A city of breathtaking natural beauty, colourful people and internationally accredited language schools; once you start researching for the best place to study English in Africa, Cape Town certainly makes it to the top of the list.

Living and studying in Cape Town will allow you to experience the best part of all worlds. Will you choose to maximise your studies by using your downtime to participate in adventure sports, will you take leisurely sunset walks on the beachfront or connect with new people in Cape Town’s world-class bars?

The idea of moving to a brand-new city or country to study English can be incredibly exciting. But newcomers also have to deal with a lot of uncertainties that come along with such an important decision.

Will you make friends? Can you afford it? Is Cape Town a great place? Where will you live and will you learn how to speak English fluently?

The questions around whether you’ve made the right decision will continue to come until you finally put your feet in the sand on a Cape Town beach. You’ll realise that it was all worth it, but we’re here to help you in the process by offering some answers and options as you continue your journey in your English studies. Come learn why English classes in Cape Town could be one of the best decisions you can make if you need to improve your English.

Cape Town life
Studying in Cape Town is ideal if you want a lifestyle that includes a lot of free, outdoor activities - Image by Fitnish Media on Unsplash

English Second Language (ESL) is Second Nature to South Africa

With 11 official languages, South Africa is a country with a colourful background and an inclusive approach. English is the major language of all business dealings, but it might be surprising that it’s only the 6th most spoken language and almost every South African has English as a Second language.

The most important thing for an English Second Language (ESL) learner is to know that South Africa’s history created an important foundation for English courses.

The previous apartheid regime created a massive gap between social classes due to a lack of education. The subsequent need for empowering disadvantaged groups and incorporating those into the new South African economy has created great educational systems. This meant a greater effort by Government, universities, schools and colleges to create a more inclusive and accommodating way to educate people to enable them to enter the workforce.

The ability to comfortably read, write and speak in English is probably one of the most important skills required if you want to conduct business successfully. This attention on empowerment, together with South Africa being the wonderchild of Africa has led to a significant number of schools ensuring they provide the necessary English qualifications for African and International students alike.

Education and dreams
To create successful future leaders, we need good education.  ESL Courses in South Africa is quite common as most South Africans have English as a second language - Image by Robo Wunderkind on Unsplash

Why Cape Town Fits Most Priorities?

Cape Town not only has a wide variety of language schools on offer, but also some of the most prestigious universities. There’s something for everyone, whether you plan to learn language for everyday life and conversing, to match your career ambitions or whether you want to get a certified IETLS or TOEFL course for immigration or degree studies.

If you plan to move to study English in Cape Town, we want to ensure that you have all the basic information to make the most out of this investment and courageous decision. The most important priority will be to choose an English qualification that is right for you, at the right institution and price. We cannot make that decision for you, but below are some great options you can investigate to give you a head start.

Great English Language Schools

You’ll find a multitude of language schools in Cape Town that specialise in English diplomas and certificates. Beginner English second language speakers can do a general English certificate that will help you converse comfortably in English. These schools also offer intensive English courses to speed-up the learning process for students who need to master the English language quickly.

Here are a couple of language schools to get you started:

  • International House Cape Town
  • Oxford English Academy
  • Language Teaching Centre (LTC)
  • EC Language Schools
  • LAL Language Centres
  • Interlink School of Languages
  • English Plus Academy
  • Good Hope Studies
  • Eurocentres Cape Town
  • English One
Colleges to choose from
Cape Town has so many options for ESL students - Image by Pexels on Pixabay

World-Class Universities and Colleges

If you are looking for more advanced language studies, you can research some of Cape Town’s prestigious universities like University of Cape Town (UCT) or Stellenbosch University. Universities usually have rigorous admission requirements where English proficiency is probably at the top of the list.

Luckily, most universities have programs and bridging courses to help previously disadvantaged students get their English to such a level that they can study and succeed with English degree studies.

The cost of studying at one of these universities are usually higher, but they offer students an amazing campus life and because of full-time studies, they provide ample opportunity for you to make new friends.

If you can afford it and get accepted into one of these universities, we would certainly recommend the experience. Getting a degree will also improve your chances of employment after you've graduated.

ESL Teachers & Lessons

Most of the English language schools in Cape Town also offer some one-on-one English lesson packages. They will allocate a tutor to you and classes are usually held at the language school or online. It can be tricky if you get stuck with a teacher who you dislike or whose teaching style is not really optimum to your learning process.

