Study Abroad in South Africa
The South Africa study abroad program provides the opportunity to explore ecosystems and cultures in and around Kruger National Park and Swaziland. This program introduces students to natural resource and sustainability issues in South Africa through an examination of the relationship between ecology, culture, and natural history. Students also gain knowledge of African history and culture as it pertains to the challenges of managing ecological reserves through interactions with local communities and resource managers.
We will explore montane and savanna ecosystems in the Greater Kruger Ecosystem and observe native wildlife through guided hikes, game drive vehicles, and bus excursions. We are hosted by the Southern African Wildlife College. While at the college, students participate in a long-term ecological research project and present findings to the class and local ecologists. Housing during the study abroad experience includes dorm-style accommodations at the college and tent camping while in Kruger National Park and Swaziland. The program includes background lectures and discussions at GVSU and both classroom and field experiences in South Africa and Swaziland.
“Coming from a small town in south-west Michigan, I didn’t think I would ever find myself on a different continent. However, in the spring of 2017 I found myself in Kruger National Park, South Africa, and my outlook on the world changed. After a month in South Africa, I can honestly say it was the time of my life and worth every second. From the sheer magnitude of Blyde river cannon, to the smallest of birds, the country’s beauty was beyond anything I had expected, and anything a camera could possibly capture. If someone asked me whether going to South Africa or doing any study abroad was worth the money, time, and work, I would respond with one word: “Absolutely.” If they asked why, “Because it will change your life in the most beautifully unique way.” I have made friends to last a lifetime, learned about who I am and my path in this world, see everyday life in a new perspective, and realized there is much more to the world than my south-west Michigan home.” Hunter C 2017
“This trip quite literally changed my life. I am not the same person I was before and I feel like allowing myself to branch outside of my comfort zone has helped me become more confident and independent. And I also got to see tons of new wildlife so that's a plus.” Abby F 2015