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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Language of Instruction: English
Housing: Campus Housing Number of Credits Offered: 3-6
Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate Type of Program: Faculty-led
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Sociology, Honors, Government and International Policy, African and African American Studies, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Global Affairs, History, Integrative Studies Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office
Open to non-Mason Students: Yes Program eligible for VA Benefits: Yes
Program Description:

Chains and Change: African Social Justice and Entrepreneurship

South Africa, Summer 2022

Man looking over Cape Town
The Chains & Change program allows students to critically examine African resilience through in-depth study of Afropolitanism, social justice and entrepreneurship. The program, housed at the University of Cape Town, consists of two sessions which will each offer one course over two weeks. Students will have the opportunity to participate in one or both sessions.

Session I: In the first course, "Afropolitanism," students connect Africa's past to its present by examining both the historical and contemporary context of slavery, colonialism, heritage, politics, and citizenship in Africa. Students gain an understanding of the way history shapes the character of particular communities in Africa and how slavery and colonialism were fundamental to their creation. This examination of the human face of slavery is a journey into the history of indigenous peoples’ dispossession and enslavement - a history that lingers over both the descendants of the enslaved and the descendants of the slaveholders. Lectures will give historical, sociological, psychological contexts to slavery, colonialism and dispossession, as well as intergenerational trauma. Topics will raise questions about life in post-apartheid South Africa, the culture of protests and redefining identity.

Session II: The second course, "Social Justice and Entrepreneurship," introduces students to issues of social justice in the context of inclusive governance in Africa. Students have the opportunity to hear from practitioners working in the area of social justice and look at the root causes of current injustices – be they in terms of distribution of wealth, opportunities, resources and privileges – examining gender, race, class, and sexuality as sites of power difference. The course includes site visits to the townships of Khayelitsha and Phillipi to have a closer assessment of social development challenges in the African context. Importantly the course focuses on the people and local communities who, through their everyday lives, are seeking to overcome power imbalances, seeking social justice, and seeking solutions through various entrepreneurial ideas, schemes, groups, and organizations. Students explore innovative, community building projects and activities first hand and observe the daily struggles and victories of those working to better their world.

Program Highlights

  • Understand the impact and lasting legacies of slavery and colonialism
  • Explore first-hand innovative, community-building projects and activities
  • Interact with communities and people go about their lives
  • Go on amazing excursions in one of the world's most beautiful cities



This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students. Minimum GPA is 2.25.


3-6 credits

Students can choose to participate in one or both sessions of this program. Each session is 2 weeks long and students will choose one 3-credit course during each session. Students who participate in one session will receive 3 credits. Students who participate in both sessions will receive 6 credits.

Course Options

Session I: "Afropolitanism"
  • INTS 399
  • HIST 387
  • AFAM 390
  • SOCI 395
  • GOVT 398
  • CONF 385
Grad: INTS 595

Session II: "Social Justice and Entrepreneurship"
  • INTS 399
  • HIST 387
  • AFAM 390
  • SOCI 395
  • GOVT 398
  • CONF 385
Grad: INTS 595

Program Dates*

Summer 2022: Coming Soon!



Day 1 Arrival for students participating in Session I.
Day 2 Session I begins with Orientation and Campus Tour.
Afternoon: Cape Town City Tour
Day 3 "Afropolitanism" Course Introduction and Overview
Lecture: An Overview of Cape Slavery
Documenting & Discussion: Impact of the Abolition of Slave Trade at the Cape
Day 4 Lecture: The Slave Lodge & Dutch and British Expansion
Excursion & Discussion: The Slave Lodge Museum and The Surrounding Area linked to Slavery
Day 5 Lecture: Colonialism, Segregation, & Early Resistance
Documenting & Discussion: Slavery and Colonialism
Day 6 Excursion: District Six Museum
Lecture: Apartheid & Resistance
Documenting & Discussion: District Six and Forced Removals
Day 7 Weekend - Free Day
Day 8 Weekend - Free Day
Day 9 Lecture: Apartheid & Resistance
Excursion: Robben Island Prison
Day 10 Lecture: Past Trauma and Present Legacies - Social Identities in Cape Town
Documenting & Discussion: Resistance
Day 11 Lecture: The Transition to Democracy
Documenting & Discussion: Transition
Day 12 Lecture: The Post-Apartheid Period
Evening: Student group work
Day 13 Student presentations and Course Evaluation
Day 14 Departure for students participating in just Session I. Free day for students participating in both sessions
Day 15 Arrival for students participating in just Session II. Free day for students participating in both sessions
Day 16 Session II begins with course overview.
Lecture: Understanding the "Self" in the Context of Social Justice, Gender Justice in South Africa
Excursion & Discussion: SONKE Gender Justice Institute
Day 17 Group Exercise: Mapping Inequality
Excursion & Discussion: Social Justice Coalition Offices & Espinaca
Day 18 Group Presentations
Documentary & Discussion: Human
Day 19 Lecture: Language, Culture & Power in Contemporary South Africa
Documentary & Discussion: Afrikaaps -
Day 20 Lecture & Discussion: Understanding Power, Difference, Privilege & Oppression
Day 21 Weekend
Day 22 Weekend
Day 23 Theoretical Introduction to Service Learning
Lecture: The Role of Service Learning in Community Transformation
Day 24 Lecture: Meet ABCD Concepts
Excursion: 18 Gangster Museum Khayelitsha and Visit to the 4Roomed venue and project
Day 25 Lecture: How are NGO's working in Cape Town?
Excursion: St. Francis Orphanage
Day 26 Excursion & Discussion: Wola Nani
Lecture: Service Learning, Disability & Entrepreneurship
Day 27 Student Presentations and Course Evaluation
Day 28 Departure
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost

