Cape Town Handbook - Boston College Center for International Studies

By Brenda Baker,2014-05-24 02:54
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APPENDIX B - GENERAL SAFETY AND SECURITY ABROAD. Safety Information from UCT Website (also included in the body of the handbook)


    Cape Town Global Site


    Office of International Programs

    66 Vernon Street

    Hartford, CT 06106


Note: All information in this handbook is subject to change, especially dates, fees, and

    study permit/visa information. Check with the OIP for the most updated information!!!!!

    This guide is meant as a reference only for general information.

Approximate Dates:

    Semester I (U.S. Spring): February early July;

    Semester II (U.S. Fall): mid-July late November

Note: Dates vary by year and are subject to change. Note that students cannot arrive early or leave


Introduction to the Program

    The University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa's oldest university, and is one of Africa's leading

    teaching and research institutions. UCT was founded in 1829 and was formally established as a university

    in 1918. The university moved to its present site - the Groote Schuur Campus on the slopes of Devil's

    Peak - in 1928. During apartheid, UCT was designated as a ―white‖ institution, but today the University has started to reflect the diversity of the entire South African population in terms of students, faculty, and

    staff. The student body is now 50% white and 50% black or ―colored,‖ but the majority of the faculty

    remains white. The university continues to work towards the goal of becoming a truly representative

    institution that is equally accessible to students from all over the African continent. Approximately 20,000

    students attend UCT, including over 3000 international students from over 70 countries. Approximately

    500 students spend 1-2 semesters studying abroad each year at UCT.

    Trinity College students will spend a semester or an academic year immersed in this South African

    university, located in Rondebosch, an attractive suburb of Cape Town. The University’s six faculties are Commerce, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, and Science. Students can choose from a wide range of courses. Of particular interest to study abroad students are courses that focus on the

    African continent which are grouped into four themes Historical Perspectives, Development and Democracy, Southern African Environments, and Cultural. Please note that courses in Health Sciences are not open to study abroad students.

    Trinity students will have access to UCT staff members from the International Office (IAPO) who are

    dedicated to mentoring study abroad students; Trinity’s Core Class Professor / On-Site Coordinator, Dr. Sibs Moodley-Moore,; and Ms. Ida Cooper, Trinity’s Student Service Coordinator, who provides housing and student support for the Trinity study abroad students.

A UCT orientation program will be held for six days prior to the start of the academic term that will

    introduce you to UCT and the South African academic system, South African culture and society, the city

    of Cape Town, student clubs, sports, and organizations, and community service opportunities.

    Orientation will also cover culture shock, health/safety concerns, and other practical information. As part

    of orientation week, UCT holds a reception and drumming workshop and day trips to local points of

    interest, such as the Cape Peninsula and Robben Island. The orientation will provide you with a strong

    introduction to the University, the city, and South Africa. You will finalize your registration at UCT

    during this week.

    For more information about UCT, visit For information on study abroad at UCT, go to Specific information about the semester study abroad program is available at This information is for all students studying abroad at UCT for a semester; you will be plugging into the semester study abroad

    ―program‖ at UCT as part of your participation on the Trinity Global Learning Site.


Housing options for Trinity College students include apartments , and rooms in large houses with other

    international students (similar to guest houses). All of the housing options are attractive, furnished,

    comfortable, and located in areas accessible to UCT or public transportation.

Trinity students live with other international students from U.S. (and occasionally other countries). If you

    wish to request to live with another Trinity student, you may request to share a room on your housing


Because the University of Cape Town has a very limited number of on-campus residences, it is not

    possible to offer Trinity students places in university residence halls with South African students.

Housing options are arranged for Trinity students by Student Services Coordinator, Ida Cooper. All of

    the housing options are all self-catering with kitchen facilities. All accommodations are fully furnished and

    equipped with basic necessities, such as silverware, cooking utensils, etc..

    Some housing options require students to bring linens, blankets and towels. These can be purchased

    easily and inexpensively in Cape Town. If you have questions, please contact Ida at

    Some of the houses are within walking distance of the campus (less than 2.5km), and all accommodations

    offered are within easy access of the University of Cape Town and the Main Road on which the university is

    located. The housing is situated in Rondebosch and the adjoining suburbs, such as Rosebank, Mowbray, and


    Because of its location on the slopes of Table Mountain, the UCT campus is very steep and there is a

    University Shuttle route that transports students from lower and middle campus to upper campus. Public

    transport in the form of mini-bus taxis is also available along Main Road. A map of the University and

    surrounding area is available on the UCT website.

