In South Africa, students generally take six to nine subjects at a time, and each class meets either every day or for extended sessions every other day. In South Africa, students are evaluated on daily homework, class participation, and periodic written exams. Boys and girls study in the same classes and are not seated apart in class. The class sizes vary depending on the school or subject.
School etiquette is very formal and students are always expected to address school staff by the surnames with the prefix Mr. or Mrs.
South African high school students are oft en very involved in school based extracurricular activities, especially sports such as rugby, cricket, athletics, swimming, hockey or netball, and these activities are where most students develop their friendships.
School expectations and realities
South Africa’s school system is probably very different to where you come from. You will wear a school uniform, and be exposed to what you will probably regard as still a teacher-dominated system, although it is slowly changing. Some schools in South Africa are very disciplined, but on the other hand, you may end up in a school where you may think it is even less disciplined than your own school back home.
YFU South Africa does not only have English partner schools, and we sometimes place suitable exchange students in Afrikaans-speaking schools. Many schools teach in both English and Afrikaans, and in such schools, exchange students can choose in which language stream they prefer to be. South African schools follow an examination system, and YFU exchange students are expected to participate in the tests and exams. Our schools have many activities and clubs to which exchange students can belong, and sport is often a very important part of daily school life. Exchange students should not miss out on this opportunity!