API Education

Our History

The Azusa Pacific International Education Foundation was established in 2007 in South Africa to provide a Study Abroad option for students from the Azusa Pacific University in California. The founding document of API states that it exists primarily to “facilitate and arrange for the involvement of students of USA educational institutions, as part of their studies, in humanitarian and welfare work among the poor and needy of South Africa.”

This vision has been carried out very successfully on its Pietermaritzburg campus (Savannah Estate) and, between 2014 and 2019, on a second campus in Fish Hoek, Cape Town. To date well over 1200 APU young people have completed the South Africa semester on one of the campuses, most of them in general education courses, but more than 200 from the APU School of Nursing.

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has halted the program in 2020, with some uncertainty about 2021.  We would appreciate prayer that the program can resume in 2021 and that the staff, all of whom have accepted salary sacrifices for the second half of 2020, will be able to get back to doing what they love - serving the students from the US.

THANK YOU to the more than 100 past South Africa students who clubbed together to send a gift to support the Savannah staff during the lockdown.  SO appreciated!  

Our Four Cornerstones

Modelled on those adopted by APU, API stresses these four foundational elements that frame what we do:

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Belief in Christ is central to all that we think and do, and who we are. It is this understanding of God’s love that informs all our pursuits: academic, service, and community.

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We are called to scholarship permeated by our Christian faith. We are committed to teaching excellence. The liberal arts are central in the curriculum, for we are dedicated to the education of the whole person. At the same time, we value the role of professional offerings that prepare students for specific careers.

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We believe in community. We are a richly diverse people who value the worth of each individual. Our mission is to encourage, equip, and enable each student to fulfill his or her great potential, and in turn, encourage, equip, and enable others.

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Service is at the heart of our local and international outreach, missions, and service-learning endeavors. Our students often find these experiences to be among the greatest of their lives.

Marisa Quon
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I am forever grateful for the things that God taught me in South Africa, and I hope that others can share this amazing experience.

Katie Jones
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South Africa helped me to discover my love for travel and building relationships with people of different cultural backgrounds.

Keila Asaoka
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Thank you Azusa Pacific International for reminding me that Jesus brings purpose, hope, life and joy all over the world.

Jaci Clark
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South Africa gave me new insights and perspective about the image of God and how to love and serve His people across the nations.

Julia Harbolt
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The experiences I had studying in South Africa will forever impact my life as a Christ follower, and I am so thankful.

Lucy Bessler
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God radically opened my heart in South Africa to love deeper and to genuinely and whole-heartedly serve those around me.

About The Campus

Savannah Estate

Academic Program

General Education

Required Coursework:

  • GLBL 355 – “Principles and Practices of Community Engagement”
  • HIST 235 – “Cultural History/Travel Study”
  • ISIZULU – “Introductory Zulu lectures”

Elective Coursework:

  • BIOL 325 – “Humans and the Environment”
  • MODL 101/102 – “IsiZulu” (8 units)
  • UBBL 330 – “Life and Teachings of Jesus”
  • THEO 303 – “Theology & the Christian Life” (online)
  • UBBL 230 – “Luke/Acts” (online)


Required Coursework:

  • HIST 235 – “Cultural History/Travel Study”
  • UNRS 383 – “International Health Nursing”
  • UNRS 425 – “Nursing Research” (online)
  • ISIZULU – Introductory Zulu lectures

Elective Coursework:

  • THEO 303 – “Theology & the Christian Life” (online)
  • UBBL 330 – “Life and Teachings of Jesus”

About the city

Pietermaritzburg is the capital and second-largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was founded in 1838 and is currently governed by the Msunduzi Local Municipality. Its Zulu name umGungundlovu is the name used for the district municipality. Pietermaritzburg is popularly called Maritzburg in English and Zulu alike, and often informally abbreviated to PMB. It is a regionally important industrial hub, producing aluminium, timber and dairy products.

Optional things to do

Butterflies for Africa: This is an unusual visit to walk among thousands of butterflies and see some unique monkeys.

Durban beaches: The famous Durban beaches are just an hour’s drive away and there will be several excursions to this city for both educational and fun times.

Howick Falls and Craft Market: An opportunity to see the famous Howick Falls while also browsing at the Craft Market alongside.

Mandela Capture Site: A must-see historical site marking the spot where icon Nelson Mandela was captured by the apartheid government before being incarcerated for 27 years. He emerged to become the first president of the truly democratic South Africa in 1994.

Ziplining: The Karkloof Canopy Tour has been built in a spectacular valley of the Karkloof Forest Reserve. The tour includes long swooping slides over the forest canopy, stops below a 15-metre waterfall, and wider views across the beautiful Karkloof valley, with slides of up to 180 metres long.

Campus Info & Rules

Further information

Please consult the FAQ section

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Location & Addresses

Savannah Estate
212 Murray Road,
Hayfields, Pietermaritzburg
South Africa

Postnet Suite #12,
Private Bag X6,
Cascades 3202,
Pietermaritzburg, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

Director details:

Dr Reg Codrington
Email: directorpmb@api-education.com
Tel: +27-33-396-9194

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What to do:

Field Trips & Excursions:

  • Course-based field trips into
    the surrounding area
  • Excursions to Durban beaches, Drakensberg Boys Choir School, Nambiti Game Reserve and others

Community Engagement

  • Weekly involvement in local Service Sites and Clinics
  • Voluntary additional service in disadvantaged communities

Recent News


Psychology courses relocating

With the closure of the Cape Town campus, it has been decided that Psychology courses will be offered in Pietermaritzburg from Spring 2020.

