Studying in South Africa

In 2011, a multidisciplinary and multicultural programme was launched in South Africa at the initiative of the Internationalisation focus group. Students at various different schools gain the opportunity to elaborate aspects of a current project or to start up new projects, concentrating on a number of focus sectors, namely:

  • Renewable energy
  • Logistics
  • Agriculture - food
  • Education
  • Health care

The sectors have been chosen on the basis of overlap within the Dutch and South African government agendas. In addition, the sectors also have examples in other regions of the world where projects are elaborated within a living lab concept.

Within the projects, you gain professional knowledge and you develop international and intercultural competencies. This is a way of promoting strategic exchanges with other countries in order to create a context within which you can develop international, intercultural and multidisciplinary competencies. Besides the multidisciplinary angle, this programme also has a multicultural character. The projects are set up by students of Avans University of Applied Sciences and always take place in cooperation with the Dutch and South African business communities/organisations and universities.


In September 2016, 12 enthusiastic students set off for Cape Town for their minor or work placement. If this appeals to you too, read on!

For further information about the projects and the assignments, you can contact the International Office. 

Application criteria:

  • You are enrolled on a full-time course at Avans University of Applied Sciences (participating schools: School of Social Studies ‘s-Hertogenbosch / School of Social Studies Breda / School of Health / School of Engineering and Information Technology / School of Marketing and Business Management / School of Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Innovation / School of Engineering and Information Technology (CMD)
  • You plan to go abroad for a minimum of 30 ECTS credits.
  • You have not fallen behind with your studies. 
  • You have the approval of your school to take part in this project. 
  • Your command of English is at least B2 level. 


Applications for the first semester of the 2017/2018 academic year can be submitted from 1 March to 30 April 2017. You do this by sending an e-mail including your CV (in English) and motivation to internationaloffice@avans.nlNote that your application will not be processed if you submit it after the deadline has passed. 

Within 2 weeks after the deadline, you will receive notification from the International Office stating whether or not your application has been approved. If the number of eligible students exceeds the number of places available, random allocation will take place, i.e. drawing lots.

South Africa Internationalisation Programme

Publication date
28 Nov 2016
Last updated on 28 November 2016.

Life Esidimeni Intermediate Care Centre

Life Esidimeni (meaning ‘place of dignity’) is a fully owned subsidiary of the Life Healthcare group, and is the largest and oldest hospital public/private partnership in South Africa. It has been engaged in delivering healthcare services to indigent patients, under contract to the national and provincial Departments of Health and Social Development, for over five decades. The company delivers hospital based services in the fields of chronic mental healthcare, frail care, chronic rehabilitation and acute care in five provinces.

Life Esidimeni Intermediate Care (LEIC) is a 220 bed sub-acute rehabilitation facility based in Cape Town, South Africa. The private/public partnership with the Department of Health allows for government patients to be housed and rehabilitated for a maximum period of 6 weeks; after which time the patients need to be reintegrated back into their respective communities. The hospital is staffed by doctors, nursing staff of various categories, and a full multi-disciplinary rehabilitation team comprising of physiotherapists with physiotherapy assistants, occupational therapists with occupational therapy assistants, social worker, speech therapy, dietetics, and rehabilitation care workers (RCWs).

Disability Practice Program

The Disability Studies Programme in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences was initiated in 2003 as the first of its kind on the African continent. This programme’s vision is to forge disability inclusion in Africa. We aim to do this by taking an asset based approach to generating abilities and knowledge on disability inclusion with a specific focus on youth in Africa within a global context. This pro-gramme seeks to develop research and academic capacity that will contribute to the understanding of disability in context, as an issue of diversity and social justice.

Movement Development Program

In the complexity of life in townships, making healthy lifestyle choices is not always a matter of course, and is sometimes even impossible. The primary schools and secondary schools within the townships in South Africa have few resources and are dependent on sponsorship. Opportunities, as well as teachers’ knowledge and expertise, are often insufficient or inadequate for offering sport and exercise. And sport and exercise are a good way to spend your time, reduce crime, promote a healthier lifestyle and can help to develop skills that the pupils need in their everyday lives, but also as future professionals; skills such as working together and taking on challenges.

