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South Africa Study Abroad

Learn more about our South Africa Study Abroad Trip by watching this video:

Program Description

Launched in Spring 2012, the six-week Women and Gender Studies program in Cape Town, South Africa combines a strong academic program and service to the community. The program, a partnership between Women & Gender Studies and the Women's Center, focuses on women and gender issues in the region and explores global feminist perspectives. Participants examine how issues such as reproductive health, education, violence, political representation and participation, Apartheid, and the new democracy intersect and impact the role of women within various societal and class structures.

This unique trip provides a substantial service-learning opportunity set up in collaboration with our community partner in South Africa. Service-learning allows participants to deeply engage with local community members and with the culture of South Africa in a meaningful and impactful way.

Students divide their time between service learning, academic lectures, and excursions in Johannesburg and Cape Town. In addition to The Apartheid Museum and a tour of Soweto and Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, students experience the Cape of Good Hope, Boulders National Park, and the Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, and Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

This trip also has a significant social justice component, which is highlighted in excursions to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, the District Six Museum in Cape Town and many other museums and historical sites.

Although students earn WGS credit for the courses, arrangements can be made with various departments for independent study or internship credits, pending advisor approval.

Learn more about the South Africa program and how to apply by visiting the Padnos International Center website.

Want to read the first hand experiences of GVSU students? Visit our South Africa Study Abroad blog.

For more information, contact
Ayana Weekley at or Allison Montaie at

If you're unable to attend one of our information sessions, watch this video:

Support South Africa by Donating School Supplies

In South Africa, our students are partnered with 6th grade learners at Manenberg Primary School. School supply donations are greatly appreciated! Please drop off donations to Brittany Dernberger in the Women's Center (1201 Kirkhof Center).

Needed School Supplies:

  • Pencil Bag
  • Crayons
  • Pencil
  • Sharpener
  • Eraser
  • Stump nose scissors
  • Ruler
  • Glue Stick
  • Markers
  • Notebook
  • White t-shirt (children's size Medium or Large)
  • Paint brush
  • Balloons
  • Fabric paint
  • Small items that can be given out as prizes - stickers, small toys, etc.