We have taken a break for 3 months during the Cape Town winter. It is not all holiday time, because Ann is working very hard on LLE’s learning System.
We are creating new exercises and working material which our students can use for language practice at their homestay or student house or dormitory while they stay in Cape Town. This helps the students learn quickly – LLE allows the students to do this extra work at no extra cost. It is all done as part of the price which the student pays to LLE for their course.
Another big advantage of this system is that the student can practise whenever they return home to their own country – the LLE system operates worldwide.
Ann Turner and Mike Narun – the first thing you should know about Ann and Mike is that they both love meeting new people, and always help their students enjoy their English course while also enjoying Cape Town at the same time. Ann and Mike started Let’s Learn English (LLE) in the year of 2011, and have remained friends with many of the students since then.
Ann manages the studies, and is passionate about making sure that all students get lots of opportunity to speak, listen and think in English, while they are at LLE. She also controls the very excellent internet Learning System of LLE, constantly putting in new information for the students, which they can access and use after school to practise what they have learnt in class. It is a powerful system, it helps students improve their English quickly in a short time, and does not cost any extra!
Ann’s professional qualifications are:
(a)BA Honours degree in History from the University of Cape Town, and
(b)a CELTA language tuition course from Cambridge University – her experience covers
(c)15 years of teaching and also development of education material, including online material, and
(d)handcraft work such as sewing and weaving. She uses her full life experience to teach!
Mike manages the finances of LLE, and his professional qualifications are;
(a)CA(SA) – a South African Chartered Accountant, which he studied at the University of Cape Town.
(b)His business experience includes advising clients with financial products such as healthcare and life insurance. He is a senior partner in such a business, which he started more than 35 years ago, but still spends most of his time at LLE.
2 very important things about this school are;
(i)LLE is a small school, which helps give lots of individual attention to each student, in a family atmosphere, and
(ii)LLE teaches to the syllabus of the CEFR, the recognised international standard for all second language speakers.
If students really want to improve their English level in a short time, LLE will help them achieve that.
Pause before responding. I don’t know about you, but I’m often in a rush for something and whenever I’m trying to communicate, I’m usually trying to do so quickly. As hard as it is for me to just pause sometimes, I’ve actually found that it works wonders when it comes to communicating more effectively with others. Sometimes just that tiny break, giving you time to think, is just what you need to really understand what someone else has said or to formulate the thoughts you really want to convey.
Be trustworthy and honest. When you’re trustworthy and honest, communication becomes a lot less complicated. You don’t have to think about what you’re going to say wrong and you don’t have to worry about uncovering a secret or a dishonest statement. If you remain open, honest, and worth of trust, you’ll have a much easier time communicating with others and others will be a lot more willing to communicate with you. Words like “trustworthy” and “honest” are thrown around a lot, but they really are valuable and they are particularly important when it comes to communication.
Don’t rush communication. This goes back to the point that came up in #1. When you’re rushing and trying to get through your communication quickly that’s when things can go wrong. Often when we’re in a rush, we forget things or misplace things and the same goes for when we’re rushing through any type of communication. So next time you find yourself communicating with someone else, slow down and really pay attention. Taking just a little extra time could end up making a huge difference.
Adapt your ideas to others. When we come up with an idea, we often have a set image of it in our minds and that image isn’t always easily conveyed to others. If you really want your ideas to be heard, you have to work with the person you’re speaking to and find a way to communicate that idea in a way s/he will understand. This means you have to take the time to get to know your audience if you really, truly want to be able to communicate with them effectively.
Stay in the moment. You know I love this one! When you devote your full attention to the person or people you are communicating with, you’re more likely to have much better results. I know for a fact that’s very, very true. Whenever I’ve gotten distracted and stopped paying attention to the person I’m communicating with, the communication as quickly gone south. If you want to communicate your thoughts effectively, you have to stay in the present moment and really be there when you’re speaking and listening.
Pay attention to non-verbal cues. This is essential when it comes to effective communication. So much of what we say is actually not said, and if you want to understand what others are really thinking or saying you have to do more than just listen. You have to look and experience too. It’s very easy to say something and not really feel it so it’s very important that, when communicating, you look both at your own non-verbal cues and those others are sending you. There’s a lot to be said for what’s not really being said.
