The Student Stories series is a blog series aimed at answering some of the questions we know new or future students are wondering about. We interview students from all over the world who have studied with us, or currently are studying with us. We ask them questions about their lives, why they chose ELC, what they like about us and what they think about Cape Town in general. In upcoming interviews you will find out about tips for safety and security in Cape Town, what not to forget to pack and some of our student’s favourite activities to do when not learning English in a classroom!
For our first in the student stories series, we caught up with Shumukh Alharthi from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who helps us out in the office at ELC with our lower level Arabic speakers sometimes. Shumukh attended English classes with us for 5 months in 2016. Her brothers attended at the same time as her. This is what she has to say about her time with us and her plans for the future!
Tell us about your family?
My dad works for the National Guard so my whole life was about discipline, deadlines and stuff like that. Things were pretty strict at home. But, my mother is the complete opposite of my dad – more the artistic type, fashion designer, and she doesn’t play by the rules at all. I don’t know how they work together, but they do. I have 4 brothers and 1 sister, and half of my brothers are like my dad and the after half like my mom. I am in the middle and basically raising my 8 year old sister here in Cape Town now while I study.
How did you come to ELC?
When I finished high school I went to study in Germany for 2 years, on and off. I came back because of visa issues and decided to come to Cape Town. And after I made my decision, my entire family decided to tag along!
Why Cape Town and not any other place in South Africa?
I did my research about South Africa and all the universities here. My main aim was to study at university in South Africa because I did not want to complete my undergraduate studies back home. Universities are really good here and they have good programmes. And of course, they are cheaper than private universities in Saudi Arabia which was a big bonus for my dad. I specifically chose Cape Town because of the University of Cape Town. In doing my research, I googled the universities and their rankings and knew that UCT was the top university in Africa, so I knew I wanted to study here.*
It made perfect sense for me to study English at ELC because UCT is the best university in Africa, so it was logical to me that ELC would also offer the best English language programmes. I was already at an advanced level of English before I came, but I most definitely improved my writing and grammar here.
What one memory stands out for you in your time learning English at ELC?
I remember a school outing to Simon’s Town to visit the museum with the whole school paid by ELC. We visited a museum, we visited the penguins and it was a lot of fun. We also got lunch. It was a nice spoil by the school! They do these outings every term and it’s a nice break from the hard studying you do during the term.
Did you enjoy studying at ELC?
Yes, very much so. I made a lot of friends from all over the world. I even got to practice my German sometimes with the Austrian, Swiss and German students in the school! All my teachers were so fantastic and so friendly. Everyone at the school is.
What are you doing now?
I am doing an economic development course at UWC and I plan to apply to study politics at UCT in 2018. I think South Africa is the perfect place to study politics and I cannot wait to get going with my full time undergraduate studies.
If you would like to learn more about UCT’s English language courses in Cape Town, contact us at any time.
*UCT is ranked as number 148 in world rankings on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016 – 2017, and 4th in the 1st for BRICS and emerging economies (beaten by two Chinese and a Russian university).