Introduction to South Africa
South Africa lies in the continent of Africa’s southern tip and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and by the Indian Ocean on the south and east. South Africa’s neighbours are Zimbabwe and Botswana in the North, Mozambique and Swaziland in the northeast and Namibia in the northwest. The beautiful country is divided into nine provinces and 367 magisterial districts. Provincial Departments, National Departments, as well as the Local Government at the district level represent the government. Environmental issues are the responsibility of the government at each of these levels. South Africa’s population has been estimated to be 48.7 million individuals, with roughly half of which living in urban areas and the remaining half in rural areas.
Due to the diversity of cultures amongst the people of South Africa, there are 11 official languages; Nine native African languages, Afrikaans and English.
South Africa is a country of many worlds in one nation. In 1994, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called South Africa “God’s Rainbow Nation” and this title has stuck for the last 16 years. Known as a shining jewel in the otherwise “Dark Continent” of Africa, this amazing country at the foot of the world’s second largest landmass is the economic powerhouse of the region and one of the most successful, peaceful, stable countries in Africa. There can be no arguing that South Africa’s most famous citizen (and once the world’s most famous prisoner!), Nelson Mandela, has been the cornerstone of its fledgling democracy. Even though he has fully retired from public life, his presence still looms large across the nation. Madiba, his clan name by which he is affectionately known said: “If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.” He is a model and example to all South Africans and has lived out both of these roads with dignity and integrity. He is surely one of the greatest statesmen in history.
Town, in particular, is a microcosm of the Rainbow Nation: Besides the obvious splendour of its natural beauty – spectacular mountains, both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, long, sandy beaches, bright blue skies, extensive wine farms, to list but a few - Cape Town offers a unique melting pot of cultures, people and backgrounds. It is African, with obvious European influences, and is becoming more and more cosmopolitan on an almost daily basis as this cultural diversity and unique integration increases.
For any visitor to Cape Town, a trip to the top of Table Mountain is a must. It is already a World Heritage Site, but the cable car journey to the top, although quite quick at less than 3 minutes, is breath-taking. From the top, the air is pristine and there are several routes and walks that can be taken at the summit, all offering-stunning views of the entire Cape Peninsula and the African hinterland – provided there is no cloud cover! The second thing I would absolutely recommend is to drive along the False Bay Coast (south of the centre of the city itself), stopping at Kalk Bay Harbor, Fish Hoek, Simonstown and beyond, then going on into the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. One needs to allow a full day (or even two) for this in order to explore all the nooks and crannies and unusual curiosity shops, restaurants and pubs along the way.
Sport plays a major role in the life and culture of the majority of South Africans. At no time in its history has the country been able to show this on a bigger scale than in 2010. Despite having already hosted both Rugby and Cricket World Cup tournaments, and being rugby World Champions and lying second in the International Cricket rankings, nothing has compared to hosting the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup. It would not be an understatement to say that the world was truly blown away (and not just by some dodgy refereeing!) by the level of organization, preparedness, planning and attention to detail that has gone into making the tournament a success! South Africa has truly welcomed the world over the duration of this tournament and has already received global accolades and praise for the huge success the tournament has proven to be. It has been remarkable to welcome nearly 400 000 visitors of all nationalities and languages to their shores and it is hoped that many of them will return, as they have said they would, with their families and friends in the future.
While the English Language Travel industry is relatively new in South Africa when compared to other destinations, it has grown rapidly over the last five to ten years, and is continuing to become a significant player on the global market as a viable, alternative destination for language travellers.
Education System in South Africa
South Africa is certainly not lacking when it comes to tertiary education. Besides major towns or cities having at least one university (or university branch), there are also a number of long distance learning institutions and institutions catering specifically to certain specialized fields. Many universities specialize in international standards to ensure certificate acceptance in other parts of the world as many young students enjoy a culture of travel and diversity before becoming fully immersed in the secular world. Most universities cultivate a vibrant student community and encourage sporting activities and social interaction. Recently a countrywide initiative has seen the one or more universities in the same geographical area come under the same headship. Below is a list of the main tertiary education facilities in South Africa (there are some highly specialized ones not mentioned here).
