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  • Locations: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Cape Town, South Africa
Early Fall 2017
August 31 – September 21, 2017
 Estimated    Program Fee $4,000
 Credits 5 UW credits
 Prerequisites None
 Program      Directors Christopher Knaus, Fern Tiger
 Program  Manager Darielle Horsey |
 Application    Deadline March 1, 2017
 Information  Session(s) Contact Program Director for more information.
  General This study abroad program will provide students with critical exposure to, and examination of, the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and public schools in community development efforts within post-apartheid South Africa. Working alongside local organizers, students will learn from on-the-ground efforts, expand notions of global diversity and local struggles for equity, and examine the lingering impacts of systemic racism.
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships


Program Description

This study abroad is designed to provide exposure to, examination of, and participation in an “unresolved” South Africa. While students will be situated in Cape Town, the locus of the study will be Philippi, a township on the outskirts of the city’s urban core. Created in the waning years of apartheid, Philippi is home to roughly 200,000 people. The vast majority are of African heritage. Residents live in rampant poverty, despite that the region just outside of the township serves as the primary farming community for the prosperous city of Cape Town. Thus, while a well-resourced, vibrant food industry, buoyed by new-age technologies, provides the bulk of the region’s produce, most residents live in dirt-floor shacks, sharing water spouts and non-flush toilets with tens of thousands of neighbors. With roughly 40-60% of the population of Philippi are unemployed, poverty is both the norm and expectation for most residents. Recent private development on the edges of Philippi have thus far not made substantive improvements to the employment, lifestyle, or education of township residents.

The post-apartheid government has heretofore been unable to address the deep economic and race-based divides, and while South Africa boasts a thriving tourism industry, buoyed by wine, film, and business developments, this material wealth is shared by only a tiny sliver of Black South Africans. Racial disparities remain the norm, by every measurement of social and physical well-being. In response to such stagnation, localized efforts – often supported by a burgeoning number of NGOs – have increasingly transitioned towards internal organizing efforts. While the location (Philippi Township) remains a unique site for this examination, the focus on localized efforts will provide students with important lessons about the broad role of community-based organizations in transforming townships where governmental and philanthropic funding have yet to deliver results. This study abroad program examines community-based, organization-led development efforts within the Philippi Township. Students will gain an understanding of both the complexity and dynamics of internal efforts to address the continued lack of basic resources and infrastructure, while also exploring the role of NGOs in supporting – or hampering – such internal efforts.

Students will engage in pre-departure and in-country discussions about the social, cultural, and political context of South Africa, including presentations by experts (including the director/producer of a recent, award-winning film about creation of the “new” South Africa), group dialogues with panels of educators from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), as well as conversations with the leadership of several Philippi-based NGOs. Students will also engage in in hands-on, experiential learning with an intermediary network organization that works in Philippi to encourage collaboration across diverse, locally-focused NGOs. Students will then partner with one other student to work with a specific township-based NGO within the network, learning more deeply about the organization, participating in the organization’s daily activities, and documenting their approaches to outreach and development. Activities include a series of site visits, conducting interviews, developing organizational analyses, and engaging with service delivery related to the specific organization and its constituents. After site visits, students will provide targeted feedback to the individual organization regarding needs, experiences, and areas of opportunity.

The experiential study abroad thus focuses on four interconnecting and equally important strands:

  • Engaging documentary films and readings focused on the building of South Africa’s democracy, including key historical figures, history of racial apartheid, and contemporary barriers facing South African development;
  • Collaborative, cross-cultural discussions (including pre-departure preparation) that encourage students to reflect on perceptions of race, racism, apartheid, and efforts to address historic and current racial disparity;
  • Hands-on exposure to NGOs operating in the townships of Cape Town;
  • Exposure to daily life in South Africa’s townships and to the cultural context of a predominantly Xhosa community (with additional engagement with Coloured, Afrikaner, and British South African communities).