    When you receive your housing form, you should choose the type of housing arrangement you prefer and

    e-mail Ida Cooper with your selection. Students are not asked apartment or building they wish, but what

    type of housing (i.e. student house, apartment) they prefer. Students invariably talk with other students

    and decide they want to live in the same place, but Ida cannot take this type of request, as housing

    options can vary from semester to semester. Also, there are other students who work with Ida Cooper

    and Associates not just Trinity students so exact requests for housing become too complicated. That said, Ida and her assistant will try to accommodate your preferred type of housing whenever possible.

Again, for further information, please e-mail Ida Cooper at .

Housing costs for the full semester are paid to the landlords by Trinity. Note that utility costs sometimes

    need to be paid incrementally and thus cannot always be pre-paid for you. Also, because different

    colleges or universities have different payment arrangements, landlords can get confused and may ask you

    for rent or utility payments. Please do not pay them ask Ida Cooper or Sibs Moodley-Moore if you need assistance with a billing issue. They will arrange to make the payments! You are not responsible for

    these costs.

Should you withdraw from the program before its completion you will still be responsible for full

    payment of the housing fees.

Please Note:

    As there are very few single rooms available, please let Ida know if you wish to share a room with

    another Trinity student who is going on the program with you. If not, you will be placed with a roommate

    or roommates from another US college or university.

Arrival & Orientation

    You will be expected to make your own travel arrangements for arrival in Cape Town at the

    international airport on the appointed dates. Please send your travel details to BOTH Ida Cooper,, and Lisa Essex in the International Office (IAPO),

You should also send an e-mail to Trinity’s On-Site Coordinator, Sibs Moodley-Moore,, to introduce yourself and let her know what date will be arriving in Cape


The IAPO staff will have representatives waiting at the Cape Town International airport to greet you as

    long as you arrive on the appointed arrival dates during regular business hours (9-5). A shuttle service

    will take you to your housing, and Ida Cooper or one of her student associates will welcome you at your

    accommodation shortly afterward.

Soon after your arrival, you will be given your Trinity-issued cell phone by Ida Cooper and/or her

    associates and taken to the local mall (Cavendish Square) to visit the ATM and make any necessary

    purchases. You will participate in social events and learn about the area from Ida and her staff.

You will also attend one week of orientation activities organized by the International Programs Office

    (IAPO) at UCT. You will meet your On-Site Coordinator and Core Course Professor / Internship

    Coordinator, Sibs Moodley-Moore later this week or early the following week. The orientation typically


    ? Talks on Safety and Health; Culture Shock, South Africa, and Cape Town, followed by a

    Drumming Workshop and Welcome Reception

    ? Introduction to the University of Cape Town; libraries, computers, labs, sports and recreation


    ? Introduction to the Registration Process / academic system

    ? Tour of SHAWCO community service/volunteer sites in the townships

    ? Excursion to the Cape Peninsula

    ? Excursion to Robben Island and the Waterfront or Devil’s Peak

    ? Registration

For more information, please go to the UCT website,

Academic Program

    All Trinity College students will enroll in the Trinity-in-Cape Town Core Course, CPTN: Imagining

    South Africa, with Professor Sibs Moodley-Moore. The Core Course offers 1.00 Trinity in-residence


Trinity College students also have the option of doing an Exploratory Internship course, subject to

    availability there are approximately 4-5 placements possible in Cape Town each semester. Exploratory

    internships typically require a few short (10-15 page) papers or one longer paper plus 100 contact hours

    in the placement organization. The internship course offers .50 Trinity in-residence credit.

All remaining courses will be taken at the University of Cape Town. Students typically earn 1.00

    transfer credits for all courses taken at UCT. There is not a set number of courses that Trinity College

    students must take at UCT, but generally students enroll in 3 UCT classes.

Students must be enrolled full-time while on the program, which means that they must be enrolled in a

    minimum of 4.00 credits. The maximum number of credits that students can earn for the semester is 5.50.

It is recommended that students primarily take 200 and 300 level courses. (Note: 200-level courses may

    require 1-2 previous courses taken in the subject of study; 300-level courses typically require 3-4.) In

    most cases, students attending UCT for one semester should not take courses that run for a full academic


Two Types of Credit

    The difference between in-residence and transfer credits is minor. Transfer credit courses are courses

    that are not taught by Trinity-appointed faculty. Because of the large number of courses taught at the

    universities affiliated with Global Sites, students need to complete and submit an Application for Transfer

    Credit (available from OIP and the Registrar’s Office and also online at the Registrar’s Office website) to

    the Trinity Registrar’s Office to ensure that they are choosing courses that are appropriate to be

    transferred back to Trinity. All classes taken at UCT must be appropriate to Trinity’s departments and must be rigorous, liberal arts courses. Students cannot take business courses or practical/technical, non-

    liberal arts courses abroad.

