South Africa is notable for its 1,739 miles of coastline that stretches along the South Atlantic and Indian oceans. It is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with nearly 53 million people, is the world’s 24th-most populous nation. South Africa is a multiethnic society made up of a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic nature is reflected in the constitution’s recognition of 11 official languages, which is among the highest number of any country in the world.

Though English is regularly used in public and commercial life, it is only the fifth most-spoken language at home. About 80% of South Africans are of black African ancestry, divided between a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status. The rest of the country consists of Africa’s largest populations of European, Asian, and multiracial ancestry.

All ethnic and linguistic groups have representation in the country’s constitutional democracy, which is made up of a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. Since the end of apartheid, South Africa’s multicultural character has become integral to its national identity, as signified by the Rainbow Nation concept.

Our South Africa Programs

Music Education in South Africa

Join an academy empowering youth through music, ride an elephant, jam with local musicians, and discover a new part of yourself in White River, South Africa.

“Through Performing Arts Abroad, I was able to understand why music matters. From riding an elephant to playing in a jazz band, I don’t think I could ever get an experience like this anywhere else!”

“I learned a lot about the local culture there and would definitely encourage future students to pursue this opportunity.”

“Volunteering in South Africa was nothing less than one of the best things I have ever done! Something that everyone should experience, go for it because you will not regret it!”

“I had the opportunity to meet some inspirational people in dance in South Africa and made some lifelong friends and connections…all in just one week!”

“The most enriching and unforgettable two weeks of my life. I would jump at the opportunity to go back to South Africa and see the CMDA family again. This short period changed my outlook of dance and music entirely, the kids from the hubs taught me more about music and dance than three years of professional training. I feel very blessed. Thank you, Performing Arts Abroad.”

I have nothing negative to say about my time volunteering through Performing Arts Abroad in South Africa. My trip was amazing! The people were friendly! I felt safe the entire time! And gained so much knowledge!

From the blog


Mae in South Africa

Mae Vader is an Electronic Arts student at Bard College with a focus on film production and studies. This summer she participated in PAA’s Film internship in South Africa. My name is Mae, and for preparation’s sake, I am very…

Five Friends You Make Studying Abroad

We at Performing Arts Abroad are incredibly proud of the Study Abroad programs we offer in Ireland, England, Italy, and New Zealand, as well as the participants who go on them. Students are applying now for Spring semester, and in honor…


Making Music in Mpumalanga

Alison Feuerwerker is a violinist and music teacher from Ontario, Canada, and she was a PAA music volunteer in South Africa in January and February of 2016.   On a January morning I am singing along with Toto’s song “Africa” while I do dishes.…

Music Interview with PAA South Africa Music Alum, Hillary Engel!

Performing Arts Abroad alum Hillary Engel is interviewed by about her  experience as a Music Intern in South Africa.  Check it out!

Apply Now