The UCT English Language Centre currently offers the following General English courses: Standard English (20 hours per week), Semi-Intensive (25 hours per week) and Intensive (30 hours per week) English. 20 hours will be morning classes only, while semi intensive will include mornings and 2 afternoons per week. Intensive English includes morning classes and 4 afternoons per week. There are never classes on a Friday afternoon as this is reserved for teacher meetings and training.
Which course is the right one for me?
This will depend on a number of things. Often students who are staying with us for a long time will choose to either start off very intensively (30 hours per week) and then gradually reduce over time, while others will choose to start off with 20 hours and then increase their hours as they go along, or closer to their English exams. Some students need to pass exams and maximise every bit of their study time in Cape Town, so they study intensively throughout their stay. Students who choose 25 hours per week (semi intensive) are serious about their learning and want to maximise their English studying time, but also wish to discover and explore the city, or are volunteering. These students generally stay for shorter periods. Students who study for shorter than 3 months will generally choose 25 or 30 hours per week. Another reason students choose the more intense programmes is because the electives on offer (the afternoon courses) offer more in-depth and specific training on areas that students may feel they need to concentrate on more (such as pronunciation). And lastly, some of our courses can only be taken in addition to the morning option. For example, business English runs in the afternoon only. There is no option available for business English throughout the day, or to only study afternoons. This means some courses must be taken as semi-intensive or intensive.
What will I do in the course?
In your morning classes you will focus on all aspects of the language. Course books are used and teachers supplement skills training with other resources. These lessons will include listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar practice. There is also a one hour focus on conversation built into the morning classes. Teachers may or may not give the students homework for morning classes.
Afternoon classes will be specifically focused on the elective type that the student has chosen.
What will my schedule look like?
If you study Standard English (20 hours per week) then you will arrive for class every day (Monday to Friday) for 9am when class begins. At 10.40 there will be a 20 minute break before class resumes at 11am. The next break will be for ten minutes from 11.50am – 12:00am, when students change over into the conversation classes. These classes will go until about 1pm. Students on the standard course are free to leave for the day. Others who will be doing afternoon classes will have to return after their lunch break at 2.30 sharp.
Once afternoon classes have started at 2.30pm, they will run until the 15 minute break from 3pm – 3.15pm (approximately). All classes are finished by 4pm. There are no afternoon classes on a Friday as this time is reserved for teacher meetings, teacher training and teacher course administration.
What electives are on offer?
Currently, the afternoon electives are as follows: Beginner, Elementary and Intermediate can choose from Listening & Pronunciation or Writing & Grammar. Upper Intermediate and Advanced can choose between English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Reading & Writing, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Listening & Speaking, or Business English. Students who are doing IELTS exam preparation courses in the morning are advised to do EAP classes in the afternoons, but only if their level is sufficiently high (upper Intermediate/Advanced).
When must I choose my electives?
On the day you arrive at the school, you will do a short placement test. This test is simply to gauge what level you are at. Once we know what level you are, you can decide which electives you would like to opt for based on your level.
Can I change my electives?
Yes, if you wish to change from EAP to Business, or from Listening & Pronunciation to Writing & Grammar, then you can do this at any time.
Can I increase my course hours after I have arrived at the school?
Yes, you are welcome to do this at any time during your stay with us.
Can I decrease my course hours after I have arrived at the school?
Yes, but you will not receive a refund. Instead, we will extend your course for you. I.e. if you are studying 25 hours for a couple of weeks, we can reduce this to 20 hours and you can study mornings only for a longer time. It depends on the length of your booking with us and what you are decreasing to. If you cannot extend your stay in Cape Town, then we can issue you with a credit note which means you can come back to Cape Town at another time and study with us again.
How can I meet other ELC students and learn English outside the classroom?
There are a number of opportunities to meet other people, apart from break time when everyone socialises together. First, conversation classes and afternoon electives combine levels. This means that classes are joined together (beginner and elementary – low, pre-intermediate and intermediate – mid, upper intermediate, advanced and IELTS – high).
Then, we have a social programme organised by the school which is open to all students and will offer a range of activities (cultural, educational, sporty, fun, active, etc.). This is the perfect opportunity to meet other students in the school, even if they are not in your class, and explore the city at the same time.
We also arrange monthly school outings which include all students and teachers. These are cultural/educational excursions and offer a great opportunity to meet other students and the other teachers and is usually a lot of fun.