Frequently Asked Q/A’s – South Africa
Make a difference in South Africa—Entrepreneurship Empowerment in South Africa (EESA) is an amazing international experience! Students take two courses for a total of six hours of credit taught by Oklahoma State University and University of Colorado faculty. This highly successful study abroad program is a partnership between Oklahoma State University, the University of Colorado, Texas A&M University, and the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. EESA is open to upper level undergraduate and graduate students who exemplify a strong work ethic, emotional maturity, creative problem-solving ability and a desire to make a real difference. It does not matter what your major or program of study is. Do not miss out on this life-changing experience in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa.
FREQUENTLY QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
- What are the passport and visa requirements?
- Where will we be staying while in South Africa?
- How much money should I bring?
- What should I pack?
- How safe is Cape Town?
- What is the weather like in Cape Town, South Africa?
- Should I bring my hair dryer or electric razor?
- Will I have computer access or should I bring my personal computer?
- Will I be able to use my cell phone while in South Africa?
- What if I have required medication to be taken daily?
- Will meals be provided on campus?
- Am I required to have insurance coverage?
- Will my U.S. insurance provide coverage while traveling abroad?
- What is the international student identification card?
- How is course work handled for the program?
- Will there be class time before leaving for South Africa?
- Do I book my own flight?
- How do I get from the airport to the University of the Western Cape?
- Do I book my own flight?
1. What are the passport and visa requirements?
Do you have a passport? You will need a passport but not a visa to travel to South Africa. Normally, it takes 6-8 weeks to receive. You will not be allowed to travel without your passport. International students will need to obtain additional visas; check with the International Student Office. Make copies of your passport; carry one in your luggage and leave one with your parents that can be faxed to you if you lose your originals and need to obtain a replacement while traveling.
You can register with the State Department and Embassy, letting them know that you will be traveling overseas and that you will be a visitor in another country. The website to register is: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/registration/registration_1186.html Please notify us when you have registered.[ Top of Page ]
2. Where will we be staying while in South Africa?
You will stay in the residence halls on the University of the Western Cape campus. You will be sharing a room with one other student. You may submit a roommate request and we will do our best to accommodate. There are cooking facilities in the dormitories.
The University of the Western Cape’s address and contact information is listed below for your records.
Modderdam East Road
Republic of South Africa
Phone: +27 21 959 2911
The dormitory, cafeteria, classrooms, computer lab (internet access is available), and library are all within a short walking distance of one another on the University of the Western Cape campus.[ Top of Page ]
3. How much money should I bring?
Past participants indicate that $700-$800 is a good estimate of the amount of money you will need during your stay in South Africa. Suggestion: Carry $200 U.S. currency (no $100 bills, please), $500 in traveler’s checks, your ATM card and a credit card. Make copies of the front & back of all your credit cards. Leave one copy with family and put the other copy in your carry-on luggage. Notify your credit card company that you are traveling so they will not shut down your card when charges start showing up from a different locale.
Check with your bank to be sure your card can be used in South Africa. If you are taking a credit card, be certain it is in your own name and you have signed it on the back. Merchants sometimes retain cards because they were issued to the parent and not to the student.
Do not pack your passport, money, credit or ATM cards, traveler’s checks, or airline tickets in your checked luggage. These items should remain on your person at all times while you are en route to London.[ Top of Page ]
4. What should I pack?
Remember to pack light; the lighter you pack the happier you will be. Whatever you take with you will have to be carried by you. Mark your luggage with some kind of identifying item—ribbon, colored duct tape, name tag, anything that will distinguish it from other luggage of the same size and color.
Take clothes that are easy to care for. Wash and wear and wrinkle-free cotton clothes are good. A good guideline on clothes is to pack enough to last you about a week before you have to wash.
We strongly suggest you take comfortable walking shoes. Tennis shoes, a good umbrella, and a rain repellent jacket are definitely items you should take. Sheets, pillows, pillowcases, and blankets are furnished by the college but are your responsibility to wash during your stay. Shower and toilet facilities are down the hall for most rooms. Some students prefer to bring their own towels and washcloths, but these will be provided. Also, any such items can be purchased once there.
Dress is generally casual, but you want to look professional (although not overdressed) when meeting with the entrepreneurs you will work with or doing field research that involves meeting with government officials or other professionals. Ties or business suits are not required. There are occasions, however, where you will want to have “smart attire”. Please be sure that your dress shoes are comfortable because some of the field trips require substantial walking which can result in blisters if shoes are new or inappropriate for heavy walking. When attending classes or going on program outings, you will dress much as you do at OSU.[ Top of Page ]
5. How safe is Cape Town?
We emphasize safety at all times, and insist that students do the same. You will be given an orange wallet card that lists emergency phone numbers; carry it with you at all times for reference. While South Africa does have a higher crime rate, most occurs in townships and isolated areas. If students act in reasonable and responsible ways, and adhere to EESA program policies (e.g., the buddy system where you never leave the group or go places without someone else from the program), you can avoid problems.