Intend to understand. This idea comes from Stephen Covey and focuses on the concept of listening to actually understand what is being said, rather than listening just to respond with what you want to say. This can be a tricky thing to do if you’re anything like me, always ready to respond with your own opinion. Too often we’re not really trying to understand what others are saying but instead are trying to find a way to jump from their points to our own. Next time you’re communicating, do what you can to really work on understanding what others are saying.
Be patient and open-minded. Communication, even the easiest of communication, can be tough at times, which is why it’s so very important to be both patient and open-minded in your interactions with others. Recognize that you might not necessarily be communicating as effectively as you’d like and remember to also be patient with yourself. No matter what the situation, there is a way to communicate — sometimes it just takes time. Be patient and keep your mind open for new ways of sharing and understanding.
Follow up after communicating. To often we assume that whatever we’ve attempted to communicate was received just the way we sent it and, unfortunately, more often than not that’s just not the case. If you’re communicating with someone (especially if it’s important!), make sure that you follow up after you’ve communicated. Assuming that your message was heard and understand is a big no-no in the effective communication world. No matter how obvious your message might seem, it never hurts to follow up!
Ask for feedback from others. When it’s all said and done, one of the best ways you can learn to communicate more effectively (particularly with specific individuals) is to ask for feedback. Take some time to speak to those who you communicate with frequently to find out how you can improve on your communication with them. Sometimes all it takes is a few suggestions and you’ll be on the road to creating a better understanding with someone else. It’s not always easy to ask for feedback, but it’s worth it!
Communication can be tricky at times (especially if you’re in a situation where you need to communicate difficult topics or discuss hard-to-grasp ideas). There are many ways communication can be made ineffective and it’s all too easy to let effective communication skills slip through the cracks. However, if you really want to make the most of your life and you want to continually strive to improve your relationships with others (and with yourself!), you must stay on top of your communicating game. Pay attention to how you communicate with others and also pay attention to how others communicate with you. You may have learned a thing or two from this post, but you can always learn more and one of the best ways to learn is by observing and then taking action. So pay attention to what’s going on around you and what choices you’re making when it comes to communicating with others; being more aware will help you be more proactive in your effective communication efforts. Now go on — get out there and communicate!
Being a student comes with big responsibilities and being able to concentrate while studying for a big exam is vital.
Here are 10 brain-healthy foods that will boost concentration and memory.
The healthy fats found in avocados boost brain function by helping promote better blood flow. Blood flow to all your organs is essential for them to function at their best. Avocados are also high in fiber which means it will help slow down your digestion and keep away hunger pangs that could distract you.
2. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and can work to suppress cells responsible for inflammation in your brains. This will help boost your memory and prevent memory loss as you age.
3. Leafy green vegetables
Popeye wasn’t just chowing down spinach to boost his strength. Turns out, he was boosting his brain power too. Spinach and most other leafy green vegetables are full of antioxidants and B-vitamins which help boost memory, focus and overall brain health. They are also a good source of folic acid which helps boost mental clarity.
4. Olive oil
Olive oil is high in the antioxidant polyphenol. Antioxidants will help prevent cognitive decline as you age. It is also high in vitamins E and K which together help maintain brain productivity and boost processing speed. Olive oil also boosts the levels of brain chemicals which stimulate the formation of new brain cells.
5. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is often praised for its high level of flavonoids, which is a good antioxidant. It also helps lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain. However, make sure you choose the right brand of dark chocolate to absorb these benefits. Many store brands contain large amounts of sugar that could do more harm than good to your brain.
6. Salmon, sardines and other fatty fish
There’s a reason fish oil capsules are such a popular health supplement. Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines contain essential omega-3 fatty acids which are vital for brain function. It also protects your brain from declined cognitive functions and memory loss as you age.
Nuts are rich in antioxidants, essential fats and amino acids that have been proven to help you focus. Walnuts are likely your best option as they contain the most amount of antioxidants compared to other nuts. Walnuts also contain alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that promotes brain development and health. To get these benefits, just one ounce of nuts a day is sufficient.
One of the most antioxidant-rich foods you could eat, blueberries are the perfect supplement for a healthy brain. They are also high in gallic acid, which prevents damage to your brain from large amounts of stress.
Eggs contain choline, which is vital for brain development. A large intake of choline is also correlated with improved cognitive performance. Make sure you eat the yolks too as they contain the most amount of choline!
