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South Africa


Masiphane “Let us Share Together” From Table Mountain to the unspoiled coastline of the Eastern Cape and the rugged bushveld teeming with wildlife, South Africa is a land of magnificent natural beauty and spectacular landscapes. Whether you prefer adventure or quiet solitude, our rich heritage beckons you to come discover the rhythms of Africa. The heart of South Africa, however, has always been found in her people. With 11 official languages and many more cultural groups calling South Africa home, the Rainbow Nation is a diverse mix of people learning to live and thrive together. Exposure to and appreciation of other cultures is considered to be one of the most powerful means of promoting understanding and peace. In South Africa there are a myriad of opportunities for authentic and life-changing cultural interactions, from spending time in a city township to visiting a traditional Xhosa homestead or living with a Coloured1 family on the Cape Flats. South Africa’s history is complex and turbulent, but visitors are able to gain valuable perspectives by studying the lives of modern-day struggle heroes such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Visiting places like Robben Island and the Hector Pieterson Museum, which commemorate the ordinary men and women who fought for freedom, brings one face to face with the wonder of South Africa’s journey to democracy and reconciliation. As they spend time in South Africa, however, visitors quickly realise that our journey of transformation and reconciliation is not yet over. Many South Africans still experience the harsh legacies of the Apartheid system, living in dehumanising poverty and suffering from one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. Spectacular natural beauty and wildlife, diverse and vibrant communities, a nation strongly committed to reconciliation and justice, and the opportunity to engage in practical service-learning projects make South Africa an ideal destination for students desiring a rich study-abroad experience. In addition, the current exchange rate makes South Africa an affordable destination for many international students. South Africa’s medical fraternity is also internationally renowned, providing students with excellent private medical care if needed during their stay.

1 | In South Africa, Coloured is an accepted term as both a racial classification and a cultural identifier, referring to people whose ancestry could include indigenous people groups, black Africans, European settlers, as well as people from India and the Far East. Coloured people comprise the largest population group in Cape Town.


Why Cornerstone Institute?

Established in Cape Town, near the tip of Africa, Cornerstone Institute is located in a city of around three million people, a melting pot of different cultures and traditions. From its inception in 1970 as the Cape Evangelical Bible Institute, Cornerstone Institute has been committed to Christian higher education within a community that reflects the multi-racial reality of South African society, even during the height of Apartheid. Today Cornerstone’s student body is drawn from over twenty different countries and from many different denominational traditions. We are a vibrant, multicultural community that sees diversity as an invaluable resource for learning. Over the years, Cornerstone has grown from its beginning as a small pastoral training institution into Cornerstone Institute, an accredited private higher-education institution. We are committed to training leaders for Africa who are able to engage their realities from a Christ-centred, biblically-shaped worldview; think critically and creatively; and lead with high ethical and professional integrity. We believe such leaders must be trained to understand the needs of people holistically, seeing not only the spiritual needs of communities, but also their social, psychological and financial needs. Therefore, we offer programmes that include Psychology, Community Development and Business Leadership, as well as Christian Ministry. Our theological commitment to reconciliation as the central metaphor for the gospel and our social responsibility to produce students that are critical citizens, has resulted in Cornerstone requiring all students to take Reconciliation and Peace-making as a core module. This emphasis on reconciliation sets Cornerstone apart from many other institutions. An important aspect of our commitment to providing a diverse community of learning at Cornerstone is the partnerships that Cornerstone has entered into with overseas universities and colleges. Since 2002, Cornerstone has received students from a variety of institutions, interests and backgrounds as part of study-abroad programmes and student exchanges, to dialogue and learn together with our faculty and students, particularly around the issues of reconciliation and justice. We are always eager to explore and enter into new partnerships with other institutions and welcome discussions about such opportunities.


