Study abroad in South Africa


South Africa

Nomepumelelo is a school for mentally disabled children. It is in the township of Gugulethu. All the children are black and are mostly from the township of Gugulethu. The school is a public government school but runs a little differently than the normal primary and secondary schools throughout Cape Town. The public schools in South Africa do not have programs built into them for students with special needs. This school was created to help these kids to learn at a slower pace and focus on skills that are necessary for them to function in everyday life. There are three focuses in the classrooms, literacy, numeracy and life skills. The teachers move the learners along at their specific paces, for this reason there are between 8 and 15 kids in a classroom.

There are three phases that the students go through, junior, middle and senior. The junior level learns at a level equal to 1st grade. The middle level learns at a level equal to 2nd grade. The senior level learns at a level equal to 3rd grade. The middle level is ages 5-10, the junior level is ages 11-14 and the senior level is 15-18. The learning disabilities range anywhere from severe ADHD to fetal alcohol syndrome to autism and downs syndrome. The goal of the school is to teach the learners at their level and to give them an opportunity that they would not receive in a normal public school.


Kimberly Swoboda
Fall 2009

Because of the language barrier, the teachers cannot leave me alone for very long in the classrooms. Therefore I don’t teach my own classes. I am more of a teachers’ assistant. They are moving me to a different classroom everyday so that I can experience each level of learning in the school and also so that most of the teachers get to have a helper for a day. Usually I help the learners with more extreme disabilities because they need the most help. I am mostly helping with the worksheets that they are doing, a lot of tracing numbers and letters and coloring in the lines. A lot of the teachers have me read to the learners while the teacher translates because they want to expose the learners to English.

I really enjoy my site. The learners are always happy to see me and they love the attention from me. The teachers are extremely appreciative and love talking to me about what I am experiencing and how things are different here compared to the states. I would definitely recommend this site for someone who likes to work with kids and who has a lot of patience to work with the disabilities and the language barrier.

E-mail Kimberly 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