Study Abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa

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Study Abroad in Stellenbosch: Courses

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Stellenbosch University expands its course offerings and programs each year.

Each year the course content and program is adjusted slightly with new courses added, so please refer to this page for a current list of courses and updates on any new courses or academic themes.

Academic Field Trips: Many of the courses on the summer program include academic field trips which give students practical, real-life examples of the subject they are studying. These field trips will be identified in the final course information prior to arrival and may take place outside of regular scheduled class times.

All courses are taught in English.

General Elective Program

Students take 3 courses in total on this program. Course 1 is mandatory for all students. The two remaining courses are selected from Courses 2 to 15. Each course is worth 2 credits, giving a total of 6 credits. See Extra Credits section above for details on how to obtain 3 credits per course. A minimum of 5 students must register for a particular course in order for it to be presented.

Week 1

Course 1 - SSA 202/302 (2) (Mandatory) | Introduction to South Africa’s Political History

During this course, you will be introduced to South Africa’s unique 20th-century history, and the interplay between the country’s political, social and economic issues. In particular, the focus is on South African identities, and how these were and continue to be shaped by the country’s past. At the root of the apartheid project was a sustained attempt to manipulate social identities. Almost 50 years of social engineering cannot be dismissed easily, and continues to influence the future of South Africa’s democracy. Understanding how the past impacts on the present allows us to better understand the issues and challenges currently facing the country. We therefore commence by exploring South Africa’s political history, focusing on the apartheid era and the transition to democracy. A field trip to Robben Island will contribute to making this history come alive. An assessment of the process of reconciliation following the 1994 elections provides the bridge to a discussion of the project of nation-building, including the debates around national identity construction.

Week 2 (Choose one from the courses below)

Course 2 - SSA 203/303 (2) | Biodiversity: Plants for the People in the Western Cape (Botany)

During this course, you will be introduced to South Africa’s incredible biological diversity, with special focus on the plants of the Cape Floristic Region. After a solid theoretical and practical introduction to the diversity and richness of this flora, the focus will shift to the role and responsibility of people in conserving and benefiting from these botanical riches. This leads to a full day of exploration of the benefits currently being reaped from commercialization of indigenous plants especially for the cut flower industry. Indigenous plant use by local people, especially traditional healers, constitutes the final topic of discussion, and will be followed by a visit to traditional medicinal markets. The course will close with verbal presentations by students on topics researched during the course.

Course 3 - SSA 204/304 (2) | Visual Narratives and South-North Interactions(Art and Media)

In this course we will track major developments and changes in South African art and media from the Union years (1910-1948), through the Apartheid era (1948-1994) and after (1994-present). The point of this broad historical perspective is not so much to provide a condensed history of South African art and media, as it is to explore the relationship between South Africa’s turbulent socio-political landscape and its visual culture. In particular, we aim to explore the notion of national identity as it manifested and still manifests in art and visual culture. The first part of the course deals with the concurrent rise of Afrikaner and African nationalism in the early 20th century, and the role of visual culture in the construction of these competing national identities. The second part of the lecture series deals with the years of the ‘struggle’, when the dominant white construct of nation came into conflict with the rising tide of militant African nationalist aspiration. The final part of the series looks at ‘new’ South African nationalism, and the often conflicted art and media it produces.

Course 4 - SSA 205/305 (2) | Introduction to Muslim History, Society and Culture in Cape Town (Sociology and Religious Studies)

Among the pressing challenges facing societies emerging out of war or authoritarianism is how to respond to human rights violations perpetrated in the mayhem of conflict. South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission represents one model that has been both celebrated and heavily critiqued. Offered by a practitioner who has worked with the UN in the African Great Lakes region, Nepal, and North Africa, this course sets the Commission in historic and comparative context, critically highlighting questions about truth recovery, justice, reparations, and enabling non-recurrence.

Course 5 - SSA 212/312 (2) | Equity and Leadership in the Global Classroom (Political Science)

Provides an introduction and overview of Muslim history, society and culture in the greater Cape Town region of South Africa. It offers critical insights into the inner workings of the Muslim society with reference to its founding community dynamics; rites of passage, religious rituals and cultural practices; and the socio-political, economic and educational dimensions of their lives at the southern-most tip of Africa.

Course 6 - SSA 206/306 (2) | Travel Photography

The aim of the course is to teach students about photography with a focus on travel photography theory. Students will gain knowledge of their own cameras, improve their photography skills and gain practical experience in the areas of landscape and portrait photography as well as wildlife photography

Week 3/4 (Choose one from the courses below)

Course 7 - SSA 210/310 (2) | Transitional Justice (Political Science)

Three main themes will be covered during the course. 1. Intercultural Communication as a field of academic reflection: This theme will cover the historical background, and the reasons for scholarly and popular interest in the phenomenon of intercultural communication. It will also give definitions and general features as well as the main research themes currently covered in Intercultural Communication. In the course of introducing this theme, key concepts in the field, such as ‘language’, ‘multilingualism’, ‘culture’, ‘communication’, ‘miscommunication’, ‘misunderstanding’, etc. will be introduced. 2. Theoretical approaches to the study of Intercultural Communication phenomena and methods of research in Intercultural Communication: This theme will introduce a number of theoretical approaches and the associated methodologies within the field. These will include the contrastive approach, the interlanguage approach; the interactive-intercultural approach; pragmatic approaches; sociolinguistic approaches; ethnographic approaches, (critical) discourse analysis; linguistic analysis (e.g. structural features of code-switching; pragmatic features such as irony and truism). 3. Intercultural Communication in social interaction: Here two broad themes will be covered, namely (i) Intercultural Communication which involves minority language groups, and (ii) Intercultural Communication in the workplace. This theme will be introduced by means of specific case studies which illustrate communicative features that mark multilingual contexts, as well as the linguistic effects of migration related to, for example, global economic mobility, war and other forms of violence, provision of public health care in multilingual facilities, provision of educational opportunities to minority language groups.

