Table Mountain

Welcome to the DIRECT Cape Town Accepted Student Information page!  Navigate the tabs below for everything you need to know before your epic adventure!

To navigate back to your portal for payments, forms and due dates, click the My Account button above.

Stay Informed

Click here for the summer 2023 pre-departure master checklist!

Stay on track for your summer adventure with the pre-departure checklist.  Print it out, share with your parents and cross off items as you complete them.  Please note some items may only apply to specific locations, and this is noted where applicable.

  • Click below to join the 2023 GroupMe (coming in mid November)
  • Session 1
  • Session 2
    • When you join, post an introduction with your name, school and hometown!
    • If you’re looking for a flight buddy and/or a roommate, share that as well so you can connect with others looking for the same!
  • Follow us on Instagram and search the 5,000+ #LeadAbroadLife and @LeadAbroad tags

Get Ready to Take Off

Study abroad specifically – and life in general – has been affected since COVID-19 was identified in early 2020. COVID-19 will likely remain a meaningful risk in 2023 and continue to alter the way we deliver programs. However, we believe experienced study abroad programs such as LeadAbroad can continue serving students in a safe manner by mitigating these risks. We believe studying abroad can be a transformative experience. Travel and living in a new environment leads to personal, academic and cultural growth which cannot be replicated without leaving your comfort zone.

We trust best practices including a combination of vaccines and preventative behaviors such as social distancing, testing, masks, enhanced hygiene, etc. will be important tools to decrease risk while ensuring the life changing benefits.

Please review the following resources regarding COVID-19 and your LeadAbroad program:

COVID-19 Vaccine Policy

COVID-19 frequently asked questions

U.S. Embassy in South Africa

Click here for an overview of Garden Route options!

To sign up, submit the payment in your portal!  Your payment will save your spot.

This section is for SESSION 1 dates ONLY

The LeadAbroad team will support you every step of the way when planning your flights!  Please review the sections below as well as the flights FAQ section above for information on the official group flight and tips for booking flights independently.

Important dates for DIRECT Cape Town Session 1:

  • Saturday, May 13 – students depart the U.S. for Cape Town
  • Sunday, May 14 – students arrive into Cape Town, first day of program
  • Friday, May 26 – DIRECT Cape Town ends, students depart for U.S. or begin 4-day Garden Route
  • Monday, May 29 – 4-day Garden Route ends, students depart for U.S.

➡️ Important Note: For students planning to attend the Garden Route, please wait to book your flight until your spot is confirmed.

 

For steps on booking flights, please review the sections below according to your departure date back to the US:

I am returning to the U.S. on May 26 (not doing 4-day Garden Route extension)

  • LeadAbroad is currently reviewing all flight itinerary options to Cape Town on the program travel dates.  Recommended itineraries will be posted here by mid-November.  LeadAbroad will notify students and families once these recommendations are available.
  • We suggest booking flights over the holidays when students are home for break.  Students will submit their flight information to LeadAbroad shortly after Spring Break.

I am returning to the U.S. on May 29 (after attending 4-day Garden Route extension)

  • LeadAbroad is currently reviewing all flight itinerary options to Cape Town on the program travel dates.  Recommended itineraries will be posted here by mid-November.  LeadAbroad will notify students and families once these recommendations are available.
  • We suggest booking flights over the holidays when students are home for break.  Students will submit their flight information to LeadAbroad shortly after Spring Break.

Airport greeting and group shuttle time

Coming soon!

This section is for SESSION 2 dates ONLY

The LeadAbroad team will support you every step of the way when planning your flights!  Please review the sections below as well as the flights FAQ section above for information on the official group flight and tips for booking flights independently.

Important dates for DIRECT Cape Town:

  • Sunday, May 28 – students depart the U.S. for Cape Town
  • Monday, May 29 – students arrive into Cape Town, program begins
  • Friday, June 9 – DIRECT Cape Town ends, students depart for U.S. or begin 4-day Garden Route
  • Monday, June 12 – 4-day Garden Route ends, students depart for U.S.

➡️ Important Note: For students planning to attend the Garden Route, please wait to book your flight until your spot is confirmed.

