Skip to Content

Student Life in South Africa

Johannesburg and Pretoria

Early in the semester, students spend a few days in the historic city of Johannesburg. Known to the locals as “Joburg”, students are able to go on a guided tour of historic sites. Nearby is the notable township of Soweto, one of the most prominent areas in the nation and a large player during the years of Apartheid. In Soweto, students visit the Apartheid Museum, tour Nelson Mandela’s former home, and explore other area landmarks. Students will also visit the nation’s capital, Pretoria, and tour historic sites such as the Union Buildings and the Voortrekker Monument.

Cape Town

According to APU President Jon R. Wallace, DBA, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful harbor cities in the world. Students will live and study in Cape Town, but their learning is not limited to the classroom. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the professors plan a different educational excursion for students, some of which have included a ferry ride to Robben Island, a tour of the South African peninsula, exploring wildlife at Cape Winelands, and a cultural tour of Cape Town. Outside of the classroom, students can participate in planned events and entertainment such as Cricket games, rugby games, and hikes up Table Mountain.

Cultural immersion is an integral part of student engagement, so while in Cape Town, students will participate in homestays with local South African families for up to four weeks.

Students also have the opportunity to expose themselves to a variety of worship experiences while in South Africa. Homestay families usually take students to their home church.

Travel Week

Between their time in Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg, students will spend approximately one week making their way across the country, visiting sites such as the Cango Caves, an ostrich farm, and the highest bungee-jump in the world. During this week, students typically stay in the cities of Port Elizabeth and East London on the Indian Ocean.


The majority of the semester is spent only a few hours away from the coastal city of Durban, in Pietermaritzburg. Lovingly referred to as “Maritzburg” by the locals, students are wonderfully accommodated at the African Enterprise Center (AE), where they stay in white brick chalets. While some students may spend the time harassing the monkeys, others organize volleyball tournaments, movie nights, and the celebration of holidays. Similar to Cape Town, courses taken in Maritzburg include a large amount of hands-on learning, as students take more educational excursions to places such as local game reserves, conflict management organizations, and nearby rock art. The Pietermaritzburg location is also where students will spend time participating in service-learning at one of several ministry sites.

Weekends are a fun time for students to swim in the watering hole at AE, brush up on learning Zulu, or take exciting trips with the whole group. There are opportunities to plan outings in addition to those already included in the program. A group favorite in the past has been the occasional trip to Durban for a day at the beach with activities such as surfing, shopping, or splashing around at the uShaka water park.

Students may also have the opportunity to participate in a three day safari at the end of the semester. For more information, please visit