South Africa is a society that, merely 24 years out of Apartheid, remains highly divided, especially economically. Its future lies in the hands of its next generation. For marginalized and low-income communities, the successful transition from childhood into a healthy adulthood is no small feat. This is, in part, due to the conflicting language landscapes and cultural practices of different communities caught in a game of catch-up with the developed world.
Children can grow up within their homes and families under mother-tongue learning. They then face formal schooling and subjects in a second language and are frequently expected to complete studies of a third language. Furthermore, many South African cultures teach and pass on history and life skills through the oral tradition rather than the Western insistence on written record and report.
This is where the arts and performing arts successfully intervene to enable true learning to take place via more natural expressions of concepts. In South Africa, the performing arts are one of the most pivotal tools for overcoming the challenges in youth development experienced within the various settings of life (school, home-life, neighborhood).
Cape Town is rich with performing arts practitioners and organizations. The wider province of the Western Cape is the only one in the country that has incorporated the performing arts into the curriculums of all its public schools.
In this course, students study this highly creative environment and engage with performing arts-based youth development organizations, such as Umbiyozo Foundation, Indoni Academy, Red Zebra Foundation and Heal the Hood Project. Students study social-emotional competence and work with early-adolescent as well as adolescent youth of Xhosa descent, engage in story-telling and interviewing activities, and learn how to plan and produce a concert as an entrepreneurial development opportunity.
A specific field experience plan is developed in advance of the placement. Academic credits are available, and students will be expected to complete some key course requirements. In addition to the placement, they will benefit from a pre-placement orientation, a weekly classroom or field session with interdisciplinary training, and a weekly formal supervisory meeting.
- Combine a highly relevant global experience with professional skills development and cultural immersion.
- Work with local colleagues and develop your intercultural communication skills, confidence and adaptability.
- Gain new insight through a unique African perspective on development and nation building.
- Explore the progress and challenges towards development of a leading African success story.
- Broaden your personal and professional network, and build lasting international friendships.
This course enables students to develop and apply their theoretical and practical knowledge in a supervised community field experience. Qualified students are placed with a local host organization or contribute directly to ongoing project work of our GEI Social Impact Lab. Students are matched with host organizations according to their level of study, existing skills and desired activities. A specific field experience plan is developed in advance of each placement. Students benefit from a pre-placement orientation, a weekly classroom or field session with interdisciplinary training, and a weekly formal supervisory meeting.
After successful completion of this course, students will be able to understand how the performing arts can be used as a tool for:
- Leadership development
- Community creation and cohesion
- Cross-cultural understanding and bridge-building
- Social-emotional intelligence
- Emotional healing and trauma therapy
- Exercise and respect for our bodies
- Healthy peer relations and resistance to peer pressure
- Remembering history and the lessons of the past
- Revenue generation and poverty relief
- Entrepreneurship and active citizenship
They will further be able to:
- Develop and utilize tools for social-emotional competence
- Employ advanced storytelling and interviewing techniques
- Understand opportunities for entrepreneurial development through performing arts
- Produce concerts and similar events
The interdisciplinary training focuses on cultural intelligence (CQ), the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), storytelling, and career development with special emphasis on international careers and networking.
Students should have already acquired a theoretical foundation and preferably a practical skill set in their discipline. To be eligible to apply for this program, students should be enrolled in a major or minor in arts or social sciences, or any related area. Enrollment is generally reserved for juniors, seniors and graduate students, or by consent of the faculty sponsor. Professionals are welcome to apply for participation without credits.
Course requirements and student evaluation
- Course participation and engagement (40%)
- Weekly reflective journal or blog (15%)
- Field experience report (15%)
- Essay relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (30%)
1 credit per 50 hours is available from our main U.S. academic school of record, The College of New Jersey.
South Africa has emerged from its troubled and turbulent past into a healthy democratic country and the economic powerhouse of the African continent. At the same time, it’s a great place to witness a society going through dynamic changes, as it can still be considered both a developed and an underdeveloped country. South Africans forge a new identity, strongly embracing their unique multicultural character.
Frequently ranked one of the best places to visit on the planet, Cape Town is the gateway to this program. Many of our South African projects take place here, including in townships like Langa.
Students live either in a host family or at a local guesthouse.
- Placement and supervision at a host organization
- Pre-placement orientation
- Weekly interdisciplinary training session
- Weekly meeting with the field experience supervisor
- Accommodation – either in a host family with breakfast and up to 5 dinners per week (what to expect) or at a local guesthouse with breakfast
- Personal meet & greet at the airport and transfer to the host family or guesthouse
- 24/7 emergency support by GEI staff
Not included are the transportation to/from the destination airport (including international airfare and taxes), visas, immunizations, health insurance, transportation outside of the orientation days, meals outside of the orientation days and the homestays, academic credits, personal expenses and other extras.
1 academic credit per 50 hours is available at an additional fee of US $125 per credit from the U.S. academic school of record, The College of New Jersey.
Cailin Human, a South African native, is the main in-country coordinator for our community field experiences in South Africa. She holds an MBA from the prestigious University of Stellenbosch, and has previously worked at the business schools of the two leading universities in Cape Town – Stellenbosch and the University of Cape Town. Over the course of her professional and academic career, she has held various leadership positions.
- Tuition: US $1,510
- Room & board: US $800
- Health insurance: US $80
- TOTAL: US $2,390
1 credit per 50 hours