Higher Education and Training, or tertiary education, includes education for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, certificates and diplomas, up to the level of the doctoral degree.
A matric endorsement is required for the study of university degrees, with a minimum of three subjects passed at the higher, rather than standard, grade, although some universities set additional academic requirements. A standard school-leaving South African senior certificate is sufficient for technical qualifications and diplomas.
South Africa has a vibrant higher education sector, with more than a million students enrolled in the country's 24 state-funded tertiary institutions: 11 universities, five universities of technology, and six comprehensive institutions.
These have recently been integrated, with the country's former 36 universities and "technikons" being amalgamated into larger tertiary institutions. Higher education is also offered at hundreds of private institutions, which are registered with the Department of Education to confer specific degrees and diplomas.
Many of South Africa's universities are world-class academic institutions, at the cutting edge of research in certain spheres. Although subsidized by the state, the universities are autonomous, reporting to their own councils rather than government.
English Lannguage schools:
Good Hope Studies
Introduction to the U.A.E.
The United Arab Emirates is situated in the Southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, in the Southwest of Asia, or it is better known as the Middle East. With a coast stretching along the southern Arabian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates consists of seven states, known as emirates, namely Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. Abu Dhabi is the country’s capital and center for political and industrial activities.
The country of the United Arab Emirates was established in 1971, with a constitutional monarchy and a presidential system of government. Life in the different Emirates dates back to the trade of copper and merchandise with the rest of the world. The location of the Emirates on the coast of the Arabian Gulf made it possible for easy trade by sea, as far as from China.
The pearling industry thrived during the 20th century, providing income and employment to the people of the Gulf. In 1960, with the establishment of the first crude oil company for exportation, the United Arab Emirates economy began to grow. With the world’s seventh largest oil reserve today, it led to trade with the rest of the world and known as the most developed economy in the span of a few decades.
Once it was a land of sand dunes, oasis and date palms, but today there is a rise in the construction industry along with other industrial trade. The United Arab Emirates is noted for its excellent infrastructure, booming industry and growth within the last two decades. The large multicultural society of the United Arab Emirates is responsible for the success of this small country to a highly metropolitan one. With people from all over the world, the country is known for its diverse and multicultural society. Arabic is the official language of the United Arab Emirates, spoken by most of the individuals living in the country, but English seems to be a major language spoken. A multilingual country today is all due to the highly multicultural society present in the Emirates. The Emirates is a popular choice for many overseas students because of its rich culture, history, and infrastructure, warm and friendly people, making it a secure and safe place for people to live in. Courtesy and hospitality are one of the many virtues of the United Arab Emirates.
Education System in U.A.E.
The United Arab Emirates have over 40 universities and colleges located across the different Emirates. Each institute offers degrees that are internationally recognized, with a high standard of teaching and research. Professors that teach at these institutes are extremely qualified individuals from all around the globe. The institutes offer a quality education to its students, which are equivalent to degrees from any other Commonwealth institution in different areas of the world.
Each Emirate has their own government as well as their own private institutes. The United Arab Emirates government funds the government institutes, but the institute sets its own curriculum and way in which it wants it to be run. Private institutes are most often foreign institutes who have a branch in the Emirates are funded by themselves, setting their own curriculum and administrative requirements. In a matter of a few years, the educational level in the Emirates has grown with more and more students opting to study here at the different colleges, universities and training institutes.
Students can apply to any program they desire, but will be required to meet the requirements of the institute. These requirements tend to vary from one institute to another. Institutions set their own admission standards and each applicant’s qualification is accessed individually. In order to be accepted, international Students should have completed their secondary schooling in the General Certificate of English (GCE) A-Levels and O-Levels, International Baccalaureate, CBSE or SAT1/SAT2.They must have obtained grades of 80% and above in order to hear back from the institution. Transcripts, essays, letters of reference and extracurricular involvement may also be required while applying to the institute. All of the institutes in the UAE require students to show their proficiency in English, by either doing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOFEL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Each institute is responsible for their own higher education, and hence set their own curriculum and admission standards. The education being obtained is of high standard and from quality establishments, even though the institutes have been around for a few decades only.