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ACU Summer School 2023: Truth and reconciliation

The first ACU Summer School to take place in a winter climate. Join us at Stellenbosch University, South Africa from 2 – 10 July 2023.

02 - 10 Jul 2023
Stellenbosch University

South Africa

Host country:  South Africa
Host university: Stellenbosch University
Theme: Truth and reconciliation: from apartheid to transitional justice
Eligibility: Final year undergraduate students, masters’ students and PhD students at ACU member universities
Places: 40 available, fully-funded
Season: Winter in South Africa

This is a fascinating opportunity for you to learn about the political, social and economic forces that shaped 20th Century South African politics, including apartheid, with your peers from around the Commonwealth.

Hosted by Stellenbosch University, this is the first time the programme will take place in a winter climate.

Over the course of the week, you will:

  • Hear from leading academic experts who will bring the country’s complex and significant history to life.
  • Take field-trips to local sights, including Robben Island prison (where Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid campaigners were jailed), as well as the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve, a local winery, and more.
  • Make new friends from countries across the Commonwealth and enjoy social activities such as games nights, film screenings, a traditional South African barbeque, and more.
  • Stay on campus in Stellenbosch University accommodation and make the most of a life-changing experience at the ACU Summer School.

If you are inspired by imagining what a more equitable future looks like for all, and want to take action in your community, then this is the event for you!

Application deadline: Monday 13 February 2023, 11:59 UTC

A flavour of Summer School - last year's event

Students tell us they find ACU Summer School to be a transformative event. Take a look at our video from Summer School 2022, hosted at Leeds Trinity University in the UK, and get inspired...


Stellenbosch University Wikimedia Commons

Eligibility and funding

Who can apply?

The ACU Summer School welcomes applications from current postgraduate students (both master’s and PhD) and final-year undergraduate students at ACU member universities. Click on the link to find out if your university is an ACU member university.

The ACU Summer School is aimed at students studying a subject that explores themes related to truth and reconciliation and/or with a personal interest in truth and reconciliation.

We encourage students who have not travelled outside their home region to apply. This does not apply to students studying in their host country of South Africa or ACU scholars.

We particularly welcome applications from students who come from backgrounds under-represented in international higher education, including students with a disability and students who identify as indigenous and those who have not travelled outside their home geographic region work, study or leisure.

Students who have previously attended an ACU Summer School are not eligible to apply. 

What does the funding cover?

The cost of full participation in the program will be covered, including:

  • Accommodation on campus
  • Transport
  • Meals on campus
  • Social activities and excursions
  • Economy return flights/travel from your home country and travel to the university for students travelling from outside South Africa

The following costs are not covered:

  • Visa (please note that some nationalities do not need a visa to enter South Africa)
  • Food/spending on excursions 


Group of ACU Summer School students gather outside listening to male teacher

Applying for Summer School

Application requirements

As part of the online application, you are required to submit a detailed academic reference from a lecturer or supervisor at your current university of study who is familiar with your recent academic work.

This must be submitted on official university headed paper, be signed and dated after 5 December 2022 and refer to your suitability to attend the ACU Summer School.

You are also required to submit responses to the following questions: 

  • Describe your motivation for wishing to participate in the ACU Summer School 2023 and what you will contribute to and gain from the event.
  • Explain how your interests and/or achievements, work experience, volunteering experience and studies fit with the themes of peace, truth and reconciliation in your context.
  • Choose the UN Sustainable Development Goal which best relates to the subject you are studying or researching and explain why it is important that this goal is achieved using an example from your own country.
  • Describe how you plan to share the knowledge and experience gained at the ACU Summer School with your university and community after the event.

How to apply 

All applications are via MyACU, and if you already have a MyACU account, you can access the application form here.

If you do not have a MyACU account, please first register for an account here. Then, follow the instructions in the registration email to log into the system before accessing the application form. 

If you are unable to access the application form due to personal accessibility issues (for example, visual impairment), please contact for support.

Application deadline: Monday 13 February 2023, 11:59 UTC

All applicants will be notified about the outcome of their application by the end of March 2023. Please do not contact us before then to enquire about your application status.

 The ACU is committed to operating a system of equal opportunity and will endeavor to make all reasonable adjustments to enable successful applicants to participate in the ACU Summer School. If you have any accessibility requirements, we encourage you to contact to discuss your needs prior to submitting your application form. Your accessibility requirements will not inform part of the selection process, in line with our commitment to equal opportunity.

Please note: If your application is successful, your information will be used for due diligence checks. Upon satisfactory completion of the checks, you will be awarded a place in the ACU Summer School.

Application Tips

To ensure you have the best chance of being selected we recommend you adapt the STAR method to construct your application answers, especially for question 3.

What is the STAR Method?

 STAR is a formalized method to construct your answers an application.  It helps you answer the questions while telling your story.

 What does STAR stand for?

  • Situation: Set the scene and describe the situation. 
  • Task: Describe your task or thinking.
  • Action: Explain the steps you took to address the situation.
  • Result: Share the impact or intended impact of your action and the outcomes your actions achieved or will achieve.

STAR is a great way to structure your answers, but it's most important to take the time to think about the question and how best to answer. Look online to find some great examples!


Apply for the ACU Summer School 2023
Cape Town Lion's Head Peak And Robben Island

Travel Requirements


The ACU recommends all selected students consult with their General Practitioners before leaving their home country for advice regarding necessary vaccination for entering South Africa.

Covid Regulations

Currently, South Africa is accepting all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. It is essential to check your home country's policy when returning from South Africa.


South African visitor visas might be required depending on your home country. Therefore, we urge all selected students to arrange to obtain their visa approximately three (3) months before departure. Students will cover all visa fees.

Check visa eligibility.


Apply for the ACU Summer School 2023

Contact us

Please email us if you have any further questions regarding the ACU Summer School.


 At the ACU, we believe in building a better world through higher education. We join our member universities in collectively supporting the examination of colonial pasts and creating spaces where students and staff can imagine and then realise a better future for their communities.

[Stellenbosch University image attribution- Wikimedia Commons via ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)]

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