Welcoming the news, Jens von Wichtingen, Director of Cape Studies, told Study Travel Magazine, “The Russian market is absolutely new for us; we admit that we have very much ignored this huge market up to now due to the fact that it was very difficult for clients from Russia to get tourist/study permits for South Africa.”
1. A little about myself.
I grew up in Sea Point and although I lived abroad in my teen and early adult years, Cape Town has always been home. Having a son who lives in China working as a Video Journalist, has given me the opportunity to travel and is one of the many countries I have visited over the years, due to my passion for travelling.
2. Why did you want to become a teacher?
I’ve worked in the educational field for many years, not only as an English teacher, but spent many years teaching art to children. I decided to change my ‘teaching’ career after my son finished High school to teaching English as a foreign language which, has given me the daily privilege of meeting students from all over the world, learning about their cultures, food, music and way of life.
3. What would you say to people who underestimate Cape Town as an English language study destination?
There is no ‘underestimating’ when it comes to studying in Cape Town. We have the best weather, delicious food and wine, the most beautiful beaches and mountains, wild-life safaris, friendly and laidback people. Cape Town is a melting pot of cultures and has something to offer to everyone. Cape Studies offers English courses in a relaxed atmosphere with great teachers who all have a passion for teaching.
4. What advice would you give to a student to maintain their level of English when returning to their home country?
Keep practicing English through movies, music, reading, talking and finding friends who speak English, and why not organise a once a month dinner evening to speak English only? It could make for a fun and memorable evening.
5. How do activities organised by Cape Studies, both at school and outside, influence on the learning process?
Inside school activities such as braais (barbecues) are a wonderful way for the students and teachers to interact and get to know each other, at the same time practicing English. Outside activities, which are many, are the best way for students to not only practice English but to learn new cultures, try different food, jump off bridges, paraglide off the mountain, skydive, wine tasting and of course, dancing in the many clubs in the famous Long Street. Any activity has a positive influence on the learning process, both culturally and in the learning process.
1. Tell us about you.
I was born and lived in Durban for most of my life. I completed my schooling and university there, where I completed my teaching diploma. It was when I moved to Cape Town in 2002 that I decided to move to the ESL industry, after completing my CELTA, I began teaching at Cape Studies.
I have 3 married children and I enjoy spending time with them whenever I can. I count my hobbies as reading biographies, reading fashion journals, cooking and dining with good friends.
2. Why do you enjoy working at Cape Studies?
After these many years of teaching at Cape Studies, this school has become my second home. The school operates like a smooth machine and I love working here. I impart knowledge but at the same time learn something from my students too.
3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an ESL teacher?
You must have a genuine interest in teaching as it requires a lot of preparation and planning. Focus on your goals and learn from the best, do a course, I would highly recommend CELTA over TEFL. Teaching in the ESL industry is very different to teaching at a high school, but the CELTA will teach you how to cope and handle the different aspects of teaching a grammar lessons and coping with the different levels. Lastly, preparation is key to an enjoyable and fulfilling day.
4. What do you love most about your job?
There are so many things I love about teaching. It affords me the opportunity to meet new people and make friends. Cape studies has a high rate of returning students and I love to welcome them back and they love to be recognised. To them it makes a huge difference.
5. What do you say to people who underestimate Cape Town as an English language study destination?
Cape Town is undoubtedly a beautiful city. It offers great cuisine, good wines, some of the most amazing wildlife and picturesque beaches. Let’s not forget the iconic Table mountain and Lions Head. Testimony to this are students who come back to Cape Town time and time again. Cape Town as a study destination is certainly not second best, it is the best!
1. Tell us a little about you.
I am an English speaking South African who has always been fascinated by English language, history and culture. The history and development of the language as well as the origin of its vocabulary has been of particular interest to me. A large part of my career did not involve teaching or language studies but where possible I enjoyed editing texts as well as translating writings into English. When the opportunity presented itself for me to teach the language I leaped at it and have been doing it ever since.
2. What English courses do you teach at Cape Studies?
Apart from teaching the standard English grammar and skills courses from beginner to advanced level, I teach a number of examination courses. These include three of the Cambridge University courses ranging from First Certificate to Proficiency. I also teach the Business English and Tourism courses of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the TOEFL, IELTS and Pearson courses which are normally required for university entrance. Of all of these, I most enjoy teaching the Cambridge Advanced and Proficiency courses.
3. How can one improve on their spelling?
There are the standard spelling rules which you should become familiar with, but you should also read regularly. Reading is the easiest way to become familiar with the oddities and exceptions in the spelling. Playing word games is also a fun way to practice spelling.
