Officially known as the Republic of South Africa (RSA), South Africa is the southernmost country on the African continent. The country covers 1.2 million square kilometres, making it the 25th largest country in the world. South Africa is home to almost 58 million people, and is referred to as the ‘rainbow nation’ due to the country’s diversity. South Africa is built upon its long and complex history, which has influenced its outlook as a modern country.
Since a reform, which began in 2004, South African higher education institutions have been improving. Their universities have been consistently keeping up with the increasingly high standards for higher education systems. More than 45,000 international students choose to study in South Africa each academic year. There are 26 public universities, and 42 private universities. Public universities are split into three distinct types.
Traditional universities offer theoretically focused degrees, universities of technology (also known as technikons) offer vocationally focused degrees, and comprehensive universities offer both types of degrees.
There are 4 South African universities in the 2023 QS World University Rankings top 500. The highest ranked of these is the University of Cape Town, which is placed at =237th. The next highest ranked are the University of Johannesburg, which is placed at =412th, and the University of Witwatersrand, which is placed at 434th.
|Pretoria, Cape Town, Bloemfontein
|ZAR, South African Rand
|English, Zulu, Swazi, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Xitsonga, Xhosa, Tshivenda, Ndebele
|Major Student Cities
South Africa has 11 official languages. It also has 8 other recognised regional languages. You will hear a wide variety of languages spoken across different areas of the country.
The most common languages used for teaching are English and Afrikaans. The majority of universities will allow you to choose to study courses in either language. If your study language is not your native or first spoken language, you will need to provide evidence of your proficiency. The level of proficiency required will depend on where you choose to study, as well as the level at which you are studying. Postgraduate courses and specialist degrees will generally have higher language requirements. If you do not meet the required standards, it is common for institutions to offer language courses to help you improve.
If your native language is not one of the 19 official and recognised languages, you should make the most of your opportunity to learn another language as you study. Communicating with the locals and other students is a great way to practice and improve your skills. Having proficiency in another language is something that will look great on your CV/resume.
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