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Health in South Africa

South AfricaMed

Health in South Africa - Winter Break Program

The Health in South Africa Winter Break Program is intended for UGA students who plan to pursue careers in healthcare and work actively toward that goal.  In this program, the participants will have the opportunity to learn about the South African healthcare system—and how it differs from ours—through guest lectures, tours of healthcare facilities, and shadowing opportunities with clinicians. In addition to these experiences, participants will enroll in one UGA course: BIOL 4910 Topics in Biology (Health and Healthcare in South Africa), 3 credit hours.

BIOL 4910 - Topics in Biology



This program runs from December 12 - December 23, 2024.

The program departs South Africa on December 23rd, and arrives in the US on December 24th, 2024.


Please note that you need to double check with your college that they have approved this activity for Experiential Learning Credit on If you do not see this listed, speak with your academic advisor to confirm whether or not this program will count for EL.



Due to the ongoing pandemic, some aspects of this program may be modified to ensure the health and safety of the participants while in South Africa.

This program aims to help students gain perspective on international healthcare while increasing their cultural competency.  Learning to communicate and work with patients from different backgrounds is invaluable to students who wish to pursue a healthcare profession. The program also offers a unique opportunity to broaden a student’s undergraduate experience through meaningful professional and personal interactions with non-US healthcare professionals who can share their worldview through conversations and example.

Our experiential activities and the clinical exposure will be helpful not only in applying to graduate health professional programs but will also enable our students to become more well-rounded applicants and, in turn, more conscientious healthcare providers.  This program hopes to develop mature individuals who leave South Africa with experience in the world beyond the classroom as it is an ideal vehicle for growing some of the skills and attitudes that are essencial in the practice of medicine—flexibility, self-reliance, and sensitivity to other cultures.

Lastly, this program offers our students an ethical healthcare-centered shadowing option that meets AAMC ethics guidelines. 

Important notes:

Program participants will be required to attend pre-departure orientations and academic meetings in the fall semester. 

Students applying for this program are eligible to apply for the OGE GENERAL SCHOLARSHIP.

Health Care Sites:

UCT/Groote Schuur Hospital - Attched to the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Medicine




General Information

Program Dates: December 12, 2024 - December 23, 2024
Estimated Program Fee: $3,100*** this was last years cost, new cost coming soon (includes lodging, breakfast, several lunches and dinners, program-related transportation, and entrance fees for program-related academic and cultural activities). It does not include plane fare, UGA tuition or UGA fees. Prices will vary depending on enrollment, but should not exceed the current estimated program fee. Click here for more details.
Application Opens: January  8, 2024
Application Deadline: March 15, 2024
Program Contacts: Ms. Amanda Spohn ( and Dr. Hilda Mata (


Applicant Eligibility

  • Open to all students at the University of Georgia who meet requirements.
    • The student must be presently enrolled in BIOL 1108/L or must have completed BIOL 1108/L  prior to submitting application.  
    • Have university credit for two science courses or more (in biological sciences, chemistry, ecology, physics/astronomy) prior to submitting application.
    • 3.0 or higher GPA.
    • Satisfactory academic and disciplinary records.
    • Student must have successfully completed BIOL 1108/L prior to submitting the application.
    • Qualified students enrolled with a pre-health intention who have met with an advisor form the PreProfessional Advising Office. 
    • Have successfully completed two sciences courses or more in biological sciences, chemistry, ecology, physics/astronomy for a grade (A-F) at UGA.
    • Have successfully completed 30 credit hours or more at UGA prior to submitting application. 
    • Have a 3.3 or higher GPA.


Application Process

  • Begin an application on the portal.
  • Written application will be review and selected applicants will be invited (via UGA email) for a brief interview with the program directors. Please note that an interview does not guarantee admittance into the program due to the limited number of spaces. Interviews, however, are a mandatory part of the selection process.
  • Once all interviews are completed, applicants will be notified via their application portal whether they have been admitted or waitlisted.
  • Admitted students will have 10 days from the date of acceptance to commit (or withdraw/decline) and pay a non-refundable $300 deposit. Waitlisted students will be admitted as spaces become available.




Dr. Dax Ovid

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Assistant Professor
University of Georgia


Hilda Mata

Dr. Hilda Mata
Director of Africa & Latin America Programming Initiatives
Office of Gobal Engagement
University of Georgia



SA map


Itinerary - Tentative



Atlanta, US

  • Departure for South Africa



Cape Town, South Africa

  • Arrival, pick up at airport, transfer to accommodation, dinner on way



Cape Town, South Africa

  • On-Site program orientation
  • Introduction and Orientation to UCT/Groote Schuur Hospital, and Tour of Heart Transplant Museum
  • Cultural visit
  • Visit to Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach



Cape Town, South Africa

  • Cultural visit
  • Visit to the Table Mountain National Park (weather dependent). Hiking up mountain and cable car on way down.



Cape Town, South Africa

  • Shadowing/observing at Groote Schuur, Rotation 1
  • Lecture/Discussion/Q&A session with local healthcare professional
  • Class time



Cape Town, South Africa

  • Shadowing/observing at Groote Schuur, Rotation 2
  • Class time



Cape Town, South Africa

  • Shadowing/observing at Groote Schuur, Rotation 3
  • Class time
  • Cultural visit



Cape Town, South Africa

  • Shadowing/observing at Groote Schuur, Rotation 4
  • Class time
  • Cultural visit



Cape Town, South Africa

  • Shadowing/observing at Groote Schuur, Rotation 5
  • Class time
  • Cultural visit



Cape Town, South Africa

  • Cultural visit



Cape Town, South Africa

  • Cultural visit - historical visit - Visit to Robben Island (weather dependent) - home of the notorious prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years - Island is now a UNESCO world heritage site.



Cape Town, South Africa

  • Cultural visits
  • Transfer to the airport for the trip home