raising interesting questions about healthcare access for its residents.
Other accommodations during the program include hostels, private homes, or small hotels.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Durban
Language Study: isiZulu
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