Studying Abroad in

Cape Town, South Africa

















During the Spring of 2006, I spent six months studying abroad at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in Cape Town, South Africa.  During this time, I also spent three weeks traveling through Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. 

It is common for people to immediately associate Africa with the AIDS epidemic, but truthfully, I never knowingly met anyone that was suffering from the virus the entire time that I was there.  This is likely to be due to the fact that the disease is more prevalent in the poorer areas of Cape Town (i.e., the townships) than in the locations that I frequented on a daily basis.  Despite the fact that I was not personally confronted with AIDS in South Africa, I was deeply impressed and moved by UCT's efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS and to commemorate those who suffered from it.  For instance, I distinctly remember walking to class one day and being surrounded by red paper doves with the stories of UCT AIDS victims hanging from every tree on the academic quad.

In addition to remembering those who have been affected by AIDS, I also noticed that UCT did much to educate students about the disease.  Condoms were freely available in all of the bathrooms on campus, and the University was host to a massive volunteering organization, called SHAWCO, that traveled to the nearby townships and educated individuals of all ages about HIV/AIDS.  SHAWCO, along with volunteer doctors, also ran a free clinic in the townships that tested and treated people for HIV/AIDS, as well as a multitude of other illnesses.












University of Cape Town Official Website