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Off-Campus Study

AIFS Abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Study art, history, literature, political science, service learning, African studies and more with AIFS in Stellenbosch, South Africa.  AIFS makes it simple for you to live and study in Stellenbosch and experience all that this vibrant city has to offer.

Program Type

Approved Third Party Provider


Stellenbosch, South Africa

Languages of Instruction


Program Dates

Fall 2018: July to November

Spring 2019: January to June

All dates are tentative and may change.  AIFS 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. Must be 20 to complete the internship or service-learning part of the program.
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.5.  For service-learning focused program, required GPA is 3.2. 


Stellenbosch is a university town in South Africa’s Western Cape province. It’s surrounded by the vineyards of the Cape Winelands and the mountainous nature reserves of Jonkershoek and Simonsberg. The town’s oak-shaded streets are lined with cafes, boutiques and art galleries. Cape Dutch architecture gives a sense of South Africa’s Dutch colonial history, as do the Village Museum’s period houses and gardens.


AIFS students can choose courses from Stellenbosch University’s full course catalog.  The course offerings at the AIFS Stellenbosch program include options for many liberal arts majors.  You will experience South Africa’s educational system firsthand, studying alongside South African and other international students. 


Though letter grades will appear on the Lake Forest transcript, they will not factor into a student’s GPA except in calculations of honors or the Dean’s List.  Students must take a minimum of 15 credit hours to obtain the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest College credits.

For more information on courses available. please visit the AIFS page.


Academic Environment and Teaching Style

Students directly enroll at Stellenbosch University, and the education system is quite different.  Grades are based heavily 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. 

For students that participate in the Learning for a Sustainable Community Engagement Program, students spend a good deal of time on service-learning projects in the community.  The semester Service Learning projects are with Lynedoch Primary School, located in Lynedoch Eco-village, on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. This course primarily focuses on work with children who are all from backgrounds of abject poverty and whose lives are characterized by impaired bio-psycho-social well-being. It, therefore, provides a very good cross-section of the kinds of difficulties that typify the development environment.


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

Volunteer Work

Students on the AIFS programs in Stellenbosch have the opportunity to undertake volunteer work with children in the township of Kayamandi, a predominantly black township with a population of 20,000. This volunteer project is supervised by the International Office.

AIFS Internship at Ardmore Ceramic Studio, KwaZulu Natal

One or more AIFS students may be selected each semester for a 3-week Ardmore internship at the end of the Stellenbosch semester. This is a unique opportunity for students interested in, or with experience in art, photography, marketing or community service.


Learning for a Sustainable Community Engagement Program

Students with a 3.2 GPA may apply for this program track, which combines 9 credit course on service-learning, plus two other courses from the full curriculum.  The objective of this exciting module is to provide international students with the opportunity to demonstrate their global citizenship through a service learning experience. Students will develop an understanding of the historical background and current issues impacting on community life and problems in South Africa and will experience it first hand through service to a South African community while earning academic credits.

Sustainable Community Engagement is a term that describes the contact between the student and a community where the service learning experience will take place. The semester Service Learning projects are with Lynedoch Primary School, located in Lynedoch Eco-village, on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. This course primarily focuses on work with children who are all from backgrounds of abject poverty and whose lives are characterized by impaired bio-psycho-social well-being. It, therefore, provides a very good cross-section of the kinds of difficulties that typify the development environment.

The course includes lectures on the theory behind community engagement and sustainability. Students will be able to apply their theoretical knowledge in practice on their community engagement and will undertake assignments which include creating a community profile, conducting a skills audit and needs assessment. Students will be able to think analytically, critically and practically about their work through reflection, observation, supervision, planning, and experience.

Student Life

n South Africa, AIFS offers excursions to Cape Town, Robben Island, the Cape of Good Hope and the Cederberg Mountains. A 6-day tour of the Garden Route is also included for all students, with stops for encounters with wildlife like ostriches, crocodiles, cheetahs, monkeys, and elephants.

Housing and Meals

Student Residence

The main university campus is located in the town itself. The “res” is at the heart of campus life allowing you to make new friends, be part of the community and be independent while having the convenience of access to classrooms and other university services.

The residence has modern laundry facilities and a common living room area for socializing, watching TV or just hanging out. Most of the residences boast lovely courtyards and/or gardens for play and relaxation. Students who bring laptops can connect to the University network from the comfort of their room.


You will also receive a meal allowance worth approximately $750 to subsidize breakfast and lunch or dinner Monday to Friday and the purchase of groceries. Food prices are very reasonable in South Africa and you can purchase a wide range of fresh, locally-sourced produce in grocery stores and the many cafes and restaurants in Stellenbosch.

Campus Facilities

Also on campus is the student center, affectionately known as The Neelsie, where you’ll find a food court, sit-down restaurants, coffee shops, a pub, two cinemas, a dance area, a post office, banks, a bookshop, and stores.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee.  The program fee for the AIFS Stellenbosch program includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, housing, several excursions, and insurance.  A stipend is provided for breakfasts and lunch during weekdays.

Here is an estimated budget for your Fall 2018/Spring 2019 program:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)



Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College





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. If there are any changes, we will update this page and inform any applicants. 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.