Marquette's South Africa Service Learning Program is based in cosmopolitan Cape Town, at the southern tip of the African continent.
The people of South Africa call their country the Rainbow Nation to demonstrate pride in their racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity. The country has 11 official languages. In the Cape Town area, you will predominantly hear Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.
While living in Cape Town, you will become acquainted with South Africa's rich history and see firsthand how the country is rebuilding itself after decades of government-enforced-apartheid. Cape Town's diverse socioeconomic communities will become your classroom and its leaders your teachers.
You will have the opportunity to visit significant South African historical and cultural sites, such as Table Mountain, historic District 6 in the city's center and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were incarcerated during apartheid. In addition to a spectacular array of wildlife unique to South Africa, you will experience powerful literary and artistic voices, traditional music, delicious foods and diverse architecture.
Founded in 1960, the University of the Western Cape is a leading research and teaching institution that was one of the first South African universities to formally oppose apartheid. With 14,000 students and more than 200 degree programs, UWC is a major university committed to academic excellence, cultural diversity, and building an equitable and dynamic society. Marquette is one of a select group of U.S. institutions that partners with the university.
"Going somewhere out of my comfort zone forced me to learn about myself - who I am, what I value and the direction I want my life to go." - Caitlin Courshon (Fall 2014).
The South Africa Service Learning Program, in conjunction with the University of the Western Cape, builds upon Marquette’s strong tradition of service learning. The program offers you the unique opportunity to increase your understanding of the people, history, culture and traditions of South Africa through integrated academic course work and direct immersion into the culture through community-based service.
To help ensure a positive experience, a full-time resident director is on site in South Africa to guide you and help you delve more deeply into issues you encounter as you immerse yourself in South African society.
Courses and Curriculum
From education to political science to nursing majors, students from all disciplines are eligible to study in South Africa. Throughout the semester, you will take four or five courses, two of which are designed specifically for program participants. You can choose the other two or three courses from University of the Western Cape curriculum. Required Program Courses The following required courses are taken with fellow program participants on Fridays throughout the semester.
- Bridging the Racial Divide - South Africa
Reflect on the theology of apartheid and explore the process of truth, reconciliation and justice that took place. Also, reflect on the theology of forgiveness and reconciliation expounded by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and John de Gruchy, and as implemented through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Develop your own theology to move forward in your work, study or life, seeking to understand yourself, others and the world around you.
- Leaders in Grassroots Organizations: Community Development and Social Analysis
Investigate how people, empowered by leaders at the community level, address their development needs and bring about change through analysis of the economic, social, political, environmental and cultural structures that create poverty and conflict. Test and refine your own developing models of grassroots leadership through service learning placements two days a week.
Choose two to three electives from a variety of disciplines at the University of the Western Cape, including education, health sciences, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences and social sciences. More specific course information is available at www.marquette.edu/abroad/southafrica-curriculum.shtml
Students may also take courses from the UWC's Institute for Social Development which offers graduate level courses on the social and economic challenges that developing countries have to meet to transform successfully. These courses are designed for those planning a career in the field of economic and social development as policy-makers, activists, administrators, developers, researchers or teachers at universities.
A number of courses have already been evaluated for Marquette equivalency: South Africa-UWC Courses
Your instruction will also come from government, religious, business, civic and community leaders who continue to build this nation, citizens who have dedicated their lives to a new South Africa, people who have contributed to its ability to rise above apartheid to bring about reconciliation and inclusiveness. You will observe firsthand how people of traditionally divided groups come together to act collectively for the common good — and succeed.
SERVICE LEARNING: Learn Through Action
Put your education to work to address global challenges. You will serve with a community-based organization two days a week during the semester. These service learning sites let you make a difference in the ongoing transformation of South Africa through working on community education, health issues, gender inequities, sustainable living and youth education
The selected organizations provide services for and advocate on behalf of people whose voices are not heard and who continue to struggle with injustice and pervasive poverty. They encourage those they serve to empower themselves and to be voices for change. Your interests and professional goals will be strongly considered in your placement.
Learn more about the South Africa service sites
You will live with fellow program participants in the Kimberley House in the Observatory neighborhood of Cape Town. Known locally as "Obs," the neighborhood is an intimate community with great energy and a lively atmosphere. It is a popular community with students and faculty because of its proximity to the University of Cape Town. Everything you need from restaurants to coffee shops to grocery stores are within blocks from the house. This community will be your base to explore Cape Town and South Africa.
At the Kimberley House, students share double rooms, a full kitchen, a dining room, multiple bathrooms, a living room, computers and Internet access. Students are responsible for cooking their own meals and often share the responsibilities as a group. Transportation is provided to and from classes, as well as service learning placements.
To ensure a positive experience, a full-time program director is on site in South Africa to provide ongoing support and guide you through the logistics of your academic and service learning experience. In addition, a local graduate student from the University of the Western Cape will live and work as a hall director at the Kimberley House. Both individuals will help you delve more deeply into questions you encounter as you immerse yourself in South African society.
Past program participant Corinne Stubbs explains: "Living in Cape Town is really no different than living in any large city. It is about the size of Los Angeles, and I felt safe following the same common sense I would follow in any big city." As part of pre-departure and on-site orientation, you will be advised of key precautionary measures and the safety resources available, such as how to access neighborhood security escort services.