The Benefits of Learning English in an International Context

What are the benefits of learning English in an international context? What can meeting people from so many different countries and parts of the world teach you? Read our blog post find out more.

UCT English Language Centre International English Students

Every Monday, we welcome new students who will be starting their English course and language learning journey with us at ELC.

Apart from the high quality English courses that are offered at ELC, our students get to learn English in a truly international environment.

We have welcomed students from over 50 countries since our doors opened, and every Monday brings in a wave of new cultures, language backgrounds and wonderful people.

So, what are the benefits of learning in an international environment such as the University of Cape Town’s English Language Centre?

1. Let’s be honest, if you are in a school with people who mostly speak the same language as you, then the chances are very high that you will be speaking this language more often than English. But, if you are in a school with people from many different backgrounds, then English will become the primary language that you will use to communicate with each other. This will speed up your language learning much quicker!

2. With new languages come new and very different cultures from our own. So, not only will you be speaking more English both inside and outside of class, but you will be meeting people from all walks of life and learning about their cultures. All being from a different country together in Cape Town provides a beautiful, neutral backdrop of cultural discovery. Never met someone from Tanzania, or Ecuador? What about sharing a lunch at the student residence with someone from South Korea or Japan? This will be your opportunity. Embracing this opportunity to learn about others goes a long way in being a more compassionate human being. We all need a bit more love and understanding in our lives.

3. Our students come from all walks of life, and you as a business man/woman from your own country may find yourself in a class learning vocabulary about weather sitting next to an excellent Paediatric doctor from Libya or a marketing genius from Germany. But, in the classroom, everyone is on an equal footing because you are all in this English language learning process together. The classroom is a great equalizer because no matter your background, you are all at the same point in learning the language.

4. You will make amazing friends and contacts all over the world. Wherever you go, you will have someone to visit. Also, we had students from Angola, Gabon and DRC who were all off to China to study at university there. It was quite an intimidating step, but our students all connected once in China and this made the transition a little more bearable, a little more fun and a lot less scary! We have watched the most incredible friendships bloom, and even occasionally have been witness to some very romantic love stories. Imagine a Turkish boy and an Argentinian girl finding love in Cape Town!

5. As people in an increasingly global world, simply being exposed on a social level at school to diversity will bring you advantages in other areas of your life. Are you a business person and finding yourself doing business with China? If you have been exposed to Chinese students already, then you may already know some of the important cultural differences which can make or break a deal later on when you are back home and back in working life! Are you hoping to travel through Africa more extensively? Well, having met and socialised with African students may give you a better understanding about what ‘African Time’ is and how to respond to this. Is your country experiencing socio-political issues and tension between religious groups? Your exposure to friends from many different religious backgrounds will enable you to explain to your friends, family, work colleagues and neighbours what the importance of certain rituals / customs/ etc. may be for some people, and add context and meaning. Understanding goes a long way to promoting peace and acceptance.

Join our lovely English school located on the University of Cape Town’s Hiddingh campus where we share a historical space in the city bowl with the Drama and Art Departments. Come with a desire to learn English with highly qualified teachers, and join many international students like yourself in what we think is undoubtedly one of the best cities in the world!

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