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Seven reasons why you should study in Cape Town

Cape Town
  • June 05 2019
10 minutes to read

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International exchange student Valentine Worms says there are seven reasons why people should consider studying in Cape Town. Read his blog here

Since arriving in the beginning of the year for my Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), South Africa, I have got the chance to experience the city, the classes and the atmosphere. Here is what you need to know about it.

For information, since the MBA is not located on the main campus in Stellenbosch (one hour from Cape Town), but between Cape Town and Stellenbosch, most students live in Cape Town.

  1. Cape Town is a vibrant compromise between the Western World and Africa

The city is very difficult to define; a mix between the well-established and organised European towns, and the very functional cities which are usually the rule in fast-growing Africa. You will be able to appreciate the South African culture and the cultural differences.  For example, the university will teach you during your first day that “now” can mean either “right now” or “in few hours” or “today”. South African people take more their time and consider their way of life as focused on moments rather than on an optimisation of a certain number of actions in a limited period of time, as we usually do in France.

  1. The lifestyle and work-life balance are very good

South African people are used to start working very early and to take the time to enjoy the end of the day. Coming from France, you will be able to enjoy drinks and restaurants at half the price you’re used to.

Don’t say barbecue anymore; here people say braai, and this is a ritual for most South-Africans. Not far from the city, you will be able to enjoy various outdoor activities such as surfing, kite-surfing, or hiking which, I must admit, is quite amazing.

  1. The city is surrounded by amazing landscapes (check 4k drone videos on YouTube)

If you feel that mountains, beautiful views of the sea and sand beaches are more to your liking than skylines and skyscrapers, then you should definitely come to Cape Town! Going on a hike after your workday, eating in front of the sea while enjoying the sunset are typical pleasures you will discover here.

  1. The weather will always be on your side

Located in the Southern hemisphere, the seasons in Cape Town are reverse from ours. While Europe will be cold, you will enjoy 25°C degrees everyday here. Even the winter is quite mild. Most of the days are sunny. If you are brave, you will definitely enjoy the close Atlantic Ocean during your warm days here. The climate is not tropical, so compared to many destinations you will not be sweating after a few minutes outside, nor end up suffocated by 45°C degree temperatures. You will come back very tanned and energised by the sun, and your Instagram followers will probably increase a lot!

  1.  The immersion in the history of the country will help you grow up

Discovered for the first time by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeo Dias in 1488, South Africa has been inhabited since 3M years BC. A Dutch then British colony, South Africa became independent in 1910. The dark years of Apartheid are over, but the country is still impacted by many inequalities. The biggest economy in Africa, its economic growth is slower than in the past, and they are trying to get more political and administrative efficiency after huge corruption problems under President Zuma.

  1. South African cooking is a must try

Have you ever eaten ostrich? If you haven’t, I strongly advise you to taste it. I have been rarely disappointed by the food here and you will be able to try, for a very reasonable price, new and very tasty kinds of food: antelope, crocodile and meals from other African countries, such as Ethiopian food.

  1. The Big Five are NOT waiting for you

Compared to the zoo you probably went to when you were a child, here, these impressive animals are not waiting for you in a small and pitiful cage. The country counts multiple national parks and natural reserves where you can see the Big Five animals:  the African elephant, the black rhinoceros, the Cape buffalo, the African lion and the African leopard, all evolving in their own natural environment. An unforgettable moment.

What you should not expect when going to Cape Town and to the USB MBA Programme:

While the experience in Cape Town and in the MBA programme at Stellenbosch University is absolutely worth doing, here are some points you should take into consideration before deciding to live in Cape Town:

  • Not everything is cheap: Accommodation prices are similar to those of a medium city in France. The same goes for groceries.
  • The city is famous for many things, but not for cultural activities:this is not Paris, Rome or New York. It’s more about nature, outdoor activities and nightlife.
  • The USB Campus is in Bellville, a 30-minute drive from Cape Town. No Train. No bus. Get used to driving or taking an Uber every day, and more generally to driving to go anywhere. From my point of view, however, it is very much worth it. The roads are nice and with a car, you will be very free to go into the wild and enjoy road trips.

Are you convinced? I am sure that you are going to enjoy this amazing city and country, full of things to learn for European students. Email me at valentin.worms@grenoble-em.com if you have any question!

 

Read his original blog post here

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