iXperience is a summer career accelerator in Cape Town, South Africa, that caters to top students from universities around the world. iX teaches students practical, in-demand skills in a unique and immersive learning environment. The program features an intensive four-week course followed by a four-week internship at an influential company, with thrilling and cultural excursions along the way.
"iX was an opportunity to grow and discover—to explore a dynamic and captivating country, develop practical technical skills, and leave behind the comfort of the familiar to join a diverse assembly of scholars, artists, and adventurers at the edge of the world."
– Alec Ortiz, Stanford, iX '15
"iXperience was hands down the best summer of my life. It's more than just a startup founded by passionate young professionals; it's an experience that every zealous college student should seek out. I intended to come to Cape Town for eight weeks and leave with the knowledge of a new coding language. Instead, I adopted an entirely new lifestyle and outlook on life. I learned a new programming language, worked for a non-profit, went skydiving, jumped off the tallest bungee bridge in the world, dove with great white sharks, attempted surfing, rode an elephant, and came away with so much more."
– Molly Davey, UVA, iX '15
Why is the program called iXperience?
iXperience is about more than an education. It’s about an all-encompassing summer experience. A typical day may feature hiking, surfing, yoga or a myriad of other exciting activities. Plus, you will be immersed in a new culture and a beautiful new city. iXperience is not just a chance to study abroad; it’s the summer of a lifetime.
What differentiates iXperience from other study abroad programs?
The main reason many of our students—especially freshmen and sophomores—choose iXperience each year is because this is the the only summer study abroad program that combines the 3 most important aspects of career acceleration: intensive learning, hands-on professional experience, and cultural and personal exploration. After just 8 weeks, you'll come away with proficiency in a new, in-demand skill and work experience at an influential local company with clear, impactful and measurable deliverables that you can show future employers. On top of this, you'll also gain a new network of over 400 top students from around the world, and a changed perspective from immersing yourself in one of the most culturally rich and diverse cities on earth.
Why Cape Town?
Most recently, the 2015/2016 Telegraph Travel Awards chose Cape Town as the Best City in the World for the fourth year running, dusting out Vancouver and Venice, which took second and third place respectively in the Best City category.
What do I get for my money?
The course fee includes four weeks of tuition during which time you will be taught by a head instructor and two teaching assistants. On top of this you get accommodation, gourmet breakfast from Monday to Friday, and four iXperience weekend excursions. You will only have to cover airfare, lunch, dinner, and any extra excursions or social outings that you plan independently of the program.
"It cost a lot of money to come here and it was a tough choice financially—but that's inevitable with a program of this caliber. To do everything that I did, and learn all that I learned... My parents and I agree that this program is an incredible deal."
- Cameron Cross, UVA '16, iX '14
"iX is incredible value for money! Other programs that only provide classes cost twice as much. This included lodging, the course, breakfast, an internship, outings... I could not believe how much we got for the money."
- Sarah Schachman, Harvard '16, iX '14
What kinds of students are you looking for?
We are looking for talented, motivated students who are passionate about learning. The key characteristic of successful iX applicants isn't their skill, but rather their attitude. Our strongest applicants demonstrate creative problem solving ability, a genuine and compelling desire to learn, and a strong work ethic.
Click here to learn 3 must-know tips before you begin your iXperience application.
How can I contact iX alumni to ask more questions?
We have an extensive network of over 450 students worldwide. To reach out to an alum on campus, visit our alumni page. You can also reach out to us using the chat bubble at the bottom right if you'd like us to make an introduction!
Do I need a visa to come to South Africa for iXperience?
US Citizens and UK Citizens do not need to apply for a visa to come to South Africa for iXperience. If you're a US or UK national, you can stay in South Africa for up to 90 days without a visa.
If you aren't a US or UK citizen, please click here to visit the Visa South Africa website and check your country’s visa exemption status.