 

For steps on booking flights, please review the sections below according to your departure date back to the US:

I am returning to the U.S. on June 9 (not doing 4-day Garden Route extension)

  • LeadAbroad is currently reviewing all flight itinerary options to Cape Town on the program travel dates.  Recommended itineraries will be posted here by mid-November.  LeadAbroad will notify students and families once these recommendations are available.
  • We suggest booking flights over the holidays when students are home for break.  Students will submit their flight information to LeadAbroad shortly after Spring Break.

I am returning to the U.S. on June 12 (after attending 4-day Garden Route extension)

  • LeadAbroad is currently reviewing all flight itinerary options to Cape Town on the program travel dates.  Recommended itineraries will be posted here by mid-November.  LeadAbroad will notify students and families once these recommendations are available.
  • We suggest booking flights over the holidays when students are home for break.  Students will submit their flight information to LeadAbroad shortly after Spring Break.

Airport greeting and group shuttle time

Coming soon!

In order to arrive abroad rested and ready to go, consider the following tips to make your flight experience as enjoyable and safe as possible:

  • Print ALL of your flight itineraries for the trip and have them easily accessible.
  • Do not start your trip stressed. GET TO THE AIRPORT EARLY. For most international flights, we recommend that you arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to departure.
  • Weigh your bags before you leave home. Check baggage size and weight restrictions for ALL AIRLINES you might be flying during the program.  Smaller budget airlines abroad usually have stricter baggage policies than the larger U.S.-based carriers.
  • Pack the following items in your carry-on.  If your checked baggage takes an adventure of its own, having these items with you will create less stress and allow for a more comfortable plane ride:
    • Two days worth of clothes
    • Medications/contacts
    • Laptop, cell phone, chargers, other electronics
    • Water bottle/Nalgene
    • Headphones/earbuds
    • Blindfold and ear plugs if you are sensitive to light/sound when trying to sleep on planes
    • Journal/books/Kindle/magazines
    • Program director’s phone number
    • Accommodations address
  • Be comfortable on the plane. Dress in layers so that you can easily adapt to the temperature.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluid while in the air. It is easy to become dehydrated when flying.
  • Know where your passport is at all times. When checking in at the airport, you will have to get your passport in and out of your bag several times; at each stop, be sure to take a moment for a passport check.
  • Reset your watch. As soon as you board the plane, reset your watch to the local time and try to get on a sleeping pattern that is consistent with your destination. Most students traveling will be on an overnight flight and you will be very grateful if you sleep. Also, remember that if you have to take medications at a certain time during the day or at the same time everyday you might need to adapt this prior to departure.
  • Make special meal requests if necessary. If you have any special requests, be sure to contact the airline at least 72 hours prior to departure.
  • Make sure you have a pen for any immigration forms.  Flight attendants usually distribute arrival forms shortly after take-off.  On these forms, note that you are a tourist, not a student.

LeadAbroad strongly encourages students to be mindful of their health prior to departure and while abroad.  Living in a new environment, eating different cuisine and adjusting to a new schedule can impact one’s immune system.  Before you travel overseas, students should examine the factors that contribute to their physical and emotional wellbeing so that they can stay healthy and get the most out of their trip.

  1. Review the COVID-19 Code of Conduct.  Students should be familiar with requirements and recommendations to ensure a safe travel experience.
  2. Check that you are caught up on routine shots and vaccinations.  Consistent with the requirements of the Georgia Board of Regents, the following routine vaccinations are required for all students enrolled in LeadAbroad:
    • COVID-19 vaccine policy
    • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) 2 doses
    • Tetanus or Diphtheria (Tdap or Td) must be up to date
    • Hepatitis B series
    • Varicella (Chicken Pox) 2 doses or date of disease
  3. Read and understand the CDC recommendations for your upcoming travel. The CDC website includes information on vaccines, medicines, packing lists as well as information to prepare students to stay healthy and safe.
  4. Make an appointment with your university’s travel clinic, dentist and other medical professionals. Students can proactively eliminate many potential health issues by ensuring they are in good health prior to departure. Additionally, during these visits, make sure your health records and prescriptions (including eyeglasses) are up-to-date. If you are taking a prescription medication, please ensure that you have enough for the whole program and that the medication is in the original container. If you self-inject prescribed medication, please carry needles and syringes with you. It’s important to understand that LeadAbroad will not distribute any form of prescription or nonprescription medication to students. We recommend every student travel with a medical kit.
  5. Be honest with yourself regarding your emotional health. Students that are concerned about their emotional stability or use of alcohol/drugs should address it honestly before making plans to travel. Contrary to many people’s expectations, travel does not minimize these problems; in fact, it can often exacerbate them.
  6. Contact us directly at info@LeadAbroad.com with any specific medical issues we should be aware of at least two months prior to departure.  Our team is better equipped to support you abroad if we know your health history and emotional health. Please share this information with us prior to departure.

