2014, February 8th
At the beginning it was only a girl’s dream, who was hungry to experience something new, in a different world and a different language. So many times she heard about an English school called Cape Studies in Cape Town, South Africa.
A school in the middle of a cultural melting pot and a beautiful place she wished to visit once in her life.
In her dreams everything could become true and she fell asleep…..
It happened to be a Sunday morning in December 2012 when she stepped out of a plane and the sun began to stroke her face, a different kind of breeze touched her skin and a feeling overcame her that she never felt before.
It was the moment when an amazing adventure had begun, a memory to last forever in her dreams.
A pick-up van with the name “Cape Studies” on it was waiting for her at the airport and the driver began to smile and to sing, it was a warm and joyful welcome into a beautiful country that had the message “come and enjoy the ride”. She really enjoyed it and felt ready for everything that was about to come.
For such a long time she was looking forward to getting to know this famous school called Cape Studies and experience the sunny side of learning English, a story that many people told her, and now she felt in the middle of it.
Of course she knew before that if she went into this new world, she would love to live in a South African host family as this would be the best way to get to know the new culture and improve the new language also outside of the English classes.
When the pick-up van finally arrived at her host mother’s house, her host mum welcomed her with a cup of good coffee and showed her her new home. Not only was she living so close to school where her daily lessons would take place, but was also living in a beautifully equipped and comfortable house with a fabulous open-air winter garden, a place that resembled a fairy tale. It was a perfect place to take a nap, to have a coffee, to read a book or even to do an English Placement test she had to fill out for the next day when her classes would begin. It was amazing to do an English test and enjoy summertime at the same time.
The day turned out to become even better and she was so excited when her host mum asked her if she wanted to accompany her to the Sunday afternoon summer open air concert that takes place in the famous Waal Park in Cape Town every second Sunday during the summer months.
She really loves music for she played the piano for many years and when she heard that South Africans usually combine their visit of this concert in the Waal Park with a pick-nick, she was really delighted. She had a fantastic start and really enjoyed her first afternoon in Cape Town. It was a perfect dream.
Everything even came better when she went to school on her first school-day. The school was wonderful, a beautiful building that had a familiar atmosphere, a swimming pool and a fountain in the forecourt surrounded by beautiful plants, trees and flowers.
Annaëlle, one of Cape Studies lovely team-members held a warm welcome-speech to all newcomers, where she got to know all the new students that freshly arrived to school, just like she did.
Such a warm welcome by the staff combined with the beauty of the school itself gave her a really good impression and the day could begin.
First she had to do the oral level-test and was interviewed by Kogie, another fantastic team-member. Once the oral test was over and the written part that she had filled out the day before was corrected, she got placed into the group where all participants had the same English level she had.
She found out that this was a pedagogically reasonable way to arrange the groups so that all students improve their English skills adequately and to reach their goals and expectations.
She happened to have two wonderful teachers, Debbie and George, they were really amazing teachers and outstanding persons, she truly appreciated all their help, patience, professionalism and advices.
The English lessons at Cape Studies were interestingly developed, well-structured and fun at the same time. It was not the boring kind of lessons she remembered from school-time, not at all. It was a big pleasure for her to go to classes every day and constantly learn new things.
And in the breaks, well, there was nothing better then to enjoy Mama Daphne’s sandwiches. Mama Daphne, yes, she is a real mama who takes care of all the students and cooks deliciously. Where else would one have such a privilege to receive perfect lessons and amazing food at the same time?
But in a dream, everything can happen.
Once she discovered the lunch-list in the kitchen, it was for her a daily challenge to arrive on time and put her name on it to make sure that she also could enjoy mama Daphne’s freshly cooked lunch after the classes. Where else could she taste original, native and home-made food than in the kitchen of Cape Studies school where all the dishes were deliciously cooked by Mama?
On the days she was too late for Mama’s lunch-list of course there was no problem as Cape Town is also the perfect place to eat where you will find lots and lots of restaurants with a huge variety of culinary delicacies.
Every single day she saw all the smiling faces at Cape Studies and it was not only the international students from all over the world that made her happy but the Cape Studies staff that soon becamelike a family for her. A delightful, dedicated and helpful team, Theresa, Helga and Jenny who were always there when the students needed them.
There was also Jack, the friendly and observing school-dog, that took everyday care of the school and the students.
Another pleasure for her was to meet the two directors of Cape Studies, Jens and Daniel, two attentive, reliable, courteous and pleasant persons who also became like a family for her.
All in all, it was an honor for her to be surrounded by such a highly motivated, well-prepared and qualified staff. They were always endeavored and looking forward to making all students feel happy and satisfied. She experienced a school-team that was dedicated to make the stay in Cape Town a lot more diverse and pleasant.
There was no moment at all when she would have felt bored, as the school also organised and offered a huge variety of amazing activities and excursions.
Finally she could visit places she heard of and had dreamed of so many times: the Cape of Good Hope, the Table Mountain, the South African Winelands, the Garden Route, the Boulders Penguin Colony and of course to do some marvelous Safaris, in one of which she even touched and stroked a cheetah, a truly unique experience.
In her dream she could do so many things and go to places she never even dreamed of before. One of the most amazing and awesome parts of her visit were the Township Tours she participated in, this way she learned even more about the way of life and the culture of South Africans, it was great to get in touch with the people in the Townships and to share time with them.
There were so many new and interesting things that she experienced, amazing moments she spent with wonderful people, such a rich cultural diversity, a colorful nation, an incomparably wonderful nature, unique animals and beautiful beaches.
She wished this dream would never end. Or would this dream ever happen to come true? In her dream it was the beginning of a wonderful time, worth to remember, absolutely the place to be and to return again and again.
Then she woke up and the girl was me…