We will provide you with all the documents you need to apply for your visitors’/tourist visa to SA. These documents include: the formal acceptance letter, the iX program description letter, the Letter of Accommodation and a copy of Tyler's ID and Passport as supporting documentation. These documents are all specifically designed to help you get your visa approved with ease and should be taken to the embassy when you apply. When requesting the above mentioned documents, please also send through your flight details so that we can include those dates on the specific documents.
iXperience is perfectly legal on a normal tourist visa. (Trust us, we checked). However, we find our programme tends to perplex staff at embassies and the border, so to avoid complexity and delays in the visa process we encourage our students to describe our program as an educational tour experience primarily focused on exploring Cape Town and learning new skills, and void the words “internship”, “work”, and “employment” entirely.
My parents are nervous to send me to South Africa. What should I tell them?
Over the last few summers, several parents flew over to Cape Town and visited their sons and daughters who were attending iXperience. We interviewed these parents while they were visiting the iX campus and created a short video. This video is the perfect way to reassure your parents if they are concerned, or click here to view our Parents page.
Do I need travel medical insurance?
It is compulsory for all students to have arranged travel medical insurance before arriving in Cape Town. Unfortunately no local medical aid providers will cover foreigners or tourists for a period of time shorter than 3 months. It is therefore in your best interest to purchase medical travel cover from your own medical scheme. Generally, this cover costs around $50 and will cover you for the entire trip.
We recommend chatting to your medical service provider about the process of taking out travel medical insurance that guarantees that you will be covered for any emergency while in SA. Please note that this is a step that you will have to complete on your iXperience student portal.
The Application Process
How do I know what course to choose?
We know that choosing a course that's right for you can seem rather daunting, but don't worry—we can help you make a decision! You can reach out to us using the chat bubble on the bottom right.
How do I apply to iXperience?
You can apply online through our website by scrolling to the bottom of each page, or by clicking here to start the process. During the application, you’ll have the opportunity to tell us more about yourself and choose the course or courses and internship options that you would like to apply for.
Should I apply earlier rather than later?
Applying earlier means you will receive an earlier decision on your application. However, we do recommend applying earlier rather than later as admissions are usually more competitive in later admissions cycles due to limited placement in the program.
What is the deadline to apply?
iXperience has three admissions cycles, each of which has a deadline:
Note: the time deadline is 11:59pm Pacific Time for each date.
Application due by: December 15
Receive decision by: December 22
Deposit due by: January 15
Application due by: February 2
Receive decision by: February 16
Deposit due by: March 2
Rolling Decision may be closed for all or certain courses if there are no spots left. If there are spots open on this admissions cycle, applicants should expect to move through the admissions process fairly quickly
Is there an application fee?
Nope! It's completely free to apply.
What kind of questions are in the application?
The point of the application is to help us understand who you are. The questions we ask have been carefully crafted to easily bring across to us who you as a person. Besides for the basic profile and academic information that you'll quickly fill out in the beginning, you'll also answer a few short essay questions that will give us insight into your character. Once you have completed your written application, you will need to complete a short video interview in order to submit your application in full.
How important is my GPA if I want to get into this program?
We use your GPA to make sure you will be able to keep up with the high standards of the iX classroom. However, 90% of the application process is dedicated to getting to know you as a person. Acceptance is largely based on who you are, not on how you do in tests and exams.
Is there a GPA cut-off?
No. We consider and screen every application on multiple criteria and have no minimum GPA.
How do I secure my spot?
Your spot in the class is only secured once you’ve made your deposit payment. Please note, if you are granted a deposit extension, this does not mean your spot is secured, but only that you have been given an extension. Once a class is full, students accepted into that class will not be able to pay deposits.
Who will I be taught by?
We have a rigorous selection process for our instructors and teaching assistants and thus our teaching staff will not be finalized a month or two before the program starts.
To get an idea of the types of teachers you will have, watch the video below and then read some of the blog posts that follow.
The teachers who deliver the courses differ from year to year, and vary in their academic levels. However, all have two things in common: they are experts in their industries, and are inspiring mentors with a passion for their field. We place a strong emphasis on hiring the right teachers.