Grades received for transfer credits work the same way as grades received for in-residence credits on

    Trinity College Global Learning Sites. All grades that students earn WILL be factored into their Trinity

    GPAs. The grades are translated into the American system before they are posted on your Trinity

    transcripts. You will find a conversation scale in this handbook.

    UCT Courses and Registration Students were asked to pre-select their UCT courses when they completed their application for UCT.

    UCT takes these course choices very seriously and sends your application to each department/faculty for

    approval of your request.

Please pay careful attention to any e-mails you may receive regarding your initial course choices from

    UCT; they often provide updates regarding your approval for specific courses and may ask you to choose

    alternates. This is the pre-registration process, which you are able to participate in as Trinity College


The registration process on-site for UCT courses, which is time-consuming, can be somewhat simplified

    through the pre-registration process, but you should be prepared to have to make changes to your pre-

    approved courses upon arrival. For this reason, you must bring an official Trinity College transcript with

    you when you go to South Africa.

Although UCT assesses applications with these course choices in mind and does pre-approve you for the

    classes for which you are eligible, students must finalize their course registration / schedules upon arrival

    in Cape Town. The process is old-fashioned and you should be prepared to wait in long lines for multiple

    signatures. Please be patient with this system and realize that part of the reason you chose to study away

    was to experience a different culture!

Please see the following website for detailed UCT course information.

When looking at your course choices at UCT publications and web page you may come across the

    following terminology. Below is a reference to help your understanding.

    F = First semester (February-July)

    S = Second Semester (July December) W = Whole year course

    H = Half Year course

    Z = Consult IAPO for details.

Note that Trinity students may select classes from across the available disciplines, but may not take

    courses in health sciences, the professional fields (law or medicine), courses in business, non-academic

    courses, or other non-liberal arts courses

    Reminder: Trinity College students who are studying on the Cape Town Global Site Program must complete a blue Application for Transfer Credit (available from the Office of International Programs

    and/or the Registrar’s Office) prior to your departure from Trinity at the end of this semester. This form

    needs to be completed ONLY for the UCT courses that you plan to take. If your course selection

    changes while abroad, you will need to resubmit the form from South Africa. Instructions are provided on

    the form itself; questions should be directed to Linda Gilbert in the Trinity College Registrar’s Office.

Academic Differences University of Cape Town

    The academic system in South Africa and at UCT (where you will take the majority of your classes) is a

    bit different from what you are used to in the U.S. It is more similar to the British tutorial system, with

    which some of you may be familiar.

    Students do not take many electives or general education requirements. Thus, students specialize in their

    majors / fields of study earlier and often are more advanced in their concentrations than U.S. students as

    undergraduates. Professors expect students to be independent, self-motivated, and able to keep up with

    their reading and prepare for the final examinations without receiving as much direction (homework to

    keep you on track, very specific reading lists, etc.). In short, the system is geared toward students who

    are self-sufficient, hard-working, and deeply interested in the subject matter. Students have greater

    responsibility and must show greater initiative in a less-structured environment.

    Teaching methods normally involve a mixture of lectures, tutorials, seminars, and in the sciences,

    laboratory classes. Courses may involve fewer contact hours than you are accustomed to, because they

    are intended only as a starting point for independent study outside of class. Final examinations usually

    count for a significant portion of students’ final grades. Exam schedules are set by the central

    administration and are not flexible, so be sure not to miss your examinations!

    The grading system at UCT is different than you are used to, as you can see below:

    UCT Grading Scale: UCT Grade US Grade

    80-100% first class A+ 75-79% first class A 70-74% second class A- 67-69% second class B+ 63-66% second class B 60-62% second class B- 57-59% third class C+ 54-56% third class C 51-53% third class C-

50% D

    0-49% FAIL F


    Students are encouraged to participate in regular university clubs and sports activities. This is an optimal

    way to meet local students and to integrate into the life of the university. There are over 100 sport and

    recreational clubs on campus. Facilities include tennis and squash courts, a swimming pool, playing fields,

    and a gym. Over 60 cultural, religious, and special interest societies also exist at UCT - ranging from an

    animal activist group, chess club, ballroom dancing club, drama club, film group, botany club, choir, and

    reggae appreciation society. As part of your privileges as an international student, you will receive free

    membership in 2-3 of these clubs you will learn about these opportunities during orientation.

