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Living in South Africa

Experience amazing South Africa

South Africa is one of the most diverse and enchanting countries in the world. Exotic combinations of landscapes, people, history and culture offer a larger than life experience for the student in search of a truly unique and inspiring study experience.

Covering an area of more than one million square kilometres, South Africa is about one-eighth the size of the USA and almost five-times the size of the UK. The west coast borders the South Atlantic Ocean while the Indian Ocean runs along the east coast.

To the north, South Africa shares borders with Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, Mozambique is to the northeast. The Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland are separate countries within South Africa.

Today, this country is the most advanced, broad-based economy on the continent with infrastructure to match any first-world nation.

In South Africa you can drive on wide, tarred highways from Musina in the north to Cape Town at the southern tip, or join eight million passengers who disembark at South Africa’s airports every year.

The country is filled with wildlife and natural wonders. Hundreds of species in their natural environment and the Cradle of Humankind are only an hour’s drive from Monash South Africa.

Gauteng province and the city of Johannesburg

Gauteng (from Sotho meaning Place of Gold) is where the creative spirit of a nation converges in a cultural heartland. Of South Africa’s nine provinces Gauteng is the most urbanised and densely populated. It’s the commercial and industrial powerhouse of southern Africa with a global trade incorporating Pretoria, Soweto, and the largest and most vibrant – Johannesburg.

Founded in 1886 and granted city status in 1928, Johannesburg was named after Johan Rissik, the Surveyor General sent to select a site for the mining village, and Johannes Joubert, the Mining Commissioner sent to investigate gold claims on the Witwatersrand (meaning white water’s ridge). Since the discovery of gold, Johannesburg has become the focal point of all economic activity in the country.

Being the gateway to Africa, Johannesburg boasts an abundance of professional and managerial talent. Its close proximity to markets, energy sources, transportation networks and a sound commercial and financial infrastructure makes it the primary centre of the national economy. Still, Johannesburg is as much a city of trees as it is a city of business, sport and culture.

Walking trails, lakes, the Zoo and Botanical Gardens dot the city, and the historically significant Africana Museum, galleries, art routes and historical battlefields as well as the Kruger National Park, private game reserves and Sun City draw a multicultural mix of people from all walks of life, from all corners of the world.

Often called the shopping mecca of Africa Johannesburg is a cosmopolitan city with a tremendous variety of world-class ethnic restaurants, some 20 theatres, shopping malls and music venues.

Boasting what some call world’s best climates with warm and wind-free summer days and balmy, crisp and clear nights with the occasional overnight frost – South Africa really has something for everyone.

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There are lots of accommodation options for you when coming to South Africa for study. Quality of student life is a priority for us, so both our on-campus and off-campus student accommodation is designed to be safe, secure, comfortable and fun.

If you’re enrolled in our Foundation Programme you can also take advantage of the new study centre for residents. Two new learning spaces in the on-campus residences with 25 computers in the lab, photocopying facilities and a social learning space mean reviewing course notes and doing class preparation is easier – you’re surrounded by your peers, tutors and mentors.

Cost of living

The cost of living in South Africa is lower than in other English-speaking countries, including Australia – which means your money goes further.

For example:

  • 2 litres of milk costs between R15 and R20 (USD $1.90-$2.50)
  • You can get a pair of jeans for R150-R500 (USD $19.20-$64)
  • A movie ticket is R35-R50 (USD $4.50-$6.40)
  • Pizza might cost between R50 and R80 (USD $6.40-$10.25)
  • A return trip from campus to the CBD is R30-R50 (USD $3.80-$6.40)
  • A meal at the Monash Bistro is just R20-R40 (USD $2.50-$5.15).

And, for international students, South Africa has simple visa requirements that allow you to work for up to 20 hours a week.

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