Grahamstown was founded in 1812 as a garrison post on the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony. Situated in the Eastern Cape, about 560 miles from Cape Town and 80 miles from Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown offers both the amenities of a large city and the qualities of a small town.
During the early 19th century Grahamstown enjoyed rapid growth due to the influx of English immigrants, becoming second only to Cape Town in size and importance in the Cape Colony. Today, the city is a cultural and political center, home to an annual July Arts Festival and the Settlers Monument and Conference Center, dedicated to freedom of the press and building a civil society.
Rhodes University was founded in 1904. An historically white university, Rhodes is home to over 6,000 students of different ethnic backgrounds, hosting a large number of students from other African countries.
The university's small size is an advantage for students; the warmth and friendliness of the campus make developing friendships easy, while the ratio of one lecturer for every 15 students ensures close contact with faculty.
Instruction is based on the British tutorial system emphasizing close, one-to-one contact between students and professors. The university has curriculum across the disciplines, and good opportunities for service learning. BC students select courses or "papers" across the disciplines from the regular Rhodes curriculum.
All courses are offered in English and cover a wide variety of academic disciplines, with a particular focus on service learning.
Professor Geoffrey Antrobus
BC Resident Director - BC in Grahamstown
Academics & Support
The program begins with a comprehensive orientation in Grahamstown. Students are assigned to a Rhodes advisor who provides academic and personal counseling.
The BC resident director will organize regular activities for the BC students. Examples of cultural activities include dinners, tours, and a visit to a game park. The BC resident director is also available to set up customized service placements for students who wish to become involved in the local community. All students are encouraged to take part, and projects will be set up based on individual interests and the amount of time and energy students wish to commit. Past participants have volunteered in local hospitals, day care centers, schools, soup kitchens, and NGOs.
Check for updated dates and information here
Students register for classes upon arrival. Please note that exchange students may not register for any ‘practical courses,’ these include Journalism and the Fine Arts.
For course selection information, please refer here
South Africa operates on a GSM network, so any mobile phone compatible with a GSM network can be used there. Mobile phones are relatively inexpensive in South Africa and can be purchased from any of the three major mobile service providers. Airtime can be purchased on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis from most retailers and from ATMs.
- Fall Term: Starts in mid-July and ends in late November.
- Spring Term: Starts in mid-February and ends in mid-June.
Students will live in one of the university's 35 residences or "houses" alongside South African and international students in single occupancy rooms. The residences are grouped in eight halls, each with their own dining hall and all within easy walking distance of lecture halls and the town.
Students must vacate their dormitories during the interim period between terms. Special arrangements can be made for students who wish to remain in residence accommodation for the vacation period, but please be aware that students are then obliged to pay a daily fee for accommodation and board, which is not included in the account fee. Students have the option to apply for holiday accommodation at Rhodes, where one residence is allocated for this purpose. This is R210.00 per day including all three meals. Please take note of this and act accordingly.
Students will have three meals per day in the residence halls. They are not allowed to accumulate points or credits for any meals skipped.
Students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to fly into Port Elizabeth. Non-transit stops on the African continent are to be avoided, as additional visas and vaccinations may be required.
Students will be met at the airport by a university shuttle. In order to be picked up, students must email Aidan Prinsloo (with a copy to Professor Antrobus) with their arrival information at least one month before leaving for South Africa.
The BC PM will suggest an arrival date to Grahamstown as soon as students’ acceptance packets arrive.