Texas Tech University

Study Abroad FAQs


Study Abroad in South Africa at the University of Pretoria

Frequently Asked Questions and Useful Information

Checkout: southafrica.geosciences.ttu.edu

Learn about:

  • Social Media journalism and multimedia story-telling
  • Precious metals and strategic minerals, their geologic occurrence, discovery, extraction and supply chains
  • Creating virtual experiences

Credit hours and enrollment: Participants will enroll in a minimum of 6 credit hours – 3 credits of GEOL-4300 (Arts & Sciences) and 3 credits of CMI 4301 (Media & Communication)

Program Leaders: Callum J Hetherington (Geosciences), Rauf Arif and TJ Martinez (JCMI)

Program Dates: Summer I 2020 – The Study Abroad program will run Monday 1 June 2020 until Monday 28th June. Recommend arrival in Pretoria Saturday 29th or Sunday 30th May 2020.

Program Location: The program will have 3 parts; parts 1 (7 days) and 3 (10 days) will be in Pretoria. Part 2 (8 days) will be spent in the southern parts of the Limpopo Region between Roossenekal and Steelpoort. 3-days at the end of the program will be spent on safari.

Planned Excursions: Historic Pretoria, Johannesburg Street & Art Markets, Cradle of Humanity, Pilanesberg National Park (safari), and platinum, chromium and fluorite mines.

Visa and Passport: Must have a passport valid for travel outside the U.S. Visas are not required for visiting South Africa for most western hemisphere passport holders (e.g. U.S., Canada, Europe) if your stay is less than 90 days.

Health and vaccinations: South Africa has a good health care system, but the CDC and WHO recommend vaccinateing against Measles Mumps & Rubella (MMR), Tetanus Diphtheria & Pertussis (TDAP), Influenza, Meningitis and Polio. Travelers may also consider vaccinations against hepatitis A & B, typhoid, and if visiting neighboring countries, yellow fever.

The Study Abroad program will not travel to districts of South Africa where malaria is a problem. The program is also scheduled to run in the South African winter when mosquitos and mosquito-borne illnesses are not a major concern.

Climate: June in South Africa is winter-time, and although it will be dry, the majority of the program is in Pretoria at altitudes of ~4,400 ft; fieldwork will be in the eastern Bushveld near Roossenekal where altitudes reach 7,000 ft. Night-time temperatures may be as low as 32 F. Day-time temperatures will be in the 70s and pleasant.

Travel Time and Logistics: The most common route to South Africa is an overnight flight to Europe, a day-long lay-over, and a second overnight flight to Johannesburg (~36 hours travel time). It is possible to fly non-stop from Washington DC, New York (JFK) or Atlanta to Johannesburg – quicker, but involves a 19-flight. Round trip ticket costs may be as low as $1,100, but typically between $1500 and $2,000 depending on route, availability and carrier.

Accommodation: In Pretoria participants will stay in a guest-house/back-packer hostel that provides twin rooms with en suite facilities. Breakfast is provided, and the accommodation has a fully-equipped kitchen, outdoor grill area, as well as a fire-pit, lounge and communal area. During the fieldwork participants will stay at a fishing-camp with permanent tents, a shower- and toilet-block, and use a fully-equipped kitchen/cooking area to prepare communal meals.

Program fees: The participant costs for the program will be ~$2,800 and will include accommodation, in-country travel, excursions and meals during fieldwork. Participants will be responsible for purchasing their own airfare (average cost $1,500) and must have a passport ($160), student insurance ($60), and pay the Education Abroad fee ($200). The cost of living in South Africa is low with the cost of basic groceries and eating out ~30% less than it is in the U.S.

Pre-Trip Advising: Participants must attend three afternoon pre-program advising sessions that will include the mandatory Office of International Affairs Study Abroad advising session. These sessions will provide appropriate background and foundational training in multimedia and photo-journalism skills, geological setting of the program, a review of South African geo-political history and current affairs, and an introduction to the research programs.

NSF-IRES Program: This Study Abroad program is sponsored, in part, by a National Science Foundation International Research Experience for Students (NSF-IRES award 1854282). The award will provide funding-support to participants, on a competitive basis, which may be used to cover program fees and travel costs including airfare. The NSF-IRES has twin research goals in Geosciences and Communication that will study the geologic origins and significance of some unique mineral-deposits in the Bushveld Complex, and, contribute to the development of communication strategies that promote the communication of science and engagement with student cohorts that are under-represented in STEM communities. For students who actively contribute towards the research goals of the project, stipends will be available to off-set living costs during the program.

Who can apply? All Texas Tech undergraduate students in good standing and have completed the ‘Science with a Lab' core curriculum requirement may apply. Admission to the program will be competitive. A preliminary notice of intent is requested, but is not compulsory, by the end of the Fall semester (see website).  Formal applications must be submitted via the OIA Study Abroad application process and meet OIA guidelines and deadlines.


To register interest in this program visit southafrica.geosciences.ttu.edu and fill out the form