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Botswana: Development in Southern Africa

Gaborone, Botswana

ACM Botswana digital story

Courtesy of Megan Slavish, Beloit College

An African success story, Botswana is endowed with rich mineral resources, including diamonds, and has benefited from uninterrupted and effective civilian leadership since independence in 1966.  Its government has negotiated contracts with multinational corporations such as DeBeers, which stand in stark contrast to the exploitation of African resources during much of the colonial era.  The returns from its mineral wealth, augmented with income from tourism, cattle ranching, and financial services, have been invested in education and various social services.  As a leader in SADC (Southern African Development Community), Botswana has played a leading role in the region since the 1980s, from the time that South Africa was still under apartheid, and more recently in negotiations with Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.  Although, like many other countries in Africa, it has had to confront the problem of HIV/AIDS and the resulting social disruptions, Botswana demonstrates that progressive social policies can mitigate some of the effects of the disease.  Botswana thus provides both a healthy antidote to the negative characterizations of Africa often found in American media and a rich array of possible solutions to the various crises of the third world.

The ACM Botswana program is designed for students with interests in politics, political economy, economic and social development, public health, and environmental studies.  Based at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital, the program is offered each spring semester, and combines formal class study with site visits to places in and around Gaborone and a credit-bearing independent study projectClasses include Setswana language, a course taught by the ACM faculty director, and an elective course at the University of Botswana. All students also participate in service activities with organizations and non-governmental organizations in Gaborone, with these community engagement opportunities typically related to their independent study projects.

During the semester-long program, students are housed in a residence hall at the University of Botswana.  Among the excursions typically planned are a weekend trip to Johannesburg, South Africa; a week-long trip to Maun, near the Okavango Delta in the north; and a visit to the Jwaneng diamond mine. 

For more detailed information, please use the links located on the left-hand side of this page.

Quick Facts

  • Term: Spring semester
  • Language prerequisite: None
  • Language of instruction: English (plus Setswana language class)
  • Living arrangements: Student dormitory
  • Who can apply? Students from any college or university

Application deadlines

Spring semester 2015

Early deadline: March 15, 2014
Do I need to apply early?
The early application date is available for students whose college requires that all off-campus study applications for the entire upcoming academic year must be completed the prior spring semester. If your college does not require a spring decision for programs the following spring, you may apply by either the early or final application deadline.

Final deadline: October 15, 2014

Spring semester 2016

Early deadline: March 15, 2015
Do I need to apply early?
The early application date is available for students whose college requires that all off-campus study applications for the entire upcoming academic year must be completed the prior spring semester. If your college does not require a spring decision for programs the following spring, you may apply by either the early or final application deadline.

Final deadline: October 15, 2015

If the deadline has passed and you are interested in applying, contact the ACM Office immediately. Late applications may be accepted on a space-available basis.

Program contacts

Emily Gaul
Assistant Program Manager

11 E. Adams Street, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312.561.5919
egaul@acm.edu

More program contacts »

Publications & Resources

Botswana program brochure

Botswana Student Handbook - Spring 2014

Botswana: Development in Southern Africa

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Mason Schweyen I went on the ACM Botswana semester and got an experience I did not see coming! It forced me to cope a really different environment and it really challenged my ability to adapt while thriving. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel and see southern Africa while being a student. If you want to be tossed from your comfort zone, this trip is for you!

—Mason Schweyen, Botswana, Spring 2014

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