Rural Healthcare and Education in South Africa

Hygiene lessons

July 2019

Through this program you'll enjoy living and volunteering in St. Lucia, South Africa, a small coastal community surrounded by beautiful landscapes and diverse wildlife - a UNESCO World Heritage location. Surrounding the beautiful area of St. Lucia are rural villages inhabited by thousands of people with scarce healthcare resources. Working alongside community health workers, care givers, and medical professionals, you'll provide both direct treatment as well as awareness and prevention of HIV, tuberculosis, and lifestyle/social issues such as family planning and nutrition. This project gives you the opportunity to engage with people – young and old – to make a positive impact while at the same time undergoing an unforgettable, life-changing experience.

In South Africa there are plenty of myths surrounding the issue of HIV/AIDS. Education is vital in preventing the spread of infection and breaking down stigma. Not many people know how to prevent infection, and even fewer people know how to deal with the virus once they have it. Many South Africans still lack the education that could help fight many of the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including how to prolong their lives by practising healthy living and taking medication in the right doses. Discrimination against those who are HIV positive is also still prevalent, which perpetuates the cycle of infection. In addition to HIV/AIDS awareness, the project also addresses numerous other health and nutrition issues through education, prevention, and treatment.

In addition to rewarding volunteer work, participants enjoy social and cultural activities in the local community, and optional sightseeing tours and trips in the area's abundant parks and reserves. Volunteers are supported by staff who look after their daily needs and project work, as well as a cook and house keeper at the volunteer accommodations.


Name of Program

Rural Healthcare and Education in South Africa

Destination country

South Africa

Destination city

St Lucia

Project partner


Program Start Date

July 2019

Program End Date

July 2019


Bachelor of Health Science

Cultural Excursions

Not part of the program but student volunteers can get involved in a variety of excursions, including Game drives, snorkelling, wildlife encounters, cultural tours and markets.


Volunteers stay at a large, comfortable, fully-furnished project house equipped with a lounge, barbeque area, garden, and swimming pool. The house is situated in the middle of St. Lucia, in a safe residential area, a 5 minute walk to town and 30 minute walk to the beautiful St. Lucia beach and river estuary. Volunteers share rooms with 1-5 fellow volunteers, split according to gender. Volunteers should note that at times St. Lucia does experience electricity black-out periods and hot water showers may not be available all the time. There is no wifi available on site at the accommodation, however, free wifi is regularly available at most local restaurants.

The volunteer house is staffed with a cook and house keeper, and all bedding is provided (please bring your own towel).

Is academic credit awarded for this program?

Yes. To be negotiated on a case by case with students, but particularly suited to award students credit for placement hours in work placement units.

Scholarships and Benefits

In an effort to support your participation in the program we have identified a few opportunities for financial assistance. Note that you will only need to apply for these once you have been accepted into the program.

Option 1: Western Sydney University Student Mobility Travel Grant

The university offers students participating in a short course up to $500 to support their travel. All necessary information can be found on the Before I Go.

Option 2: OS-Help Loan

OS-HELP is not a grant/scholarship, but it is an option that we would like to bring to your attention. Eligible students can receive a deferred loan for $4000 or $8149 which is added to your existing HECS-HELP debt. Further information can be found on the OS-HELP webpage.


The 3-week program cost is $2998 and includes:

  • Volunteer project placement (resources, materials, equipment and operational costs to host volunteers)
  • CISaustralia support before, during and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial advice
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure guide and session
  • Arrival orientation
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off* from Durban (on specified program dates within designated times)
  • Accommodation – shared volunteer house for the duration of the program
  • Meals – 3 meals every weekday, plus breakfast on Saturday and Sunday
  • Daily transport to and from project sites
  • Full-time housekeeping service
  • Booking and/or logistical assistance for optional excursions
  • 24/7 on-site support – Site Coordinator, Project Leaders and Continent Site Director
  • CISaustralia Certificate of Completion

You pay extra for:

  • Flights
  • Health insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Vaccinations (if required)
  • Saturday and Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Cost of optional excursions

While on your study tour, you will also be covered by Western Sydney University's student travel insurance.

How To Apply

STEP 1: Register Your Interest

  • To be considered for this opportunity, you will be required to submit your expression of interest (opens in a new window) to CISaustralia

STEP 2: Apply for Academic Approval

  • Discuss your preferred option with your Academic Course Adviser (ACA) or placement coordinator - visit your School website and see 'Contact'
  • To receive recognition for your overseas experience, it is important that you seek advice from your Academic Course Advisor and apply for academic approval at least 3 months prior to commencement. Find out how to apply for Academic Approval below:

STEP 3: Apply for OS-HELP 

  • You may be eligible for OS-HELP, a deferred HELP debt loan for undergraduate Australian citizens - loans of $4,000 or $6,791 are available. Academic Approval is required; have completed 80 credit points of study, and have 10 credit points remaining on return.
  • Note, depending on the program, some of the opportunities below provide a scholarship, tuition waivers, free or cheap accommodation etc.

STEP 4: Complete the 'Before I Go' Online Checklist

  • Complete the Online Checklist (opens in a new window) to ensure you have completed the important tasks before heading overseas. This includes applying for a Student Mobility Travel Grant and information about travel insurance.

For more details about the program please see CISaustralia (opens in a new window) or contact Dr Arianne Reis at or (02) 4620 3136.