Click here to view LeadAbroad’s health insurance policy on our insurance page.

Basic medical insurance is included in all students’ program fee. Please review the policy to become knowledgeable regarding the types of medical conditions and situations that are covered while you are participating on the program.  If you are injured or ill while you are abroad and need medical attention, you will likely need to pay for the treatment upfront, and if covered the money will be reimbursed by LeadAbroad’s insurer after submitting your claims form.  If for any reason you need to seek medical assistance while abroad, a LeadAbroad staff member will accompany you to the doctor. Please contact us first if you have any sort of emergency.

It’s important to note that this medical insurance is not ‘travel insurance’ and therefore does not cover the cost lost or stolen luggage or cancellation of the trip. Students may purchase travel insurance independently through an outside provider. For more information on the different types of travel insurance you can click here.

To apply for a U.S. passport, click here. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must thoroughly research passport and visa requirements for citizens of your home country.  **New passports can take between 4-5 months to process. We strongly recommend all summer 2023 students to apply for a passport no later than December 2022.**

If you already have a U.S. passport, check to confirm the following:

  • the expiration date is February 2024 or beyond
  • the passport has at least two blank pages
  • Your name is spelled correctly

If your passport does not have all requirements above, you must renew your passport before traveling abroad.

All students are required to submit passport information via the passport form in the LeadAbroad portal 60 days before departure.  Please do not submit a passport that is expired or in the process of being renewed.  When your new passport arrives, you can then submit your form.

For more information on documents for travel, visit the Department of State passport website or their Students Abroad section.

Pre-Departure Orientation – Coming in March!

  • All Programs Part 1: Introduction & the LeadAbroad Promise
  • All Programs Part 2: COVID-19
  • All Programs Part 3: Health & Safety, Program Rules
  • All Programs Part 4: Travel Preparations & Life Abroad
  • DIRECT Cape Town Orientation
  • Please note: Country-specific policies referenced in orientation may change based on changing government laws, health guidelines, current health environment or LeadAbroad rules designed to keep students safe. It is important to read all of LeadAbroad’s emails thoroughly to stay informed on the most updated policies, procedures and requirements.

**Your orientation is not complete until you submit the Pre-Departure Form & Orientation: Program-Specific Form (available closer to departure) in your portal. Please submit this form to verify you’ve completed all orientations.

Click here to view the Cape Town packing list!

The most important thing to remember when packing for Cape Town is that we will be there in fall and moving into winter. The weather in Cape Town in May and June is very similar to that of weather in the southern U.S. October and November. You have some clear beautiful days and then some cold and rainy ones.

Most apartments have washing machines. If your apartment does not, you can use one of your neighbors or you can send your laundry off which is about $12-$15 for per load.

Strengths Assessment

One of the first workshops you will participate in is examining your “signature strengths.” All students must complete this assessment before departure.  Look for the “Strengths Assessment Form” on your portal dashboard approximately 30 days before departure.

BEFORE STARTING, PLEASE NOTE:

  • Only begin the assessment when you have 20-30 minutes to complete in one sitting. You will not be able to log back in or restart if you exit out.
  • Print your results and bring it with you abroad.
  • Submit your top 5 strengths on the Strengths Assessment Form in your portal

If you do not see your name on the list of access codes, please email info@LeadAbroad.com to request your code.

There are many ways to stay in touch while traveling abroad.  WiFi is available throughout our hotel.  Please note that despite the hotel’s best efforts to prepare routers for our group, internet speeds can fluctuate depending on traffic. Internet can be slow and unpredictable, especially when all students are trying to stream videos or communicate with friends and family back home. We ask all students and parents to be patient with the internet.  Students will have more success using the internet if they use it at off-peak times.

LeadAbroad strongly encourages students to have cell phones while abroad for risk management purposes. Students can:

  • Bring an unlocked phone and buy a local SIM card
  • Add an international package to current phone plan

With WiFi readily available in most locations, you are encouraged to utilize WiFi-based messaging apps (iMessage, Groupme, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts) to communicate with program staff and family and friends at home.