Read Article

Field Trips

Hiking in the Mountains

One of the fun field trips undertaken from the Pietermaritzburg campus is hiking in the beautiful Drakensberg mountains, while visiting early rock paintings at the same time.

Read Article


Diving with sharks!

Diving with the sharks at Aliwal Shoal off the KZN coast is a new, optional excursion for those who can cope with going out to sea in a small boat and swimming among these magnificent creatures.

Read Article

Frequently Asked Questions

The instructors in South Africa are accredited adjunct faculty of APU, so the same standards that are required on the main campus will be required in South Africa. Many students testify that, with the additional compulsory courses in Community Engagement, and History & Culture of South Africa, the academic program is quite full and requires diligence and discipline from the very outset.

Most places in the world have a measure of risk these days, but very careful rules are put in place on both campuses to minimize this. No public transport is used, students move about in groups (especially when jogging), and there is an 11pm (23h00) curfew imposed. No local hiring of vehicles is permitted for the entire semester. These rules apply whether a student is a freshman or senior, and those feeling that this will be too restrictive should reconsider their application to South Africa.

Yes. Our Campus has a fairly robust internet system. Online classes, emails and web browsing have priority for studies. Video chats as well as Video and Audio streaming, from legal streaming services such as Netflix, are also available, but may experience difficulties during busy times on the network.

While all laptops, tablets and cellphones have chargers that accommodate the South Africa current (220-240V), hair-dryers and similar appliances designed for 100V will burn out. Surge protected devices will not work as they are expecting a lower voltage than supplied. Local dryers and straighteners are provided on both campuses.

Yes. The strong dollar means that shopping in South Africa is very inexpensive, with the rand currency being easily available through ATMs using a US card. For your own sake, do advise your bank that you will be in South Africa to ensure that they don’t block out of country usage. An amount of $1000 for discretionary spending is usually considered to be sufficient, since housing, meals, transport and field trips are all included in fees paid to APU.

The areas students will visit experience considerable weather fluctuations, so layers of clothes are preferable and a rain jacket is essential. The Fall semester (September to December) will tend to be cool to warm, while the Spring Semester (January to April) will mainly be warm to hot. South Africa uses the Centigrade measure of temperature, with cool being 10-20C (50-68F) and hot being 30-40C (86-104F).

The simple answer is, probably no! The South African postal system is not in a good place and there are frequently lengthy delays, including various customs duties on packages. Mail should preferably be limited to email, and essential packages should be sent via courier (Fedex is recommended).

There are world-class clinics and hospitals in both cities, and any medication required can be provided (or its equivalent). Student travel insurance covers illness in South Africa but can only be claimed in the US. In the event of illness or accident, the student is required to settle the amount locally and then claim it back Stateside. API will assist with these expenses temporarily if necessary. Please note that scripts from the US are not accepted in South Africa, so if you are taking prescription medicine you need to bring it with you for the full duration of your stay.

At no point in the semester will students be in a malaria area, so anti-malaria medication is not required. Nursing students (and to some extent the General Education students) will be meeting HIV-positive people constantly, but very strict protocols are put in place to ensure that students are not at risk as long as they take the reasonable precautions laid down.

There will be opportunities for hiking, jogging, swimming, surfing, volley-ball, and various beach activities. Two South African beaches are listed among the top five surfing spots in the world.

No. As with the APU campus, Savannah Estate is alcohol-free, and students are requested to honor the commitment made in writing (on application) to abstain from alcohol, drugs or smoking for the duration of their stay in the country.

The Board

John C Reynolds PhD (Chair)

Formerly the global chief information officer for World Vision International and then Executive Vice-President of Azusa Pacific University, John Reynolds is currently President of the Los Angeles Pacific University in California. His professional affiliations include board membership of the Christian Leadership Alliance (current chair), LCC International University (Lithuania), and African Enterprise (USA).

Wendy Dugmore MB ChB, M(prax)Med

Having served as a primary level medical practitioner within the public sector, then for Health Systems Trust in research and training, Wendy joined the adjunct faculty of APU and taught for several years in the South Africa semester nursing program. She retired from health services and joined the Methodist Church as a Deacon, currently coordinating an NPO, Siphakeme, which trains pre-school teachers from under-resourced communities.

Cornelia Mcunu BA, BEd

For the past 22 years, Cornelia Mcunu has served variously as educator, school counselor, and education specialist in the development and implementation of policy at a provincial level. She is currently Deputy Chief Education Specialist: Career Guidance & Counselling at the KZN Department of Education Head Office in Pietermaritzburg.

Wayne Herman PhD

Dr Herman served as a missionary in South Africa for many years, working as a faculty member at the Cornerstone Christian College in Cape Town. When he relocated back to the United States, he was appointed as Vice-President and Chief Academic Officer of the Los Angeles Pacific University, a fully online higher education institution in San Dimas, California.

Jon R Wallace DBA

Prior to his appointment as the 16th president of APU, Jon Wallace served as executive vice president, and held other administrative positions at the university. His professional affiliations include the American Association of Higher Education, Council of Independent Colleges, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

Reg Codrington DEd

With tertiary qualifications in both education and theology, Reg Codrington served over the years as Principal/President of the Rosebank Bible College in Johannesburg, board chairman of Treverton Schools, and headmaster of Grace College, Hilton. He has been the Executive Director of API since its inception in 2007 and is an ex officio board member.