With a dramatic geography that encompasses everything from vast grasslands to golden beaches and a population made up of several distinct ethnic groups speaking 11 official languages, it’s little wonder that South Africa is known as the “Rainbow Nation.” It is the economic driver of Africa and holds a growing influence on the world stage since emerging from apartheid in the 1990s. Millions of tourists flock to South Africa every single year to see the stunning natural geography and wildlife, along with the urban centers of Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg. Indeed, South Africa’s cities are all perfect illustrations of the country itself: dramatic, exciting, and with the capacity to surprise.
Given South Africa’s economic and cultural pre-eminence within Africa, it is also unsurprising that the country is a continental hotbed for higher education. It is now the third-most popular international destination for African students behind France and the UK. However, with more affordable tuition fees, cheaper living costs, and universities that are among the global top 200, it is not unthinkable that South Africa will displace those two in the coming years.
A Master in South Africa is extremely affordable compared to many European, North American, and Asian nations, averaging around EUR€10,000-€15,000 per year. The cost of living for a single person in South Africa is estimated at around R9,000 (US$568) monthly, excluding rent.
According to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings, the University of Cape Town, the University of the Witwatersrand, and Stellenbosch University – all South African universities – are the best universities in the African continent. South Africa is the higher education hotspot of the continent with increasing global recognition.
With a stubbornly high unemployment rate, master’s degrees are increasingly seen as an effective route to securing a well-paid job in South Africa, the continent’s second-biggest economy. Just 6.3% of the South African population hold a master’s degree or equivalent, meaning that students who take advantage of the very affordable tuition fees are at an instant advantage upon graduation. It is important to note that work visas are difficult to obtain, as they are only issued to foreigners with relevant, critical skills, not available among the South African citizenry.
South Africa attracts around 50,000 international students every year. It is the third-most popular destination for students from the rest of the continent (behind the UK and France).
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