Components of the Study-Abroad Programme Programme Dates The study-abroad programme is offered twice a year for approximately sixteen weeks. • Spring Semester: January - May • Fall Semester: September - December Programme Objectives The aims of this study-abroad programme are to foster within students: • an understanding and appreciation for other cultures, and so develop a broader perspective about their own place within the global context; • the capacity to reflect critically on issues of reconciliation, justice and peace-making within the socio-economic and political context of South Africa, in order to critique their own context more meaningfully; • the ability to build relationships with people different from themselves and to engage significantly with them around their experiences of class consciousness, sexism, racism and/or religious differences; • the willingness to explore opportunities for and obstacles to reconciliation and conflict resolution. Programme Features • • • • •

orientation with a credit-bearing module in South African History and excursions to important cultural and historical sites around Cape Town classes taken at Cornerstone Institute with local students participation in a service-learning project with a non-profit or faith-based organisation opportunity to explore South Africa through trips to Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape experience of living with a family in a cross-cultural context

A semester at Cornerstone Institute is an opportunity for students to discover and enjoy the attractions and adventures that South Africa has to offer.


Orientation On arrival in Cape Town, South Africa’s Mother City, students spend an orientation weekend in Kalk Bay situated on one of the most beautiful stretches of South African coastline. In between explorations into the surrounding area, we discuss health and safety issues, money matters and culture shock, and take time to familiarise students with the use of South Africa’s public transport system. During this weekend the students will also be introduced to Cornerstone students who will join the students throughout the orientation and serve as cultural interpreters. An important element of the orientation is the credit-bearing module, South Africa: History, People and Culture, which provides students with a strong grounding for living and studying in South Africa. This module explores the history of South Africa, beginning with the original peoples and tracing the different cultures and people who colonised the country, and outlines the ideas and events that shaped the Rainbow Nation of today. As part of this module, students are taken on a number of excursions around Cape Town to sites of historical and cultural importance including Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for nineteen of his twenty-seven years as a political prisoner; and District Six, a place still shadowed by forced removals. Students also explore some of Cape Town’s eco-highlights such as Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Point and Boulders Beach, home of the African Penguin.


Suggested Class Offerings

With majors in Psychology, Community Development and Christian Ministry offered at Cornerstone Institute, classes are presented in a range of subjects including Practical Theology, Biblical Studies, Christian Studies, Sociology, Gender and Conflict Studies, Development Studies, Psychology, Family Studies and Counselling Skills. Study-abroad students are welcome to register in any of the modules within these subjects offered during their stay, provided they have fulfilled the necessary prerequisites for that module. We have also developed special modules for visiting students, such as The Role of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Below, however, are some suggestions of classes offered at Cornerstone that we have found to be valuable for our study-abroad students focusing on reconciliation. For a full account of all the modules offered at Cornerstone during each Study-Abroad Programme, please visit the Partnerships page of our website (


Suggested Class Offerings Modules Offered in Both Semesters The Role of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa (2nd year level) This module has been especially designed for our study-abroad programme and is not currently offered to South African students. The module will introduce students to the primary objectives, some key submissions and the main outcomes of the TRC through readings, review of relevant materials and the interviewing of key people. The purpose of this module is to guide students in their understanding of the role of the TRC and its significance in building a climate of reconciliation in South Africa. As part of the module, we often invite one of the TRC commissioners to run a workshop with the students. Having looked at the work of the TRC, the class then explores continuing issues facing South Africa in regards to reconciliation and transformation.

Reading from the Margins (2nd year level) This module introduces the student to the importance and value of reading the Bible with others (i.e., the marginalised, whether women, children, the poor, the illiterate). The module enables the student both to recognise the value of being a trained reader and the responsibility to use such training in transformative, public, connected, dialogic and integrated ways. The module combines both theoretical and practical outcomes. The theoretical outcome of the module is achieved by defining who the others are and laying the conceptual framework for what it means to read with others, and how practically to do so. The practical outcome is achieved by assigning students to an actual reading site in which they will participate in applying providing the theoretical framework.

Conversational Xhosa Lessons These are offered on an informal level for those students who wish to learn one of the indigenous African languages.


