Study in South Africa
Choose Your Program

While in South Africa, you will live with a volunteer host family and attend a local high school.

PROGRAM DEPARTURE RETURN FULL TUITION
2025 Spring Year Late January Late November $14,595
2025 Rugby Spring Year Late January Late November $15,395
2025 Fall Year Late August Late June $14,595
  • Placement with a host family
  • Enrollment in a local South African high school
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic and international travel
  • All pre-departure and post-arrival orientations
  • Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
  • Support from a YFU South Africa Area Representative while on program
  • Comprehensive insurance

During your stay, you will attend a local public or private high school located near your host family. Students should be aware that nearly all high schools in South Africa require uniforms, and school etiquette can be quite formal. You will take courses that are familiar to you in subjects like science, history, geography, English, math, and art. You can also embark on learning a language like Zulu or Afrikaans. Schools also welcome initiatives to start projects or after-school activities. Often, extra-curricular activities are integrated into the school day, and students can try new activities like rugby, cricket, drama, or music. Seniors should be aware that due to South African regulations, exchange students will be placed in the 11th grade.

All students applying for the year program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation*, which usually takes place in mid-July or early-mid December (Spring departures). This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas.

*Due to COVID-19, the 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation described above may take place online, dependent upon recommended guidelines at the time of the event. YFU will continue to assess the situation as it develops.

After arrival in South Africa, students will attend a post-arrival orientation in Johannesburg, followed by another orientation a few weeks later in the region where they are placed to prepare for the exchange year. Students also have a regional mid-program orientation and a re-entry orientation before they return home. All orientation costs are included in program tuition.

  • 2025 Academic Spring Departures: Students born December 31, 2007 – December 30, 2009
  • 2025 Academic Fall Departures: Students born July 30, 2008 – August 6, 2010
  • Students who will turn 18 within the first 6 months of their exchange or will graduate from high school before the start of their program will not be considered for admission.

Zulu, Xhosa, Sothos, Afrikaans, and English. These are only 5 of 11 official languages. There is no guarantee that students will be placed in an English-speaking family or school, so students should be open to learning a new language.

In urban or semi-urban areas such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Gauteng, Western Cape, Bloemfontein, and Port Elizabeth. Students are occasionally placed in smaller towns but not generally in very rural areas or in Cape Town (except for the Gap Year Volunteer Program.) YFU South Africa’s host families and host communities reflect the country’s diverse multi-cultural, multi-racial, and multi-lingual society.

While in South Africa, you will live with a volunteer host family and attend a local high school.

PROGRAM DEPARTURE RETURN FULL TUITION
2025 Spring Semester Late January Late June $13,295
2025 Wildlife Rescue Spring Semester Mid-January Late June $14,595
2025 Fall Semester Late August Early January $13,095
2025 Wildlife Rescue Fall Semester Early August Mid-December $14,095
  • Placement with a host family
  • Enrollment in a local South African high school or Volunteer community
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic and international travel
  • All pre-departure and post-arrival orientations
  • Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
  • Support from a YFU South Africa Area Representative while on program
  • Comprehensive insurance

During your stay, you will attend a local public or private high school located near your host family. Students should be aware that nearly all high schools in South Africa require uniforms, and school etiquette can be quite formal. You will take courses that are familiar to you in subjects like science, history, geography, English, math, and art. You can also embark on learning a language like Zulu or Afrikaans. Schools also welcome initiatives to start projects or after-school activities. Often, extra-curricular activities are integrated into the school day, and students can try new activities like rugby, cricket, drama, or music. Seniors should be aware that due to South African regulations, exchange students will be placed in the 11th grade.

All students applying for the semester program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation*, which usually takes place in mid-July or early-mid December (for Spring departures). This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas.

*Due to COVID-19, the 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation described above may take place online, dependent upon recommended guidelines at the time of the event. YFU will continue to assess the situation as it develops.

After arrival in South Africa, students will attend a post-arrival orientation in Johannesburg, followed by another orientation a few weeks later in the region where they are placed to prepare for the exchange year. Students also have a regional mid-program orientation and a re-entry orientation before they return home. All orientation costs are included in program tuition.

  • 2025 Academic Spring Departures: Students born December 31, 2007 – December 30, 2009
  • 2025 Wildlife Rescue Spring Departures: Students born January 31, 1990 – January 31, 2007
  • 2025 Academic Fall Departures: Students born July 30, 2008 – August 6, 2010
  • 2025 Wildlife Rescue Fall Departures: Students born June 30, 1990 – June 30, 2007
  • Students who will turn 18 within the first 6 months of their exchange or who will graduate from high school before the start of their program will not be considered for admission to the academic programs.

Zulu, Xhosa, Sothos, Afrikaans, and English. These are only 5 of 11 official languages. There is no guarantee that students will be placed in an English-speaking family or school, so students should be open to learning a new language.

Students participating in the academic programs are usually placed in urban or semi-urban areas such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Gauteng, Western Cape, Bloemfontein, and Port Elizabeth. Students are occasionally placed in smaller towns but not generally in very rural areas or in Cape Town. YFU South Africa’s host families and host communities reflect the country’s diverse multi-cultural, multi-racial, and multi-lingual society.

Students participating in the volunteer programs are placed in the gated volunteer dorm-type community in Cape Town.

