Course description

Are you passionate about youth development? Do you believe in the transformative power of the performing arts? Did you know that over half of South Africa’s youth are unemployed, even though the country possesses one of the world’s strongest tourist economies? Would you like to help close this gap?

The 3-week Performing Arts Youth Development field course is designed to highlight the crucial role of leadership development in the pursuit of social justice and sustainable development – through the lense of youth artists. You will be introduced to the social change model of leadership development and explore key concepts of community leadership. You will learn how to better understand yourself as well as others in order to achieve personal empowerment, and you will work with youth development organizations in Cape Town in order to develop leadership qualities.

The first week focuses on skills development through classroom learning, workshops, field visits and general cultural immersion. Among others, you will receive leadership training by field experts and study social-emotional competence. The second and third weeks then consist of the practical application and multiplication of your new skills through service-learning activities with early-adolescent as well as adolescent youth of Xhosa descent. The highlight will be the planning and production of a concert as an entrepreneurial development opportunity.

  • Sing, dance and drum around the campfire, in townships and at your very own event.
  • Help talented teenagers to feel heard, understood and appreciated.
  • Produce an exciting event side by side with local youth.
  • Celebrate the precious cultural assets that South African youth inherit.
  • See South Africa through the eyes of some of its most promising people.
  • Meet the leaders of several inspiring youth development organizations.
  • Create once-in-a-lifetime memories and build lasting friendships.

What’s Included?

  • Tuition
  • Arrival day airport meet and greet
  • Accommodation with breakfast
  • Transportation for all excursions
  • Meals during program activities (typically all lunches and selected dinners)
  • On-site orientation
  • Course-related activity and entrance fees
  • Full-time on-site coordination and support
  • Health insurance

    What Isn’t?

    Not included are the transportation to/from the destination airport (including international airfare and taxes), visas, immunizations, some of the meals, items and services of a personal nature, medical expenses not covered by the insurance provided and other discretionary expenses.

    Academic credits

    Academic credits are available at an additional fee from the U.S. academic school of record.

Enrollment requirements

There are no academic prerequisites. To be eligible to apply for this course, students can be enrolled in any major and minor, including, among others, business, engineering, social sciences, development studies, health sciences, nursing, public health, or any related area. We match students according to their level of studies, their disciplines and the interdisciplinary requirements of each project. Enrollment is generally reserved for sophomores, juniors and seniors, or by consent of the instructor. Graduate students and professionals are welcome to apply for participation without credits.

Course requirements and student evaluation

  • Course participation and engagement (25%)
  • Weekly reflective journal or blog (10%)
  • Journalistic article (10%)
  • Group presentation (25%)
  • Essay relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (30%)



Kari Cousins, a proud Cape Townian, is the Instructor for our Performing Arts Youth Development field courses in South Africa. She is passionate about creating positive social change and is an active participant in many civil society organizations in Cape Town. She has earned several master’s degrees in the humanities, law and environmental social sciences, and has worked in the corporate and non-profit spheres as well as in academia.


Frequently ranked one of the best places to visit on the planet, Cape Town is the gateway to this program. Our South African projects take place here, more specifically in the township of Langa. Students are typically hosted by fully vetted families in the township, who are part of our hospitality development project.