Get professional experience at a human rights organization and examine the legacy of apartheid and the ideas, values, and practice of social justice in South Africa.
Live and work in Cape Town.
Cape Town is a hub of human rights organizations. You’ll experience how human rights advocacy plays out in a country emerging from legally enforced racial discrimination and economic and political exclusion.
Build your résumé through a five-week internship.
Get experience in human rights advocacy, gender-based human rights work, human rights law, or social and community mobilization. SIT will use its extensive networks to facilitate the placement process with an organization. You’ll gain practical, professional experience in a work environment and enhance your skillset and knowledge in an international setting under both academic and professional guidance and supervision. You’ll also learn how to use your internship experience for future professional growth.
Gain professional experience in a supportive environment.
In the first two weeks of the program, you will be prepared for the internship through an introduction to the broader social, cultural, and political context of South Africa as well as key social justice issues in the country. You’ll also discuss the ethics of the internship and workplace norms in South Africa. Once internship placements are confirmed, you, together with the academic director, will review learning objectives for the internship and discuss expectations. You’ll also be provided with practical tips and strategies for making the most of the experience personally, academically, and professionally.
Practice experiential and reflective learning during your internship.
Regular weekly reflection and assessment meetings are held with the academic director or internship coordinator to review the progress of the internship. You’ll share your personal experiences in the internship and reflect on the professional learning process. You’ll also be expected to keep a work journal in which you document your everyday internship experience, challenges you face, and how you deal with those challenges and reflect on your professional achievements.
Learn the history of South Africa’s apartheid system.
Apartheid shaped and continues to impact social policy and the visions for present South Africa. You’ll study South Africa’s sociopolitical, cultural, and economic history.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- Apartheid and its aftermath
- South Africa’s political, economic, social and cultural landscape
- Principles of social justice in South Africa
- The ethics of internships in South Africa
- Reconciliation, justice, equity, development, and nation-building
The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
- Social Justice and Social Change Seminar – syllabus
- (AFRS3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Through lectures, discussions and excursions, you’ll gain a broad understanding of the historical background of South Africa's Apartheid system, and how Apartheid shaped and continues to impact social policy and the visions for present South Africa. You’ll also examine social justice’s theoretical foundations, and look at contradictions and tensions between ideas, values and practice.
- Internship and Seminar – syllabus
- (ITRN3000 / 4 credits / 45 hours)
- Internship and seminar in social justice and activism
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
You will experience two homestays on this program.
First, you will live with isiXhosa-speaking families in Cape Town’s Langa Township, one of the oldest townships (residential areas for black and coloured people) that emerged following the passage of the Urban Areas Act in 1923. Langa was a planned town and looks radically different from the informal settlements that dot the Cape Town landscape.
Langa is a vibrant community that values education and sports and has a very strong Christian identity. Families typically consist of five to six members. The name Langa literally means “sun” but is derived from Langalibalele, a rebel chief imprisoned at Robben Island for rebelling against the government.
Your second homestay will be Bo Kaap. Here you will be staying with Afrikaans-speaking coloured families. Some of these individuals are descendants of enslaved people brought from Asia and the coastal Islands of East Africa. Most if not all of the families will be practicing Muslims. You can expect your family to be fluent in English.
You will commute to your internship from Langa and Bo Kaap each weekday. Weekends will be spent with your host families.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Excursions will be in and around Cape Town.
This former prison held Nelson Mandela for 18 years as well as many other political prisoners and detainees like human rights activist Robert Sobukwe. You will visit the island to learn more about Robert Sobukwe and his legacy as an activist.
The District Six Museum
Established in December 1994, this museum focuses on the District Six experience and that of forced removals more generally. The District Six story highlights social activism and social movements during apartheid, especially resistance to racial segregation through the Group Areas Act of 1955. The story of activism continues today, as the District Six Museum is involved in current debates around restitution and provides platforms for activists to share their views and a safe space to work.
