Makhanda is a small city located about 125 km west of Port Elizabeth, the major city and airport in the region. Situated in South Africa’s “wild” province, the Eastern Cape features expanses of untouched beach, bush, and forest. This was Nelson Mandela’s home province, and is an area with some enticing attractions–among them the Addo Elephant National Park, with the densest elephant population in the world; the dramatic Wild Coast; and Mandela’s home at Qunu.
South Africa provides unique opportunities for study abroad students. It is a highly industrialized country that maintains its African identity, thus bridging the gap between Africa and the Western world. Moreover, South Africa provides perspectives on the central issues of race and ethnicity unlike those found virtually anywhere else in the world.
Makhanda, South Africa
About the Program
Hobart and William Smith Colleges maintain an affiliation with Rhodes University in Makhanda, an institution with a world-wide reputation for academic excellence and rigor. Rhodes is distinctive among South African universities for its small size (7,000 students) which enables close mentorship and collaboration between students and faculty.
In addition, Rhodes’ “residential college” structure is unique and promotes a strong feeling of community. The university has a long-standing commitment to community engagement and students will have the opportunity to elect structured service-learning classes for academic credit to foster an understanding of the wider community and the challenges facing the people of the Eastern Cape.
Students will select four courses from Rhodes University’s broad menu of opportunities. Most HWS disciplines are represented, but in particular there are rich opportunities for students interested in anthropology, art, biology, biochemistry, economics, English literature, environmental studies, geoscience, history, IR, physics, political science, sociology, and the performing arts (music, dance, and theatre).
For more specific information on courses available through Rhodes please visit this website.
This program is suited to students in many fields, but will be of particular interest to those studying Africana studies, environmental studies, development studies, peace studies, non-western art, music, and dance.
This program is open to juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. (sophomores may be considered in exceptional cases and only if they have reached a 3.5 gpa or higher at the time of application). Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, and this location in particular, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.
[Note: due to the timing of the academic calendar at Rhodes University, seniors will not be able to return in time for commencement on the HWS campus.]
Students will live alongside South African students in supervised and maintained residences located on the secure, self-contained Rhodes University campus. Note that most residence halls house only men or only women. The residences are clustered into groups that share a common dining hall promoting community and fellowship while offering inexpensive and balanced meals. There is no "meal plan" per se, but rather a "pay-as-you-go" system in the dining hall. You may also choose to take meals off-campus at a variety of area restaurants.
This program focuses more on “living” South Africa than in promoting a tourist experience. Nevertheless, an orientation session is offered each semester which includes visits to sites in Makhanda and in the region of the Eastern Cape. Port Elizabeth is within easy reach by public transportation for the occasional urban weekend experience.
The university provides students interested in traveling further afield with links to area travel agencies and group tour organizations. Students who join Rhodes University societies such as the mountain club will also have the opportunity to hike and camp. All students have an Easter break when they can travel together in small groups to more distant locales such as Cape Town, the Drakenburg Mountains, and other areas of interest.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room fees, and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover tuition for a four-course semester, health insurance, housing, and program-related activities, including airport pick-up for those arriving on the designated group flight and transport to service sites for those enrolled in the service program. Note that no board charge is included. Students should plan to bring their board fee to cover meal expenses throughout the program. While meal expenses will vary according to individual tastes, we estimate $1700-$1900 should be sufficient for most students.
Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, immunizations, visa, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, local transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $1600-$1800 from the East Coast, books at $200, visa at $100, and immunizations at $200. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1000 above and beyond meal expenses, but students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.
HWS students must complete all components of the Global Education application in order to be considered for admission to this program.
This program is offered every Spring semester.
All components of the application must be submitted online by the published deadline. Specific deadline dates are set each semester and typically will be in October (for Fall programs) and late February/early March (for Spring programs).
IMPORTANT: The handbook(s) below is/are the most recent handbook(s) published for this program. A new version, with updated information, will be made available each semester. Program participants will receive their updated handbook approximately 2-3 months prior to their program’s start date.
Please DO NOT MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS until you have received final confirmation of the program start/finish dates for the specific semester you are attending. Dates included in versions of the program handbook intended for previous semesters do not necessarily apply to future programs.
NOTE: The information above is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.
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