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Heartland Community College

South Africa

Through our partnership with EDU Africa, Heartland Community College is proud to offer two different summer programs to Cape Town, South Africa. Both programs will provide 3 credits of Service Learning 101: Introduction to Service Learning.

Aerial view of Cape Town

As its name might suggest, South Africa is a country located on the southernmost tip of the African continent. South Africa is well-known on the global stage for its long struggle with Apartheid, transitioning to a democratic nation in 1994. Its formative histories, however, are much longer and more complex than the narrow lens of Apartheid allows. Contact between the indigenous societies of the Khoi and the San, and the waves of migration that brought various Bantu civilizations south from West Africa are a couple of examples. Like many other African countries, South Africa is home to varied people groups, cultures, and religious belief systems; for this reason, it is often called the “Rainbow Nation”. It is also geographically rich and varied, comprising 8 different biomes that are spread across the country, and is home to a spectacular array of plant, mammal, and bird species.

Agriculture, water conservation, and sustainability

This program 10-day program will introduce participants to agriculture, water conservation, and sustainability practices in South Africa. Participants will interact with local organizations like the Sustainability Institute and Oranjezicht City Farming, in order to explore different farming practices, learn about innovative responses to global issues, and apply conservation in their own life. Additionally, they will engage with themes of water as a natural resource and the effects of water shortages on the environment, economy, and society.

  • Depart Chicago on Janaury 4 and depart Cape Town on January 13

Curricular Activities

Guerrilla House and Sprightly Seeds

  • Sprightly Seeds is an organization that focuses on meeting the basic needs of children by catering to their basic food security and nutritional needs. The Sprightly Seeds organization is currently working with Guerilla House to develop the grounds on a school in order to support both the school and the community. The development of these grounds encompasses the topics of urban farming, permaculture, growing food for both the community and school and providing a green space for learners.
  • Guerrilla House is a shared learning platform for the experimentation and pursuit of regenerative technologies. It is an organic training space where practical urban permaculture skills are
    learned through a focus on organic food garden design and implementation, water harvesting, soil building, animal systems, mushroom cultivation, grey water systems, alternative building technologies, and waste regeneration, all within the urban context and all under the ethics of earth care, people care and surplus share.

Spier Wine Farm

  • Located in the Stellenbosch Winelands region, Spier Wine Farm prides itself on creating award-winning wines. With a history that dates back to the late 1600s, Spier ensures that its wines are not only award-winning but are also made in a manner that is sustainable and good for the environment. In their many years of operation Spier has taken steps towards sourcing partners who share their vision of ethical farming where natural resources and the environment are respected and protected. As part of their initiative to create an environmentally sustainable business, Spier has replaced alien plant species with plants indigenous to the country. Spier also drives water conservation by planting specific species of plants that help purify the water in their wine-making process and they recycle up to 100% of their black and grey water.

Oranjezicht City Farm

  • The Oranjezicht City Farm (OZCF), is a non-profit project, integrating the community and food production in a sustainable way through urban farming in Cape Town. Student groups can engage with workshops on tomato growing, container farming, floral embroidery, and pesto and cheese making depending on the time available for the visit; there is also the option to simply frequent the market to try out the fresh produce on hand. The hope is that the sustainable initiatives modeled at the OZCF will inspire and equip visitors to make decisions that will support food ecosystems, whether in their home contexts or elsewhere, in line with our transformation goal of Global Citizenship.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

  • Located on Table Mountain’s eastern slopes is the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. The garden was established in 1914 and is the first of its kind to be devoted to a country's indigenous flora. It forms part of a large conservatory that displays a large variety of vegetation from regions such as fynbos, karoo, savanna and others. On a walk through the beautiful botanical garden, students will learn about the sheer diversity of plant life within the Cape Floral Kingdom and why certain species and biomes are under threat of extinction.


This 10-day program will introduce nursing and allied health students to private and public healthcare systems in South Africa. They will observe healthcare practices and actively participate in providing care through service-learning work. Students will also engage with local nursing and allied healthcare professionals and students, giving them insight into local career paths and trajectories. In addition, students will participate in a number of culturally immersive experiences.

  • Depart Chicago on May 21 and depart Cape Town on May 31

Curricular Activities


  • Over the years, through the hard work, determination and help of the community and friends
    overseas, Baphumelele has developed into a thriving community project. In addition to a
    Children’s Home and Educare Center, Baphumelele has expanded to include the Adult Respite
    Care Center, Child Respite Center, Hospice in the Home, Child Headed Households, Fountain
    of Hope and Rosie’s Bakery/Sewing Project.

Desmond Tutu TB Center

  • The Desmond Tutu TB Center is an academic research centre located in the Stellenbosch
    University Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health
    Sciences. The goals of the center are designed on a strategy built on basic and applied
    research, as well as on the training of students and communities in all aspects of tuberculosis
    (TB). The Centre operates from the premise that grassroots research must never be
    underestimated, and includes working with communities and investigations into the everyday
    challenges of people infected and affected by TB and HIV.

Red Cross Children’s Hospital

  • The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital was built in 1956 and is the largest,
    standalone tertiary hospital dedicated entirely to child healthcare in Southern Africa. The
    Hospital is a public hospital and is also a teaching base for the University of Cape Town. This
    iconic children’s Hospital is world-renowned and is committed to delivering world-class paediatric
    treatment, care, research and specialist training. The Red Cross Children’s Hospital manages
    around 260 000 patient visits each year, the majority of which are from exceptionally poor and
    marginalised communities.


Both programs are scheduled to stay in the Cape Town Lodge Hotel, which is perfectly located in the city center, equidistant to the world-renowned V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, and Cape Town International Convention Centre. This 4-star property boasts views of Lion's Head, Table Mountain, Signal Hill, and the historical Bo-Kaap village. The Hotel's spacious rooms are beautifully appointed and offer both twin and double room options as well as private en-suite bathrooms. Each room is equipped with an electronic safe, Wi-Fi access, and a work desk. A delicious buffet breakfast is served on the fifth floor every morning.

Rooms are configured with twin beds

Extra-Curricular Activities

Both programs will provide cultural activities, which may change each year, but can include the following:

  • District Six Museum
  • Robben Island
  • Table Mountain Learning Experience
  • Cape Malay Cooking Experience
  • Boulders Penguin Colony
  • Safari


Both programs are cost on a sliding scale, with more participants reducing the expense. A minimum of 5 students are required, with an estimated cost of $2,600. The program fee includes: housing, airport pickup & drop-off, 1 meal each day, cultural visits, and local transportation.

Not included: You will have to pay for airfare to and from South Africa on the required flight provided by the group leader.


Both programs have the same participant requirements:
  • 18 years old at the time of departure
  • 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale
  • Completion of at least 12 hours of college-level coursework by the time of departure

Application & How to Apply:

Application time will vary by the Program, and you should consult the Study Abroad Coordinator for more information.

To apply, please contact Zach Petrea, the Study Abroad Coordinator at 309-268-8613 or