Oatmeal is often touted as one of the healthiest breakfast options. A good serving of oatmeal in the morning leaves you feeling full and prevents midday hunger pangs. Oatmeal also has a low glycemic index, which means it won’t spike blood sugar levels. This will help increase brain functionality. For a particularly brain-healthy breakfast, try opting for a bowl of slow-cooked oatmeal topped with a variety of nuts and blueberries.
Some people think that correct English grammar matters only to teachers and is of no real importance in daily life. This is certainly not true. Grammar, regardless of the country or the language, is the foundation for communication. When a message is relayed with the correct grammar, it is easier to understand the purpose and meaning of that message. In order to communicate, a learner should know the grammar of the language. It is important to be able to express yourself, but this should be done in a way that people find easy to understand.
Writing that is poorly punctuated and contains grammatical errors is difficult to read and sometimes impossible to understand. If the reader has to go back and re-read a sentence several times because they are not quite sure what it means, it spoils their reading experience and they are quite likely to misunderstand the point or even give up and not read any further.
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules which influences the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given language. It is the systematic study and description of a language, and it helps us to understand how words and their component parts combine to form sentences.
Reasons why you should apply the correct grammar when you speak and write
Grammar rules can help learners develop the habit of thinking logically and clearly. After studying grammar, learners are able to become more accurate when using a language.
Without good grammar, clear communication is impossible. Proper grammar keeps you from being misunderstood while expressing your thoughts and ideas.
Grammar improves the development of fluency. When a person has learned grammar, it will be easier for that person to know how to organise and express the ideas in their mind without difficulty. As a result, they will be able to speak, read and write the language more fluently.
Many employers are immediately put off when they receive a cover letter for a job application that contains grammatical errors and is poorly written. Many employers will simply ignore this application and even delete it. It is therefore important to bear this in mind when applying for a job.
When writing on behalf of your organisation, it is important to use the correct grammar, as this can mean the difference between readers trusting your expertise or questioning your knowledge of the subject matter. If you can’t write properly, you can’t relay your subject matter with authority.
A person with poor grammar skill can form a negative impression on others. First impressions can be lasting, and may hide the true judgment of character. Some people consider good grammar to be a mark of intelligence and education. Don’t allow strangers to form a negative impression of you based on your poor communication skills.
Writing and speaking correctly gives you the appearance of credibility. If you’re attempting to build a reputation as an expert in your profession, correct use of grammar is extremely important.
With the development of social networks and technology, people have become increasingly more lazy to use grammar in their everyday communications. When texting, using Facebook, MySpace or Twitter, they tend to use sentences that are as simple as possible. Grammar is unnecessary in these mediums and fragments of sentences are quite acceptable. Unfortunately, it is easy to get into a bad habit based on this.
There is no shortcut to learning English grammar. A computer can’t fully grasp the complexities of the English language. In some cases, a computer grammar check can sometimes suggest the incorrect alternatives when attempting to fix common errors.
Different ways to improve your grammar
Read more in English
One way to improve your grammar is to read more in English. The more you read, the more you improve your grammar and vocabulary. It may be tiring and difficult to understand everything, but this is one step you cannot skip if you want to get better at grammar. Reading helps you to see how English works and how the grammar works. That knowledge can transfer to your writing. Find something you like to read, and then keep on reading. It doesn’t matter what you read – books, magazine articles, or newspapers – as long as they are written in proper English. Try to read as many different genres (e.g. newspaper articles, academic journals, blogs, short-stories, etc.) as you can.
Listen more to English
Listening to others who use good English and watching television also helps. It works better if you watch what you are really interested in. Remember that the English spoken in America is different from that spoken in England. Some parts of spelling and grammar are different between the two countries. In South Africa, we follow the British grammar and spelling rules.
Make sure you work through all your grammar exercises in your course book regularly. To learn English grammar well, you will need to practise each grammar point until you can easily use it. Look for a book of grammar exercises that also has answers for additional practice. Online activities and quizzes can also help. Focus on one grammar point each time you study.
Write more in English
Try writing a daily journal in English. Any extra practice that you can get is going to help you.
Remember, try not to get discouraged. Learning English grammar and using it correctly takes a lot of time, effort, and practice. Be positive and proactive about practising your grammar and you’ll begin seeing more improvement.
We all have to deal with stress at certain times in our lives, and at some times it can be worse than others. Studying can be very stressful for a lot of people, and this stress can be even worse if studying abroad. Not only are we more likely to get stressed out when studying abroad, but it can be harder to deal with too, with family and friends a long way away and potentially even in very different time zones. But don’t despair, because there are ways of coping with stress before it all becomes too overwhelming.
Organised means less stressed
The best thing that you can do to keep stress at a manageable level is to be organized and plan everything in advance. If you know what you have coming up in the week ahead then you’re less likely to get behind, or suddenly remember something you’d forgotten at the last minute and have a big panic about it (or, even worse, completely forget something and not show up or hand in an assignment, leading to more stress about said lapse in memory).
It's time for rest!
You also need to make sure that you have some down time. All work and no play make Jack an incredibly stressed-out student. Join a few societies and sports clubs, both at your college and out in the community, so you meet a range of people. Not only will this give you some time off from thinking about your studies, but also give you the opportunity to make some new friends, who you may need around when you’re not feeling so good. You will also have opportunities for further social gatherings with your new friends; if you’re invited for a party, then go for it! You definitely need some time off.
Stay in touch!
Although it’s important to make new friends, do keep in touch with good friends from home and, of course, your family. If calling and texting is expensive, try and schedule chats over the Internet, as this is free and easy provided you have an Internet connection. Try and schedule a weekly online meeting with the most important person in your life (be it a parent, sibling, best friend or someone else) so you have that chat to look forward to all week. If you don’t have it scheduled then you might find that it hardly ever happens, especially if you’re in different time zones. Chances are, this person will be missing you just as much as you miss them, so they will be able to sympathize with you.
No for Nostalgia!
On the other hand, you shouldn’t obsess over your life back home. Constant messages and calls from a loved one could just make you feel very homesick and depressed, and you ultimately want to enjoy your time studying abroad and experience a new culture, not try and live your old life vicariously through a family member or friend. Try and get the best of both worlds, because coping with stress while studying abroad is all about getting the balance right in every possible way.
Get Organized. Making a plan for what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it will make sure you’re always ahead of the curve – literally.
Don’t multitask. Studies have shown that multitasking is physically impossible.
Divide it up. Studying isn’t fun to begin with, and forcing yourself through a study marathon will only make it worse. Dividing your work into manageable chunks and rewarding yourself when you finish each chunk will make studying (more) fun.
Sleep. Don’t underestimate the importance of those eight hours of zzz’s every night! Getting a good night’s rest will sharpen your focus and improve your working memory.
Set a schedule. Do you work better right after school or after you’ve eaten dinner? Are you more productive in 90-minute blocks or half-hour spurts? Find a schedule that works for you, and stick to it.
Take notes. Taking notes will not only keep you more engaged during class, but will also help you narrow down what you need to study when exam time rolls around. It’s much easier to reread your notes than to reread your entire textbook!
Study. This one might be obvious, but did you know that there’s a right and a wrong way to study? Review your material several days ahead of time, in small chunks, and in different manners (for example, write flashcards one day and take practice tests the next). In other words, don’t cram.
Manage your study space. Find a place that will maximize your productivity. Look for places away from the television and other distractions. Whether it’s your local library or just the desk in your bedroom, set aside a study space that you’ll want to spend time in.
Find a study group. Sitting down with a group of people who are learning the same things as you is a great way to go over confusing class material or prepare for a big test. You can quiz each other, reteach material, and make sure that everyone is on the same page. After all, teaching someone else is the best way to learn.
Ask questions. You’re in school to learn, so don’t be afraid to do just that! Asking for help – from a teacher, a tutor or your friends – is a surefire way to make sure you truly understand the material.
Explore organic food, art and alcohol-fuelled debates in this bohemian Cape Town suburb
Need to let your hair down and let out your creative freak somewhere close to the city? Visit Cape Town’s most bohemian suburb, Observatory.
It’s an arty district locally known as ‘Obs’. The main entertainment area centered around the Lower Main Road. You’ll find quirky restaurants, easy-going bars, live music and lots of hippies in Observatory, which also represents one of the largest residential arts communities in South Africa. We’re talking shabby chic.
