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 intercultural ministry; conduct service and research projects in local communities; and develop relationships with South African students, community members, and academics. The program will include orientation and debriefing modules.

Pietermaritzburg: General Education and Nursing Tracks

The South Africa Pietermaritzburg Semester is made up of three distinct segments, each of which has its own character and challenges. After a brief visit to Soweto and Johannesburg, students commence the first segment at the African Enterprise Center in Pietermaritzburg. This is an intensive academic block, requiring utmost diligence to cover study material, which is usually taken over fourteen weeks, in a much shorter period.

The second segment is the Community Engagement component, when students will be allocated to a service site in the greater Pietermaritzburg area and will be involved in a variety of service activities. Students will be immersed in the community, seeing firsthand hardships of poverty, HIV/AIDS, poor living conditions, sickness, and death. Nursing students will conduct clinicals for the full ten weeks at nearby clinics.

The third segment visits what South Africans call the “Mother City.” Cape Town allows students to visit key historical sites, utilize public transport, and experience a short homestay with local hosts. All students are enrolled in the “History & Culture” course (HIST 235), which forms the core of academic study in Cape Town.

Students participating in the General Education program choose from a variety of general education courses. A non-credit introductory Zulu language course is also required, but could be taken as an eight-unit language elective. The South Africa Nursing Study Abroad Program offers senior level nursing students the opportunity to learn, serve, and engage in APU’s South Africa Semester, while focusing on community healthcare. All courses are strictly defined in the curriculum section. Students will gain up to 30 APU service credits for participation in the service sites.

Cape Town: Psychology and Nursing Tracks

The South Africa Cape Town Semester (SA-C) is made up of three distinct segments, each of which has its own character and challenges. After a brief visit to Soweto and Johannesburg, students commence the first segment in Fish Hoek, a suburb of Cape Town. This is an intensive academic block, requiring utmost diligence to cover study material in a short, ten-week period.

The second segment happens concurrently with the first part, but includes practical involvement in nearby disadvantaged townships. On a regular basis during each week, students will be immersed in the community, seeing firsthand hardships of poverty, HIV/AIDS, poor living conditions, dysfunctional social environments, sickness, and death. Part of the experience will include homestay participation, where students will stay in homes of the locals and see life through their eyes.

Examinations will take place at the end of the Cape Town segment, bringing all but one course to conclusion. The exception will be “History & Culture of South Africa” which continues into the third segment of the semester.

At the African Enterprise Center in the capital of Kwazulu-Natal, the entire focus of the last weeks of the semester will be on the “History & Culture” course. Students will be exposed to a variety of intercultural experiences to add to those already enjoyed in Cape Town. During this period, students will be taken on a three-day safari to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve to complete the South African experience!

The South Africa Nursing study abroad program offers senior nursing students the opportunity to learn, serve, and engage in APU's South Africa Semester while focusing on community health care. Students participating in the psychology program will take Applied Statistics and Community Psychology in addition to the required courses. Optional electives are also available. All courses are strictly defined in the curriculum section. Students will gain up to 30 APU service credits for participation in service sites.

Pietermaritzburg/Cape Town Program Objectives:

  • An understanding of South Africa’s history, culture, and current socio-economic and political trends, learning through relationships with South African students, academics, and local community members.
  • A toolbox of techniques for intercultural learning, including ethnographic fieldwork methods and analytic journaling.
  • An understanding of the principles of community building, including interconnected issues of poverty, inequality, racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination.
  • An understanding of intercultural communication, nurtured in deep relationships with South African community members.
  • Hands-on social and ministry skills, gained while serving a particular South African community that are transferable to communities back home and around the world.
  • Intercultural competency values of respect, openness, curiosity, and adaptability.
  • A global perspective that can be integrated into career plans, and a commitment to a life of ministry and service in tune with God’s heart for the reconciliation of all the world’s peoples to God and to each other.
  • An expanded and strengthened faith, rooted in a God-sized view of the world.