Since the early 1990s, South Africa has witnessed sweeping changes in its political and cultural landscape. Once stigmatized as a racist regime and egregious violator of human rights, it is now celebrated as one of the most tolerant nations on earth with one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. South Africa's constitution is indeed the only one with specific language on women's rights, children's rights, workers' rights, health care rights, education rights, and environmental and conservation justice. While Pretoria is the seat of the South African government, Cape Town is the site of parliament, and it is this magnificently beautiful city nestled between sandy beaches and gorgeous mountain tops that will provide the setting for this UConn Study Abroad program and the first UConn program outside of Western Europe.
UConn in Cape Town draws on the University of Connecticut's core value of Human Rights. It will immerse you into the living history of South Africa by directly involving you in institutions that are wrestling with South Africa's troubled past and creating a modern, democratic civil society. At the heart of the program is a three-day per week internship. You will work in a non-governmental agency whose mission is to address issues of social injustice as it impacts upon formerly disenfranchised South Africans, women, children, workers, and the environment. While you will not choose your internship, every effort will be made to place you in an agency that matches your interest and skill set.
You will receive nine UConn graded and five or six ungraded (S/U) credits on this program, for a total of 14 credits. Six of these credits will be Honors. You do not, however, have to be part of the Honors Program to participate in this program. With the exception of the internship, the courses will take place at the University of Cape Town, where you will be enrolled as a non-degree seeking student, which will enable you to use the library, the gym, the computer facilities, and the student union. The credits will be issued as follows:
1. POLS 3255. Politics of South Africa (3 Credits) Instructor: Mr. Vincent Williams, IDASA. This course will provide a broad theoretical and contextual framework against which you will be able to analyse and interpret your internship and general experience in South Africa. It will provide an introduction to and overview of the historical development of the social, political and economics of South Africa. It will also outline the various challenges and obstacles facing South Africa, focusing on social and economic themes. It will describe and reflect on the role of South Africa in relationship to the rest of Southern Africa. Finally, this course will provide you with a forum to engage in discussion about broader, social political, economic and cultural dynamics in South Africa.
2. WGSS 3894/ WGSS 3998 H. Variable Topics: Comparative Analysis of Race and Gender (3 Honors Credits). Instructor: Dr. Marita McComiskey. This course will explore the construction and reproduction of gender inequality in a global perspective. We will study the social position and relations of women and men (political, economic, cultural and familial) by analyzing the diversity of women's and men's experiences across class, racial-ethnic groups, sexualities, cultures, and regions.
3. INTD 3993/WGSS 3891. International Study: South African Internship - Field Study / Internship Program: South African Internship - Field Study (5 Credits). Internship Coordinator: Rev. Vernon Rose. You will work three days per week for 12 weeks. You will be assigned an agency supervisor, who will mentor you and monitor your work. There will be several short assignments associated with this internship, and a weekly journal.
4. INTD 3784 H. Interdisciplinary Seminar: Internship: Research Seminar (3 Honors Credits). Instructor: Rev. Vernon Rose. Coupled with the internship experience, you will be asked to select a research project tied to the internship host provider. The content of this project will be determined through consultation with your field supervisor. Ideally, the project should provide some substantial contribution to the sponsoring organization. Internship placements are selected by the Cape Town Coordinator after interviewing students to determine which specific site will best meet their needs, interests, and majors. A description of the proposed project, its purpose, its value to the organization, and a tentative time table for completion will be submitted to, and in consultation with the Internship Coordinator early in the semester. At the end of the semester, you submit a copy of the project together with a description of how it was completed and how it is intended to benefit the organization.
The UConn Cape Town Program includes a 1 credit Pre-Study Abroad Course WGSS Foreign Study, a 1 credit On-site Study Abroad Course WGSS Foreign Study and an optional 1 credit Post-Study Abroad Course WGSS Foreign Study.
The pre-departure course will explore strategies for adapting to a new culture and tactics for getting the most from an internship experience. This 6-week course will also provide an opportunity to get to know others who will be living and working with you during the spring semester. The fall semester post-study abroad course will provide an opportunity to reflect upon how the knowledge, skills and experiences gained from living and learning in Cape Town can be most beneficially incorporated into future academic, personal, and professional life plans.
WS 3993: UConn in Cape Town Pre-Study Abroad (1 credit) Fall 2011 Designed to explore strategies for adjusting and adapting to a new culture and discuss tactics for getting the most from an internship experience. Students will meet once a week for the final six weeks of this semester at a time to be determined by the participants.
WS 3993: UConn in Cape Town Study Abroad (1 credit) Spring 2012 Designed to facilitate the work of adjusting to culture shock, pursuing personal and professional goals while fitting in; and learning about one"s own culture while becoming immersed in another.
WS 3993: UConn in Cape Town Post-Study Abroad (1 credit) Fall 2012
This companion course for Honors in Cape Town returning students designed to explore ways to best incorporate the knowledge, skills, and experiences gained from the study abroad experience into future academic, professional and personal life plans while discovering effective ways to fit a new self into an old environment.
As a participant in this program you and other UConn students will live in a fully-furnished house located in Rondebosch, one of Cape Town's southern suburbs where the university is located. The house is within easy access to public transportation and is about a 20 minute walk to good shopping. This Study Abroad experience will also include a week-long orientation in which you will visit historic and cultural sites of interest, a three day home-stay where you will experience everyday life with a local family, and a two day "safari" game drive.
If you would like to hear about another UConn student's experience in Cape Town, feel free to contact one of our ambassadors.