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international programs

Grahamstown, South Africa

program description


The City

Grahamstown was founded in 1812 as a garrison post on the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony. Situated in the Eastern Cape, about 560 miles from Cape Town and 80 miles from Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown offers both the amenities of a large city and the qualities of a small town. During the early 19th century Grahamstown enjoyed rapid growth due to the influx of English immigrants, becoming second only to Cape Town in size and importance in the Cape Colony. Today, the city is a cultural and political center, home to an annual July Arts Festival and the Settlers Monument and Conference Center, dedicated to freedom of the press and building a civil society.

The University

Rhodes University was founded in 1904. An historically white university, Rhodes is home to over 6,000 students of different ethnic backgrounds, hosting a large number of students from other African countries. The university’s small size is an advantage for students; the warmth and friendliness of the campus make developing friendships easy, while the ratio of one lecturer for every fifteen students ensures close contact with faculty. Instruction is based on the British tutorial system emphasizing close, one-to-one contact between students and professors. The university has curriculum across the disciplines, and good opportunities for service learning.

The Program

BC students select courses or “papers” across the disciplines from the regular Rhodes curriculum.

Orientation/Academic support

The program begins with a comprehensive orientation in Grahamstown. Students are assigned to a Rhodes advisor who provides academic and personal counseling.


BC students live alongside South African students in university residences or “houses,” each with a dining hall and all within walking distance of lecture halls and the town. Three meals are provided daily.

Service opportunities

Grahamstown offers excellent supervised community service opportunities. Under the dedicated leadership of BC’s on-site coordinator, Prof. Geoffrey Antrobus, students participate in customized service placements in local hospitals, shelters, day care centers, schools, soup kitchens, senior centers, and AIDS education projects.