Stellenbosch attracts student from across the globe, as well as thousands of South Africans each year.
Students flock to the town not only for its reputation as a world-class centre for learning, but also because of the unique village setting and rich, cultural heritage.
Stellenbosch University is recognised as one of the four top research universities in South Africa and takes pride in the fact that it has one of the country’s highest proportions of postgraduate students, of which almost ten percent are international students.
Boland College is an award-winning and SABS approved leader in Further Education and Training in the Boland region.
The town boasts top schools that include nine secondary and fourteen primary schools.
Here are seven reasons why studying in Stellenbosch is more than just an educational experience - it's a lifestyle.
1) This Is Wine Country
Studying in the heart of wine country means that wine is always incorporated into any activity. The Matie wine culture ranges from having ‘Boks wyn op Bohemia’s stoep’ (boxed wine on the patio of Bohemia) to wine tastings at one of the many wine farms surrounding town. After just a few months in Stellenbosch, students will most likely be able to choose between different cultivars off the wine list instead of playing “eeny-meeny-miny-mo” between red and white.
2) The Town Is Ours
With no physical boundaries between campus and the rest of the town, the whole of Stellenbosch is a playground and students have free reign. It isn't unusual for students to go for a R10 breakfast before class starts or to meet a friend for a quick lunch in one of Dorp Street’s café’s between classes. They know all the secret spots to spend a Saturday out and about.
3) The Music Scene
The Stellenbosch music scene offers a wide range of events that suit any mood or preferred genre. Seeing a live local band every Thursday at Bohemia, or listening to the legendary Jo Martin on a Tuesday evening becomes part of the weekly routine. Weekends are jam-packed with bands and gigs performing in the local Klein Libertas Theatre or if you are lucky, you can catch a pizza, beer and music evening at De Brasserij for an intimate music experience.
Combining great food, wine and music, a morning spent at one of the many Slow Food Markets surrounding town is the perfect start to the weekend. Stellenbosch students can drop by a ‘markie’ on any day of the weekend, starting with the Friday night Courtyard Market at The Woodmill, the Slow Food Market at the historic Oude Libertas estate on Saturday mornings, or the Blaauwklippen Vineyards Family Market on Sundays.
Along with the flourishing wine and food culture, an active lifestyle soon becomes a crucial part of Matie-life. Luckily, the Boland mountain range surrounding Stellenbosch offers various hiking trials that every student adds to their bucket list. Additionally, hiring a ‘Matie-fiets’ and making a trip to Jonkershoek Nature reserve or having a picnic at the second waterfall becomes a monthly outing.
The many art galleries, museums and outdoor exhibitions are ideal for breaking a creative block or getting some air between papers. Monthly initiatives like “Last Thursdays” bring students, tourists and art enthusiasts together to visit various galleries in support and appreciation of the local arts (and of course, free wine is offered on the route). For Film lovers or anyone interested in a partial film eduaction, the Pulp Film Society at the Neelsie Student centre shows a list of 1000 must-see movies screened throughout the week and is free for members. For those not interested in the movie of the day- it is a perfect hangout spot for popcorn and wine after class on a student budget.
For the Matie student an ice cream on the beach instead of attending the last Friday lecture is easily justified any time of the year. With the start of summer, a little planning ahead effortlessly changes the spontaneous 15 minute drive to Strand to a weekend spent camping at Kogelbay. The beauty of being a student in Stellenbosch lies in its diversity - a quality education in a town where a mosaic of interests and cultures overlap. After three and a half years at Stellenbosch University, I am only half way through the official Bucket-list, but looking back I was able to add my own spin on a rich and well-balanced student experience as a Matie.
Thinking about studying in Stellenbosch? Find out more about studying in Stellenbosch on the University of Stellenbosch website.