Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Saint Mary's College is offering the South Africa program in coordination with InterStudy, a non-for-profit eductional organization.  InterStudy has residential offices on-site at eleven universities in South Africa and has been operating international exchange for US institutions for 10 years in Pietermaritzburg.  For more information on InterStudy.


Located at the University of Kwazuiu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, this program is about an hour drive from the Indian Ocean, nature reserves, and the bustling tourist resort area of Durban.  Pietermaritzburg is a city of charm and old-world dignity set in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal.  The University campus is located in the shady, tree-lined suburb of Scottsville, a twenty minute walk from the city center. 

Click HERE for more country-specific information.

Program of Study

The program is an ideal fit for students interested in issues of political science, social justice, environmental biology, African literature, history, ethnic studies, religion, and sociology.  It is suggested that students take 5 classes or the equivalent of 15 credit hours while enrolled at the University of Natal.  The Saint Mary's College faculty coordinator will work with you to select course work from the vast University offerings.  A complete list of courses via the programs are available at http://www.ukzn.ac.za/


Program Dates

South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, therefore our semesters are aligned in reverse order.  For example, our Spring semester corresponds to University of Natal Semester I.  See approximate dates *

  • Semester II (Saint Mary's College Fall Semester): July 28 - November 26
  • Semester I (Saint Mary's College Spring Semester): February 10 - June 18



Students participating in Saint Mary's international programs will receive an official Saint Mary's transcript for courses taken abroad.  University of Natal will send offical grades to Saint Mary's and we will issue official transcripts.  For Notre Dame students, these credits will appear on ND transcrips as any on-campus Saint Mary's course does through our co-exchange agreement.  Before leaving for international study, Saint Mary's College faculty coordinators will provide assistance in pre-approving transfer credits.



Housing accommodations consist of on-campus apartment style dorm rooms, mainly suites of six students per apartment.  Students on Saint Mary's programs will be living among a mix of local South African and international roommates.  Dorms are equipped with dining facilities and efficiency kitchens.  Students are given a weekly stipend to spend either for local groceries to cook, or for meals at local restaurants and the University's dining halls. 


Orientation, Cost, and Financial Aid

Upon arrival, students will participate in arrival orientation, in which they will be introduced to the campus community, familiarized with local customs, given information regarding getting involved in student activities on campus, presented with volunteer opportunities, and visit local attractions in the town of Pietermaritzburg.  In addition to the on-site resident advisor for InterStudy leading the arrival orientation, Saint Mary's faculty coordinator will accompany students to Pietermaritzburg and be available to assist with initial adjustment.  During their semester stay, students will also have one overnight guided excursion into a regional destination of great natural beauty.

The tuition for this program for Saint Mary's students is the Saint Mary's College tuition, room and board.  The program cost includes arrival orientaiton, excursions/field trips, on-site campus housing, and meals.  Airline flight to South Africa is not included in the price. 


Eligibility and Requirements

This program is open to undergraduate sophomores, juniors and seniors.  Students wishing to participate in the program must have a minimum 2.5 GPA.  It is expected that the student will be in good disciplinary standing at the College and exhibit the emotional maturity and adaptability to new experiences.

Sharing South Africa Experiences

Onsite journal reflection by Therese Tschudy

Maeva Alexander blog

For more information, contact:  

Dr. Alice Yang
Assistant Director, Global Education
(574) 284-4263
syang [at] saintmarys [dot] edu

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