By Stephanie Augustin
- While many international students often flock to the USA and United Kingdom for their postgraduate study, few know of the burgeoning study and experience opportunities in other countries. In recent years, there has been a rise in students from the West pursuing their Masters or Doctorates in China, especially MBAs, but what about countries in Africa?
South Africa is one of the five emerging national economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – otherwise known by their collective acronym of BRICS. Graduate study in South Africa makes sense for a large number of very good reasons.
Due to its fame from hosting the last World Cup as well as its reputation as the most visible English-speaking country in the continent, South Africa boasts one million students across its 23 public universities, the majority of which come from neighbouring African states.
Here are several reasons why international postgraduate students should consider studying in South Africa:
It goes without saying that South Africa’s cost of living and tuition fees are considerably easier on the pocket than that of the USA or United Kingdom. According to Prospects UK, studying for the LLM in Civil Law at the University of Cape Town - considered the premier tertiary educational institution in the country - will cost a UK student R54,200 (£3,832) plus an international fee of R14,605 (£1,032).
Cape Town, the economic hub and one of South Africa’s three capitals, also commands among the highest cost of living but is still relatively cheap to UK expenditure on the same. It costs around R1,500 (£104.34) for food monthly, or R50 (£3.48) daily. Local scholars, and students from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries pay the local fee plus a small levy every semester or year, while all other students are charged international fees.
In the QS World University Rankings among the BRICS member countries, the top South African universities are the University at Cape Town (11th), Stellenbosch University (30th), University of The Witwatersrand (31st), University of Pretoria (43rd), University of Kwazulu-Natal (60th), University of Johannesburg (61st), Rhodes University (72nd), and the University of the Western Cape (88th).
On top of that, South Africa is represented in the prestigious Financial Times Global MBA Rankings by the University at Cape Town at 74th, and thus the university charges much higher international fees to its highly competitive Masters in Business Administration (MBA) course, where 76% of its graduates are employed after a mere 3 months.
The African continent is home to thousands of different cultures and communities, and South Africa encapsulates all that. Its moniker of the Rainbow Nation comes from the recognition of its heterogeneous population. Add to this the thousands of students and workers from neighbouring African countries, and international students are bound to have a very eye opening cultural experience. South Africa has whopping 11 official languages, and three unofficial capitals in Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative), and Bloemfontein (judicial). Don’t worry as English is the medium instruction in most educational institutions, although you will probably pick up some Afrikaans and Dutch while there.
South Africa’s role as the hub of Africa means international students get to enjoy uniquely African experiences, such as outings in the Safari, camping near National Parks, and enjoying the braai barbeque. Too often the country is linked to freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, so a study experience there will open up students to the massive diversity not just within the 53 million strong South African population, but also among the various African nationalities and communities.
More information on study in South Africa.