Study Abroad at the University of the Western Cape with Arcadia University

About the University of the Western Cape


The University of the Western Cape (UWC), situated in Bellville, approximately 15 miles from Cape Town city center, is a leading research and teaching institution in South Africa that played a unique role in "the struggle" against apartheid. UWC was founded in 1959 as the University College of the Western Cape for the purpose of educating non-white youth of the region. Student and faculty protests at UWC, from 1973 through the 1990's placed the university at the center of the opposition to apartheid.  Following the end of apartheid, President Nelson Mandela appointed many prominent faculty and alumni of UWC to his cabinet. 

Today, Archbishop Desmond Tutu serves as Chancellor of UWC, and the university is fully integrated with a student body that reflects the diverse nature of the South African population in terms of race, religion, and economic background. UWC has gained a reputation as a leader in research and teaching both at the national level as well as internationally with programs such as the International Ocean Institute and the School of Public Health and was commissioned by the World Health Organization to provide courses for other African countries.

UWC's mission statement includes this summary of the institutions: "[a] place of quality, a place to grow from hope to action through knowledge."  UWC's faculty are willing to "walk the extra mile" for the committed student and that is apparent both inside the classroom and outside. This is a student centered institution where teaching takes priority over research at the undergraduate level.

The Campus

The campus of the University of the Western Cape in Belville has a clear view of the impressive Table Mountain and there is a nature reserve integrated into the campus with 29 hectares utilized by the university as well as primary and high school pupils from the local community. Through linkages with a variety of institutions around the world, UWC attracts more than 300 international students each year. The total population of the university is approximately 14,000. The student body of UWC is the most representative of the population of South Africa in the Western Cape. The largest percentage of students now come from homes where an African language is spoken, followed closely by English and then Afrikaans.

Social and Cultural Opportunities

There is an exciting vibe on campus focused around the student center and the year-round activities organized by students for students. The UWC Sports Council represents the student sport organizations on campus and within South Africa. The sports stadium on campus accommodates 20,000 spectators and is used for major soccer and rugby events. The campus boasts one of the few heated "rimflow" Olympic size swimming pools in the Western Cape. Students who wish to compete at the highest varsity levels as well as those interested in a weekend pick-up game can choose from a range of sports clubs including: basketball, body-building, boxing, chess, cricket, golf, handball, judo, karate, mountaineering, pool, rugby, soccer, softball, squash, tennis, triathlon and volleyball.

Apart from the sports clubs, UWC students have established political, cultural, and religious societies.The UWC Centre for Performing Arts offers opportunities for students to learn to play a musical instrument, to dance, to sing and to act. Drama, dance, and instrumental groups hold concerts and performances throughout the year. There is a student newspaper and a Radio society on campus for budding journalists and broadcasters.  

Just step into the student lounge or on of the cafeterias on campus and you will be overwhelmed with information about lectures, movies, parties and other exciting events taking place on the UWC campus each day.