Marquette’s South Africa Service Learning Program has helped students gain new perspectives and immerse themselves in South African culture through coursework at the University of the Western Cape and community-based learning. Alumni tell us the experience has made a transformative impact on how they see the world.
"Going somewhere out of my comfort zone forced me to learn about myself - who I am, what I value and the direction I want my life to go." - Caitlin Courshon
Put your education to work to address global challenges. You will serve with a community-based organization two days a week during the semester. These service learning sites let you make a difference in the ongoing transformation of South Africa through working on community education, health issues, gender inequities, sustainable living and youth education.
The selected organizations provide services for and advocate on behalf of people whose voices are not heard and who continue to struggle with injustice and pervasive poverty. They encourage those they serve to empower themselves and to be voices for change. Your interests and professional goals will be strongly considered in your placement.
South Africa Service Learning (Promo Video)!
The South Africa Service Learning Program, in conjunction with the University of the Western Cape, builds upon Marquette’s strong tradition of service learning. The program offers you the unique opportunity to increase your understanding of the people, history, culture and traditions of South Africa through integrated academic course work and direct immersion into the culture through community-based service.
To help ensure a positive experience, a full-time resident director is on site in South Africa to guide you and help you delve more deeply into issues you encounter as you immerse yourself in South African society.
Courses and Curriculum
From education to political science to nursing majors, students from all disciplines are eligible to study in South Africa. Throughout the semester, you will take four or five courses, two of which are designed specifically for program participants. You can choose the other two or three courses from University of the Western Cape curriculum. Required Program Courses The following required courses are taken with fellow program participants on Fridays throughout the semester.
Bridging the Racial Divide - South Africa THEO 3420
Reflect on the theology of apartheid and explore the process of truth, reconciliation and justice that took place. Also, reflect on the theology of forgiveness and reconciliation expounded by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and John de Gruchy, and as implemented through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Develop your own theology to move forward in your work, study or life, seeking to understand yourself, others and the world around you.
Leaders in Grassroots Organizations: Community Development and Social Analysis - SOWJ 3400
Investigate how people, empowered by leaders at the community level, address their development needs and bring about change through analysis of the economic, social, political, environmental and cultural structures that create poverty and conflict. Test and refine your own developing models of grassroots leadership through service learning placements two days a week.
Choose two to three electives from a variety of disciplines at the University of the Western Cape, including education, health sciences, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences and social sciences.
Disclaimer: Please note that the list of pre-approved courses are reflective of courses previously taken by Marquette students at this institution. The courses listed are not guaranteed to be offered every semester, and course availability may vary.
HELPFUL HINT: UWC course numbers have 3 digits. The first digit indicates the year in the program that UWC students typically take the course. The second digit generally indicates whether the course takes place semester 1 (our Spring) or semester 2 (our Fall). For example, PSY 311 is a course for 3rd year students that takes place in our Spring semester.
Some courses may have multiple equivalencies at Marquette. To choose the proper equivalency, please contact email@example.com.
Students may also take courses from the UWC's Institute for Social Development
which offers graduate level courses on the social and economic challenges that developing countries have to meet to transform successfully. These courses are designed for those planning a career in the field of economic and social development as policy-makers, activists, administrators, developers, researchers or teachers at universities.
Your instruction will also come from government, religious, business, civic and community leaders who continue to build this nation, citizens who have dedicated their lives to a new South Africa, people who have contributed to its ability to rise above apartheid to bring about reconciliation and inclusiveness. You will observe firsthand how people of traditionally divided groups come together to act collectively for the common good — and succeed.
Additional course information is available at www.marquette.edu/abroad/southafrica-curriculum.shtml
Grades and Credit Transfer:
- All participants will receive a Marquette University transcript for the program, NOT a University of Western Cape transcript (exception: Loyola Marymount University).
- All courses will receive a letter grade and 3 U.S. credits.
- Marquette students: These grades will calculate in your Marquette University GPA.
- Non-Marquette students: contact your home institution to understand how credits and grades will apply.
Non-Marquette students whose GPA will not transfer to their home institution should remember that graduate schools, law schools, and medical schools, as well as volunteer corps and employers may request GPAs and grades from abroad and may use them to calculate an alternative cumulative GPA for you that is required by that program.
- All participants will be enrolled in a temporary placeholder course until the enrollment period is complete. Marquette University will then change students' enrollment to the actual Marquette equivalent courses.
- All participants are required to enroll in at least 12 U.S. credits. Courses at the University of the Western Cape have different UWC credit values. However, because these courses are transcripted by Marquette, Marquette assigns the credit value students will be awarded for each course.
- All participants must take the two required courses (3 MU credits each), as well as at least 2 additional courses from UWC, to ensure the minimum 12 US credit requirement is met.
Participants live together in a living learning community, called the Kimberley House. The house is located in the Observatory ("Obs") neighborhood of Cape Town, which is an intimate community with great energy and a lively atmosphere. Located very near the University of Cape Town, everything you need from restaurants to coffee shops to grocery stores are within blocks from the house. This community will be your base to explore Cape Town and South Africa.
At the Kimberley House, students share double rooms, a full kitchen, a dining room, multiple bathrooms, a living room, computers and Internet access. Students are responsible for cooking their own meals and often share the responsibilities as a group. Transportation is provided to and from classes, as well as service learning placements.
To ensure a positive experience, a full-time program director is on site in South Africa to provide ongoing support and guide you through the logistics of your academic and service learning experience. In addition, a local graduate student from the University of the Western Cape will live and work as a hall director at the Kimberley House. Both individuals will help you delve more deeply into questions you encounter as you immerse yourself in South African society.
Past program participant Corinne Stubbs explains: "Living in Cape Town is really no different than living in any large city. It is about the size of Los Angeles, and I felt safe following the same common sense I would follow in any big city." As part of pre-departure and on-site orientation, you will be advised of key precautionary measures and the safety resources available, such as how to access neighborhood security escort services.
Please refer to your home institution regarding specific program costs for the program.
Marquette's South Africa Service Learning Program is based in cosmopolitan Cape Town, at the southern tip of the African continent.
The people of South Africa call their country the Rainbow Nation to demonstrate pride in their racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity. The country has 11 official languages. In the Cape Town area, you will predominantly hear Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.
While living in Cape Town, you will become acquainted with South Africa's rich history and see firsthand how the country is rebuilding itself after decades of government-enforced-apartheid. Cape Town's diverse socioeconomic communities will become your classroom and its leaders your teachers.
You will have the opportunity to visit significant South African historical and cultural sites, such as Table Mountain, historic District 6 in the city's center and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were incarcerated during apartheid. In addition to a spectacular array of wildlife unique to South Africa, you will experience powerful literary and artistic voices, traditional music, delicious foods and diverse architecture.