Read some of our blog posts about iX's learning environment and lecturers, written by both past students and teachers:
We believe in creating a learning environment that encourages active learning, positive thinking, and collaborative work. The iX course is a combination of traditional classes, group projects, and independent exercises. We focus on helping students work together to produce portfolio projects, which are tangible projects that have applications in the real world. In the last week, students will have a chance to work on a more open-ended project, on which they may be able to collaborate with students from other classes.
What is my class schedule?
A typical weekday features one 3-hour class (morning or afternoon), followed by a series of projects and exercises that take 3-5 hours to complete. During the week, we'll push you to the limit (but don't worry, you'll be able to relax).
iXperience's courses are intense, but we strive to ensure students have ample time to explore the city and culture around them. Our teaching staff adapts to each class and ensures your work load is always immersive enough to be interesting while still being manageable.
What if I’m struggling during the course?
The iX curriculum is designed to push you from day one, so we fully expect that you will encounter lots of questions and even experience some difficulties along the way— that’s okay! We have several teaching assistants on duty day and night to answer your questions and help you with difficult material. Additionally, the teaching staff organize extra workshops each week to revise complex material. The topics covered in these workshops is set by the students based on their needs.
If you come ready to work hard, we will put in all the time and energy you need to achieve incredible results.
Read this inspiring article on our blog written by iX 2014 alumna Insesha Premaratne about her challenging but rewarding experience learning to code at iX.
What is the difference between our intro and advanced classes (Data Science → AI) (Web Dev –> iOS)?
For the Applied AI prerequisite, we're looking for a basic level of proficiency in working with data. If you've taken a semester course in R or Python, you should have no problem with the coding challenges in your AI application. Alternatively, our own Data Science course counts as a prerequisite.
Do I need any experience to do any of the courses?
7 out of the 9 courses we offer don't require any prior experience. The only 2 that require some coding experience are iOS Development and Applied Artificial Intelligence.
The great thing about iXperience is that the diverse range of courses gives you the opportunity to try out skills and interests that you may otherwise not be exposed to.
If you’re not sure if you have enough experience to qualify for one of the advanced courses, you can still apply. You will be prompted to complete a coding challenge during your application in order to be accepted into that specific course (iOS or Applied AI).
What will I be doing during my internship?
During your four-week internship you will have the opportunity to apply and develop your skills in the real world.
This not only provides an exciting opportunity to positively impact a company by exercising what you have learnt, but also to gain work experience in an area that interests you.
Internship projects are structured and outlined by our respective partner firms, and may vary from company-to-company, according to their needs and client requests at the time.
Here's what the internships are like:
How do I get placed into an internship?
Before the program begins, your teachers and TAs will work closely with our partner companies to structure internship projects that are beneficial to both the students and internship companies. These projects are structured according to the course curriculum and student outcomes, which are carefully structured by your teachers.
Students are placed with a firm by their teaching staff, who will take into consideration each student’s studies, past experience, interests, career goals, project preferences, and skillset as demonstrated throughout the course. Your performance in class and commitment to learning will have a direct impact on your internship placement.
*Please note the internship placement process may differ from course to course depending on the instructor.
What companies does iXperience work with for the internship?
Over the past three years, we've partnered with a variety of different companies in Cape Town, ranging from local startups, medium sized companies, international firms and NGO’s to offer students an immersive, hands-on internship. Click on each logo below to find out more about some of our previous partners.
We have created a beautiful tool which allow's you to explore our various partner companies in Cape Town. Click here to explore your future options!
How will I get to work each day?
iX will arrange and pay for your transportation to and from work on a daily basis. This will be handled exclusively through a reputable transport firm, meaning safe and convenient transport each day.
Is the internship paid?
Due to visa restrictions and the nature of our partnership agreements, the internships are unpaid.
What if I don’t like my internship?
