South Africa - Communities, Wildlife, and Conservation in Post-Apartheid South Africa

CONS 454 | 6 credits

Application deadline extended to February 9 - Updated Program Fee

Apply by February 9. Note that the program itinerary and plans have been updated to reduce the cost of the program. 

About the Program

This course is led byDavid Bunn and Melissa McHale, Faculty of Forestry

  • Dates: May 10, 2023 – May 31, 2023
  • Travel dates: Approx May 9 – May 30, 2023
  • Format: In-person
  • Locations visited: Greater Kruger National Park Region, South Africa; Vancouver
  • Approximate program fees: $6750 - $7750 (plus tuition and flights)
  • Funding: All qualifying students will receive a $1,000 Go Global Award. We encourage students with financial need or other barriers to going abroad to apply for the Global Pathfinder Award. See Program Fees and Costs for more details.
About the Course                                                                                                               

This program takes students into the heart of the African savanna biome to learn from rural community members. It will offer insights into the innovative forms of community-based natural resource management emerging in South Africa. Our goal will be to understand the evolving landscapes of conservation in post-apartheid South Africa, and to explore the wicked problems faced by the millions of people living in poverty on the edge of protected areas. Unlike most study‐abroad programs in the region, this is not a tour. It combines adventurous travel with immersive field experience, data gathering, and long‐term partnerships with rural South African communities. 

The DRAFT version of the CONS 454 course syllabus is available here

Experience in the Field

The main focus is on social‐ecological issues facing the 2 million people living on the edge of one of the world’s great game reserves: the Kruger National Park. We’ll spend time interacting with community leaders in Kruger’s southern border villages, studying land use/land cover change in the Greater Kruger National Park region, post‐apartheid land restitution, rural resource harvesting, and human‐wildlife conflict. Moving through Kruger itself, traveling in open safari vehicles, we’ll experience the reserve’s remarkable biodiversity. Working with South African National Parks scientists, we’ll examine issues around elephant and lion management, and the racial and economic complexities surrounding rhino poaching. 

Eligibility Requirements
General Global Seminar requirements

To participate in a Global Seminar, students must: 

  • Be in good-standing in their faculty (I.e. not be under academic or non-academic discipline) 
  • Have full-time status in the year leading up to the Global Seminar 
  • Have completed 2nd year requirements before the start of the program (i.e. 3rd or 4th year standing) 
  • Have at least a 70% academic average in your last full-time academic session before applying 
  • Maintain a 70% academic average leading up to the program 
  • Meet any program specific requirements listed below including pre-requisites before participating 

Final selection will be done by the lead faculty program directors. Spots in the program may be limited. 

Students who wish to participate in the summer after graduating may be eligible on a case-by-case basis.

Program-specific requirements
  • TBA
Program Fees and Costs
Approximate program fees: $6750 - $7750*

*The final fee depends on the number of students in the program. Students do not pay the Go Global fee when applying to a Global Seminar. The Go Global fee is built into the Program Fee and is payable upon acceptance to the program.  

  • Accommodation  
  • Program- related travel in-country; (e.g. buses)  
  • Excursions and entrance fees  
  • Some group meals  
  • On-site guest lectures

Not Included:  
  • Flights*  
  • UBC tuition for credits  
  • Visa/country entrance fees  
  • Health or travel insurance  
  • Personal spending money*  

*Some examples of incidentals are: personal mobile communication, personal transportation that is not related to the learning outcomes of the program, additional meals that are not already identified as part of the Program Fee, immunizations, Visas, etc.  

Travel to South Africa is a separate cost.  You are responsible for arranging your own travel. You should not book your flight until you are notified to book.                      

We encourage students with financial need or other barriers to going abroad to apply for the Global Pathfinder Award by November 4. Successful candidates will receive a $2000 award towards a Global Seminar program, and will be notified before the program application is due on December 13. See the Go Global Awards page for more information on the application process.



Application Deadline 

February 9 at 11:59pm Pacific Time

How to Apply 

Students apply through the Go Global Gateway. Go to “search experiences” from the top menu, search “GSP,” then press “apply search.” Scroll down to the program you wish to apply to and select Apply for “Summer” to initiate an application.

After the deadline, students’ applications will be reviewed by Go Global and the faculty program directors. You may be asked to participate in an interview as part of the selection process.

Global Seminars Refund Policy

To withdraw from your program, you must contact Go Global by email to request a withdrawal.  You will not be charged until you officially accept your spot in the program.  Refunds cannot be issued after the program fee is charged to your SSC account. 

In the case of withdrawal, Go Global Award funding must be returned in full.

If you have questions, please connect with your Go Global advisor or email Go Global at

Student Safety Abroad and Pre-Departure Policy

UBC is committed to preparing students for safe and successful international experiences. In order to achieve this, any student participating in a Go Global Program must complete the following:

Failure to successfully complete these and any other requirements may result in withdrawal from the Go Global Program.

We encourage you to read the Global Affairs Canada travel report for your destination country before applying:

Global Seminars and COVID-19

Students and faculty are required to comply with the entry requirements of the host country, regulations of transportation carriers, and any local public health orders in the destination. These rules may require COVID-19 vaccination for entry or to participate in certain program activities, testing requirements, masking requirements, and/or isolation in case of infection. Alternatively, where isolation due to infection is not required by local health authorities and students are sharing accommodations isolation may be a challenge. We encourage you to review local requirements before applying and before departure. Check out the Global Affairs Canada Advisory ( under Entry Requirements for your Global Seminar destination to learn more.  Keep in mind that program conditions can vary and these rules can change before or during your trip.

Once it becomes closer to the departure date, the group will be informed of all updated local requirements and COVID-19 safety plans for the Global Seminar.


If you are considering applying for a Go Global program and identify with having a disability or pre-existing health condition (mental or physical) which could impact your participation, or if you require academic accommodations, you can contact the following offices and meet with an Accessibility Advisor before the start of the program:

Contact Go Global
In-person and Virtual Drop-in advising hours
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  • Wednesday: 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Go Global offers both in-person and virtual drop-in advising through Zoom during the times listed above.

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