UVA in Southern Africa



For the latest details, deadlines and application information for the Summer UVA in Southern Africa program, please click here.


For information about financial aid for study abroad, please click here.


For an example itinerary with links to sites, please click here.


Focusing on the intersection between peoples, cultures, and environments of southern Africa, the UVA in Southern Africa summer study abroad course details the continuities and contrasts between life on the highveld, lowveld, and coastal regions of South Africa and Mozambique. Students have an opportunity to experience urban and rural settings through a course that emphasizes the links between history, culture, power, and the environment.

They travel through the Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga Provinces of South Africa, and visit the southern portion of Mozambique. In each locale, the SAVANA Partner Universities (WITS, University of Venda, Bushbuckridge, and the University of Eduardo Mondlane) collaborate with the UVA group in the delivery of lectures on their respective campuses and during field visits. Students and faculty from the partner universities also participate actively in lectures and visits, with at least two students accompanying University of Virginia students for the duration of the program.

It is an exciting and significant time in history to visit southern Africa. As apartheid policies and perspectives dissolve, South Africa emerges as a society with renewed vitality and international significance. Its neighbor, Mozambique, continues to present important environmental and cultural continuities with communities in South Africa, while at the same time confronting a very different history. Students will have a unique opportunity to gain insight into linkages between people’s lives and their environments, investigating both people’s impacts upon their surroundings and the ways environment constrains and empowers personal choices. Starting in Johannesburg, the students will study with faculty and peers at the urban University of Witwatersrand (WITS) and experience the dynamic pace of the economic hub of southern Africa.

The program then takes students to the Limpopo province, one of the most underdeveloped provinces in South Africa. Students will interact with members of the University of Venda community, a dynamic educational institution in the heart of a former African homeland. From there, students will travel to southern Mozambique to learn more about life on the Limpopo River floodplain and delta. We return to South Africa to the Bushbuckridge, a field station with a mission of education, research, and community outreach.


GroupUnderTree Courses and Credit Undergraduate students participating in this program will earn a total of 6 UVA credits for EVSC 4060 and ANTH 4060. Graduate students from the Curry School of Education will receive credit for EDLF 5500. Housing Students will be housed at several locations. All accomodations are double occupancy rooms. Please talk to the Program Directors for more information about locations and types of facilities.



Students will have an opportunity to experience first-hand the natural wonders of the great South African environment with numerous field trips and outdoor projects. Between our visits to Limpopo and Mpumalanga, we plan a five-day stay in Mozambique. Barring any last-minute permission problems, students will visit the proposed Transfrontier Peace Park in Mozambique to gain first-hand experience with the international wildlife park’s planning process.

Then, we will travel south to Maputo, capital of Mozambique, where students will learn more about rapid urbanization in southern African environments from professors and students at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane. We will reenter South Africa and continue on to Mpumalanga and Bushbuckridge.


Research Associate Professor Bob Swap’s current research is focused on understanding how global change, in its broadest form, helps shape regional environmental systems, especially in the developing world.

Assistant Professor in the Curry School of Education, Carol Anne Spreen’s research centers on political and socio-cultural studies of educational change, particularly the influences of globalization on teaching and learning. She has been working on issues of poverty, inequality and schooling in South Africa since 1997.