Choosing your own tutor on platforms like Superprof will ensure your process of learning English is as enjoyable as the experience of getting to know Cape Town.

Superprof has over 100 ESOL tutors in the Cape Town area. You can search, compare and check each tutor’s background and what they specialise in. Most of them also offer their first lesson for free. This way you can use the trial class to check whether you feel comfortable with that tutor and whether they are a good fit to speed up your learning process.

A private teacher is also a great option if you plan to prepare for your IELTS or TOEFL exam. They can work out a curriculum that suits your current English capabilities and adapt the plan according to your speed of learning. They will also ensure your curriculum preparation includes most of the following:

  • English grammar, the need for and how to properly use various tenses
  • English pronunciation and how to speak English like a native speaker through the correct intonation and phonetic expressions of vowels and consonants
  • Speaking practice to ensure you apply your English vocabulary to be comfortable and fluent in English speaking
  • English writing skills, listening skills and how to improve your comprehension in English
Tutors can help
Tutors will be able to help you in-person or online - Image by Jose Aljovin on Unsplash

The Natural Wonders of Cape Town

Cape Town has the sun, the beach, the mountain and friendly people. Everywhere you turn, you are surrounded by nature and beauty.

Studying in Cape Town means you’ll get the chance to experience a lifestyle that will not only make your studies the best time of your life, it will also lay some important foundations on how you make healthy future lifestyle choices. You’ll be able to enjoy sunset on the beach after a day of studying, take a break on the weekend with a hike on the iconic Table Mountain or visit some of the internationally recognised wine farms.

If partying is your thing, there’s more than enough classy and trendy places to socialise and make friends. Cape Town’s eclectic flavour is mostly visible its people and culture. The city bowl and harbour will also allow you to experience city life and shopping.

Cape Town has something for everyone, and the toughest part will be choosing what you would want to explore first.

Learn to surf
Learn to speak English while you learn how to surf in Cape Town - Image by Martin Flischman on Unsplash

Other Important Considerations

Making a full assessment of the city and what studying there entails will ensure you build realistic expectations and avoid disappointments. There are some fundamentals around your studies that will have to be in-place if you want to have a relaxed and enjoyable experience from the moment you arrive.  Here are some of the fundamentals you’ll have to consider:

The Social Life

The South African rainbow nation added with a cosmopolitan mix of international people in Cape Town will ensure you find a group of people you can relate to.  Cape Town is the best place to make friends for a lifetime, but be sure you always give your studies priority.

Cape Town City Life
The city of Cape Town is also ideal if you want to find a job or work while you study. Just ensure this meets visa requirements if you are an international student - Image by Zoe Reeve on Unsplash

Cost of Studies and Cost of Living

Ensure you know what you can afford and do the necessary research to gauge the average cost of food and accommodation. Accommodation can be costly because it is an international tourist destination and most student counsellors at universities will be able to direct you towards some reliable accommodation options. Not all schools charge the same rate for their studies, so ensure you compare their rates in your research.

Quality of Studies

Quality English studies will help you to prove your English proficiency and set you up for a bright and successful future. Your qualification must be of a good standard or recognised by other institutions. Ensure you check online reviews and research the school/ university’s previous graduates to see how many got employed within the first few months of graduation; this is a great indicator of whether that qualification will make you employable.

Transport and Moving Around

The city has an amazing public transport system. MyCiTi buses is a public bus system that’s safe and affordable and takes you to and from major points in Cape Town. There are also e-hailing services, metered taxis, taxi buses and you can cycle as well.

Type of Study (Online or Classroom Style)

Online studies with a private tutor might be something to consider if you prefer to work while you study. That means you can benefit from cheaper online learning, while you get the private attention and practice with a native English speaker to guide your progress. Full-time studies on the other hand, will offer you a lot of contact hours with lecturers, but you’ll require a much larger budget. The point we’re trying to make is the studies you choose will all depend on your personal circumstances and needs.

Friends on the beach
Make friends for life while studying in Cape Town - Image by Nqobile Vundla on Unsplash

There are hundreds of reasons why most people choose to study English in Cape Town. With over 250 English language schools, you'll have universities and colleges to pick and choose from. Studying here will not only teach you how to speak English fluently, you will also discover what it means to be daily surrounded by beauty.

Once you’ve lived and studied in Cape town we can almost ensure you that you’ll fall in love with the city, it’s people and South Africa.

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