As an English Teacher at UCT English Language Centre, I see students from all over the world come to visit us. Mostly, they are travelling alone and this can feel lonely without friends. So, what’s the answer? Meet people and make some new friends! As well as making friends within UCT English Language Centre, there are a number of ways of meeting people outside of the classroom.
- Join Meetup
On Meetup, you can join groups that share your interests, including – running, hiking, movies, yoga, eating out, dancing, photograph, IT etc. There’s even a group called YOLO (YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE)! It is a great way to go to an event or activity, on your own, with a group of strangers (or some might say, people who are not yet your friends) and enjoy an event or activity.
There is usually a very small fee (e.g. R20) for normal events or specific costs (e.g. R465 for a sunset, champagne boat trip).
Join groups that show a lot of activity and many past and future events. If you don’t want to go alone, take a school friend with you!
- Join a Running / Hiking Group or Sports Club
People in Cape Town love the outdoors – you can find people here who regularly swim, paddleski, row, dive, surf, hike, walk, run, kitesurf, tennis and play field sports (like hockey and cricket). A particular favourite of Capetonians is trail running (I mean, why wouldn’t you surrounded as we are by beautiful mountains??). A great and FREE group to join is CRAG. They usually offer regular runs at different speeds (RUN, JOG and WALK).
Another great hiking group who also offer conservation activities and social events is Meridian Hiking Group. The annual fee is R200 per annum. They also offer some pleasant, gentle walks around Cape Town e.g. Sea Point Promenade / the Alphen trail.
Finally, all around the world you can take part in Park Run. That’s 5km walking, jogging, or running on a Saturday morning at 8am. We have 13 in the Greater Cape Town area, and 1 in Green Point that can be accessed by the MyCiti bus. They usually meet for coffee or breakfast afterwards.
- Join a Book Club
A final way to meet people in Cape Town AND improve your reading and speaking skills, is by joining a book club. Cape Town Book Club, which you can find here, meets every Saturday and they pride themselves on the fact that they actually discuss the books, rather than just chat or drink wine! Or if watching films is more your thing, UCT has its very own Film Society. You can find them on Facebook. Of course, Meetup also has many film societies and book clubs!
Using these three ways, you will enjoy your stay in Cape Town even more and improve your English greatly!