Was your recent google search something like ‘How to improve my English’? Maybe you searched something similar or navigated around the Superprof before arriving on this blog?

Regardless of how you got here, we trust that your interest in finding English Second Language courses, suitable English tutoring or English certifications brought you to this article and we are ready to help.

Investing in education is one of the wisest decisions any person can make. The knowledge, life- and language skills you gain will not only advance your professional career, you’ll also benefit as you continue to use English throughout your adult life.

In 2000 they recorded that there are over 1.5 billion people who speak English across the globe, making it the largest number of speakers to a single language.

English is also considered as the international official language of business, so if you plan to find work abroad and English is not your first language, you will most certainly benefit from English to Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) studies.

But where can you find quality English language courses at a fraction of the cost to other major English-speaking countries? South Africa could be the answer you’ve been looking for with English Second Language (ESL) courses, language degrees and English programs that’s affordable and of an international standard.

Are you ready to invest in your future while experiencing a country of diversity, eclectic culture and beauty?

South African Flag
The Y shape in the South African flag symbolizes the convergence and unity of the South African society - Image by Leigh-Anne Auerswald on Freeimages

A Rainbow Nation That Offers Diversity

South Africa’s language bouquet is as colourful as its people. With 11 official languages, English is the 4th most spoken language in the country with an average of 10% being native English speakers.

The remaining 90% have English as a second language which makes them compassionate towards an ESL learner. The majority of business dealings are however, conducted in English and therefore a basic level of English proficiency would be required if you want to find a good job in South Africa.

South Africa’s history of breaking the chains of apartheid in 1990 is what laid the foundations for the a new democratic era. The majority population suddenly required education and had to be upskilled through English language-training. The country is far from providing and incorporating everyone into the economy, but it created the groundwork for the development of good English teaching methods, reputable educators and relevant language teaching.

Most major cities in SA will be able to offer the ideal cross-cultural experience for English language learners. As a student you’ll be able to immerse yourself in grammar and speaking skills while applying your English speaking skills as you practise with other ESL learners and locals.

All inclusive society
South Africa believes in an all-inclusive society and their human rights laws are more progressive than most countries across the globe - Image by Nicholas Swatz on Pexels

Study While Being Surrounded by Natural Beauty

This article is focused around getting your English studies on the right path, but it must be said that it is a country filled with people and experiences that will take your breath away. Ideal for vacations or part-time English study programs, South Africa offers an endless list of world-class tourist destinations and mind-blowing natural wonders.

Think about nature reserves and game parks where you can spot the big five, stretches of sandy beaches or spectacular sunsets along the Garden Route. You can take a break from your studies by doing a road trip, or simply visiting one of the many attractions in and around the city you choose to study in.

You can explore some more here on the SA Tourism website.

African Game Park
South Africa has some of the best Game reserves and safaris. Will you spot a lion during your visit? - Image by Magda Ehlers on Pexels

Studies That Offer Great Value for Money

Colleges and universities are relatively cheaper in South Africa than other English-speaking counterparts across the globe. To enrol at language schools in countries like the UK or USA is not only more expensive, your cost of living is also significantly higher.

In South Africa you can study an internationally recognised qualification at half the price.

It is important to remember that paying for your studies is an investment towards your future. Outline your goals and how this step forms part of your long-term career plan, because it might be worth paying a bit more for an international language certification.

The price of study should always be measured against the value you receive; pick an institution with the right accreditation & relevant certification courses as it will not only provide you with the required English skills, you’ll get a valuable certificate in English to prove it.

A Variety of Schools to Suit Your Goals

South Africa has 26 public universities with nearly one million students while 700 000 students are registered at the more than 50 higher education TVET colleges (Technical vocational education training). There’s also a long list of private specialist language schools you can choose from in each province.

Will you study at a language school, college or university?

You’ll also have to select one of the many courses these schools have on offer. Study their curriculum and decide whether you prefer an online course or classroom style teaching. A lot of Language schools like to use a blended learning approach where they allow students to do online self-study, mixed with in-person classroom lectures and language practice.