Ida Cooper will complement the UCT services and offerings and will provide Trinity students with

    personal and emergency support, special dinners, excursions, and cultural activities. In addition, Sibs

    Moodley-Moore, Core Course Professor and On-Site Coordinator, will organize excursions related to the

    core class and be available to students for academic and personal support.

During the weekends and after your exams finish, you will have free time to organize activities of your

    own choice, as well as travel in and around South Africa or in other African countries. Please do not

    hesitate to ask the IAPO staff, as well as Sibs and Ida, for recommendations! Also, note that there is a

    student travel agency right on the UCT campus and another along the main road very close to UCT.

Community Engagement

    All Trinity students are required to participate in a semester-long community service project or do an

    internship. Note that internships are limited in availability, so you are asked to be flexible regarding

    your community engagement component.

Trinity-in-Cape Town On-Site Director Sibs Moodley-Moore organizes and places Trinity College

    students in internships in Cape Town. She supervises the internship placements along with the students’

    internship supervisors and provides students with academic and social support in their internships. She

    will also instruct students who are placed in internships about the required paperwork that they must

    complete to ensure that they are properly registered (internships offer .50 Trinity credits).

Students who wish to do an internship should send a general interest letter and resume to Sibs

    Moodley-Moore, before May 1. They should indicate their interests and

    background, as well as their skills. Again, please note that there are only 4-5 internship placements

    per semester, so all students should be prepared to do a community service project instead.

Students who do internships will not receive credit for their internships if they do not complete the

    necessary paperwork before the deadline (again, the internship forms will be given to you after you arrive

    in South Africa) and/or do not fulfill the required number of hours at their placements or the appropriate academic work. Internships are academic courses that have specific requirements.

The internships are primarily designed to give students the opportunity to learn about South Africa and

    are not professional-type business positions. Internships are available in NGOs, schools, and museums.

    Additional placement options may be possible to arrange depending on student interest, academic

    preparation, and background (as well as availability).

Sample Organizations in which internships may be available for Trinity College students:

     St Agnes Primary School: Teaching Assistant/ Research around HIV/AIDS and Education*

     District Six Museum: Various duties*

     One Love Street Children Project: Feeding / Assisting with general shelter management/legal and social

    assistance/ Skills training and activities.

     Gender Health and Justice Research Unit: Fieldwork/ Research/Training/General office


     Trauma Center: Fieldwork/Research/Training/Counseling/Trauma debriefing/Administration

     CASA(Community Action towards a Safer Environment): Fieldwork/Research/Youth

    development/Community outreach / Recreational activities/Crime prevention/ Administration.

*These internships most frequently have placements available for our students.

Community Service Options. Participating in community service gives students the opportunity to do, in

    many cases, more hands-on work in the communities, and to spend time working in the townships.

    Although community service does not offer credit at this time, it is an incredibly rewarding (and often

    more flexible with regard to scheduling) option.

There are many community service opportunities available to students in Cape Town. Most of these are

    through the SHAWCO program, an innovative student community service organization whose vision is to

    improve the quality of life of those in developing communities within the Cape Town area. Information

    on the program and a tour of the four townships where SHAWCO is based is provided during orientation.

    There are projects that involve tutoring or teach children, working with the elderly, instituting recycling

    and environmental projects, teaching township residence how to use computers, , etc. For more

    information, go to

Students have also options through Habitat for Humanity and other organizations, including health

    organizations that work with AIDs-related issues.

In the past, some Trinity-in-Cape Town students have actually done both an internship AND a

    community service project.

Arrival and Airport Pick-up

    Students will be expected to fly to Cape Town prior to the UCT orientation program (see dates above),

    and to depart no sooner than the final day of the semester). You will not have housing available in most

    cases before or after these dates! Be sure to arrive between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., if possible. Students

    arriving on the stipulated arrival days will be able to make use of a free airport shuttle service. Students

    should look out for the UCT/International Office staff at the airport. Students arriving outside of these

    times will need to take a taxi from the airport and will need to consult with the UCT international office

    programs staff for information on how they will access their accommodations.

Once you have made your flight reservations to travel to Cape Town (you need to purchase a

    round-trip ticket), you must send the details to Lisa Essex ( and Ida Cooper,


    Travel Information In order to study in South Africa, you must have a passport (valid at least six months beyond your

    estimated return date) and a study permit/visa. You may apply for a passport at any major U.S. post

office. Go to for more information it is now taking several months to get a

    passport, so if you don’t have one or need to renew yours, please do so immediately!

