South Africa Summer

Gain perspective on global problems through the lens of a young, post-colonial nation

Departure: Mid-June 2019

Application Deadline: April 15, 2019

Volunteer Commitment: $4,990

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Our Summer Program in South Africa

8 Weeks (June – August) | Homestay
Teach English

You will have the opportunity to participate in two distinct sessions during your summer in South African townships. First, you will serve in an underdeveloped, segregated urban area, working on community projects in a Black township. Then you will be a [teacher’s assistant] in a ‘coloured’ township. Throughout both sessions, you will be involved in a range of academic and extracurricular activities, from English and math tutoring to debate club and excursions around Cape Town while spending a summer experiencing the history of this divided, yet determined-to-heal, nation.

See all program dates and application deadlines here

Country Overview

South Africa has experienced profound change in the past twenty years. With the end of apartheid, the establishment of a new government, ushered new social, economic and political systems for the country. South Africa is considered to be a model of reconciliation and development. While impressive progress has been established at a constitutional level, tremendous challenges remain: high unemployment,drug abuse, low level skills, lack of confidence in poor communities, rapid urbanization, poverty, and the ravages of HIV/AIDS.

Our program is designed to help support skills development and instill confidence in young people in this challenged, but emerging, democracy. Located approximately an hour away from Cape Town, the southern Cape Peninsula is a microcosm of this nation’s diversity. There are established ‘white’ middle-class suburbs, old apartheid ‘coloured’ (mixed race) areas, and a classic South African black township facing deep poverty. You will experience firsthand the striking multiplicity of South Africa and participate in the great challenge of eradicating the lingering inequities of apartheid that can bloom this country into an integrated, progressive society.

Your Role

The central objective of this program is to support educational initiatives in communities in the Southern Peninsula of Cape Town. During Phase 1, the first three weeks after Orientation, you will work either with high school students through the Masiphumelele Library or with 7th grade students through the Pink House community center. Volunteers at the library typically tutor students and assist 12th graders with college applications. They also have the opportunity to lead workshops on topics of their interest, like creative writing and debate. At the Pink House, you will work on confidence building, team-building, and self-expression with your students. You will also organize speakers on topics like human rights and HIV/AIDS. The Pink House group takes several excursions to expose students to the natural beauty and cultural opportunities around Cape Town.

Placement & Housing

For the duration of the program after Orientation, you will live with a host family. Housing is either in Kommetjie, Fish Hoek, or other middle-class communities, or in Ocean View, where volunteers work during Phase 2. In general, the home placements offer comfort and modern facilities. Time spent interacting with your host family will further your understanding of life in South Africa.

Explore South Africa

Cape Town and the surrounding area boasts gorgeous views, picturesque beaches, and a rich history and culture waiting to be discovered. Some of your excursion opportunities include: hiking Table Mountain, hanging out with penguins on Boulder Beach, and visiting Cape Point – the most southwest point in Africa. On your journey, don’t be surprised if a baboon stops traffic by crossing a main road. For the more adventurous at heart, there are opportunities for bungee jumping*, shark cage diving*, and paragliding*.

*Associated fees not included in program.


Your contribution to the South Africa Summer program of $4,990 goes towards:
  • Housing
  • Comprehensive orientation, mid-service, and end of service training conferences
  • Planned excursions during program
  • 24-hour in-country field staff support
  • Pre-departure preparation and visa assistance if necessary
  • Supplemental overseas travel medical insurance
  • Alumni services and networking

International travel to and from the program is the responsibility of the participant.

Participants are able to successfully fundraise all or a significant portion of their program expenses. Please refer to our fundraising page for more information about fundraising possibilities.


Volunteers in the South Africa Summer program must:


  • Be a native-level English speaker
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 74
  • Be flexible, open-minded, and patient
  • Have a genuine interest in teaching