Study abroad in South Africa


South Africa

Imbasa Primary School is a centerpiece of the Old Crossroads community in the Nyanga township. The faculty at the school aim to educate the youth, which range from grade R to 8, so that they may have better opportunities to hopefully go to secondary school, pass matric, graduate from university and eventually get a good job. These goals are what keep the teachers inspired to encourage the learners and help them realize that they can escape the cycle of poverty that is way too prevalent in Old Crossroads and that they can make a difference in not only their own lives, but in the lives of family, friends, and community.


Lauren Neiheisel (Knox College)
Fall 2010

My work at Imbasa mainly consist of teaching English and other subjects to my own class of 6th graders. There is a 6A class and a 6B class. Every Tuesday and Thursday I work for two hours with each section. So far I have covered things such as nouns, adjectives, and verbs as well as how to read a graph, how to read a map and other simple skills. Even though the kids are at a 6th grade age, the curriculum is truly at a 4th grade American level. The kids are eager to learn, and while they may test the boundaries of what they can and can't do, they are overall very respectful and easy to work with. There is no direction in terms of what you will be teaching, so you must be prepared to come up with your own lesson plans and ideas for teaching sessions. This will be easier with an education background, but it is also possible to effectively volunteer as at this site without previous classroom experience. I do not have an education background, but can remember and look back on what I was learning when I was in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. The community at the school is extremely welcoming and I have never felt as though I didn’t have someone to go to with my questions or ideas. Imbasa has overall been a very good site to volunteer at, and I have found that while I am the 'teacher' in the situation, I have learned so much more from my kids than I could ever offer them. If you want to work with children, want to teach English or other subjects to kids that are hungry for knowledge, and become part of a close-knit community of local families and people, then this is the site for you!

E-mail Lauren for more information!

Patrick Lawlor
Fall 2009

My role at Imbasa is essentially a teacher that focuses on English and life orientation modules but also helps out in other subjects whenever necessary. The learners see me more as a young, fun role model than as a teacher which is something I enjoy. The classroom environment, which usually includes 40-plus learners, can be a little daunting especially with the language barrier as English is still a work-in-progress for most of them. However, within my first few months there, I have noticed a marked improvement in the learners ability to understand me and my ability to understand their English. Most of our classroom time is focused on improving their English abilities by reading short stories, written assignments, and fun educational games. The learners have responded well and tend to actively participate and engage in the material which is always rewarding for an educator. Assisting as a teacher at Imbasa Primary School has been a wonderful experience that has helped me to understand the situation for most youth in Cape Town and hopefully will help inspire the learners to realize their potential.

E-mail Patrick for more information!



Office of International Education

OIE works to promote the internationalization of Marquette University by recruiting and advising international students and scholars, developing vibrant partnerships with international institutions and providing innovative study abroad opportunities.
Office of International Education