For information on obtaining a study permit, you should contact the South African Consulate in New

    York City or the Consulate nearest your home town. For a list of consulates (except New York), visit

    . The Consulate General in New

     or via the web: <http://www.southafrica-York is located by phone: 212-213-4880 or 212-692-2404>. Start the process as soon as you have your official acceptance letter from UCT,

    because it sometimes takes several weeks to complete.

The OIP strongly recommends that you not purchase plane tickets until you have received

    notification of acceptance to the program.

To purchase your airline tickets, you may want to check STA Travel,, or Student

    Universe,, both student travel agencies, for good prices. Student travel

    agencies are authorized to sell airline tickets to students at discounted student rates. They are aware of

    the needs and interests of student travelers and are able to provide information on tour packages and

    other travel services. Finally, they are able to secure flexible ticket arrangements at cheaper prices than

    most other agencies. Flexible tickets are tickets that allow you to change dates without huge penalties, fly

    into and out of different cities.

There are several options to choose from when selecting flights to Cape Town. Some flights travel through

    Europe and have layovers in London or other European cities. Others travel through other African countries.

    Students should not purchase tickets flying through any other African country unless they confirm that

    they do not need a visa. Countries might require transit visas (even if you are just changing planes in that

    country) and this might cause complications in your travel plans.

The OIP strongly recommends that regardless of the agency or airline you choose that you consider

    buying a flexible ticket if you are not sure of your travel plans. Once you register for classes in Cape

    Town, for instance, you may find that your exams end earlier than you had expected and decide to return

    home sooner.

Because the prices of airline tickets vary greatly and because we recognize that you may have your own

    preferences with regard to specific air carrier, travel agencies, etc, you are free to check other travel

    agencies, websites such as,, etc., and the airlines ticket offices directly and

    purchase your ticket with the airline / agency of your choice.

You should expect to pay approximately $1700- $2500 for travel from New York or Boston to Cape

    Town and return.

For general information on traveling to South Africa, you can visit the following web site: The New York consulate web site has many useful links as well (Again, this

    site is

South African Study Permit (STUDENT VISA) :

    NOTE: This information is subject to change; students are responsible for obtaining updated

    information from the South African consulate website and for applying for the study permit

    themselves after acceptance from UCT.

    These permits are required of all U.S. students who study in South Africa, and students are responsible

    for applying for their study permits and obtaining all necessary documents themselves. You will be

provided with an official acceptance letter from Trinity College and from the University of Cape Town

    that you will need for your application.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need to contact the Consulate to verify the procedures for getting

    your permit. Prospective international students are advised to submit their study permit documentation as

    soon as possible. It normally takes 10 days for applications to be processed, but you should allow more

    time!!! Apply as early as possible.

    ? Students should apply through the NYC consulate (if they wish to apply through a different

    Consular office, please check with the office directly to find out if they will accept your


    ? Students can apply via mail or in person through Fed Ex or DHL and can pay to have their

    documents returned as well.

Phone number for Visa Department: 212-692-2404 - call in the mornings! Please be patient, however, as it

    can be very difficult to get through on the phone.

    Processing Time : 10 days

    Processing Fee : US$72.00 cash or money order only

    Mailing Fee : US$16.00 FedEx overnight

    Walk-in Applicants : 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday

    Requirements for Study Permits (subject to change; check all information with the Consulate)

    ? A completed application form (BI-1738) signed by the applicant. (go to www.southafrica-

    ? Proof of medical insurance that will cover you world-wide - this is usually a letter from the

    company on official stationery plus a copy of your id card or policy (if available).

    ? Passport valid for no less than 30 days after your completion of study.

    ? Proof of US status, in case of applicants who are not US citizens

    ? Processing Fee plus return mailing fee ($US 72 plus $US 16).

    ? Repatriation Deposit of $800 for students studying in S. Africa for longer than 6 months

    ? An official letter from the home institution confirming acceptance and duration of the course.

    (Trinity will provide)

    ? An official letter from the host institution confirming acceptance and duration of the course.

    (Trinity will provide as soon as it arrives from UCT)

    ? Proof of financial means in the form of bank statement or notarized letter from your parents

    stating that they will accept financial responsibility for you during your time in South Africa.

    ? Two passport-sized photos.

    ? Official certified copy of your birth certificate.

    ? Roundtrip flight itinerary that indicates the ticket has been purchased in full.

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