Eva Stanton CC'17


SIT South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights

Language of Instruction: English, Xhosa
Multiple locations,
South Africa
Term: Spring, Fall

Learn inside and outside the classroom about multiculturalism and human rights in South Africa 

The next application deadline is Oct 1, 2019
See other program dates


Attend SIT South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights to learn first-hand about the respective topics given the 11 national languages and numerous ethnic groups in the country. As a participant, you spend a majority of your time with the SIT cohort in and around Cape Town, which is the program base. Cape Town was one of the first South African cities to voluntarily promote racial integration.

Though the courses will be taught in English, you have the opportunity to study and practice Xhosa, a local South African language.


You take five courses during the semester:

  • Two (2) Multiculturalism and Human Rights Seminars
  • Intensive Language Study: Xhosa
  • Research Methods and Ethics
  • Independent Study Project (ISP)

Multiculturalism is not only defined as ethnicity, though race in South Africa is always part of any discussion of contemporary life in South Africa, but also through topics such as gender and sexuality as well as urban versus rural realities. South Africa boasts one of the worlds most liberal constitutions, but this program gives you the ability to see how these liberal laws are actually playing out in the day to day lives in South Africa. The ISP offers you the opportunity to apply what you have learned over the course of the semester to an independent field based research project supervised by a local adviser.

Program Features

Since this is a field study program, you will focus on identity issues to explore the sociopolitical debates surrounding South Africa's multicultural society as it strives for social reform and a sound economy. Although South Africans have seen tremendous change since the first multiracial elections in 1994, they anticipate a long road before achieving the stated goal of equality.

SIT programs emphasize learning by experiencing and therefore you live in a number of different homestays throughout the program. Several of the homestays are in and around Cape Town and include rural or urban environments. You also spend some time at a homestay in Stellenbosch. The homestays focus on multiculturalism and the historical framework of different living environments. Race is not something that South Africans are shy about discussing, and this program attempts to give you the opportunity to experience through both academics and homestays a wide variety of perspective of multiculturalism in South Africa.


Review eligibility to ensure that you meet all Columbia requirements to study abroad.

Review the external program webpage to understand any additional program prerequisites.

Application Instructions

To apply, you must complete the two steps below. Deadlines vary and some applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Therefore, you should complete the steps below simultaneously:

  • To apply for Columbia clearance (approval) to study abroad, click on "Start Your Application" on this webpage. Clearance applications are approved on a rolling basis until the application deadline listed on this webpage.
  • To apply for program admission, complete an external application directly on the program webpage. Note that this deadline may be in advance of the Columbia clearance deadline.

Fact Sheet

Humanities, Social Sciences
Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia General Studies, Columbia Undergraduates, Junior, Senior, Study Abroad
Language of Instruction:
Multiple locations,
South Africa
Africa South of the Sahara
Spring, Fall

Dates & Deadlines

Application Deadline: 
Friday, March 1, 2019
Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2019