One component of what makes a successful internship is, communication. The first couple of days are tough—moving from the class environment (comfort-zone) to an unfamiliar space. But, this is an opportunity to shape your internship experience.
There will be a communication channel available to all students, which can be used to contact a staff member who will assist you with any issues or concerns you may have. We want the best for our students, and want you to have gained valuable work experience, with tangible results by the end of the internship.
We work closely with both the students and our partner companies to provide an immersive real-world experience. We value our partner relationships, and look to strengthen these bonds by trying to solve a problem rather than running away from it.
Can I switch internships in the middle?
Unfortunately, due to the time limitation (4-weeks) of the internship program, our because our partner companies structure projects accordingly, students are unable to switch internships halfway through. If for any reason, you complete all the proposed projects set out for the internship, we can explore other options, as long as this has been approved by all parties involved.
Will I be supported during the internship program?
Throughout the duration of the internship, we will send out a weekly feedback report form on the Thursday of every week. This feedback report is sent to both internship companies and students, to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the weeks work.
These reports help us identify any issues/concerns, improve the overall internship experience, and help us maintain positive relations amongst all parties. The reports also help monitor project progress and ensure that realistic project goals are set and met.
The Pro-Dev team will hold office hours two evenings a week, to provide internship support and assist students in reaching your final deliverables. Furthermore, your TA’s and instructors will be available during certain times in the week to offer technical assistance were needed.
What are some of the biggest challenges faced during the internship?
Starting a new job or internship is a challenge in itself. The first couple of days are always hard when trying to find your feet in a “new” environment.
Some of the challenges past students have faced in the internship are: receiving a lot of information to synthesize, having to learn new tools to get portions of your project done, receiving an open ended project outline with little background information, minimal communication with your internship manager, and figuring out the best way to distribute the workload over such a short internship period.
Remember, challenges create the best learning experience. Knowing how to overcome challenges in the workplace makes you valuable employee and prepares you well to have a successful career.
The professional development team are devoted to supporting you through any challenges you may encounter during the internship to ensure you have the support needed to overcome your challenges.
Will the internship vary from company to company?
Yes, Internship projects will vary from company-to-company, according to their needs and client requests at the time.
This not only provides an exciting opportunity to positively impact a company by exercising what you have learnt, but also to gain work experience in an area that interests you. We give you exposure to a variety of different companies, so you're sure to find work that aligns with your abilities, skill-set and career goals.
To get the most value out of the interns, we encourage companies to structure projects around the relevant curriculum outline as well as the student outcomes/abilities document. This guarantees that internship projects match the skillsets of students, meet the desired project standards and are completed on time.
That being said, this is the real-world and every internship will be structured in a different way based on how the company operates.
What are my working hours during the internship?
Your working hours are completely dependent on your internship company and their operating principles. Most companies in South Africa work on standardised working hours: 9am to 5pm or 8am to 4pm.
What is a typical day’s schedule?
To explore the typical daily life of an iX student, check out this “Day in the Life” video, which was made by talented iX alumna Sabra Meretab:
What is the accommodation like?
You'll be staying in the iX Village. Located in one of Cape Town's trendiest neighborhoods—Camps Bay—and surrounded by some of the city’s finest restaurants, attractions and shopping centers. The iX Village is secure, comfortable and customized to your needs as an iX student – max 3 people per room/max 6 per apartment.
Depending on internship placements, some students may be relocated to other prime spots in the city to accommodate new arrivals and for ease of logistics. Either way, we’ll ensure that you’ll be staying in a safe, modern area of the city, with plenty to do in your off time.
Here are some pictures to give you a sense of what it looks like:*
* The rooms pictured here are different in different apartments within the iX Village. These are pictures we've taken inside a few of the apartments, but are similar to most.
And here are some views from around the iX Village to put this location into perspective:
Are meals included?
Breakfast and coffee will be provided every morning, Monday to Friday. You will cover lunch and dinner as well as meals on the weekend. But don’t stress! You’ll have a plethora of restaurant options available within walking distance of class and the iX Village, as well as access a small kitchen inside your apartment if you'd prefer to eat in.