4. What advice would you give to a student to maintain their level of English when returning to their home country?
The student must use the language regularly. This means reading, listening and, where possible, speaking. What you read is not important . It can be a comic book, a magazine or a novel. What is important, is that it must be pleasant and entertaining and not done as a learning exercise. In other words, you have learnt the language, now it should entertain you. Listening to the weather or the news on television and enjoying an English film is also beneficial. If you enjoy music, listening to and learning the words of popular English songs can be very helpful.
5. Can you share a competitive advantage Cape Studies has over other language schools in Cape Town?
Cape Studies, a well established, boutique style school, is ideally located. It is within walking distance of the most popular sport, retail and entertainment centres in the city. For relaxation the beaches and parks are minutes away and an excellent public transport system is on the school’s doorstep. The small number of students per class and the diversity among its students set the school apart from the others.
6. What is most rewarding about teaching at Cape Studies?
I like the size of the school. It is not so big that the students are just numbers as a teacher I can have enough contact with the students to assist them with their particular learning problems and also to enjoy celebrating their successes.
Laura enjoys being back in South Africa and teaching at Cape Studies.
- Tell us a bit about yourself
After teaching in South Korea I am back living in South Africa and loving it. I love the excitement of exploring a place for the first time, meeting fascinating people, and learning about unfamiliar cultures. From a young age my family and I would journey down the coast of South Africa, I treasure these memories dearly and this fostered within me a desire to continue to travel, not only within South Africa but throughout the rest of the world. My adventures in Asia have been some of the best experiences of my life, the amazing people and rich culture is something that has enriched my life greatly.
- How did you get started?
After completing my BA degree in my favourite subject, English Literature and Language, I went on to complete a TEFL course which equipped me to teach abroad. I was really excited on my return to South Africa to find a school where I could unite my passion for people and places with my teaching career.
- What is the biggest misconception people have about South Africa?
I think the biggest misconception people have about South Africa is that it is a dangerous travelling destination and that there is no diversity. South Africa is filled with diversity and is a wonderful travelling destination- follow the advice of the locals. It is no more dangerous than travelling to any big cities like London, New York or Berlin. One has to be careful with their personal belongings as they would in their home country and not venture alone at night in unfavourable neighbourhoods.
- What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about teaching at Cape Studies?
What I find most rewarding about working at Cape Studies are the close relationships you are able to build with each student, as well as being able to help students reach their goals in the classroom. Cape Studies promotes a friendly environment for its staff and students, making everyone feel part of the family.
- What level do you prefer teaching and why?
I love teaching Beginners and Elementaries as the students tend to be really enthusiastic and motivated to learn. It is also extremely rewarding to witness their progress while they are studying at Cape Studies.
1. First, tell us a little about you.
I have been a teacher for almost 8 years, 3 years of which have been spent teaching English at Cape Studies. Before I moved to Cape Town in 2014, I lived in the Eastern Cape, which is the province I grew up in. Although this is a very beautiful area of South Africa, I have now made Cape Town my home, as I absolutely love the city and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
I have a variety of interests, including travelling, writing, languages and the arts, like film, theatre and music.
I see myself as quite a creative person and I love incorporating that creativity into my lessons.
2. What inspired you to get into teaching?
I have always been attracted to the idea of self-improvement. So, helping other people develop themselves, or achieve their goals really appeals to me. I first got into teaching in 2009, while I was travelling around the United Kingdom. Teaching provides me the perfect opportunity to help students achieve their own language goals, while working with them to develop and improve their skills.
3.Can you share a competitive advantage Cape Studies has over other language schools in Cape Town?
Firstly, the fact that there are a maximum of 8 people per class definitely gives Cape Studies a competitive advantage. This means that students receive personal attention from their teachers. Secondly, the school has a friendly and homely atmosphere, which is very appealing to students who are far away from their own homes.
4. In what ways do you encourage creativity in the classroom?
In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of learning English is becoming comfortable with using the language. This often means pushing through difficult barriers like shyness and the fear of making mistakes. Creativity helps to overcome these obstacles, so, I try to encourage it in the classroom as much as possible. This can be in the form of creative writing, storytelling, speaking activities or games.
5. Tell us about your typical teaching day at Cape Studies.
My day usually starts with a 9am grammar lesson. I love teaching grammar as I enjoy explaining sometimes complicated concepts in an easy-to-understand way. After that, there is a skills lesson, where we develop the students’ practical use of English: reading, writing, listening and speaking. I finish off my day with an afternoon class, which is usually a conversation lesson, or sometimes I teach an exam preparation course.