Suggested Class Offerings Modules offered during the Spring Semester African Worldview (3rd year level) In this module an overview of African Worldviews is given with special reference to South Africa. This will include a study of the African Independent Church movements with a view to understanding traditional modes of spirituality and their relevance for the contemporary church in Africa.

Urban and Rural Development (3rd year level) This module seeks to explore in depth the dynamics that are involved in cities as unique spaces of social interaction on the one hand, and those involved in rural areas on the other. Urban social development issues are discussed from various perspectives, including economic, social and political factors that impact urban life. The module accords special attention to the impact of urbanisation on the poor, elderly, youth, and other marginalised groups. It also seeks to help students outline the challenges facing rural development in developing countries and in South Africa in particular. Specific themes discussed are the role of the rural areas in the social and political economy of developing societies, and current approaches towards the management of these areas. The various issues and themes are explored through field-based reflection, lectures and group discussions.

Perspectives on Social Transformation (2nd year level) This module reviews several perspectives on community development and the social transformation process. The study covers development as transformation, peoplecentred development, expanding access to social power, development as responsible well being, and development as a kingdom response to powerlessness.

Reconciliation and Peace-Making (1st year level) The purpose of Reconciliation and Peace Making is to lay the foundation for a biblical and theological approach to conflict management that will guide the church and community leader in responding to interpersonal conflict both in the church and in the community.


Suggested Class Offerings Modules Offered during the Fall Semester Faith Development and Spiritual Formation (3rd year level) This module is firstly designed to explore how people make meaning out of life’s experiences. The primary theory of James Fowler is given special attention. Consideration is given to the application of this theory to the general areas of developmental psychology, the theology of Christian formation and maturity. The second aspect of the module is the bringing together of the theory and practice of Christian spiritual formation.

Old Testament Writings (2nd year level) The study and meaning of wisdom in the literature of the Old Testament are investigated. Special attention will be given to the nature of Hebrew poetry, literary structure and the importance of developing a biblical theology of the wisdom writings. Exegesis of representative passages is included.

Gender Issues (2nd year level) This module focuses on the social and psychological implications of belonging to a particular gender and examines the ways that a society or culture defines how members of a particular gender act within society, and whether those expectations enhance or hinder human development.

Constructive Conflict Resolution (2nd year level) This module introduces students to the theory and practice of conflict resolution and teaches them specific communication skills to enhance their relationships. Students are provided with the opportunity to explore their attitude toward conflict and to reflect on their personal approach to conflict. The module makes use of case studies to assist students to reflect on the strategies, tactics and approaches used during conflict situations and emphasises the link between communications, behaviour and conflict.


Service Learning In conjunction with the academic studies, Cornerstone’s study-abroad programme offers students the opportunity to participate in servicelearning projects with a non-profit or faith-based organisation during their stay. The service-learning is organised as an intensive two-week encounter during which students live and work in one of the poorer communities around Cape Town, engaging in a variety of activities depending on the needs of the organisation. The aim of this time is to provide students with the opportunity to engage meaningfully with people within the community around their experiences of class consciousness, sexism, racism and/or religious differences, and to reflect on issues of reconciliation, justice and peace-making from within the realities of the current socio-economic and political context of South Africa. Longer fieldwork placement for students whose studies require practical experience as part of their training can also be arranged. During the first eight weeks, these placements are offered part-time in addition to other modules. However, at the end of the first academic term, students will shift to full-time involvement in the fieldwork placement. Both field and academic supervisors will be provided for students throughout the service-learning projects.

Home-Stay Experience The home-stay experience is a vital component of Cornerstone’s study abroad programme as it provides an invaluable opportunity for cultural immersion and allows the students to engage with the issues of justice, reconciliation and transformation on a more personal level. The students are placed in pairs with families within the surrounding community of Cornerstone for the duration of their stay in South Africa, often becoming part of the family. They participate with their hosts in family and cultural events and spend time hearing from their hosts about their individual, lived experiences of justice and reconciliation as our country has moved towards democracy and freedom.


