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SIS Abroad

CANCELLED-Democracy and Development in South Africa

This program has been cancelled for Summer 2017.  

Cape Town, South Africa

Immerse yourself in one of the most dynamic and influential countries in Africa and one of Africa's most beautiful and diverse cities. On this program, you will learn from leading scholars and practitioners as you develop an understanding of how South Africa is dealing with the social, political, and economic challenges of democracy and development.

AU SIS during their summer abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2012.

Faculty Director

David Hirschmann

Academic Details

This 3-credit seminar program explores a variety of themes and issues related to democratization and political reform, security, public health, ethnic and national identity, poverty and unemployment, decentralization and local governance, and other topics related to South Africa, which may include:

  • The Historic Struggle for Democracy and Human Rights
  • Post-1994 Political Reform and Challenges
  • Current Political Uncertainties
  • Civil Society, the Media, and Culture
  • Decentralization and Local Governance, Political Participation
  • Challenges of Economic Growth and Restructuring
  • Strategies for Reducing Poverty and Improving Equality
  • HIV/AIDS: Public Health, Social Impact, and Economic Implications
  • The Role of NGOs in Service Delivery
  • Challenges and Opportunities for the Private Sector
  • Black Empowerment
  • Foreign Policy

SIS can also help students who participate in the seminar obtain an internship with a partner organization in Cape Town. The internship experience is not an integrated part of the seminar program and can be done for credit, or on a non-credit bearing basis for MA students only who wish to complete their professional experience requirement. A list of potential internship organizations can be found in the Forms section of this page.

Site Visits and Field Trips

Students enrolled in the seminar will have the opportunity to visit a number of academic site visits and field trips in Cape Town. Excursions may include the South African Parliament, Robben Island, the notorious island prison off the Western Cape; a hike up Table Mountain, famous for its dramatic plateau; Cape Peninsula, at the southern end of which is the famous Cape of Good Hope; 'African townships,' urban living areas of Cape Town created for 'non-white' people during apartheid and still inhabited by poorer communities; an agricultural enterprise; BoKaap, a beautiful historic district occupied by a 'Coloured' community; and be introduced to various local communities. Site visits are subject to change.

2017 Program Dates (TENTATIVE)

Pre-Departure Workshop: April/May (date TBA)

Program Dates (in country):  May 19 - June 2, 2017 

(Students will arrive to Cape Town on 5/18 and depart 6/3)

Optional internships: variable dates before or after program dates

Program Costs

Expected student expenses include: AU tuition, program fee, international travel (flights), visa fee (if applicable), and most meals. 

Program fee: $2300 $1150

Students will be charged the full program fee for their participation in the program, but will receive a scholarship on their student accounts to offset this cost. Check back soon for additional information regarding costs and the program fee.

Who Should Attend

This multi-disciplinary Program is designed for graduate students from any U.S. university. Graduate students with interests in comparative political systems, development, history, economics, human rights, international business, international communication, international politics, African area studies, and peace and conflict resolution are invited to apply.


Students are required to make their own travel arrangements to and from Cape Town. Students in the seminar will be housed in group accommodation for the duration of the seminar dates only; students staying in Cape Town for the optional internship component will be responsible for their own housing during the internship period.

Contact Us!


Twitter: @SISStudyAbroad

Instagram: SISAbroad

Info Session


Application Deadline

This program has been cancelled. 


South Africa 2014 Program Guide

Advisor Approval Form

SIS Students Abroad Blogs

SIS Abroad students in the 2008 South Africa program.

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