Course 8 - SSA 208/308 (2) | Present Imperfect: Negotiating Identities in Film and Literature (Film and Literary Studies)

This course explores the ways in which South African film and literature register and reflect socio-political conflicts and tensions. Students will engage with classic and contemporary South African poems and short stories, as well as a novel and three films, in order to explore how these fields of cultural production serve as a means of questioning and negotiating identity in South Africa.

Course 9 - SSA 207/307 (2) | Understanding HIV In South Africa: A Health and Social Justice Perspective (Public Health)

This interactive course aims to develop a global understanding of HIV and AIDS, gender and sexuality through a health and social justice perspective. We will have a specific focus on the South African experience, evaluating how far we have come regarding HIV and AIDS, gender, sexuality and health, and social justice in post-apartheid South Africa.

Course 10 - SSA 201/301(2) | China in Africa (International Relations and Chinese Studies)

This course offers a comprehensive introduction to China’s engagement on the African continent. The course includes an overview of Chinese investments on the continent, including infrastructure, extractive industries and trade relationships; it also examines China-Africa relations within the context of global groupings such as BRICS and FOCAC, the role of historical and political relations and the growing role of Chinese security within Africa. The course familiarizes students with the controversy surrounding the relationship, including issues of labour and environmental degradation as well as mechanisms which African countries draw on to command more co-operative interaction.

Course 11 - SSA 213/313 (2) | Biomedical Engineering: Designing Solutions for African Health (Engineering)

Biomedical engineering involves applying the concepts, knowledge and approaches of virtually all engineering disciplines to solve or improve health care related problems. The challenges created by the diversity and complexity of living systems and the unique context of South Africa, require creative, knowledgeable, and imaginative people working in multidisciplinary teams to monitor, restore and enhance normal body function. In this course students will be exposed to health care challenges faced in South Africa and will work together in teams to help address these issues using novel engineering approaches.

Doing Business in Southern Africa Program

Course 1 - SSA 202/302 (2) (Mandatory) | Introduction to South Africa’s Political History

During this course, you will be introduced to South Africa’s unique 20th-century history, and the interplay between the country’s political, social and economic issues. In particular, the focus is on South African identities, and how these were and continue to be shaped by the country’s past. At the root of the apartheid project was a sustained attempt to manipulate social identities. Almost 50 years of social engineering cannot be dismissed easily, and continues to influence the future of South Africa’s democracy. Understanding how the past impacts on the present allows us to better understand the issues and challenges currently facing the country. We therefore commence by exploring South Africa’s political history, focusing on the apartheid era and the transition to democracy. A field trip to Robben Island will contribute to making this history come alive. An assessment of the process of reconciliation following the 1994 elections provides the bridge to a discussion of the project of nation-building, including the debates around national identity construction.

Course 2 - SSA 216/316 (5) (Mandatory) | Doing Business in Southern Africa

This course aims to help students investigate the unique institutional and policy conditions in Southern African countries which will not only allow future entrepreneurs and managers to understand the challenges that will confront their businesses, but also allow them to identify the opportunities that this rapidly growing region offers. The course will give students an acute knowledge of the development challenges facing Southern African countries and understand the growth of emerging Southern African markets and identify future growth potential. Students will have the ability to discuss and debate current and future policy issues in a development country context. Furthermore they will get awareness of the additional social, environmental and ethical considerations for African businesses.

Public Health Care Program

Course 1 - SSA 202/302 (2) (Mandatory) | Introduction to South Africa’s Political History

During this course, you will be introduced to South Africa’s unique 20th-century history, and the interplay between the country’s political, social and economic issues. In particular, the focus is on South African identities, and how these were and continue to be shaped by the country’s past. At the root of the apartheid project was a sustained attempt to manipulate social identities. Almost 50 years of social engineering cannot be dismissed easily, and continues to influence the future of South Africa’s democracy. Understanding how the past impacts on the present allows us to better understand the issues and challenges currently facing the country. We therefore commence by exploring South Africa’s political history, focusing on the apartheid era and the transition to democracy. A field trip to Robben Island will contribute to making this history come alive. An assessment of the process of reconciliation following the 1994 elections provides the bridge to a discussion of the project of nation-building, including the debates around national identity construction.

Course 2 - SSA 423/523 (5) (Mandatory) | Public Health Care in South Africa

This course introduces students to the health care system in South Africa and takes a thematic approach. These themes are informed by the determinants of health in the Western Cape, and are grouped as follows: HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis; Non-Communicable Diseases and Infectious Diseases; Substance Abuse; Domestic Violence; mental- and psychosocial health; Sexual and Reproductive Health. The course consists of class room instruction, readings and presentations which are integrated with an experiential component that include exposures to health care facilities in the Western Cape Province where students make observations and/or participate in planned activities on site. This course includes the HIV Elective course which can be seen under General Electives.

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS South Africa programs! Offerings!

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS South Africa programs!

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS South Africa, Stellenbosch programs!