YFU offers young adults the opportunity of a lifetime to serve as volunteers and experience South Africa for 6 months. This program is open to students who have graduated from high school and are over the age of 18.

A detailed program description is available in the downloadable PDF brochure.

PROGRAM DEPARTURE RETURN FULL TUITION
2025 Spring Trimester Mid-January Late April $11,995
2025 Wildlife Spring Trimester Mid-January Early May $12,995
2025 Wildlife Spring Short-Term Mid-January Mid-March $11,995
2025 Fall Trimester Late August Mid-November $11,995
2025 Wildlife Rescue Fall Trimester Early August Early November $12,995
2025 Wildlife Rescue Fall Short-Term Mid-January Mid-March $11,995
  • Placement with a host family
  • Enrollment in a South African Volunteer Community
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic and international travel
  • All pre-departure and post-arrival orientations
  • Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
  • Support from a YFU South Africa Area Representative while on program
  • Comprehensive insurance

During your stay, you will attend a local public or private high school located near your host family. Students should be aware that nearly all high schools in South Africa require uniforms, and school etiquette can be quite formal. You will take courses that are familiar to you in subjects like science, history, geography, English, math, and art. You can also embark on learning a language like Zulu or Afrikaans. Schools also welcome initiatives to start projects or after-school activities. Often, extra-curricular activities are integrated into the school day, and students can try new activities like rugby, cricket, drama, or music. Seniors should be aware that due to South African regulations, exchange students will be placed in the 11th grade.

All students applying for the semester program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation*, which usually takes place in mid-July or early-mid December (for Spring departures). This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas.

*Due to COVID-19, the 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation described above may take place online, dependent upon recommended guidelines at the time of the event. YFU will continue to assess the situation as it develops.

After arrival in South Africa, students will attend a post-arrival orientation in Johannesburg, followed by another orientation a few weeks later in the region where they are placed to prepare for the exchange year. Students also have a regional mid-program orientation and a re-entry orientation before they return home. All orientation costs are included in program tuition.

  • 2025 Academic Spring Departures: Students born December 31, 2007 – December 30, 2009
  • 2025 Wildlife Rescue Spring Departures: Students born January 31, 1990 – January 31, 2007
  • 2025Academic Fall Departures: Students born July 30, 2008 – August 6, 2010
  • 2025 Wildlife Rescue Fall Departures: Students born June 30, 1990 – June 30, 2007
  • Volunteer Program students must be 18-25 years old while on program. Students who are not within this age range will not be considered for the program.

Zulu, Xhosa, Sothos, Afrikaans, and English. These are only 5 of 11 official languages. There is no guarantee that students will be placed in an English-speaking family or school, so students should be open to learning a new language.

YFU offers young adults the opportunity of a lifetime to serve as volunteers and experience South Africa for 3 months. This program is open to students who have graduated from high school and are between the ages of 18 and 25.

A detailed program description is available in the downloadable PDF brochure.

Study Abroad Participants
What to Expect

Hello or Hallo! You may be using both of these greetings during your time in South Africa – English and Afrikaans are two of the many languages spoken in this diverse country.

One way you will experience South Africa’s diversity is by living with your host family. South African families are generally large, and extended families may live in one home or in proximity to each other. Family celebrations play a key role in the lives of South Africans, so you may be lucky enough to attend braai, the social gathering of barbecue. You may also enjoy caving at a number of sites across the country or observe the wildlife at places like Kruger National Park (an acclaimed safari tour destination).

Education is important in South Africa. With three levels of education to participate in (including a vivacious higher education sector of more than 1 million students enrolled in 24 state-funded universities and institutions), South Africans have viable options that give them the ability to achieve their goals and focus on personal development.

With cuisine, music, and festivities as diverse as the ethnic groups that comprise this country, you are bound to experience many new things — so apply to South Africa today!

YFU USA is proud to send over 200 American students on cultural exchange with a full or partial scholarship each year. Financial assistance may be in the form of a merit-based scholarship, need-based financial aid, or Legacy Grant for students who are previously involved in the YFU Community. Scholarships may vary in deadline, requirements, and eligibility. To learn more, please visit our Scholarships Page to find details on the following scholarships eligible for South Africa:

Holcomb & Farnell Foreign Study Fund
YFU Legacy Grant
YFU Financial Aid Fund
Karla Topolka Scholarship Fund
Passport to Equity
Culture Connect Scholarship

Applications for tuition-based programs must be submitted by July 31 for Winter/Spring departure programs and February 15 for Summer and Fall. Applications submitted after this date will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending upon availability.

Visa Information
Information about visas will be provided upon enrollment. Note: South African embassies/consulates may require health insurance issued by a South African-based insurance company. Important: Visas for the Volunteer Program are specific to your volunteer project; therefore, you are NOT allowed to change volunteer projects during your exchange program.

Additional Costs
Students should be prepared to cover fees for school textbooks, uniforms or activities, and transportation to school if applicable. Program tuition does not include personal spending money.

Important Information
Students will need malaria prophylaxis and yellow fever vaccinations for their visit in addition to other recommended immunizations for travel.

Explore a diverse environment as you get to know South African people, whose cultures began in many different places around the world!

Have questions or want to learn more about YFU Study Abroad Programs?