Heyyy all, so it’s getting to that time again in Glasgow when everyone
is applying to study abroad.If the terrible weather in Glasgow right now isn’t enough to make you go abroad here’s why Cape town (arguably the best place ever) is where you want to be!
Number 1: UCT is a fantastic university
While Glasgow is a highly reputable university being able to say you have studied at the highest ranked university in South Africa is definitely something special! Since technically you are still meant to study while being on exchange here’s some information about UCT.
It has 5 faculties and a wide range of interesting subjects on offer. From a law perspective I’ve been able to study a range of fascinating subjects that would never be offered in Scotland, including the bioethics & law of the HIV/AID pandemic. Also after studying jurisprudence in 2nd year and hating every second of it I vowed I would never go anywhere near the subject again. Although UCT provided me with the opportunity to study post-apartheid jurisprudence and I have to admit it’s been really interesting. Since being in Cape Town I have actually really enjoyed studying law, and looking back to 2nd year that’s something I would never have said. While granted studying abroad anywhere in the world will give you a different perspective, UCT really does offer a unique experience because of the countries prevalent history. The effects of apartheid are much further reaching than I ever envisaged and they really do add another level of insight into the majority of subject’s areas.
South Africa may seem like an unknown world because it’s geographically so far from the UK but the teaching styles involve lectures/tuts and are very similar to Glasgow. The most noticeable difference between learning at UoG and UCT is the passionate atmosphere shared by students and staff throughout UCT. Even though UCT like Glasgow is a big university it has much more of a community spirit and a really fun and positive vibe. Students here are much more motivated in respects of their studies and are generally much more politicised. While, like myself you may think I’m not really interested in politics, being surrounded by empowering attitudes of UCT students has given me a huge drive to get the most out of university. Additionally, it’s shown me the importance of young people in society and the role we can play to make change.
Number 2: so much diversity
On a lighter note studying at UCT means you will living in the heart of Cape Town where its impossible to be bored. Whatever your interests I guarantee you will find them in Cape Town.
It has a vibrant modern city centre with great night-life that is only a few minutes away from the picturesque waterfront harbour home to several restaurants and shops. There are also beaches to be found all over Cape Town with the closer being around a 15 minute drive.
All of these areas are only a short distance away from UCT that sits on the foot of Devil’s Peak. Cape Town is one of these places where you could go hiking and surfing in the same day. Not only does it have numerous sporting opportunities but also a thriving arts and entertainment culture. Also for those of you interested in photography you would have a field day with that here in Cape Town. Everyone’s interests are accommodate not only through the societies and clubs at UCT but Cape Town as a whole.
The music culture here is hugely diverse, so whatever your taste you will find places that play your favourite tunes, ranging from banging DJ’s to jazz clubs and the hard core rock scene. There are loads of festivals, I went to Rocking the Daisies a few weekends back which was fantastic, everyone was jolling in the sun and loving life! (as much as I love TITP it was much better)
While there is so much going on in Cape Town itself, there are also several opportunities to travel further afield. There is a big driving culture here so its really easy to hire a car and head off on a road trip. A team of us recently drove up the east coast of South Africa on a trip known as the Garden Route where we got to do so many cool activities including elephant and big cat encounters, and surfing in Jeffrey’s Bay which is famous for its amazing waves! Furthermore, flights to surrounding countries aren’t too expensive so a trip to somewhere like Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe would be very manageable.
Number 3: Cape Town has the best scran and bevy
To put it simply the food in Cape Town is smashing. The restaurants, cafes and even the food sold in the local shops is all on point. It’s a country that’s famous for its braais (bbq) and quite rightly so because the meat here is so tasty. Also the great food is coupled with a buzzing coffee culture and loads of great wine. Cape Town is home to Truth, one of the top ten coffee shops in the world. You could literally spend your days here eating and drinking by visiting all the food markets and wineries. The best part is all this is very cheap and close to UCT. To put it into perspective a three course meal and drinks will normally equate to £25.
Number 4: cheap cost of living
Studying in Cape Town really is a sweet deal because the cost of living is pretty cheap. The exchange rate is most definitely in our favour so the most expensive part of studying in Cape Town is getting here.
Here are some prices to give you an idea:
Normal lunch on campus, which can include wraps/pasta/salads/baguettes etc. with a drink will be £1-2
Beer/cider 50p-80p, spirits are not that much more expansive but just a warning doubles appear to be the norm here!
- I usually do a grocery shopping every 7-10 days costing me £30
- To city centre/long street/waterfront £5
- Camps bay: £8-10
- Obvs/Claramont: £2
- there isn’t as much a focus on buying textbooks here, subjects will usually work from a “reader” which is a printed folder of readings provided by UCT
As you might have guessed I love living in Cape Town and would recommend it to anyone. UCT is a great university situated in an amazing city. Apart from all of above Cape Town is truly a beautiful place to live and really who wouldn’t want to wake up to views like these everyday?