Considered by the international scientific community as the cradle of humankind, South Africa offers international students the opportunity to explore a country steeped in rich cultural, political and archaeological history. South Africa, despite its checkered past has emerged as one of Africa’s success stories. Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has emerged as Africa’s most prosperous and developed economy. Beyond the headlines, there are things you may not know about Mandela’s country.
So today, we give you 25 things you probably did not know about studying in South Africa. This is brought to you by After School Africa. If you are new to this channel, you are welcome. Consider subscribing to continue exploring opportunities. Also visit scholarships in South Africa to discover study opportunities in South Africa.
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Table of Contents
1. South Africa is very diverse
With its multiethnic population, eleven national languages, and varied physical landscapes and wildlife, South Africa embodies diversity. Students who are trying to add a little adventure to their curriculum will find South Africa to be an ideal study abroad destination.
2. The top 3 universities in Africa are in South Africa
South Africa is home to some of the best universities on the African continent. The University of Cape Town is the best university in Africa according to the Times Higher Education global rankings. The University of Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch University are second and third respectively. According to this ranking, there are 8 South African universities in Africa’s best 10.
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3. Tuition fees are modest
While not entirely cheap, Universities in South Africa charge modest fees compared to their counterparts in Europe and the USA. For instance South Africa’s best University, the University of Cape Town charges tuition fees of around $3200 per annum. The average tuition fee for undergraduate programs is $2500-$4500. For postgraduate programs, it is around $2700-$3000.
4. Regional students pay less than other international students
International students from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) pay the same fees as South African students; Whereas other international students pay higher tuition fees. Some of the countries in the SADC include Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and 12 other countries.
5. There are scholarships to apply for
There are lots of scholarships to choose from both for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Visit the link below to apply for scholarships in South Africa.
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6. Health insurance is compulsory
One of the requirements for a study permit is proof of medical cover with a medical scheme registered in South Africa. The medical cover must be renewed annually, in the specified period of study.
7. Cost of living is high
South Africa is one of the most developed and diverse economies in Africa. Expenses are cheaper when compared to other places in the developed world but they are still on the high side all the same. On Average, living costs for international students in South Africa can be in the range of $6000-$7500 per year. This includes the cost of accommodation, feeding and other utilities.
8. There are limitations to work-study options
Student visas in South Africa allow students to work while pursuing their studies. However, international students may only work up to a maximum 20 hours per week. The student can work part time till the expiry of the student visa and not after.
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9. African students make up the most of international students
International students from fellow African countries make up 82% of the international students population in South Africa. Out of the top 10 countries with students in South Africa, 9 are from Africa while the US is the only exception.
25 % of the international student’s population is from Zimbabwe. Students from the lesser developing country take advantage of the cheap tuition fees they pay as members of the SADC alliance.
11. TOEFL or IELTS is required if you’re not a native English speaker
If English is not your first language, or your previous degree was not in English and you wish to study in South Africa, you may need to submit a language test score. IELTS or TOEFL is accepted.
12. There are three types of Public universities in South Africa
Of the 26 public universities in South Africa, 12 are traditional universities, which offer theoretical university degrees; 8 are universities of technology known as “Technicons” offering vocational oriented diplomas and degrees. The other 6 are comprehensive universities offering a combination of academics and research.
13. South Africa is one of the few places in Africa where it snows
Snow is not a phenomenon you associate with Africa but there are a few places in Africa where it snows. The mountain ranges of North and East Africa experience snow for parts of the Year. In South Africa, Sutherland and Eastern Cape are some of the regions that experience snow during the winter months.
14. Have a local guide
Like all countries, there are places in South Africa that you should avoid for safety reasons. Make a friend with a native either from class or from the area you reside to guide you on certain mobility plans.
15. There is “African time” with everything
Welcome to Africa! If you are coming from an African country, this will be something you are already used to. Don’t get upset when events, lectures or exams do not start at the stipulated time, just adjust and get used to it.
16. You not unusual to walk around without shoes
This is a long-standing part of Afrikaans culture. At some time in history shoes were a luxury, so you never wore shoes unless it was to smarten up or for church on Sundays. Till present day, many South African students feel comfortable navigating campus bare foot.
17. Football and Rugby are very popular in South Africa
Yes, so get ready to play in your schools team or support them at least.
18. South Africa is dotted with beautiful landscapes
South Africa is a rocky, mountainous country rich with magnificent landscapes. If you are a lover of nature, South Africa will bring you even closer to it. The Lisbon falls in Mpumalanga, Oribi George Nature Reserve, the Valley of Desolation and the Table Mountain are just few in the magnificent landscapes South Africa has to offer.
19. Tourists love South Africa
In 2018 over 8.6 million tourists visited South Africa making it the second most visited country in Africa after Tunisia. South Africa has been a Mecca of sorts for tourists since the end of apartheid.
20. Nelson Mandela is revered in South Africa
One of the world’s leading icons for freedom and the face of the struggle to end apartheid, Nelson Mandela is not only revered in South Africa, he is loved the world over.
21. South Africa has three capitals
The seat of South Africa’s legislature is Cape Town. Pretoria is the seat of government while Bloemfontein is the seat of the Judiciary.
22. Crime is rife in South Africa
South Africa is no utopia and has quite highest crime rates. There were 21,022 murders between 2018 and 2019 in South Africa, an average of 58 murders every day. This data was released by the institute for Security studies. Most of the crimes are however limited to the suburbs. Be security conscious while in the country and avoid the suburbs at night.
23. South Africa emerged from the shadows of a dark past
Before the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa was a pariah state where the white minority dominated and segregated the black majority. The atrocities committed by the apartheid regime led to sanctions and protest from within and outside South Africa. Nelson Mandela notably led the movement and was incarcerated for decades before he was released at the end of apartheid. South Africa has emerged from that era as one of the most developed countries in Africa.
24. South Africa is the only African country to have hosted the world cup
The football world cup which held in South Africa in 2010 was the first time the competition was held in the continent.
25. Weather conditions are friendly in South Africa
No matter where in the world you are coming from, there is a climate suited for you, literally. While most of the country is warm during the day and cold at night there are parts that offer snowy weather, tropical weather and even desert climate.
There you have it, the 25 things you probably did not know about studying in South Africa. Do you plan studying in South Africa? Or do you have experience studying in South Africa? Tell us about it in the comments section. If you are yet to subscribe to the After School Africa channel, this likely a good time to subscribe. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS.