The Mole Diaries: Cape Town
Getting used to living or studying in a new country is always a challenge, especially if you are not acquainted with the local customs. Now consider a country with 11 official languages reflecting a variety of ethnic groupings; yes you are correct, you would be thinking of South Africa the Rainbow Nation. As a German, Dutch or French language student looking to do a 6 month exchange program with any South African University, you will experience a breathtakingly beautiful country with plenty of outdoor space, a culturally diverse people and a wide variety of activities and attractions to enjoy.
Culture and activities
In general South Africans are fun-loving and laid back. This is a place where visitors almost always feel instantly at home as friendly faces welcome them and where 'simplicity' is the keyword to the South African lifestyle. Thanks to South Africa's good weather, you wouldn't want to miss out on the outdoor space, especially as there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Indeed, virtually every activity imaginable is available in various parts of the country. To name but a few, you can take part in kite surfing in Blouberg Strand, sandboarding, paragliding from Lions Head, horseback riding, skateboarding, surfing, 4x4 trails, snow skiing, rock climbing, quad biking, mountain biking, shark cage diving and much, much more!
Restaurants offer a variety of exotic dishes and traditional cuisine so that you aren't just satisfying your appetite but also your tastebuds. After a relaxing drink and some fine food, you'll find that the nightlife scene in South Africa doesn’t disappoint! We suggest you check out websites such as Capetown Magazine, Eat Out, Kapstadt and JHB Live for more local and up-to-date information.
When you plan to study and live in Cape Town, finding an apartment to rent is, generally speaking, not too much of a problem; there's something for everyone, it just depends on your budget and what you're willing to compromise on. Cape Town has quite a few suburbs, so thebest way to get started on the accommodation search is to look at sites like Junkmail and Gumtree, which both have a good selection of places. As expected, all neighbourhoods have their own character. The Atlantic Seabord, running along the whites beaches at the base of the Western slopes of the Table Mountain range, is quite a coveted area to live in. It's also pretty close to the city centre, with great clubs and pubs in the area. Sea Point & Green Point, in the West of Cape Town, are the residential suburbs round Lions Head, with good links to the city centre. There are a few restuarants in the area and the rent prices tend to be quite affordable. If you're looking to live in the old part of Cape Town, you should head to the residential districts of Tamboerskloof, Gardens, Vredehoek, Oranjezicht and Higgovale, though it can be quite expensive ot live round here, as the area is much sought after, though not great for going out. The district of Observatory is not perched on the summit of Table Mountain but at its Eastern foot, tucked around the corner from the city bowl and below the University of Cape Town. Rental rates are very affordable, with lots of cool places to go out in the evening. The leafy Southern Suburbs lie on the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain, approximately 10km from the city centre, and comprise the prestigious districts of Rondebosch, Mowbray, Newlands, Claremont and Wynberg, the latter being really popular amongst students.
More info and help
For help on your visa and with part time work, Foreign Language Placements offer some sound advice.