About the Program
The APU South Africa Semester provides students with an unequaled opportunity to learn about the rich kaleidoscope of South African society; receive theoretical and practical training on community building and inter-cultural ministry; conduct service and research projects in local communities; and develop relationships with South African students, community members, and academics.
The APU South Africa Semester is based in KwaZulu-Natal Province, a region fused with African, European, and Asian cultural influences and home to a physical terrain that ranges from rugged mountains to deserts to tropical beaches. The primary program location is a conference center located in a nature reserve near the small city of Pietermaritzburg, a town that mingles a majority Zulu population with Victorian buildings, Hindu temples, and Asian shops. While at the conference center, students will take their core academic courses, engage in local area service opportunities, and be given a level of whole-person attention (social, emotional, academic, physical, and spiritual development) similar to what is given on the Azusa campus. The program will also include orientation and debriefing modules, in-country travel, and off-campus field research and service during a placement with a South African community development organization.
One month of the students’ stay is in Cape Town, where they live and learn with other Christian college students. APU students will have the opportunity to live in an on-campus dorm with their South African peers.
Students participating in the program take a full semester load (15-16 units) of coursework, choosing from a variety of General Education courses, including a newly developed course on Principles and Practices of Community Engagement. A non-credit introductory Zulu language course is also required. As the program is Christ-centered and service-directed, students are able to join in a wide variety of service-learning projects in surrounding communities, with potential credit for up to 30 ministry units. Projects include serving with an HIV/AIDS health program, teaching at an orphanage, interning with a local NGO (non-governmental organization), and other opportunities with local community development organizations.
After completion of this program students will have acquired:
- A basic understanding of South African history, culture, and current socio-economic and political trends, informed by ongoing relationships with South African students, academics, and community members.
- A theoretically informed, reflective, and faith-integrated understanding of community building, including interconnected issues of poverty, inequality, racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination.
- A basic theoretical and practical understanding of intercultural communications.
- Hands-on social and ministry skills, gained while serving a particular South African community, and transferable to similar communities elsewhere in the world.
- An understanding of how a global perspective can be integrated into career plans, and a commitment to a life of ministry and service in tune with God’s heart for the world.