Trips Johannesburg and Pretoria Johannesburg, the City of Gold, pulses with energy and vitality. Founded in 1886 with the discovery of gold, Johannesburg together with nearby Pretoria has often been at the centre of political and economic upheaval in South Africa. Pretoria was initially the seat of the Boer2 Republic of Transvaal and later of the Apartheid government of South Africa. During their semester, students are taken for a long weekend to Johannesburg and Pretoria where they are once again exposed to various historical sites of importance in South Africa’s history, particularly those related to anti-apartheid activity. Highlights of this trip include visits to the Apartheid Museum; the Regina Mundi Church (which played a pivotal role in the history of resistance against Apartheid in Soweto); the Voortrekker2 Monument (where parallels between the South African context and American history are often seen) and Constitutional Court. During the weekend students are also introduced to people who participated in the struggle against Apartheid, as well as organisations that are currently working within the field of reconciliation in South Africa.

2 | ‘boer’ is an Afrikaans word meaning farmer. However, it was also used as a term of self-identification for those of Dutch descent who broke free from the British-governed Cape. These Afrikaans settlers (referred to as the ‘Voortrekkers’) left the Cape in a mass migration called the ‘Great Trek’ and formed the Boer Republics of Transvaal and the Free State. During the struggle ‘boer’ became a derogatory term for white, Afrikaner nationalists.


Trips Eastern Cape Towards the end of the study-abroad programme, students are taken on a 10-day journey up the East Coast of South Africa and into the former Transkei. This tour showcases some of South Africa’s beauty and allows students experience more rural areas of South Africa. Details of the trip change each year, but the following would be a typical itinerary: •

Our first stopover is in Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world, where students are given an opportunity to encounter the world’s largest bird and even ride one if they wish. This region also boasts the Cango Caves, a popular attraction with several systems of limestone caverns to explore.

Next we travel to the Tsitsikama National Park, one of Africa’s oldest and largest marine reserves with indigenous forests of ancient yellowwood trees, deep gorges and a rugged coastline. Here we stop for a day and those that are more adventurous can choose from bungee-jumping off Bloukrans Bridge, the highest bungee-jump in the world, or perhaps a tree-top canopy tour through the forest.

Addo Elephant Park is always a favourite among students as they experience a game drive and hopefully see wildlife in its natural environment. Game sightings include herds of elephants and buffalo, antelope as well as the ever present warthog. If lucky, we may also catch sight of lions and the much-needed dung beetle.

We then travel into the Eastern Cape and the former Ciskei and Transkei homelands where we spend a few days within a rural community experiencing their way of life, including fetching water from the closest river and grinding maize. We also spend some time exploring the surrounding area before flying home.

None of the areas in which we travel as part of the study-abroad programme requires malaria prophylaxis. However, in previous years, some students have chosen to extend their stay in South Africa and travel independently into malaria areas. Such students are able to obtain prescriptions for anti-malaria pills and have them filled in South Africa.


Requirements and Application Procedure As part of our partnership agreements, Cornerstone Institute defers the selection of students for this programme to the students’ home institutions, who we feel are better suited to judge the students suitability for a semester abroad experience. Students who are interested in coming to South Africa for this programme should, therefore, approach their Study-Abroad/ Global Studies Departments for the relevant application procedure and forms. After approval by their own institutions and confirmation of availability on the programme by Cornerstone Institute, students will be required to complete a Cornerstone Institute General Information Form. On successful completion of the above steps, students will be sent an acceptance letter from Cornerstone Institute, as well as the necessary letter needed for their visa applications.

Contact details Physical Address Cornerstone Institute, 11 Lansdowne Road, Claremont 7708 Postal Address PO Box 430, Plumstead 7801 Phone +27 021 671 3506 / 6584 | Fax 086 272 2004 Email

Registered with the Department of Education as a private higher education institution under the Higher Education Act, 1997. Registration Certificate No.2001/HE08/006.


Cornerstone Study-Abroad Brochure  

Marketing Brochure for Cornerstone Institute's Study-Abroad Programme

Cornerstone Study-Abroad Brochure  

Marketing Brochure for Cornerstone Institute's Study-Abroad Programme