People from various walks of life find themselves calling this area home. Youngsters, students, artists, philosophers, actors, backpackers and all kinds of weirdos engage in alcohol-fuelled debates about philosophy, politics, jazz, organic food, books, history and the arts. Enter any café in Obs by yourself and you simply know you will leave with a new friend, philosophy or self-produced poem.
The Wild Fig Restaurant
Sit down, relax and enjoy the comfort of this 18th century farmhouse restaurant that serves pub lunches and even Mediterranean and Asian meals to boot. Situated on Valkenberg Estate, The Wild Fig Restaurant is home to a cosy and casual fireplace that’s perfect for those winter nights out. Their menu perfectly matches the setting; think hearty, country cooking buffered by garden salads, seasonal vegetables and fresh linefish specials – how’s that for a great day or evening out? Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 12pm – 10:30pm; Sun: 12pm – 9:30pm
South African Astronomical Observatory
The reason this area is called Observatory is because the headquarters of the National Centre for Optical and Infrared Astronomy is based in this suburb. Every second and fourth Saturday of the month at 8pm you are welcome to have a peek. The headquarters include offices, the main library, computing facilities, engineering workshops and historic telescopes. This is your chance to look through the historic McClean telescope and spot that shooting star. Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 8:30am – 4:30pm Observatory Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 0025
This shabby chic café offers freshly prepared breakfast, lunch and, more recently, dinners. The menu is filled with organic and healthy foods. Opt for one of the delicious, homemade soups or taste the rich gourmet sandwiches. The staff recommends the bacon and potato salad. At Mimi’s all dishes are homemade and fresh. You won’t find any preservatives in the kitchen. Healthy enough, right? Opening Hours: Mon & Tues: 7am – 7pm, Wed – Fri: 7am – 9pm, Sat & Sun: 9am – 4pm 107 Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 6747
The Image & Hair
Looking for an excuse to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? Give yourself a treat and head to The Image & Hair. In this extensive beauty salon you can get your hair and make-up done, while you’re getting a manicure and pedicure. Not satisfied yet? There’s also a fashion boutique and a massage salon, all under one roof. Opening Hours: Tues – Sat: 9am – 5pm 80/82 Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 4426
Start off with the OBZ Burger, try a piece of homemade cake for desert, head off to the OBZ theatre for live music, enjoy an Original Long Island Ice Tea and fall asleep in your dorm room at OBZ Backpackers. OBZ Café has everything you need for a full night out. On Wednesday you can grab a pizza at half price or taste the huge Big Daddy Special on Mondays for just R99. Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 11am – 11pm 115 Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 5555
The Foreign Exchange
Forex, as it is commonly known, sports with a combination of good eats, great drinks, interesting people and a great vibe that makes this Southern Suburbs bar a prime nighttime option. This spot is anything but cliquey hence there are people who come from all over just to experience the global diversity of The Foreign Exchange. Forex gives all other Mother City watering holes a real run for their money. So, make a night of it at this vibrant Observatory pub centred on global mixing and mingling. Opening Hours: Mon – Wed: 4pm – 11pm; Thurs: 4pm – 12am; Fri & Sat: 4pm – 1am
92-96 Station Rd | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 0083
Hello Sailor Bistro If you’re an “Observatorian”, the rock’n’roll bistro Hello Sailor should definitely become one of your go-tos. The sailor-decor is inviting, the music is well chosen and the food is good. “Food is a big thing for us. We serve stuff we like and what people like.” says owners Bosko and Ryan, “Full on flavours but simple.” And chef Maggie (cool eyewear, cool tattoos) will make sure you have a good food experience. Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 8:30am – 11pm, Sat & Sun: 9am – 11pm 86 Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 0707
Café Ganesh This is a downscale student bar-cum-club-cum-restaurant in the Observatory neighbourhood. It serves samoosas downstairs, the South African Indian answer to egg rolls. They also showcase art films as well as live, sometimes impromptu, performances upstairs. It keeps the charm of the township tavern kitchen – serving traditional meals and unbelievably cheap quarts. Meals cost R28 – R60 and you get the real pap here: pap and vleis with a nice authentic feeling. Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 11am – 2am Lower Main Road at Trill Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 3435
A Touch of Madness From the onset of arriving at A Touch of Madness, you are transported back to the Victorian era. The restaurant is quaintly situated in a Victorian-style house, which was built between 1900 and 1905. A Touch of Madness definitely holds a superior ambiance with its large windows casting a warm and homely vibe for those special get togethers. The burgundy walls and delicate chandeliers add to the eloquent feeling of fine dining. The extensive menu caters for all tastes. A definite must! Opening Hours: Tues – Sat: 12am -10pm 12 Nuttal Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 4650