Do I need to use public transportation?
Getting to campus
You'll hop on the iX transfer bus each morning for a 20-minute scenic drive to campus.
Around the iX Village
The iX Village is located within walking distance of grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, sports facilities, and beaches.
Transport for iX-official weekend excursions is fully arranged by us.
During the internship
The internships vary in location. Some are within walking distance while others require transport. Once your internship is finalized we’ll help you work out the transport logistics—all transport expenses are covered, and usually handled with iXperience's Business Uber accounts.
Uber is by far the easiest way to get around town: it's safe, available everywhere, and far cheaper than America. Cape Town also has a world-class public transport system: the MyCiti Bus Network is a safe and affordable way to go all over the city whenever you'd like. There is a MyCiti bus stop right near the iX Village.
How safe is this program?
At iXperience, our primary focus is on your safety and well-being. We chose our current locations because they are the most metropolitan areas of the city, which makes for a unique, modern, and fun experience without compromising on safety. Additionally, iX staff members and our health and safety officers are on call 24 hours a day to assist students if necessary. iX also encourages students to take responsibility for their own safety by being vigilant and taking precautions, as they would in any foreign place.
Do I need vaccinations?
No vaccinations are required for your trip to Cape Town (you can read more about this here).
Vaccinations really are just precautionary. Keep in mind that as a developing country, South Africa has a vast contrast between the infrastructure and living conditions around the country. International vaccination recommendations are generally reflective of the high-risk areas, and so tend be highly exaggerated when taking into account that you'll be staying in Cape Town, one of the most modern, developed cities in the country.
At the end of the day, the decision is totally up to you, but we do feel it necessary to remind you that Cape Town is not reflective of the entire country, and that the CDC's recommendations are in no way mandatory. If there was a real threat, the shots would be required.
How good are the medical facilities?
Medical facilities in cities and larger towns are world-class, offering specialist services by highly skilled professionals. Doctors are well trained and must be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Pharmacies are well stocked, and equivalents to most international medicines are available. Pharmacists may not dispense Schedule 3 drugs and up without a prescription, so visitors on chronic medication should carry their own prescription.
Is there a gym I can use?
There are gyms within walking distance of the iX Campus, most with monthly membership plans. They are fully equipped with treadmills, weight machines, yoga studios, aerobics classes, saunas and more.
How much spending money should I bring for the eight weeks I'll be in Cape Town?
South Africa is relatively cheap for foreign visitors due to the strength of the US Dollar against the South African Rand. Living in Cape Town is “cheap” but not free, and in the past, students have had a great time on a budget of as little as $600—$800 per month. Remember, your only unavoidable expenses are meals not included in the program cost and laundry. You can expect to pay between $5-$7 for lunch, and $7-$15 for dinner, depending on your choice of dining.
We also encourage students to partake in additional excursions and activities, which may increase costs.
What’s the weather like in Cape Town during the program?
A good Capetonian winter (remember, it's the southern hemisphere!) has sunshine, wind, rain and clouds - with surprising highs and lows in between. However, these are the facts: the average high temperature during winter is 63°F with a minimum temperature of 47°F degrees in June, July and August. We'd recommend bringing 1 or 2 jackets, long pants, and hoodies just to be safe :)
What are some of the iXperience activities I can look forward to?
The iXperience Discover program is designed with 3 principles in mind: Lifestyle, Culture, and Social Consciousness.
The Lifestyle component is about maintaining balance between focus in the classroom and inspiration from natural wonders (such as Lion's Head or Kirstenbosch Gardens), delicious food, and an impressive music scene.
The Culture component challenges you to more deeply understand the complexities of human connection, and establish a unified identity and sense of purpose. We'll explore the diverse cultures of South Africa through art, museums, and community activities.