Studying Anywhere
Modern language learning methods are a mix between textbooks, online learning and classroom teaching styles. Select a course that suits you - Image by Git Stephen Gitau on Pexels

While you browse these schools, you’ll also realise that most of them offer a wide selection of English courses including Beginner English lessons, intensive courses and or Advanced English courses. Some of them will offer part-time or full-time study, but regardless of the option you choose, be sure you will be working towards a qualification that matches your career ambitions.

Maybe your plans are more academic in nature?

Do you want to become an English teacher or further your studies at a university? These are important determinants in the type of qualifications you should select at an English School.

Learners who plan to teach English online or abroad might be able to do so with an accredited TEFL certification. This is a qualification that is specifically aimed at international English language teaching and covers advanced grammar usage, verbs and linguistic rules.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are two well-known ‘tests’ that English second language learners can take to prove their English proficiency. A good IELTS or TOEFL exam score is a set requirement for English second language speakers who plan to immigrate to an English-speaking country or enrol for graduate studies at an English university.

A good ESL teacher will be able to help you craft a study plan to prepare for these exams. Professional tutors on Superprof can help you with all the skills you’ll get tested on - English writing skills, speaking, listening and comprehension skills. Most of our tutors are willing to teach their first class for free and offer classes at your home or online.

Welcoming International Students with Open Arms

South Africans are known for their friendliness and they are familiar and comfortable with people from all walks of life. Making friends in college is important if you want to make your experience more memorable. Once you start to socialise and explore the eclectic mix of multicultural learners, you’ll discover friends who share your passions in no time.

The South African government welcomes international learners and students, but like any country they have some rules in-place to ensure everyone’s safety. International students have to prove they have the required funds and admission into an approved institution to get the required student visa.

On most student visas you also get approval to work while you study. If granted, the Government will allow a student to find a part-time job which could be ideal if you want to supplement your studies or use it towards discovering the country.

Visa regulations and rules differ from one country to the next and they change every year, so be sure you know the requirements for a student visa before your arrival. You can speak to the admissions counsellor at the school of interest for a list of visa requirements and the necessary letters to accompany your application.

VFS Global is a global organisation that assists with visa application and guidance. Their website also provides valuable information, and you can make use of their services to help with your visa application.

Welcome to South Africa
South Africa welcomes international students - Image by cottonbro on Pexels

Tips and Planning

Moving to a new country can be a scary experience, not understanding the language can make this ten times worse.

To ensure you arrive safely and ready in South Africa we’ve created a list of tips to help you with your planning.

Cost Assessment

Be sure you have enough money to survive the concrete jungle. You’ll be able to find the cost of living, transport costs, cost of food and other cost calculators through easy online searches. Most student counsellors will be able to give you advice on the amount required to live comfortably.

Have Solid Reasons for Study

This move might not be easy, but it will be rewarding. Ensure you have very clear reasons as to why you are studying English. This is imperative in picking the correct diploma or qualification and it will keep you going through the more challenging times.

Check The School Credentials

Once you’ve picked a school, we recommend you check their full credentials and history. Anyone can create a website nowadays and fraud is becoming more prevalent online. Check with authorities and see if you can find links and information about the school on multiple sources. Reviews is another useful tool but ensure there are enough reviews from real people.

Have a Basis and Contact Person on Arrival

It might be tricky to find the right accommodation if you are not planning to stay in college or university accommodation. Accommodation options will be provided by the school you enrolled at. Knowing where you go upon arrival will give you peace of mind and be sure you have a contact person should there be any challenges.

Start With English Classes Today

Having a basic understanding and the capability to converse in English will make your arrival in South Africa much easier and pleasurable. Find a tutor on Superprof who lives in the city you plan to study in. They will start with English lessons online to suit your level of experience and can answer some basic questions you might have about South Africa as part of your lessons.

Plan your future
Write down all the questions you might have about arriving in South Africa and save them for your discussion with an admissions counsellor - Image by rf._.studio on Pexels

Good luck with the rest of your research and planning. We truly hope that South Africa is now on the cards when you consider your move towards completing international English language studies.

Get ready for warm South African smiles that will melt your heart, a country of colour, beauty and determination. One that offers International qualifications abound, the best language schools in Africa and an eclectic culture that will keep you motivated and inspired.

 May your dream of mastering the English language become a reality in South Africa.


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Writer and qualified yoga instructor, who is passionate about health and well-being.