Mango Ginger Coffee Shop
Pastry chef Fiona injects love into every fresh dish. She focuses on pure health food. The gluten-free products are high in quality and low in price. If you’re a sucker for freshly prepared and tasteful goodies, this is the place for breakfast and lunch; the quality is in the ambiance and the details. Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 7:30am – 5pm, Sat: 8am – 3pm
105 Lower Main Road | Entrance in Trill Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 2500
The River Club The River Club Golf and Conference Centre is the place to be. Enjoy a day of golfing on the 9-hole mashie course or the 90-bay driving range. The world famous Logical Golf Academy is also based here. Afterwards, grab a bite at Players Café and Bar. The menu offers a wide range of dishes from breakfasts to light snacks, salads and sandwiches. Opening Hours: Mon: 11am – 8pm, Tues – Fri: 7am – 8pm, Sat & Sun: 8am – 8pm Liesbeek Parkway | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 6117
This South African National Circus School was founded by trapeze world champion, Dimitri Slaverse and his wife, Nicky. Watch contortionists move their bodies in unbelievable shapes and positions and figure out how the fire jumpers also jump through the ring at the right moment. Dare to take a challenge? Find out how fearless you really are and brave the trapeze or construct a human pyramid.
Gear up for some indoor adventure at this wondrous venue. CityRock’s climbing facilities include a large bouldering area and high walls for rope climbing. They cater for everyone – from inexperienced first-timers to professional rock-climbers. The venue also has a relaxed coffee shop area, which is an ideal place to make new friends and climbing buddies to make plans for the next trip up the wall. Opening Hours: Mon & Wed: 9am – 9pm, Tues & Thurs: 9am – 10pm, Fri & Sat: 9am – 6pm 21 Anson St | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 1326
Queen of Tarts Bakery
The delicious cupcakes, freshly baked goods and funky decor are what makes Queen of Tarts Bakery the treat of Observatory. This bakery takes its inspiration from Parisian patisseries. Make a lasting impression on your guests and order from Queens of Tarts for that one special event you’re hosting. Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 8am – 4pm, Sat: 8am – 2pm 213 Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 2420
There are hundreds of reasons why you should study abroad. Kaplan thought that writing each one would be too hard. We decided to list the top ten reasons instead.
1. Making Friends
Studying abroad might seem scary but it is a great opportunity to make new friends. You will meet people from different countries who are doing the same thing. Sharing your experience with them will create friendships that can last forever.
2. Gaining Confidence
Traveling to a different country to study takes courage. You will do things that you have never done before. Succeeding at new challenges will give you extra confidence and turn you into a stronger person.
3. Becoming Independent
Some people might not be used to do things for themselves. Studying abroad makes you learn to look after yourself without the help of family. Gaining greater independence will help you to achieve more in life.
Why study abroad? For food of course! Every country has amazing local dishes. If you travel abroad to the UK, you can try a delicious plate of fish and chips. Students in the USA can enjoy mouth-watering hot dogs. Nothing beats a barbeque in sunny Australia.
5. Make People Jealous
Friends back home will be very jealous of your adventures abroad. Posting Facebook photos and Twitter updates will show everyone how much of a great time you are having. This leads nicely into the next reason to study abroad …
6. Invite Your Friends To Visit
People will love to visit if you are studying abroad. You will be able to show friends around a new country and feel like a native. Friends will also be very impressed with your new confidence and independence.
7. Improve Your C.V.
Studying abroad looks fantastic on your C.V. Employers often look for confident people who
have done interesting things. Showing that you have studied abroad will improve your chances of getting a job.
8. Experience New Cultures
Traveling allows you to learn about the local art, history and culture of a new country. Discover exciting and unusual customs that will amaze you. Living with a host family is a great way to learn about local traditions.
9. Record Your Experience
Studying abroad is a great reason to start a blog. Keeping a blog or a journal will help you record and share your experiences. Look back at the start of your journey and see how much progress you have made.
10. Learn Languages
The last and probably most important reason to study abroad is that it is much easier to learn the local language. Living and studying in a country makes learning a language quicker. You might even pick up the local accent.
