Study Fashion in South Africa

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Fashion Studies in South Africa

Are you a student majoring in fashion or fashion design and considering enrolling in a study abroad program—a program that will enable you to earn credits towards your degree while studying and living in a foreign country for a semester, year or even summer session?  Have you considered the exotic country of South Africa as a potential study abroad destination—a nation that combines old world charm with cutting-edge modernity?  South Africa, or more specifically its universities, offers a number of excellent study abroad programs for students of fashion and fashion design, including undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as diploma and certificate options.
Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, South Africa’s economy and standard of living have vastly improved, effectively transforming the country into the excellent travel and study abroad destination it is today.  South Africa hosts scores of universities, including 23 state-run universities and even more that are privately owned.  Together these institutions of higher learning offer students the chance to fully experience all that South Africa has to offer while simultaneously being challenged in an excellent academic setting.   In addition to its universities, South Africa is also home to a number of technical and professional institutions, including many that offer hands-on career experience and training in the field of fashion and fashion design.
Home to some of the oldest archaeological wonders in the world, South Africa is a land that has helped the international community better understand the manner in which humans evolved and the cultures of the world’s oldest inhabitants.  A multiethnic nation to say the least, the country is home to a number of different cultures, customs, traditions and religions.  South Africa is also a multilingual country.  A total of eleven languages are deemed “official” in the country, and although the majority of these official languages can be traced back to the aboriginal people, two are of European origin:  English, and the Dutch-based language known as Afrikaans, the first language for the majority of the population.  English is commonly used in commerce, government and higher education, though as a first language it ranks only fourth.
International students will feel right at home when studying in South Africa.  To become acclimated to their new surroundings, study abroad students are free to participate in any number of internships and community engagement programs.  There are also a variety of options in terms of housing, ranging from dormitories to single apartments to host families, who open up their homes in support of these international programs.  Whether you decide to study in the oldest European colonial settlement of Cape Town, the modern and cosmopolitan city of Johannesburg, or in any city in between, South Africa has a program that is just right for you.
Fashion Education in South Africa
Fashion education, including Fashion Design, interior decorating and other related fields, are offered by many of South Africa’s universities and trade schools.  Higher education in South Africa is overseen by the Ministry of Higher Education and Training, which is responsible for all university education up to the doctorate level; technical and vocational training; and all basic adult education and training.  It also oversees the country’s public and private FET colleges, which cater to out-of-school youth and adults. The government aims to have one million students enrolled at the nation’s colleges and universities by the end of the 2014 academic year.

Higher Education and Training in South Africa, otherwise referred to as tertiary education, includes education for undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as certificates and diplomas.  To qualify for admission into one of South Africa’s public universities, a matric endorsement is required, with a minimum of three subjects passed at the higher, rather than standard, grade. Some universities also set additional academic requirements.  A standard school-leaving South African senior certificate is sufficient for those planning to pursue technical qualifications and diplomas.
Many of South Africa's universities are world-class academic institutions, at the cutting edge of research in certain academic disciplines.  Though subsidized by the state, the universities are autonomous, reporting to their own councils rather than the government ministry.

Private education in South Africa is offered by 88 registered and 27 provisionally registered institutions, at which the Department of Higher Education and Training is permitted to confer specific degrees, certificates and diplomas.

Fashion courses at South African universities are very practical in nature, with the main emphasis being on creative group work in classrooms and studios. As opposed to the certificate and diploma programs, in which hands-on practical training makes up the entirety of a student’s education, undergraduate and graduate degree programs in fashion emphasize much academic content, in addition to practical work in the field.  
In many of the fashion and fashion design courses, each student is provided his or her own space in the studio in which to work and exhibit their designs. Throughout the program, students will gradually develop their own sketchbooks and portfolios under the expert guidance of faculty who possess considerable experience in the fashion industry.  These portfolios represent the various topics that are covered during the course of the program, and will later come in very handy as students set out to pursue career opportunities in this popular and competitive field.

Why Study Abroad in South Africa

South Africa is one of the most diverse and enchanting countries in the world. Home to exotic combinations of landscapes, ranging from pristine coastline to dense forests to stunning and sweeping savannahs, it is one of the most picturesque countries on the planet, offering visitors countless photo-worthy scenes.   A combination of third and first world cultures, South Africa hosts some of the most friendly people one can meet, and its universities, along with the hundreds of people who financially support these types of study abroad programs, are warm and welcoming to international students, helping them adapt quickly to their new surroundings.

When not busy studying in the classroom, students will have an abundant number of opportunities to explore all the wonders of this vast country—the 24th-largest country in the world by area and 25th-largest by population.  Wildlife parks and reserves, such as the renowned Kruger National Park, abound in South Africa, giving visitors the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with exotic and native African wildlife, including lions, rhinos, zebras, elephants and African antelope.  In addition to these stunning natural settings, South Africa plays host to eight World Heritage Sites, as bestowed by the United Nations history and culture division known as UNESCO.

Sightseeing opportunities are present throughout the country. Students studying in the historic city of Cape Town, for example, will find themselves in close proximity to some of the country’s premier tourist destinations.  The Western Cape Province is home to the famous landmark known as Table Mountain, as well as the Cape Winelands and some of the most exquisite coastline on the continent.

The Garden Route is another popular stop for locals and visitors.  A coastal corridor on the western coast of South Africa, the scenic route features miles of gorgeous scenery, made up of forests, rivers, wetlands, lakes, mountains and a number of quaint towns and villages, each with their own historical and cultural significance.

Finally, there is Free State, considered the most rural of South Africa’s provinces.  Here one will find wide horizons and crystal blue skies, with farmland, mountains, goldfields and some fascinating and very remote towns and villages that are widely dispersed.  This tranquil land of the windmill is famous for its warm South African hospitality and a mix of different cultures, ethnicities, traditions and celebrations.

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