Frequently rated as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Cape Town is the perfect place to learn, intern, and explore like a local. Overlooked by the majestic Table Mountain (one of the seven natural wonders of the world) and surrounded by beaches, Cape Town has a great deal to offer students. Think sunrise (or sunset) hikes of Lion’s Head Mountain, weekend trips to the stunning winelands of Stellenbosch, evening beach walks, excellent food (at a fraction of the cost of the US) and getting lost in culture at the many museums and galleries.
However, while Cape Town’s attractions are plentiful, South Africa’s history is tragic, and its current-day social challenges prevalent and urgent. The iXperience Immerse program encourages students to courageously engage with both the beauty and fraught complexity of a country grappling with the after-effects of segregation and extreme wealth disparity.
A program located in Africa's biggest startup hub
iXperience's modern facilities are located in the world-famous V&A Waterfront, in a building called Workshop17. A collaborative workspace, Workshop17 fosters innovation, enabling, creating, and showcasing African solutions to global challenges.
Workshop17 boasts a sophisticated IT infrastructure and exemplary security. There are promenades, piazzas, squares, and landscaped gardens, which create vibrant spaces in between the pubs, restaurants, shops, cinemas, museums, offices, hotels, and residential apartments.
The success of the V&A Waterfront and Workshop17 project has placed Cape Town on par with other international waterfront cities such as San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore, Vancouver, and Sydney.
A multidimensional learning experience open to undergraduates, iXperience Immerse is designed to give students a deep understanding of the South African context, then the skills to create real value. Earn 9-10 credits by taking the iXperience Immerse program, academically sponsored by the University of Virginia.
iXperience Immerse Course Breakdown
First four weeks: UVA Global Studies Course
GSGS 2559: Cape Town & South Africa: Past-Present-Future (3 credits)
First, you'll gain essential understanding of the South African context—politics, culture, history, and some of the most pressing challenges that the country and its people face—through an expansive UVA course designed exclusively for iX. You'll also have the option to take a language course for 1 additional credit. Components include:
- Environment & Sustainability
- Health, Inequality & Social Justice
- The Arts in South Africa
Next six weeks: iX Course & Internship
LASE 3559: Liberal Arts and World of Work (6 credits)
Then you'll take an iX career-focused course and internship that will give you both intensive classwork and practical work experience in topics like data science or finance. The course will also encourage you to think about how to address some of the challenges you grappled with in the previous course. There are six unique course/internship options for this part of the program:
- Data Science
- Full Stack Coding
- Investment Finance
- Management Consulting
- Product Management
- Virtual Reality
The blended learning format means that you’ll spend two weeks in an accelerated classroom-based learning environment, before transitioning into a four-week supported internship at a top local company, where you’ll gain industry relevant skills, real-world work experience, and invaluable additions to your resume. Teachers and mentors will continue to offer support and lessons during this time, so that you’re truly able to make the most of your internship experience.
Health and safety are top priorities for iXperience and UVA. iXperience provides comprehensive briefings upon arrival, supplemented with digital guides with local knowledge of the environment. They also have a dedicated Security Consultant with over 25 years’ experience in the field, and a strong relationship with the City of Cape Town Police Force. A walking orientation of the V&A Waterfront is also provided.
Proactive inspections of all facilities during the program preparation phase are routine, with relevant expertise on standby for any emergencies. iXperience has a comprehensive and detailed Crisis Management Plan to cover any eventuality, and works closely with the US Consulate-General in Cape Town. If required, South African private medical treatment facilities are renowned for being world-class and affordable.
Students may elect to complete a volunteer experience in addition to their courses and internship. iXperience has previously partnered with Nazareth House – a home for children and teens. These volunteer experiences are not officially arranged by iXperience, however, community outreach opportunities might include game’s afternoons, reading time, and outdoor activities like soccer. Please contact a member of the iXperience team for further information.
The Global Studies course will be taught by a team of top University of Virginia faculty and colleagues from South African universities. iXperience and UVA recruit local and global industry experts who are skilled, enthusiastic, compassionate instructors for the six-credit Liberal Arts Seminars.
Accommodation and Meals
The iX Village is located in one of the safest and trendiest areas of Cape Town, Camps Bay. For peace of mind, iXperience provides 24-hour security and gives students their own set of keys and access codes so they can come and go as they please. Only iXperience students and staff are allowed entry into the lodging through secure access points – it is not open to the public. Students will share a room with up to two fellow attendees of the same gender.
Meals are not provided, but there are fantastic restaurants and cafe´s in all directions, within walking distance from campus and the accommodation. Most rooms are equipped with basic kitchen facilities, allowing students to prepare meals from home should they wish to do so.
Weekend excursions are included in the program fee. Past excursions have included culturally immersive tours, culinary experiences, walking tours of the beautiful coastline, and historic site explorations. These excursions are structured to help students unlock personal growth, often by pushing them out of their comfort zones. Immersing students in the natural and cultural beauty of Cape Town, the excursions iXperience designs are also ideal opportunities to foster human connection with fellow learners, and locals alike.
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. iXperience has hosted students with disabilities in the past, and will endeavor to ensure that this is not a barrier to attending the program. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.
Passport and Visa
All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date and contains at least two consecutive blank pages. US passport-holders do not need to apply for a visa in advance but will be provided with entry documentation from iXperience. International students may need a visa, and should also meet with their International Student Advisor in the International Studies Office for information about re-entering the U.S. at the conclusion of the program.
Health and Safety Information
All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.