Visiting and exchange students

If you would like further information please contact Mrs June McDougall ( who will put you in contact with the relevant staff member who can assist you.

Study opportunities

The HKE department is a good place to expand life and professional experiences:

  • Experience the African culture and life in developing countries,
  • Enjoy outstanding study conditions with fully equipped laboratories and skilled staff,
  • And, of course, learn and practice the English language.


Apart from full registration for a Bachelors, Honours, Masters or PhD degree, visiting students may register for undergraduate courses that may contribute to a Bachelors degree at their home university. Postgraduate students are welcome to use the HKE department to work for a research thesis. Typical duration is 3 to 12 months; however, prospective students should be prepared to allocate some additional time in order to allow adjustment to the local conditions.


Prospective undergraduate and Honours students should be aware that the academic year lasts from January to December, with lecture periods from February to October. Research theses can be scheduled any time of the year.


Visiting students are, unfortunately, not considered for any subsidy towards the Rhodes University of the HKE  department. Hence any admission is on the discretion of the staff members to carry extra load. This capacity is very much limited, although we all acknowledge the benefits and enjoy the experience of foreign exchange.


South Africa is known to have one of highest crime rates worldwide. However, this varies very much for different areas and, of course, depends very much on behaviour. Grahamstown is one of the safest places in South Africa, and particularly the university campus is well protected. However, one must avoid dangerous areas and solitary walks at night time. Further, active protection of valuable property against theft is a necessity. This will ensure the safest possible stay, although some restrictions for behaviour and a higher incident risk still remains compared to European and most Asian countries. However, many foreigners stay her and have stayed here without hassles.


(1 USD ~ ZAR11; 1 Euro ~ ZAR16 - an approximation based on exchange rates in February 2015).

Study fees are about R 800 per semester. Further, prospective students will need a compulsory health insurance that costs about R 300 per month. Cost for accommodation is R1500 to R2500 per month, depending on the standard. Monthly cost for food and other expenses run on average to R1500 to R2000. Be aware that Internet and cell phones are easily available, almost as in developed countries, but rates are higher and bandwidth is lower. Frequent users may secure an additional budget of several hundred ZAR for communication, while moderate use will not cause significant costs.


Due to the huge local education demands, funding opportunities for external students are very limited. Only South African students or students from other African countries may hope for local funding. Generally, neither the HKE Department nor Rhodes University have their own funds for external students, but students can apply to public foundations. All prospective students are strongly advised to secure their funds from their home countries.

Visa and travelling

Prospective students need a valid visa for South Africa. Those are issued through the South African embassies within about three weeks from application. Applicants will have to provide evidence of acceptance as a student at a South African University, evidence of sufficient funding for the duration of stay, and a valid return flight ticket. Otherwise, no issuing problems have been reported yet.International travel is linked via Johannesburg or Cape Town, with an additional local flight of about 1 hour duration to Port Elizabeth. From there Grahamstown is approached via car or bus transport in about 90 minutes (130km).The distances in Grahamstown are rather small, so that no means of transport are required. However, as safe public transport opportunities are generally limited in South Africa, prospective students may however wish to explore the surroundings (like game parks and sea coast) with an own car. If you have an international driving licence, cars can be hired on a daily base (~R300/day) or one could buy and then re-sell a used car (prepare for an investment of R20,000 to R50,000, that will however pay back to a large extent when selling). Registration fees and fuel costs are moderate (~R600 and R14.00/litre, respectively). For longer distances, local flights are available at about R600 to R1000 one way to any destination (new low cost airlines such as Flysafair are reputable and good value for money). Alternatively long-haul bus services (e.g. Greyhound) are available starting from Grahamstown at 25% to 50% of the corresponding flight cost.


South Africa is on the southern hemisphere and, hence, summer time from about November to April, and winter time is May to October. The climate is mild and rather dry, mostly sunny, but much cooler than many foreigners expect it would be. Summer temperatures peak at about 35-38°C for a few days in the year, and winter temperatures go down to 3-8°C (night low and day peak). However, central heating is normally not availaible, so one might face indoor temperatures may of 10-12°C on very cold days.

Last Modified: Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:08:47 SAST