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Seeing South Africa: Storytelling and Race Relations

Students in this travel seminar will study the ways in which South Africa's past is a vibrant and complicated part of its present. This seminar visits a wide range of historical sites to investigate the ways in which the people of South Africa tell the stories of their past (a traumatic racial history), their present, and their future. We will analyze museum experiences, tour practices, and visual culture to explore how narratives of the past—and its relationship to the present and to the future—are presented. Our approach to films, non-fictional writing, oral narratives, fictional writing, poetry, and the visual as well as verbal texts presented in museums makes this seminar interdisciplinary in nature and interesting to students in any field of study.

South Africa is a breathtakingly beautiful country. Students in this seminar will see two of its major cities, Johannesburg and Cape Town, while also spending several days at a lodge in the Kruger National Park area reflecting on race relations in rural areas, “eco” or “nature” tourism, and storytelling as part of “safari” experiences. The group will undertake two service projects, including a day of volunteering with Children’s Eco Training in the Klaserie Nature Reserve. Exposure to a culture and literature outside of the United States invites students to think critically about global race relations, the power and impact of storytelling, and the role of literature in human responses to oppression. Students will engage in active discussion, develop a sense of community with their co-travelers, and sharpen their critical thinking skills as we journey, study, and think together in this seminar.

Academic Details

  • May 14 - June 7, 2013 (travel concludes on June 5)
  • Course Numbers: ENG 158 & ENG 93. For Honors Program students, HONR 97.
  • Fulfills Written Communication AOI and Multicultural AOI
  • 6 credit hours
  • 21 days of travel
  • 4 on campus meetings pre-departure; 2 days of class post-travel


The final cost will not vary by more than $200 from the figures below and depends on the final number of students enrolled. For 20 students, the maximum cost will be $5,600 each. For 15 students, the maximum cost will be $6,000 each, and for the minimum of 10 students, the cost will be $6,600-$6,800 each. The price includes:

  • Tuition
  • Airfare to and from South Africa & airfare from Johannesburg to Cape Town
  • Private motor coach for all daily excursions
  • Housing (all hotels are at least “four star”)
  • Breakfast every day (except four days at self-catered lodge); six dinners; two lunches
  • All museum entrance fees (Origins Centre, Apartheid Museum, etc.)
  • 3-4 days of game drives (seeing lions, elephants, etc.) at Kruger National Park
  • Professional guides for all daily excursions
  • 19,602 frequent flyer miles (only 400 miles shy of a free domestic ticket)
  • International Student Identification Card (ISIC), which provides a wide range of discounts and special offers, including discounts on flights, museums, bookshops and restaurants.

Additional Expenses

  • Lunch and dinner most days (See above; you can safely budget just $10-$15 per day for this.)
  • Personal Expenses (optional excursions; souvenirs, toiletries, etc.)

Apply/For More Information

For brochure and itinerary, click here (PDF).

Apply online.

Once a student is accepted, a $1,000 deposit is required by December 15th to secure a spot in the program.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Melisa Klimaszewski, Assistant Professor of English
Howard Hall 224

Yasmina Madden, Visiting Instructor of English
Howard Hall 321