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South Africa

High School Exchange in South Africa

Inspiring new ways

South Africa is a nation of over 50 million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs; hence the term Rainbow Nation was born. South Africa is a country of breathtaking scenery, bustling city life and a vibrant culture. It is well known for its variety of animal life and the National Parks that protect them. With sun-soaked coasts, many activities to try, and places to see, South Africa offers the modern student a wealth of experiences.

The languages you will hear most frequently in South Africa depend on where you are. English is understood across the country, being the language of business, politics and the media. It is a compulsory subject in all schools. South African English is littered with words and phrases from Afrikaans, IsiNdebele, IsiXhosa and the further 8 local languages that are spoken in South Africa.

Life as an exchange student in South Africa

South Africans are very warm and down to earth and they love to meet new people. As in any country, there is no typical host family, they come in all shapes and sizes. Parents often both work, sometimes one parent stays at home. Weekends are for outdoor activities, shopping, church and family time. South Africans enjoy the outdoors, and love to ‘braai’ (barbecue) and entertain friends in their homes. Many South Africans are religious and about two-thirds are Christian, most of whom attend church once a week.

Host families in South Africa are often quite strict. You will need to have permission before going out, and your family will probably want to know where you are going and when you will be home. As an exchange student in South Africa, your independence will be limited. The majority of students are hosted by families who fall into the lower to middle income group. However, South Africa has a huge socio-economic range and placements can occur in all income brackets. Families receive a monthly stipend to assist with hosting.

The South African school system

Exchange students are placed mainly in state schools, but some are placed in semi-private schools. There is an option to enrol in a private school if you are willing to pay the additional fee. In the state system, students have to pay some school fees to contribute to school life and fees vary greatly from school to school.

School starts around 8am and finishes at approximately 2.15pm. Sports are available at most schools in the afternoon. Summer sports include swimming, cricket, athletics and tennis. Winter sports include netball, hockey, football and rugby. Subjects at school may include English, Maths, Afrikaans, Sciences, Business, Geography, History, Music, Drama and Visual Art. Subject options depend on the school you are enrolled at and exchange students do not always get to choose their subjects.

School uniform is required in South Africa. Lunch is usually a packed lunch. Schools do not tend to offer food options on campus, so some schools finish at lunchtime so that students can return home.

South Africa exchange student at school

High School Exchange in South Africa 2024 – 25 || 10 months: £10,395 || 5 months:£8,095 

South Africa houses

Arrival Orientation

On arrival in South Africa you will be met by your host family or a representative from our partner organisation and head to your host family’s home. You will have a local orientation meeting with your Area Representative within two weeks of arrival.

South Africa Cape Town tour group

Optional Tours

Spend 4 days on the Garden Tour Route with other students from the program. Visit Oudshoorn and spend time at an Ostrich farm and maybe try to ride one. Head to the Knysna Elephant park and feed, walk and ride the elephants. Visit the Tsitsikamma National Park and see the Big 5 game drive. Travel to Hermanus to spot whales and visit a penguin colony. All are incredible adventure for any student.

South Africa giraffe

Optional Tours

Join the Kruger Park 6-day tour in February. Fly from Cape Town to Tambo. Spend your days and evenings exploring the incredible Kruger National Park. See the plethora of wildlife in their natural habitat. Explore the Blyde River Canyon and Bourkes Potholes and God’s Window Walk. Stay at a lovely resort where meals are provided, as well as swimming and tennis and other activities. A blissful way to spend a week.

Apply for a high school exchange in South Africa today!