Learning Outcomes emphasized in this program include:

  • Awareness of the historical and political situation of post-apartheid South Africa and hands-on knowledge of the contextual parameters and global development challenges of post-apartheid improvements and challenges;
  • Awareness of the context of South African societal transition, and the extent and impacts of ongoing structural race and racism;
  • Understanding of policy related to the role of NGOs in South Africa;
  • Exposure to diverse quantitative and qualitative narrative methodologies critical to assessing and analyzing organizational progress;
  • Experience in a developing nation and a specific township community;
  • Experiential learning of township-based social action efforts in South Africa, including engaging with the work of a young and under-financed NGO;
  • Applying lessons learned to US context of racialized disparities and appropriateness of local solutions;
  • Understanding of the challenges facing public education in a complex developing nation.


Cape Town, South Africa


Housing will be in shared dorm-style accommodations within urban Cape Town, close to the University of Cape Town and CPUT campuses, and within walking distance to restaurants and groceries (individual rooms will be available for an additional cost).


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

This program is designed for students with dual interests in global community development and racial justice. Because program activities entail pairing local township organizers with students, familiarity with economic and racial barriers associated with structural racism and poverty are expected. The program will benefit students with prior experience or interest in working within urban schools and/or communities, and students should be comfortable collaborating with community-based partners and organizations in impoverished communities. Undergraduate and graduate students, from a variety of disciplines, including (but not limited to) education, urban studies, community development, international affairs, sociology, ethnic studies, nonprofit studies, anthropology, and public policy will be well situated to engage in this study abroad program.

While the program will be open to all UW campuses, the racial and economic diversity of participating students remains an imperative, as does alignment to UWT’s urban serving purpose and UW’s Race and Equity Initiative. The program thus encourages applications from first generation students from diverse, low-income communities.

Students are expected to speak and write English fluently. Additional selection preferences include the following:

  • Limited experience traveling abroad, particularly within Africa.
  • Capacity to be open-minded in the face of drastic societal poverty and racism.
  • Demonstrated experience working within under-resourced communities of color or work within urban schools.
  • Demonstrated experience working within anti-racist organizations.

While there will not be extensive walking, physical mobility is required as limited physical accessibility is available in township locations in South Africa.


5 Credits


TURB 485/TEDUC 485: South Africa in Transition: Examining Community Development and Education as Transformation (5 credits)

As South Africa attempts to emerge from the shadows of racialized poverty enforced by decades of apartheid rule, community-based organizations are playing key roles in advocating for physical and social infrastructure improvements, resource equity, job training, health care, and just living conditions. This study abroad program will provide students (especially those who have never traveled to a developing nation) with a critical exposure to, and examination of, the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and public entities (e.g. K-12 schools) in community development efforts within post-apartheid South Africa. Through experiential learning, working alongside local organizers, and partnering with local graduate students, participating students will have an opportunity to learn from on-the-ground organizing and outreach efforts in a specific township, to dramatically expand notions of global diversity and local struggles for equity, and examine the lingering impacts of systemic racism.

Learning Goals: 

By the end of this study abroad experience, students will:

  1. Understand and gain hands-on knowledge of South Africa’s post-apartheid development context;
  2. Analyze tangible impacts of continued structural racism in shaping everyday township life;
  3. Strengthen critical analyses of global lessons learned based on local community development;
  4. Analyze challenges of limited-resource, township-based NGOs; and
  5. Be able to apply lessons learned from South Africa to U.S. context of racialized disparities and appropriateness of local solutions.

These will be assessed through a series of assignments, including reflection journals, seminar participation, an in-country report, site-based organizational presentation, a final reflection paper, and post-travel discussion seminars.

Program Directors & Staff

Christopher Knaus, Ph.D., Professor, UW Tacoma School of Education, Program Director

Dr. Knaus is a race scholar, critical race theory practitioner, and community advocate. He researches racism in schools, and his most recent book is about post-apartheid racism in South Africa.

Fern Tiger, M.F.A., Professor, UW Tacoma Urban Studies Program, Program Co-Director

Fern Tiger is a community strategist with more than 30 years’ experience working in community contexts and with nonprofit and public sector organizations throughout the US and Latin America. She has also traveled extensively in developing nations and has documented (photographically and in some instances through interviews) numerous marginal communities in both the developed and developing nations. Her academic work focuses on authentic community engagement.

Program Expenses

Cost: $4,000

Estimated Program Fee of $4,000, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, food (about $25/day), UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,500 - $2,000* roundtrip

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $350 October 13, 2017
Program Fee Balance $4,000 October 13, 2017


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of our website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, two recommendations from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $350 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.