South Africa,  includes many ethnic groups, each proud of its language, traditions, and religious beliefs. There’s a variety of local cuisines, so be prepared to try lots of new food.

Teens in South Africa mostly socialize in school and spend a lot of energy studying and reading. Free time is often spent with family and hanging out with friends talking about movies and sports. If you love sports, this is the place to be for soccer, rugby, cricket and netball.

AFS Youth exchange in South Africa

Culture & Community

You may live with a family who speaks any one of the 11 languages of South Africa at home. Family members will hug you and openly express their feelings. Politeness is very important. Religion plays a significant role in most South African families and attendance at some form of religious gathering is very common on a weekly basis. Host host families tend to be protective.


Schools in South Africa are strict and challenging. Students wear uniforms and treat teachers with lots of respect. You probably be placed in public high school. However, depending upon the location of your host family, you may attend a private or semi-private school. The school day starts between 7.30 and 8 am and ends between 2 and 3 pm. English will be the language spoken in most schools. If you want to experience an Afrikaans language school, just let AFS know.


Meat is a staple of the South African diet, although cuisine varies widely according to ethnicity. South Africans love to barbecue, or braais, slowly grilling steaks, chops and spicy sausages (boerewors)over hot charcoal. Many South Africans also enjoy a dried meat snack called bilton or a corn porridge (pap) with meat or vegetables.

Explore the Programs Available in Sudafrica