In addition, we integrate technology into our communications and risk management strategy to keep students safe. Therefore, we require students to download the following applications on their phone prior to departure:

  • Groupme
  • Find my Friends
  • State Department Smart Traveler
  • Facebook

If there is an emergency at home while you are abroad, our team will support you and your family in every way possible.  Should any friends and/or family need to contact LeadAbroad, please have them call our U.S.-based domestic team at 404.720.5657.  For emergencies, dial extension 710 when prompted.  Our on-call team will assist with the situation and get in touch with your program staff as needed.

Applications will be posted by April

What are program leaders?

On the LeadAbroad team, the program staff are the coaches and program leaders are the team captains – they set the tone and encourage other students by creating a strong sense of community through service projects, social outings, group chats and creative stories. They are the peer leaders who step up when needed and make other students feel included. Whether you’re joining us on GO, LEAD, DIRECT or PRO, our program leaders will help make your experience abroad impactful and lasting.

Why should I apply?
The more you put in, the more you get out. That’s why we have 3 awesome leadership opportunities on your program abroad. Whether you are your squad’s go to party planner, you’re passionate about giving back or you’re a wizard with video editing, we’d love to invest in you and your talents!

We have three types of program leaders on DIRECT, so there are multiple ways to plug in on the ground.

Community Leader (apply online through your portal): Are you a leader on campus or interested in becoming one in the future? Do you feel like you’re the “ringleader” of your crew & want to take your skills abroad? Our Community Leader (CL) program is an awesome way to make the most of your summer experience with leadership 101 training, resume boosts and serving as a peer leader on the program. CLs will experience an extra level of investment from our staff (and fun invites), opportunities for social media highlights and a connection with other like-minded students on the program.

Service Leader (apply online through your portal): Do you have experience as a camp counselor or are majoring in education? Are you involved in service organizations on your campus? Apply to be a Service Leader on your program & you can help with the planning, preparation and execution of our service projects on the ground! Not only will you get more investment from the staff & get more out of our time serving, but it looks great on your resume.

Media Leader (apply online through your portal): “If its not on camera, it didn’t happen” is your mantra. Are you someone who makes videos for every trip you go on? Do you have a “fancy” camera for special events or have an interest in photography? Are you already planning out your end-of-program video or following local photographers on Instagram? Sign up to be a media leader & put your skills to use!

Ready to dive into this leadership role?  Apply in your portal before the deadline!

In-Country Details

While in Cape Town, you will stay in luxury beachside apartments at the Lagoon Beach Hotel. Each two-bedroom apartment will house 4 students of the same gender. The apartments are right on the beach and there are restaurants, a gym and a spa at the hotel. The apartments are located in Milnerton, just outside of Cape Town. Below is the address and website for your home in Cape Town.

Lagoon Beach Hotel
1 Lagoon Gate Drive
Milnerton, Cape Town, South Africa 7441

Roommates are emailed to students approximately 2-4 weeks before departure

To request a roommate, please submit the Roommate Form in your online portal by the posted due date.  Forms submitted after the due date may not be reviewed.  Once roommates are posted, we cannot make any changes.  If you’ve already submitted your roommate form but wish to make a change to your request before the form due date, please email info@LeadAbroad.com ASAP.

Click here for a DIRECT Cape Town sample itinerary

Summer 2023 Trip Plans itinerary will be available after spring break.

Please note: this itinerary is subject to change at any point before or during the program. Closer to departure, we will send you instructions on downloading the Trip Plans app so you have real-time access to the schedule.

Click here for a budget planning worksheet.

This worksheet will allow you to understand costs outside of the program fees and airfare.  Review this section in detail and email us at info@LeadAbroad.com with any further budgeting questions.

Before you leave, call your bank and credit card company to notify them that you will be traveling abroad. Give them the dates and countries of your itinerary, including any layovers. Debit and credit cards can been blocked after transactions abroad because your bank may assume it is a fraudulent transaction. 

To access funds, debit cards are the best way to access cash overseas. ATM machines are widely available everywhere we travel. Debit cards with Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus or Plus signs are the most widely accepted. There may be a transaction fee for using ATMs abroad; therefore, it’s important to understand the fees associated with using your cards overseas. Keep a record of your debit card and pin numbers with someone at home.

