Pernille - University of Cape Town

Master's Program
Semester 2, 2016

Academic experience

I studied:
Third World Politics
Post-Conflict Justice in Africa
Critical Issues in Heritage Studies 

The system is different in that you have less teaching hours, but more reading and on average longer essays to write. 
I was also in classes where active participation was more or less encouraged by teachers as they pointed at you and you had to be ready to say something. It was intimidating, but also great as I really prepared myself for those classes. 

The Administrative system is very bureaucratic and it was a little difficult to begin at UCT, because I was constantly referred to someone else, even to see which classes I was enrolled in.

Personal experience

I gained new friendships and a perspective on how it is to be living in a "Third World" country, where the president is corrupt and the government is discriminating people based on race and economy. It was, of course, tough at times, but the experience really made me appreciate the fact that I trust my government (even though I might not agree with everything they say or do).

Accommodation

I lived off-campus. 
It is really cheap and I stayed in an apartment with a view over the city, the harbour and with Table Mountain on one side and Signal Hill on other - I will never ever be able to live in a place like that again for the same amount of money" 

Advice: you should really try to do your research in terms of areas you prefer to live. 
I lived in the city, which was about half an hour bus ride to UCT. However, the buses to campus are free and run by drivers from uni. 
I know that the area called Observatory host a lot of students. You should also try to live in areas where you feel safe. maybe check out if there are bus stops near you, so you do not have to walk that far to get home.

Budget

Everything is about half the price as in Australia.

Highlight

From the Garden Route Tour
From the Garden Route Tour

South Africa is an amazing country, despite the dysfunctional government. once you get out of the city Nature is very dramatic and it changes from dessert to something like rainforest within a few kilometres. Also, I did not have one single bad experience eating out. Everything was extremely good, modern, and lots of healthy and vegetarian options + it was cheap.

Top tips

  • You should definitely schedule time and money to go out and see the country. It is literally amazing, and I am sure I would go there again.
  • Rent a car and drive up at the "Garden Route" for example.
Pernille - University of Cape Town