Avoid wearing ostentatious clothing. Keep your jewelry to a minimal amount and carry only a small amount of currency or traveler’s checks that will suffice your needs for the day. Small backpacks are very handy for travel but not a good place for money, credit cards, ATM cards or passports. Wallets are safer if kept in front pockets or concealed under your shirt. We suggest using a money belt worn under the clothing. Do not bring expensive camera or other equipment. Most student’s bring laptops, iPads, iPods, and so forth, but you must keep such items secured and cannot leave them anywhere or you will lose them.
All airlines have rather stringent security and procedures. Answer any question by airline security personnel quickly. Arrive at airport at least 2 hours ahead of your flight and never carry anyone’s luggage that is not a part of your group.[ Top of Page ]
6. What is the weather like in Cape Town, South Africa?
South Africa has a very temperate climate. June and July are considered South Africa’s winter and are often wet and moderately cold, although it never gets below freezing. Temperatures range from 50-70 degree highs and 45-55 degree lows. Be sure to bring warm attire as well as an umbrella or rain jacket.[ Top of Page ]
7. Should I bring my hair dryer or electric razor?
You can bring electrical appliances (hair dryers, flat irons, razors etc.) but you will also need an adapter plug. You will need the adapter so you can insert American plugs into the electrical outlets because they are not the same. You can buy these adapters in the U.S., but you might wait and buy them when you arrive in South Africa. It is suggested to bring battery-operated appliances where possible.[ Top of Page ]
8. Will I have computer access or should I bring my personal computer?
The University of the Western Cape has a computer lab that you will have access to if you decide not to worry about traveling with your personal computer. If you decide to bring your personal laptop, wireless access is available on the campus.[ Top of Page ]
9. Will I be able to use my cell phone while in South Africa?
Inquire with your current cell phone provider regarding international calling/coverage plans. Cheap phones and access time can be purchased with local cell companies once you are in South Africa, and this is what many students do. You will also be able to communicate via Skype.[ Top of Page ]
10. What if I have required medication to be taken daily?
Make sure you have your doctor write a list of the required medications using their generic name. Bring enough medicine for your entire stay in their original containers. Most pharmacies will allow you to fill a prescription three months in advance. Just talk with your pharmacist and explain you will be traveling abroad for an extended period of time.
If you receive regular injections for a medical condition and will be traveling with needles and syringes, please obtain a letter from your doctor confirming your need in order to avoid problems going through customs.
You may consider bringing a small, basic first aid kit to attend to any minor injuries or health problems. Suggested items to include are aspirin, band aids, antibiotic ointment, upset stomach relief, etc.
If you wear contacts or glasses, be sure to bring a spare pair or two in the event you lose one. You may not have time to get them replaced while in South Africa.[ Top of Page ]
11. Will meals be provided on campus?
Meals are not included in your program fee and students are responsible for paying for his/her own meal costs. However, food costs in South Africa are quite inexpensive and cooking facilities are available in the dorms.[ Top of Page ]
12. Am I required to have insurance coverage?
OSU does require that you have adequate medical insurance for the entire study abroad term. This does need to include emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. Please visit OSU’s Study Abroad website for detailed information: http://studyabroad.okstate.edu (click on “insurance” tab on left hand side of screen).[ Top of Page ]
13. Will my U.S. insurance provide coverage while traveling abroad?
Review your health and home-owners’ policies to determine what coverage you will have while traveling abroad. Some medical companies will cover emergency transportation and some home-owners’ policies will cover loss or theft of luggage. Ask your insurance representative what type of coverage can you request to cover incidents of medical emergencies and personal item loss, damage or theft[ Top of Page ]
14. What is the international student identification card?
You may want to obtain an international student identification card (ISIC). The ISIC card provides some supplementary health insurance and basic travel insurance. In addition to supplemental insurance coverage, other benefits of the card are travel discounts, calling card, as well as discounts to many museums and events. Students can obtain additional information and applications from:
OSU Study Abroad Office
005 Classroom Building
Stillwater, OK 74078
Ph: (405) 744-8569
15. How is course work handled for the program?
Students must be enrolled in both of the courses, which are taken in parallel. One is a classroom-based course and the other involves field work with local entrepreneurs.
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16. Will there be class time before leaving for South Africa?
No, but there is an online (D2L) site for all accepted students, and students are expected to go through the materials on the site over the weeks prior to departure. This material is extremely helpful in giving you background on the culture, history, economy, and other critical aspects of life in South Africa.[ Top of Page ]
17. Do I book my own flight?
Students book their own flights. The EESA Program will provide accepted students with names of travel agencies where they can get the best fares. Also, many students like to book their travel so they can fly together. However, it is not required that you book the exact flight, and some students like to come in early or to stay beyond the program’s end to engage in tourism and travel around southern Africa. All students pay for their own flights.[ Top of Page ]
18. How do I get from the airport to the University of the Western Cape?
Transportation from the Cape Town International Airport to the University of the Western Cape will be arranged for you by the EESA Program. At the end of the program, you will also be transported back to the airport. All in-country transport related to your studies, the work with the clients, group trips to grocery or other stores, and the program outings is provided by the EESA program.[ Top of Page ]
19. Can I sightsee and travel on my own?
While the program is fairly intense and involves quite a bit of work, outings will also be arranged to Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned), visiting Cape Point, climbing Table Mountain, and a tour of the wine country. Students frequently organize additional outings on their own time, and often in groups.[ Top of Page ]