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South Africa Study Abroad Programs

Students exploring the sites along the coast in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Known informally as “the Rainbow Nation,” South Africa is a nation defined by its diversity. The country is home to about 60 million people who represent a variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Since the end of apartheid (the government-mandated, forced segregation between racial groups), the country has become focused on multicultural inclusion in all its forms. To demonstrate this inclusivity and respect for the cultures of all its peoples, the South African government promotes social cohesion by recognizing 11 official languages, supporting indigenous knowledge systems, and encouraging multilingualism.

South Africa is also sometimes described as “a world in one country,” because visitors are able to experience variety, not only in people and culture, but also in geography, biodiversity, and economy. Modern, cosmopolitan cities with advanced infrastructure contrast with huge tracks of undeveloped land where it is not unusual for motorists to have to stop to allow giraffes, baboons, or herded cattle to cross the road.

The country even has its own Floral Kingdom! The Cape Floristic Region is a biodiversity hotspot and one of six areas in the world recognized by plant geographers for their distinctive flora. South Africa also hosts 21 national parks and 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Cradle of Humankind, the world’s richest hominid site and home to over 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils.