For general enquiries when planning
a visit as a foreign student, check out the helpful link developed
by the Department of Foreign Affairs http://www.southafrica.info/public_services/foreigners/consular_foreigners.htm
to give you some useful tips.
For Schengen country passport holders you
can visit South Africa for a holiday for up to 90 days without
a visum. You will get a visitor’s permit for this period
at the airport at passport control. Just make sure that your
passport is still valid until 30 days after your departure
from South Africa and that you have a valid return ticket.
For studying purposes you will however require
a study visum which you have to apply for at the South African
embassy in your country of origin.
When doing an internship in Cape Town you
will have to apply for a special visum at the South African
embassy in your country of origin. This visum is usually valid
for 3 months and will have to get renewed at least 30 days
before expiry up to a maximum stay of 6 months. When doing
an internship through a student placement organisation they
will furnish you with all this information.
The terms and conditions for visums change
very often. So check out the link for the latest on what is
applicable to you when applying for a certain visum
There are hundreds of international students
in and around Cape Town. To study a foreign study semester
you will firstly have to check whether the universities in
Cape Town have an agreement with your tertiary insitution
and whether your course subjects are on offer here to. Go
to the home pages and check out the requirements and options
available for students under the International Offices sections
for University of Cape Town (http://www.uct.ac.za/apply/intlapplicants/chooseuct/why/)
, University of Stellenbosch (http://www0.sun.ac.za/international/)
or University of the Western Cape (http://www.uwc.ac.za/portal/uwc2006/content/international_students/index.htm).
The Cape University of Technology (http://www.cput.ac.za/)
also has their foreign student programmes which should be
more practically orientated, but compare their tuition prices
to the other institutions before making a final decision.
in Cape Town
It is difficult to find an internship in
South Africa because South African companies are not as well
geared for internships as in European countries. Those that
do offer internships often have agreements with South African
Technicons and therefore only use students from these institutions
However, it’s not impossible to apply
from outside South Africa for an internship here. There are
companies that specialise in obtaining internships for students.
The most popular and one of the better institutions is Magister
and their very good website can be checked out for more information.
They have a good reputation for providing good personalised
service to their students.
These type of companies do charge an administration
fee for helping you getting an internship, but they are very
helpful. They can also assist you with visum applications,
travel and accommodation problems and general advice when
you are here. Just remember that you usually do not get payment
as an intern in South Africa.
In order to get a study visum for South Africa
you will require medical insurance. The South African Department
of Health has ruled that all international students applying
for a study permit are required to take out private health-care
insurance for the academic year. There are two types of hospitals
in South Africa, government hospitals where you receive free
health care and private hospitals. However international students
are not allowed to receive free hospital care at government
The cost of private hospital care in South
Africa is very high. It is therefore advised to take out additional
foreign insurance that is sufficient to cover your full medical
expenses, including hospitalisation whilst in South Africa.
If you are covered by your parent’s health insurance,
make sure that this insurance will also cover you while in
South Africa (travel insurance when buying a flight ticket
with your credit card is not enough).
Very important to note is that at most South
African tertiary education insitutions international students
will also be required to show proof of their medical insurance
upon registration. Have a look at this link from the Stellenbosch
University as a practical example http://www0.sun.ac.za/international/prosp.php?page=insurance
The same level of insurance is also necessary
when doing an internship. In Europe there are many medical
insurers. In Germany for instance you can book medical insurance
on-line at http://www.auslandsversicherung.de/travel_dt/index.htm
You can also enquire at your nearest travel agent or from
your university for more information on insurers in your country,
or try a Google search.
Alternatively cheap health insurance is also
available directly in South Africa. In some instances however
you will require a South African bank account which could
prove complicated. However, you can check out the following
When doing a language course (usually only
a few weeks) also ensure that your medical insurance will
cover you adequately. Again in Germany you can take out travel
insurance which covers you for up to 45 days in a foreign
country at a very low price. Have a look at: http://cms.vkb.de/web/html/pk/versicherungen/reise/ausland/produktuebersicht/
Upon entry into South Africa there are generally
no vaccination requirements. The Western Cape is not a malaria
or other tropical disease infested area. Since other areas
are known for tropical diseases (e.g. Kruger National Park),
you are strongly advised to obtain medical advice and information
before travelling there.
It is further recommended that students planning
to study nursing, social work or any other subject which involves
working with the underprivileged communities have a course
of Hepatitis B inoculations starting 9 months prior to arrival
in South Africa.
Visitors from countries where yellow fever
is endemic are often required to present their yellow World
Health Organization (WHO) vaccination record or other proof
of inoculation, or they must be inoculated at the airport
in order to be permitted entry.
How to get
to Cape Town
Flights to Cape Town from Europe are plentiful
and most of the well known airlines provide flights. My personal
favourite is KLM due to the good service they provide prior
to and also during flights. The following airline companies
are recommended for on-line bookings:
flight available from Amsterdam)
South African Airways
(direct flight from Frankfurt)
Lufthansa (direct flight
available from Frankfurt)
LTU (direct flight available
British Airways (direct flight
available from Heathrow)
Air France (from Paris
Special discounted rates for students are
available through STA
Travel . Also check out the ISIC Card (http://www.isic.org)
options if you are an older student. For this option you will
require an ISIC student card available from travel agencies.
And when you are still young enough just ask your travel agent
for a youth fare!
Some airlines do not always fly directly
to Cape Town e.g. Air
Namiba and some SAA flights and you will stop over at
Windhoek or Johannesburg before connecting to Cape Town. Johannesburg
has a very big and busy airport (O.R. Thambo Airport) so try
to look at their
aiport map if your stopover time is quite short. Remember
to collect and check-in your luggage at the first point of
entry into South Africa.
A direct flight from Europe to Cape Town
will take you in the region of 11 hours to complete. The Cape
Town International airport is located approximately 30kms
from the city centre and Somerset West, and 35kms from Cape
Town’s Atlantic seaboard (Table View, Bloubergstrand,
If nobody is collecting you from the airport
various shuttle services are available between the city centre
and the airport. If you have to take a normal taxi only use
the Touchdown taxi service which is the officially authorised
airport taxi company of Cape Town International. Or check
for other travel options.
Bring your laptop with if you have one. But
when you bring two with for your hobby for example, you might
have to pay a penalty at customs control for import duty purposes.
Check this out before you bring two or more with.
Internet connections are available throughout
Cape Town where you can plug your laptop in, but if you don’t
have one don’t worry, there are many internet cafés
around that have fast connections and are relatively cheap.
Bring your cellular phone with to Cape Town.
You can buy a very cheap sim-card at almost any retail shop
which you can pop into your cellphone and it should work.
Then you only need to buy airtime additionally in order to
speak or sms. Some overseas contracts also work in SA, but
they are very expensive to maintain here. Usually when you
do an internship through a placement organisation a sim-card
and new number will be included in your package. And if you
forgot your cellphone at home, don’t worry. Click on
and see what their cost and terms are to rent a phone from