At the UCT English Language Centre, we get asked a number of questions by students interested in coming to study with us, or their parents, agents, etc. who will be responsible for their studies, about Cape Town. These are referred to as Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQs.
For students who choose to learn English in Cape Town, they may be leaving their own countries for the very first time and be concerned about small daily things which the rest of us take for granted.
In this blog post, I am going to expand just a little on some of the FAQs in our ABOUT CAPE TOWN page. Please note that the FAQs on our website are also available in French, German, Spanish and Portuguese!
How will I get around?
Our relatively new, and constantly expanding, cheap and efficient bus service called the MyCiti covers most of Cape Town. We have a MyCiti bus stop right outside the Rosedale Building parking entrance, which means students have very easy access to us if this is the mode of transport they use. The buses are new, clean, and safe. All you need to do is get yourself a MyCiti bus card from one of the main bus stops (see here for more info) and load credit onto it. When you hop on and off the bus you simply need to swipe it on the machine as you get in and out the bus. So you don’t need to worry about having enough cash for your bus ride!
Alternatively, the Jammie Shuttle is a special bus network specifically for UCT students. This bus connects all the UCT campuses, so if you are staying anywhere near a campus you are entitled to use this service free of charge. All you need to do is show your student card which you will receive once you arrive at the Centre for your lessons. Read about your first day at the UCT English language Centre in this blog post.
Cape Town has many taxis – metered and privately run mini buses. Uber taxis are also gaining a very strong foothold in Cape Town. As the city centre is relatively small, and the weather is usually good here, a lot of people just walk through the city from A – B. Once you arrive here at the UCT English Language Centre, your classmates who have been here for a bit longer will quickly show you the ropes and answer any questions you may have. Soon you will be one of the students that the newcomers will be asking advice from!
What’s the weather like?
You can read our blog post on Cape Town’s weather here, but in general, we have 4 seasons. Summer months are dry and hot and run from December/January to March/April. From April/May we start easing into autumn, and temperatures start dropping, especially at night and in the mornings. But the days can be beautifully warm and sunny. Winter is a wet time in Cape Town, as it’s when we get most of our rain. It can also get quite chilly. The good thing, however, is that it never rains constantly for weeks, and some very unique, almost summery days peak through. Spring officially starts on 01 September, and although exceptionally beautiful, it can also be a bit erratic. Days can go from being hot and dry (like summer) to rainy and chilly within just a few hours!
Is it expensive?
This is one of the perks of being an international student or tourist coming to Cape Town. As the South African Rand is quite weak against the stronger international currencies such as the US Dollar, the Euro, the Pound, etc. your money can go a long way here. There are some more expensive restaurants and shopping areas, but you can certainly enjoy all that Cape Town has on offer without breaking the bank! Students spend on average between R500 and R1000 per week, depending on what they get up to. An average sized pizza down the road from the UCT English Language Centre costs about R80 – R100.
Are there places to go shopping?
Cape Town is a wonderful place for shopping and you have a fantastic number of shopping centres ranging in size and types of shops available in them. Probably the most popular shopping attractions are the V & A Waterfront and Canal Walk. The Waterfront is a 10 minute cab ride from the UCT English Language Centre, and not only has tons of shops and restaurants right at the harbour, but is also the hub for boat trips, helicopter rides, the aquarium, a fresh food market, cinemas, and lots more. The other popular shopping attraction is Canal Walk which boasts over 400 shops which sell everything from high end brands to your everyday groceries. They also frequently have interesting entertainment shows like fashion shows, shows and a small train ride through the centre for children. If you are a bargain hunter, then Access Park is a popular choice. Shops in this park offer constant discounts anywhere between 30% and even 60% on big brand named items. About a 10 minute walk from the UCT English Language Centre we have a popular small shopping Centre for locals called Gardens Shopping Centre, which has everything you need to cover food and drinks shopping (Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay), your toiletries and medicines (Clicks), meat from an excellent German butcher (Raith), a DVD rental shop, a small hardware store, and quite a bit more. If you stay at our student residence, then this will possibly become a place you frequent quite a bit.
What about nightlife?
The nightlife in Cape Town is excellent! Possibly one of the most popular and well known stretches of bars, clubs, restaurants and more is on Long Street. Students from all over the world come here and fill the streets with laughter, music and fun deciding on their bar or club of choice. But throughout Cape Town and surrounds, there are many restaurants and bars which offer food from all over the world and experiences out of this world. In Woodstock, for example, you can visit a restaurant also known as ‘home of the signing waiter’. Stardust is a theatrical dining experience sure to create memories and laughs for a long time to come. Also on offer is anything from gourmet restaurants with Michelin stars to fast food and everything in between. Cape Town also has a very exciting theatre, ballet and music/concerts programme. There really is a lot on offer, and almost impossible for anyone to get bored in this city!
If you choose to study English in Cape Town at the UCT English Language Centre, then you will have chosen a Centre that prides itself on high quality English lessons taught by highly qualified and experienced English teachers. And when you are not studying, you get to experience Cape Town in all its glory and believe us, you will not get bored in this city that offers almost everything, and many memories!