You will also visit historic sites such a Cape Point and Table Mountain.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Stewart Chirova, MS and MPS, Academic Director
A Zimbabwe national, Stewart received a BS in agriculture from the University of Zimbabwe, an MS and MPS in horticulture and environmental management from Cornell University, and a graduate diploma in business administration at De Mont Fort University in the UK. Stewart served as academic director of SIT’s program in Botswana from 2001 through 2010, and has directed this program since 2010. In addition to his role as academic director, from 2007 to 2009, he was a member and later chair of the Program Affairs Committee on the SIT Study Abroad Governance Council.
He has worked as a research associate at the University of Zimbabwe and at Cornell University. His research efforts were focused on sustainable agriculture, integrated pest management, watershed management, and geographic information systems. He has also taught courses for the Ministry of Education in Zimbabwe and served as a coordinator in the International Students and Scholars program office at Cornell University.
Tabisa Dyonase, Program Assistant
Tabisa obtained a BA in psychology, education, and Xhosa from the University of Port Elizabeth, a postgraduate diploma in communication and computing from London Centre College for Business Studies, and a postgraduate degree in public relations management from University of South Africa. She has been with SIT since 2007, helping students adapt to the program by addressing day-to-day concerns, facilitating communication between the students and in-country staff, and assisting with administrative aspects of the program. She is also in charge of homestay coordination.
Emma Arogundade, MPhil, Academic Coordinator
Emma has an MPhil in critical diversity studies from the University of Cape Town, where she has also taught courses on race, class, and gender; development theory and practice (with a critical postcolonial lens); and 21st-century culture and society. She was a senior researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council, where her projects included a qualitative, longitudinal study looking at race, education, and emancipation in higher education in South Africa, and another on privilege and social justice in four African institutions. She has numerous publications, some academic and some generated during her time working at various NGOs in gender, gender violence, human rights, HIV/AIDS, and municipal service delivery. She joined SIT full time in 2016 after having taught and supervised SIT students on a consultative basis for many years.
You will complete an internship during the last five weeks of this program. For this internship, you will be placed with an organization in Cape Town where you will get professional experience related to the program’s theme and develop skills you can use in your career.
SIT internships are hands on and reflective. In addition to completing the internship, you will submit a paper in which you describe, assess, and analyze your learning. The paper will also outline the tasks you completed through the internship, professional relationships you developed, and challenges you encountered and how you overcame them.
Interning in Cape Town
South Africa has a strong history of oppression, privilege, and resistance. Community-based activism has been a large part of the landscape in South Africa, with a wide variety of organizations working to either hold government accountable or provide the services that ensure citizens’ constitutional rights are met. The range and scope of work organizations engage in provide a good platform to explore and learn about the pitfalls and pleasures of working in the nonprofit sector.
SIT has partnered with a number of organizations to provide internship placements, a sample of which are listed below.
- Supporting research, training, and other projects to drive awareness and engagement around human rights as they relate to HIV and AIDS at the AIDS Legal Network
- Assisting faculty and staff at Cornerstone Institute, an independent, nonprofit higher education institution engaged in teaching and learning to advance human dignity and social justice
- Supporting youth development through social behavioral change, education, and job creation at gold Youth Development Agency
- Assisting job creation, media creation, or narrative projects related to human rights issues at the Human Rights Media Centre
- Supporting the social cohesion, women’s rights, and refugee services offered by the Whole World Women Association
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
This program is eligible for a New Horizons Grant, a scholarship for our new programs. Award amounts are $2,500 for semester and $1,500 for summer programs. Students demonstrating need through their submitted scholarship application will be eligible.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers
- Preparation for the internship
- All educational excursions, including all related travel costs
- Internship (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $1,425
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes orientation, time in the program base, on all excursions, during the internship, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
- The homestay
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend to the student, or through the homestay.
Estimated Additional Costs:
Airfare to Program Site
Airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
International Phone: Each student must bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.
In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.