The Social Consciousness component is designed to expand your views about the world and challenge your personal assumptions about people and places, in the hope that you'll be able to thrive in any context, anywhere in the world.
Do I have to go on the excursions?
None of the planned excursions are mandatory. The weekends are yours, and while we will always have trips and events planned for you, you are free to do whatever you like.
What cultural events will I be doing?
We have designed a unique 8 week cultural development program through which we'll take you to explore local restaurants and museums, as well as meet artists, musicians, and other creatives who are influencing our communities.
What is Cape Town cuisine like?
Cape Town boasts a wide variety of restaurants — one only has to take a stroll down Bree Street or Kloof Street to see the eclectic mix of foods from around the world. Local cuisine is influenced by Indian, Southern African, and European foods. If students are lucky, they may find their way to a home-cooked meal!
What’s the cultural significance of where I will be living?
You will be living in Green Point which is an affluent part of town, located to the north west of the central business district. It is a popular residential area for young professionals. The Cape Town Stadium is in this area and was constructed on Green Point Common for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
How does financial aid at iXperience work?
iXperience has a need-blind admissions policy, which means we don't consider an applicant's financial situation when making their admissions decision. If you indicate that you'll be applying for aid in the first step of your application, you'll have the opportunity to fill out a separate financial aid application after you submit. We grant aid based on an applicant's demonstrated need, which is calculated based on their family income and a variety of other factors.
Should I apply if my parents household income is above $100,000?
There is no official income cut-off for financial aid eligibility. Since eligibility for need-based financial aid is determined by many factors, including the family’s income, family size and number of children in college, we encourage you to apply if you are concerned about your ability to pay.
What does family household income include?
Family income includes both taxed and untaxed income. Total income is based on the Adjusted Gross Income listed on the federal tax return plus all untaxed income (i.e., tax-deferred pension contributions, social security benefits, child support received, tax exempt interest). In cases of divorced or separated families, the incomes from both parents are considered in determining total family income.
Will an additional outside scholarship affect my award?
No, additional scholarships will not affect the award given to you by iXperience.
I don't think I qualify for aid, but I'm self-funding my education! Can I still apply for financial aid?
Yes, you need to speak to the iXperience admissions department for possible financial aid assistance. You can send us a mail at email@example.com or chat with us using the speech bubble below.
How will my financial aid be disbursed?
If you are awarded financial aid, it will be deducted from your overall program fee.
Where can I look for additional scholarships?
If you're looking for additional funding and you're a student, we'd suggest reaching out to your university. Although we are an external program, some of our past students have secured some form of subsidization from their faculty heads. We'd suggest you take the plunge and find out if it would be feasible; we'll provide you with all the documentation you'll need for this. We've had a few students who, through their own efforts, managed to secure complete funding for the program!
What can I put on my resume after completing iXperience?
By the end of your summer at iXperience, you will have gained valuable, in-demand skills perfectly suited to significantly enhance any resume. Whether your chosen course is supplementary to your degree or very different from it, we have no doubt it will serve to add to your employability.
On top of this, your internship will signal to prospective employers that you have gone beyond the classroom and learned to apply your new skills in the real world.
We are committed to helping you succeed, and we will—as we have done with many of our past students—continue to give you advice and help you along your career path long after you've graduated iX and left Cape Town.
Have iX students been successful in their careers after the program?
iXperience is the only summer study-abroad program that combines the three most important aspects of career acceleration: intensive learning, hands-on professional experience, and cultural and personal exploration.
Read about how iX Alumni are going on to work at some of the world's top companies—including Facebook, Microsoft, Bain, Accenture and McKinsey—and how their experience in Cape Town gave them a significant edge in their careers:
After iX, you'll come away with proficiency in a new, in-demand skill. You'll have work experience at a South African company with clear, impactful and measurable deliverables that you can show future employers. You'll have integrated yourself into a growing, international network of 500 talented students. And, you'll have enhanced your perspective of the world from immersing yourself into one of the most culturally rich and diverse cities on Earth.