In this project, students develop and implement sports projects in multidisciplinary teams that encourage personal development and the development of a healthy or healthier lifestyle. Aim is to continue the project in a sustainab le manner, opportunities are being sought to involve students from University of Western Cape in these projects. This project also has a strong link to the ‘train-the-trainer’ principle, because the teachers from the primary schools and high schools are potential forces for providing the pupils with further supervision and for giving sports lessons.

Prof Portal Africa

Prof Portal Africa develops and implements blended learning modules in the healthcare industry in South Africa to improve the knowledge and skills of nurses to have a better quality of care. One of the hospitals where Prof Portal Africa is implemented is Groote Schuur Hospital. This hospital is known for the first heart transplant in the world and is a Public Academic Tertiair Hospital with approximately 1600 nurses. Prof Portal Africa started four years ago with a small group of nurses, nowadays almost all departments are involved with the implementation of the blended learning. Prof Portal Africa works together with Noordhoff Health, the developer of the platform.

For more information visit and You might be involved in other Health organizations as well regarding the implementation of this concept.

Last updated on 16 November 2016.

Jasmijn van Loon

Programme: Bachelor of Marketing at Avans in Breda
Period: January 2016 to the end of June 2016
Project: Movement Development Programme 

"This project assists with improving sports lessons at two secondary schools in the townships of Cape Town. I wrote a marketing plan regarding the creation of brand familiarity in Cape Town. I had the time of my life during my stay there. South Africa is a wonderful country to explore. It has so much to offer in terms of culture, nature and diversity. The project taught me a lot and gave me insight into the lives of the South African people. I feel privileged to have been able to contribute to improving the lives of the less fortunate in Cape Town. This experience will have a lifelong impact, and I would love to go back." 

Gerben Meijers

Programme: Bachelor of Physiotherapy
Project: The development of a digital learning environment for students studying for the Higher Certificate in Disability Practice (a one-year programme leading to qualification as a general health-care provider working with people with a disability) at the University of Cape Town.
Period: 5 February to 5 June 2016 inclusive

"I will always remember this project and my stay in South Africa as a wonderful time with many unique experiences. For instance we learned about the South African health-care system by visiting various South African care institutions and by shadowing students at the University of Cape Town, where the health-care providers of the future are trained."

"Despite the lack of financial means, I have seen that the population makes even more of an effort to promote the happiness and well-being of the people closest to them. The way in which my South African peers express their gratitude for the fact that they can enjoy education and go on to make a difference in their communities in which they grew up has made me stop and think about my Western attitude towards things that we see as normal or even as boring, such as taking a study programme."

"Besides the project-related activities, there was of course also time to discover the beauty of South Africa, for instance in its music festivals and wildlife. Driving the Garden Route is something I would definitely recommend, as it has probably the most beautiful nature you have ever seen."  

Vincent Veth

Programme: Bachelor of Physiotherapy
Project: The Movement Development Programme: together with 2 other students, I improved the sports lessons at 2 secondary schools in disadvantaged neighbourhoods by helping with and supporting the lessons, developing new sports lessons and coaching and training a football team.
Period: February 2016 to May 2016

"South Africa is a country that makes a big impression. The contrast between rich and poor is enormous. We were able to bring about a lot of changes, though this cost a lot of time and dedication. The clichés of self-development and ‘maturing into adulthood’ are correct to some extent. Besides the project, there's plenty to do in your free time, from bungee jumping to 3-course dinners for the equivalent of 15 euros, and an indescribable experience in the desert during Afrikaburn. All in all, you'd be crazy not to want to go abroad." 

Jimmy Hermans 

Programme: Bachelor of Health Care Technology in Tilburg (Avans)
Project: Movement Development Programme
Period: February-July 2016

"During our project, the main goal was to teach general teachers in disadvantaged areas of Cape Town in South Africa to give sports lessons, as the schools in these poorer districts don't have the financial resources to pay for sports instructors. By putting together a teaching book for them and by working alongside the teachers during the sports lessons, we achieved this pretty well! This is something you really should do!"

"I had an absolutely crazy time in Cape Town, with the perfect climate and cheap beer (70 cents)! Yes, it was a brilliant city. This country also has a wonderful landscape. Renting a car is affordable and you can drive along the coast which looks like the coast of France or Italy, and see wonderful surfing areas. Lastly and just as importantly, you will develop as a person. The poverty in some parts of the country will make you think about things differently. You’ll bring these perspectives back to Europe with you."

Last updated on 16 November 2016.