Law Schools and Programs in South Africa
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Law Studies in South AfricaAre you a law or pre-law student who is considering participating in a study abroad program—a program in which students can study and live for a time in a foreign country while earning credits towards their degree? Have you considered the majestic country of South Africa as a potential study abroad destination? South Africa has everything one could ask for in a study abroad locale, including modern universities, breathtaking scenery and a culture that is as rich as it is diverse.
Located on the southern tip of the African continent, South Africa is home to some of the most stunning and iconic natural landscapes in the world and its cities, particularly Johannesburg and Cape Town, are incredibly modern in comparison to much of the rest of the continent. South Africa is also home to an incredible system of natural parks, at which visitors can get up close and personal with the many species that comprise the country’s exotic wildlife.
South Africa boasts nearly 1,750 miles of pristine coastline, formed by the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Oceans to the west and south. The country borders a number of other African nations, including Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the north; and Mozambique and Swaziland to the east. Lesotho, an enclave, lies within South Africa and is completely surrounded by the latter’s territory. By total area, South Africa is the 25th largest country in the world, and with nearly 53 million inhabitants it is the world’s 24th-most populous nation.
Students who are interested in linguistics will truly enjoy their visit to South Africa, where a total of 11 languages are considered official. Most of these languages, such as Bantu, derive from the various native African tribes, but two are of European origin: English, and the Dutch-based language known as Afrikaans, the latter of which is the first language for the majority of South Africans. English, the fourth-most commonly spoken first language in the country, is used primarily in government, education and commerce.
South Africa is a multiethnic and multicultural country, with many different customs, religions and traditions. This amazing diversity makes it the ideal location for international students, helping to put them as ease and allowing them to acclimate more rapidly to their new surroundings.
Legal Education in South Africa
The majority of students who come to South Africa to study law do so as an undergraduate student, taking courses that will help prepare them for their upcoming advanced legal education. Many of the universities in South Africa offer this type of pre-law track, in which students can earn credits and even bachelor degrees in law-related disciplines.
Many of South Africa’s humanities and social science degree programs offer courses that deal with legal subjects, such as Law and Society and Social Problems. These courses, and others like them, focus on topics such as constitutional law, legal history, law and politics, and social issues. Other pre-law study programs tackle subjects like torts, contracts and criminal law, albeit in courses that are much less advanced than one would encounter in an actual law school.
Legal studies programs in South Africa expose students to many of the more general topics in law. These programs, which are typically offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level, cover topics such as the legal industry, legal technology and ethics in law. All legal-based courses in South Africa are instructed by expert faculty who, having gone through law school themselves, understand what it takes to prepare students for a more advanced legal education.
Why Study Abroad in South Africa
South Africa has a lot to offer as a study abroad destination. With its high-performing universities, modern cities, stunning landscapes and diverse culture, it is rapidly becoming the premier destination in Africa for international students.
There is no single culture in South Africa, but rather a high level of diversity when it comes to languages, ethnic groups, and ideologies, all of which are constitutionally protected. This diversity is one of the main selling points for the number of students who decide to study abroad here each year—a number that has been steadily climbing each year for the past decade. South Africa’s diversity is not merely limited to its culture, but also its topography and geography. The country is home to miles of gorgeous coastline, forests, immense savannahs and modern cities that together offer some of the best sightseeing opportunities in the world.
Two of the most popular cities in which to study in South Africa are Cape Town and Johannesburg. To help you become more familiar with these wonderful cities, below we have provided a bit of information about each.
Cape Town, located in South Africa's Western Cape Province, is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a vibrant and colorful place where students can meet people from every corner of the globe.
There are hundreds of attractions to behold in Cape Town, but no trip to the city would be complete without a visit to the top of Table Mountain, which towers over the city bowl and Table Bay. A cable car transports visitors to the top of Table Mountain, but the peak is also accessible by foot. If you elect to take the cable car, you’ll notice that the glass floor rotates 360 degrees, ensuring magnificent views as you ride up and down the mountain. Upon reaching the top of Table Mountain, visitors are free to wander along a myriad of pathways or simply enjoy refreshments at the restaurant and/or coffee shop located here. There is also a small shop selling souvenirs and memorabilia.
Located in Table Bay, just 12 kilometers from Cape Town, is another spectacular and thought-provoking attraction: Robben Island. For nearly 400 years, the island served as a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. Today, the island hosts one of South Africa’s most popular museums, where visitors can get a firsthand taste of South Africa’s struggle for freedom, the triumph of the human spirit and the life and times of Nelson Mandela, who was for a lengthy time imprisoned on Robben Island for resisting the country’s institution known as Apartheid.
Other must-see attractions in Cape Town include the City Center, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, several art galleries, museums and theaters, and, of course, the beaches.
Johannesburg is the financial capital of South Africa, the capital of the Gauteng Province and one of the most powerful and influential cities on the African continent. A modern city by any measure, Johannesburg is home to skyscrapers, gold dumps and a population of roughly 3.5 million. The Greater Johannesburg region, which includes the surrounding towns of Randburg, Kempton Park, Edenvale, Sandton and Rosebank, has a population of over 8 million, and when you include the Greater Pretoria area, which abuts Johannesburg, the population figure rises to over 15 million people.
Some suggest that Johannesburg is the largest "urban forest" in the world, complete with about 6 million trees (1.2 million in city parks or on pavements and the 4.8 million on private properties). It is one of just a few major cities not located next to a river, major body of water or the ocean. In fact, a substantial volume of the water it consumes is channeled and piped to the city from 500km away - from the Tugela-Vaal and Lesotho Highlands Water Schemes to the south.
A visit to the City Center of Johannesburg is a great way to spend a day and meet people from around the world. The center is always abuzz with activity and commerce, and public art and historical landmarks can be found in every direction. Sidewalk stalls sell everything from shoes to fruit to clothing, and the drone of the clippers from the many open air barber shops blends effortlessly with the other sights and sounds of this bustling region. Tours are available daily for those who are new to the area, providing information on the history and culture of Johannesburg over the years.
For an interesting adventure, we recommend you make a trip to Gold Reef City, a theme park located on the grounds of a worked-out gold mine on the southern outskirts of central Johannesburg. Guides lead visitors down the shaft of the old mine, giving them a taste of what life must have been like for the thousands of miners who once inhabited the region. The city also includes a beautifully-preserved Victorian Village; a museum, featuring mining exhibits and selling souvenirs; and the recently-opened Apartheid Museum, where guests can learn about the history, struggle and personal achievement associated with this now-defunct South African policy.