Summer 2022
​One session/course: Coming Soon!
Two sessions/courses: Coming Soon!

The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges will be put on your student account for this course, a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge, which together equal the published Program Cost for this course. 

  • Application Deposit
  • Tuition and mandatory fees
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Accommodations
  • Breakfasts
  • Transportation and entrance fees to all excursions/field trips/activities as described in itinerary
  • Welcome and Farewell meals
  • International emergency medical insurance

Not included:
  • Airfare*
  • Passport and visa fees, COVID-19 testing
  • Vaccinations
  • Meals
  • Local transportation
  • Personal spending
  • Required textbooks and/or course materials.

*Note: This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email.

The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to meet the group. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights. When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will recommend the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance. 

Program Payments

The full program fee is charged to your Mason Student Account. Students pay the Global Education Office (GEO) Program Fee as advertised in two payments (Application Deposit + Final Payment).

Application Deposit: $200 non-refundable Application Deposit must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.

Final Payment: The final balance is made through the Mason Bill+Payment system. Payment is due according to the Mason Payment Schedule. The amount due is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $200 you will have already paid, the Application Deposit.

  • You can make your final payment in the Mason Bill+Payment system even if you do not see the GEO program charge on your student account.
  • George Mason University applies payments to outstanding charges first. If you have an outstanding balance from a previous semester your payments will first go to paying that charge. You will still be responsible for the GEO charge.

Financial Aid: In most cases, financial aid (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans) can be used to finance study abroad. It is the student’s responsibility to check with the Office of Financial Aid to review their financial aid package. The Office of Financial Aid is the only office that can determine your aid eligibility. 
Meeting with your financial aid officer prior to applying to study abroad will help you understand if, how much, and when your aid can be used to study abroad.
Confirmation of your financial aid award may not be available until registration and billing for the term in question is final. If aid eligibility changes, or the amount of aid disbursed is lower than anticipated, students are responsible for all remaining account balances or risk late fees, holds on their accounts, and program dismissal.
To assist students in the processing of their financial aid, GEO will communicate with the Office of Financial aid those students who plan to utilize financial aid for their specific study abroad program through their application with GEO.  Please note there is no guarantee to students that their aid can be utilized for their specific study abroad program. 

If you plan to use federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans to finance your study abroad you must: 
  • Mark “Yes” to “Do you plan to use Financial Aid to finance your program (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans)?” in your profile in
After acceptance: 

* Students must be enrolled at least half-time for federal loans and the majority of grant funds. Please refer to the Financial Aid Website for a definition of half-time for undergraduate and graduate students:

VA Benefits: The Veterans Administration determines if a program is eligible to receive VA benefit payments based on the participants VA education program. Use of benefits is dependent on type of benefit and type of program. If you plan to use VA benefits to finance study abroad contact your program officer at to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form." You will complete that form with Mason’s Office of Military Services. To contact Military Services be sure to email them directly at

Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

Payment Instructions

For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:


GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:

Application Deadline:

March 10, 2022


Application requirements:*

Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.

Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.

Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.

Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:

Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.

Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.

* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.

Application instructions:

Academic Director

  Brian Gibson Headshot
Name Brian Gibson, PhD
Phone 703-993-2154

GEO Program Administrator

Name Brittany Harris
Phone 703-993-2155

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2022 03/10/2022 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.