There are few places in the world that offer some of the greatest things in life in one neat and easily accessible package: Stunning nature, interesting history, awesome adventure, great food and wine, and some of the most exciting wildlife in the world. Cape Town in South Africa manages to do just that.
Here’s why my vote for the best city in the world goes to Cape Town – and why I think you should book a flight over right now. Or at least right after reading this article.
1. Stunning nature
At almost any location in or around Cape Town, you only have to look up to see the magnificent Table Mountain. At 1100 m tall, it dominates the horizon around the city and is, without doubt, Cape Town’s most famous landmark. If you ever get tired of seeing it from below, head on up the mountain to see the vista from a different perspective. You can jump on the cable cars to enjoy an easy glide up or take one of a few different trails ranging from 3-10 km that lead up to the top.
Directly across from Table Mountain sits Lion’s Head at 670 m above sea level. A 5 km hike to the top provides sweet views with little sweat. Interested in more adrenaline? Schedule a tandem paragliding trip off the top and soar above the city, off the coast and back.
2. A rich and raw history
Robben Island, where South Africa’s most famous civil rights activist and former president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, is a must-see. Used as a criminal prison by the Dutch, Robben Island became a prison used by the apartheid-era South African government to lock up civil and political activists who opposed the government. Walking through the compound you can visit the cell where Mandela spent 18 years of his life. Walking outside the compound gives you a view of the iconic skyline of Cape Town, ominously out of reach.
Coming back to the city center you can learn about the trials and tribulations of what was once the city’s soul – District Six. While nothing much stands in this location now there was once a booming neighborhood that used to be home to 60,000+ merchants and immigrants. Under apartheid law District Six was made a white only sector and by 1968 families were forcibly removed and relocated over 25 km away to the Cape Flats. Taking a walking tour of the now vacant area with guides who were themselves evicted in 1968 gives you very raw and real insights into what life in the city was like for decades. Don’t forget to visit the District Six Museum for further insights into what life in the area used to be like.
3. Adventure that’s all around
Adventure is part of the very DNA of this city. You can surf, hike and paraglide off mountains in one single day, and if you’re really, really brave you can go cage diving with great white sharks. Head out to Birkenhead Peninsula and you’ll find many companies eager to take you out to safely view one of the largest marine predators on the planet. Take your GoPro – but be careful with that selfie stick.
When cage diving with Great White Sharks isn’t enough take a drive to Tsitsikamma National Park where you’ll find many more opportunities to cross off your bucket list. Bungee jump off Bloukrans Bridge, the 4th tallest bungee jump in the world, then do a spot of kayaking, scuba diving or mountain biking in the park.
4. World-class wining and dining
The Garden Route is arguably one of the most iconic and idyllic places in the world to sample outstanding wines and eat outstanding food. And it’s easily accessible from the city. It sports beautiful coastal views, picturesque lakes and gorgeous farmlands and makes for a perfect road trip. It’s here that you’ll find South Africa’s best and most famous wine growing regions and vineyards, including Stellenbosch, Constantia and Paarl.
For some world-class (casual) dining, make a short trek to the Hout Bay Market on a weekend to check out a bustling marketplace with local vendors and eat oysters the size of your head. There you’ll find endless types of artisan foods, including hearty meats cooked on a brai (a South African barbecue), cured biltong (dried meat), fire-baked pizzas, (more) gigantic oysters and plenty of other fresh seafood. It’s also a bit of a shopping mecca, with art, clothes and jewelry being sold by local artisans.
5. The Big 5 (up close and personal)
The Garden Route Game Lodge is a great place to spot the famous “Big 5”: the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and the rhinoceros. Jump in the back of an open Land Rover and get your binoculars and cameras out for a beautiful sunset safari. Sunrise safaris are wonderful too, especially if you stay overnight and take advantage of the early hours of the day when lions and other big predators are at their most active.
Not close enough? The De Hoop Game Reserve is another great place to continue your wildlife spotting. This private game reserve is next to the famous Whale Trail – a common backpacking trail with coastal viewing of whales. Better yet, stay a night or two in the reserve surrounded by the (non-predatory) wildlife. Watch out for those baboons though.
All sound a little too good to be true? It isn’t. Don’t take my word for it and just go see it for yourself.