I recently embarked upon a statistical analysis of where exactly our students come from. I looked into how the nationalities of our students shifted over the past three years. The diversity of our students’ nationalities is very important, as this will ensure students will have to try their utmost to converse in English at all times. If your school has students from only one or two different countries, they may end up speaking in their native tongue instead of making the most of their experience in a native English country.
This year at Oxford English Academy in Cape Town we have hosted students from 26 different nationalities. There are many different factors which play a part in which nationalities are travelling more and which less. In 2014 we had an influx of students from Libya wanting to learn English on a long-term basis. However, as the political situation worsened so did the number of students coming to South Africa. Numbers have declined dramatically with almost 80% less Libyans enrolled in 2016.
Unfortunately, the economic crisis in Angola has also had a negative effect on people’s ability to travel and withdraw currency from the country. Surprisingly, despite the country struggling with a coup and a war, Turkey has had an increase in representation in our school this year. So too has students arriving from Yemen and West Africa in general.
The Brazilian market is still a consistent source for, I believe, most schools in Cape Town. The students we have hosted tend to stay longer as they can easily extend their visas and consider South Africa a lot cheaper than Brazil, (as most other countries do of course!). A market that cannot be overlooked and that is a big supplier of English learners to Cape Town, is Saudi Arabia. Over the months of June, July and August you will notice a big influx of students escaping the Saudi Arabian summer, especially over Ramadan. The number of students from Europe and more specifically Italians, Germans and French have increased in the last year. Of course, we cannot overlook the wonderful groups we host from the French-speaking Reunion Island every few months.
As you can see when you come to study at our school in Cape Town you will meet people from all walks of life and from all over the world. What a better way to practise your newly acquired English skills than with a fellow student while you get to know each other and learn about their culture and background?