South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy

"Rather than observing the culture from the sidelines, SIT helps students dive right in and embrace new perspectives and paradigms. I absolutely LOVED my experience studying abroad in South Africa."

—Hannah Wangberg, Gustavus Adolphus College

Examine community-based health concerns from a South African perspective, exploring the roles of the South African state, the media, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) mobilizing existing assets on a community level.

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This program focuses on topics such as the relationship between traditional healing and state-of-the-art medicine, prenatal care, access to healthcare, and health education. Students consider how various health paradigms — ranging from biomedical to holistic — and health policies have achieved mixed results in addressing the healthcare needs of the South African people. 

The program base of Durban, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, serves as a nexus of health teaching, research, and practice in both allopathic and traditional healing systems. Students receive lectures from academics and leaders of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), many of whom are on the cutting edge of research and policy development in South Africa.

Lecturers are drawn from institutions such as:

Students live with South African host families in Durban and Chatsworth and in three rural communities to gain a better understanding of healthcare throughout KwaZulu-Natal. Short excursions take students to special needs schools, nongovernmental organizations, and local hospitals. A particular highlight of the program is the chance to live with rural families and explore community health conditions and assets with host guide-interpreters.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research


Costs Dates



Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Durban

Language Study: isiZulu

Prerequisites: None

South Africa

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)


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