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Cape Town, Johannesburg, Malea Malea, South Africa, Lesotho, South Africa

Program Description

South Africa on your bucket list? Now's the time to cross it off. People from around the world flock to this beautiful African country to enjoy its gorgeous scenery (beach AND mountains), tempting adventures (shark diving or bungee jumping, anyone?), and famous wildlife (elephants, giraffes, penguins, oh my!).web_pic3.jpgBut South Africa is so much more than its sites, thrills, and animals. Its tumultous history is still shaping modern-day South Africa and the complexities that result from the legacies of colonialism and the Apartheid are far from resolved. 

This summer program (open to all majors) will provide students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to examine those legacies and learn about post-conflict justice, South African society, and racial reconciliation. While these topics are discussed in a classroom setting within the Justice Studies major, this program allows for students to live and breathe those issues hands-on and up-close. This exploration will involve being connected with local civil society organizations, academics in the field, and through hands-on work in communities.web_pic9.jpgPast participants have highlighted this program as one of their best experiences while at JMU. See more about this program and what students have had to say by visiting our Facebook page.

Location Description

One unique attribute about this program is that you get to experience several areas in South Africa -- including a few days in Lesotho. We visit large cities (Cape Town, Johannesburg) and smaller towns (Plettenberg Bay, Malea Malea), so you really get the sense of the diversity of the Southern African landscape. 

In Johannesburg, we'll check out several historical landmarks and museums, and soak in the fast-paced city culture. Part of our time will include saying with host families in the country's biggest township: Soweto. This experience staying with local families has been a favorite among past participants. 

In Lesotho -- a small country located within South Africa -- we'll slow down and embrace the slow-paced rural lifesytle in a mountain top village. Part of our time in Lesotho will also be staying with host families.web_pic10.jpgFrom Lesotho, we'll make a few stops along the way to our final destination: Cape Town. This city has repeatedly been voted the most beautiful city in the world as it's situated on the slopes of a beautiful mountain range on one side, and shores of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans on the other. We'll continue examining what justice in South Africa looks like as we explore Robben Island, the District 6 Museum, talk with academics in the field, and spend time with locals. 


Katie Sensabaugh | | Justice Studies & Center for Global Engagement


During our stay, we will be residing mainly in backpackers and with local families. Staying in backpackers is one of the best ways to experience the country authentically, and many tourists and locals travel this way. Living with host-families provides that once-in-a-lifetime experience to get to know the true South Africa. Students will be in either double, triple, or quad rooms with shared bathrooms. Wifi is available at all backpackers where we will be staying, but might not be available when we're staying with the host families. 

The program fee will cover two meals a day. For some meals, students will be responsible for getting groceries and cooking family style for the whole group during the stay. Other meals will involve allocation of a meal stipend or going out to eat together.

Additional Items to Consider

A passport valid 6 months beyond our travel dates will be required.

No visa is required. A 90-day tourist visa will be obtained upon entry.

No extra immunizations required beyond standard for living in the U.S.

Malaria is not an issue in the areas in which we will be visiting.

COVID-19 Location Information:

Each country has different requirements upon entry with regard to COVID-19. Please check this website for the most up-to-date information on what is required for the country (or countries) that are part of this program. Please note that this changes often, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.5

This program is open to all majors and is best suited for Justice Studies, International Affairs, or Political Science majors; or Africana Studies, Humanitarian Affairs, or Criminal Justice minors.

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Resume
  • Interview with Program Director is required upon submission of application
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

Applications Closed. 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


JUST 301: Special Topics: Justice in South Africa (3 credits) **Honors Option available

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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