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Off-Campus Study

ACM Botswana: Development in Southern Africa

The ACM Botswana program is designed for students with interests in politics, political economy, economic and social development, public health, and environmental studies.  Based at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital, the program is offered each spring semester and combines formal class study with site visits to places in and around Gaborone and a credit-bearing independent study projectClasses include Setswana language, a course taught by the ACM faculty director, and an elective course at the University of Botswana. All students also participate in service activities with organizations and non-governmental organizations in Gaborone, with these community engagement opportunities typically related to their independent study projects.


The ACM Botswana program is centered at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, the nation’s capital, largest city, and center of its economic and political life. Gaborone prides itself on being one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa, and currently, has a population of approximately 200,000.  Gaborone is located in southeastern Botswana, situated between the Kgale and Oodi Hills, on the Notwane River.  Several nature reserves and ecological parks are located in and around the area surrounding Gaborone.

Program Type

Associated Colleges of the Midwest


Gaborone, Botswana

Languages of Instruction

English, with one class in Setswana Language

Program Dates

Spring 2019: January to May 

All dates are tentative and may change.  ACM will alert all accepted students of final dates.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation. (Transfer students may participate after the first semester on campus)  Junior status or higher is strongly preferred.
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75 


Experience daily life in a nation completely transformed by 50 years of civilian leadership and economic growth. Botswana is strengthening its infrastructure, education, and health sectors through revenue generated from mineral resources, tourism, cattle ranching, and financial services.


By combining a strong economy with progressive social policies that address the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Botswana offers an array of possible solutions to the crises faced by other countries on the continent.

You’ll find a new daily routine in the city of Gaborone, the rapidly-growing capital of Botswana, where new neighborhoods and modern urban centers continue to emerge. The city is also home to the University of Botswana campus, where you will take classes and get involved with the larger community.

Throughout your time in Botswana and the region, travel to nature reserves and ecological parks, shop at various malls, stay as a guest in a rural village, and explore other nearby cities. In Botswana, you will see how a nation can strengthen its economy while preserving its natural environment and empowering local communities.


Students will enroll in courses taught by the ACM Botswana center as well as directly enroll in the University of Botswana in Gaborone. 


The program includes four courses, each worth one credit at Lake Forest College:

  • A  Setswana language course 
  • A course taught by the ACM faculty director and related to his/her area of expertise
  • An elective course taught at the University of Botswana 
  • An independent study course


The course offerings at the University of Botswana are vast, ranging from humanities to sciences to business. It is strongly recommended that your direct-enroll course relates to Botswana or Africa, in order to get the most from the program.  For more information about the courses offered, please visit the ACM page.

In Botswana, students will earn letter grades (A/B/C/D/F) for courses and for the internship.


Academic Environment and Teaching Style

As this program was designed in conjunction with a US liberal arts college consortium, the professors understand the unique higher education system and culture of US students. Some professors, especially for the language course, will be native of Botswana.  The other on-site ACM course will be taught by a visiting faculty member from one of the ACM member institutions.

As each student also directly enrolls in one course at the University of Botswana, please understand that the academic system is quite different. Grades are based almost entirely on one end-of-term exam. Class sizes are often much larger and are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Professors are often more formal than those in the United States. However, though the atmosphere is different, Lake Forest students have enjoyed their program in Botswana thoroughly, and have remarked that this course had allowed them to experience a new learning style while also meeting friends.


Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.

Experiential Opportunities

An important part of the Botswana program is the opportunity for students to become involved with local organizations through community engagement.  All students on the program typically work with some type of local organization, as part of their independent study project


For more information on locations in which students have volunteered, please visit this page.

Student Life

Spend a semester as a student at the University of Botswana (UB), a leading university that encourages students to advance Botswana’s social and economic conditions. It offers a comprehensive mix of undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees, and its student body includes Batswana, students from neighboring countries, and international students.

Since all of your classes will be held on campus, you’ll enjoy all the state-of-the-art amenities that UB has to offer. As a registered student, you will have access to the sports facilities, cafeterias, campus computer labs, health clinic, and library. The UB library is considered one of the finest in southern Africa and gives you access to helpful resources to assist with your program coursework.


Travel to urban and rural areas, historical sites, and ecological zones in Botswana to see the region’s character come to life. Depending on the interest of the visiting faculty director and students, program excursions will include a variety of exciting options that show you Botswana and southern Africa up close.

A visit to Jwaneng Diamond Mine shows you a crucial source of Botswana’s national wealth, while a weekend homestay in a nearby village exposes you to new ways of life outside of Gaborone. Spending a weekend in Johannesburg, a thriving cultural center in South Africa reveals the impact of urban development on areas beyond your program site.

Housing and Meals

Students live in University of Botswana undergraduate student dormitories, typically in double occupancy rooms.  Students may be roommates with another ACM student, an international student, or a Batswana (as the people of Botswana are called) student.  The dormitories have basic amenities, and the room layout tends to offer more privacy than traditional U.S. dorms.  Bathroom facilities are shared, with typically one bathroom per floor.  Living in the University dormitories promotes close interaction with Batswana students and leads to a significant degree of intercultural competence.

There are no cooking facilities in the dormitories, and students are expected to purchase their own meals.  There are several dining options on campus and many additional restaurants within walking distance.

Financial Information

For all programs, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee.  The program fee for the ACM Botswana program includes orientation, housing, several day excursions, and insurance.  Meals are not included.

Here is an estimated budget for your Spring 2019 program:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee


Program Deposit (ACM + Lake Forest Deposit Credits)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Program Deposits (ACM + Lake Forest





Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, books, supplies, personal expenses, additional travel etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018. Deposits to other programs, if required, will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate.

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  Students pursuing internships/volunteer projects are highly competitive for Gilman awards, among others!

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Experiences of Former Students

Notes from Abroad: Rachel in Botswana, South Africa

Click here!