Credit cards can be used similarly to debit cards at restaurants and shops abroad. Most major credit cards are honored abroad (i.e. MasterCard and Visa). Similarly to debit cards, credit card companies use the current exchange rate for your transaction. Call your credit card company to understand the fees charged per transaction.

We recommend that students do not bring large sums of US dollars with them to South Africa. It is not convenient to exchange money and students typically get a poor exchange rate. Using your debit card is the best option. We recommend that students do not bring traveler’s checks. Most businesses will not accept them.

The program fees cover most of the costs of being in country, but you will need to provide additional funds for:

  • Meals: We will have weekly program dinners. Breakfast and dinner is provided everyday on the Garden Route. All other meals are your responsibility.
  • Incidentals: Internet, phone calls, transportation to non-program events
  • Free time: Independent evenings and additional adventure outings
  • Gifts and souvenirs

Budgeting can be a challenging and personal process. On average, if you eat all the group meals, cook in your apartment for breakfast and lunch, go out for dinner, drink mostly water, occasionally take taxis and keep additional activities to a minimum; you will spend between $25 and $40 per day.  Know yourself and your budget plan to avoid any surprises. Here are some sample local costs to help you plan:

Meals: Costs for dining out are similar to those in the US; typically, prices for dinner range from $15-$25. Most people spend about $20-30 per day on food. Cape Town has a range of restaurants from five-star dining to casual chain restaurants. All student apartments are equipped with a full kitchen and there is a grocery store within walking distance; this will make eating-in a very easy option for lunch and some evenings. Food is part of the South African culture and should be enjoyed, but eating at home is also a great way to remain on budget. Have dinner parties with your Community Group once a week so you can build community and save some money.

Cell Phone/Data: Students either use a cell phone rental or buy a local SIM card to put in their phone while in Cape Town. Cost details and estimates are made available in the weeks before departure.

Taxis: Group taxis in and out of Cape Town are about $15 each way. We encourage you to share taxis with roommates and friends to lower costs. Budget about $5-$10 per day for taxis.

Laundry: Most apartments have washing machines. If your apartment does not you can use one of your neighbors’ or you can send your laundry to a professional laundromat that is about $15 for your whole load.

To charge your electronics abroad, will need pack (or purchase when you arrive) an outlet adaptor.  Here is an example of one our staff has purchased in the past.

For some items like hair dryers and straighteners, you will also need to purchase a voltage converter since voltage is much higher in South Africa than the US.  If you do not use a converter, you could damage your appliance.

We encourage students to be mindful of their electronics while traveling. It is wise to conceal electronic devices when walking around as iPhones and laptops can be attractive for theft.

LeadAbroad’s Emergency Response Protocol provides a system for coordinating the management of emergency services for all participants in our study abroad programs. In-country staff are the first point of contact for students on the program in the event of an emergency and assume leadership of the emergency situation until other resources (e.g., local police, etc) are available. However, in the event that the staff are unavailable, the following guidelines are provided here in case you, as a participant in the program, need to handle an emergency.

  1. Ensure safety: Your first priority is to safeguard the safety and well-being of yourself and other program participants. Do whatever is reasonably necessary to ensure safety.
  2. Seek medical care: Obtain any emergency medical care for affected participants as soon as possible.
  3. Control emotions: Remain as calm as possible. Do your best to diffuse any growing anxieties that may be occurring among participants.
  4. Communicate (as applicable). Depending on the nature of the emergency, it may be necessary to contact medical or emergency services, police or local law enforcement or the US embassy.
  5. Ongoing support: Continue to monitor, aid, and communicate status updates as the situation progresses.
  6. Debrief: Meet with LeadAbroad staff to discuss the situation, how it was handled and steps that were taken to resolve the emergency.

Reducing Risk Abroad

LeadAbroad takes many steps to reduce risk abroad.  You will be registered with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. The benefits of STEP include the following:

  • Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
  • Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest or family emergency.
  • Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

You will be given a keychain with emergency contact numbers and the address of our accommodations.

Please review the following resources to ensure that you are informed on how to have a safe and healthy trip abroad:

CDC recommendations on preparing for a healthy trip
State Department travel recommendations for student travelers
State Department recommendations for women travelers

All students are required to be familiar with all program rules.  Please click here to review on our policies page.