Discovering the World of…Pigeons!

by Sheetal Makhan / AYC Whenever I have to describe the meaning of “passionate” to my students, I use my own example of my job. I don’t use this word lightly, yet I can say that I love what I do. I’m passionate about the work I do and service I provide to my students. It’s like a fire that burns in your heart – one that gets you out of bed in the morning! A couple of months ago, I learned that one of our AY students, Mohamed Elafshouk of Libya has a passion that may come as a surprise to many people, as it was to me. In Libya, Mohamed’s life revolves around…pigeons! I found it so endearing how he spoke about his love for these animals and regards them as his friends. When I got to talk to him about this, I invited him to give a lecture to share not only his love, but knowledge of these birds which we actually know little of. We got to know of their diet, living conditions and the fact that there are actually so many different kinds of pigeons and are used for various purposes, like racing or being carrier pigeons. Halfway through Mohamed’s lecture, something incredible happened. Two pigeons suddenly flew into the classroom (Room 3.5). Afterwards, some people asked if perhaps Mohamed made a certain sound to attract them, but he didn’t. He was merely speaking! “Maybe they came from Libya to support me!” quirked Mohamed. Whatever the case may be, we’ve now given him the special title of “The Pigeon Whisperer” 🙂 Well done on your presentation, Mohamed. Thank you for enlightening us all about these little creatures. I know that I now no longer see them in the same light as before!

LECTURE: Attitude of Gratitude

  by Sheetal Makhan / AYC I thought it was quite apt to have our last lecture of 2013 based on my favourite topic, being grateful for all we have. The lecture, titled “Develop an Attitude of Gratitude” was the second one I’ve presented and like the last time, I hope that it will begin a wave of “thank you’s” being spread around the world. For many years, I have kept a Gratitude Journal where at the end of every day, I list everything I am grateful for  – from my health, to my two healthy, loving and supportive parents, a job that I love, supportive colleagues…and the list just goes on and on. I have even written that I was grateful for the petrol attendant for serving me with such a beautiful smile and graceful attitude. My point is that you can be grateful for ANYTHING. Even people who feel as though they have hit rock bottom have something to say “thank you” for. Even if it’s just for a meal, or the hot water they showered in. Each one of us says “Thank You” on a daily basis, but what do we really mean by it and do we honestly “feel” it? I sincerely hope that a spark was created among at least a handful of students. I invite YOU to begin developing an Attitude of Gratitude today..!

The smile behind the veil…

  by Sheetal Makhan / AYC  A few weeks ago, on Thursday 5 December, instead of having a regular “lecture” on our Thursday afternoon slot, I thought it would be interesting to incorporate some kind of forum discussion. Nawal, who is currently back in Saudi Arabia, agreed to address a group of students to share her experience of being a young, Saudi Arabian lady studying English in South Africa. She spoke about her own perceptions of the country before she arrived here as well as perceptions of how others may view her. It’s very easy to note that when one first meets Nawal, she is anything but shy and quiet! She has demonstrated to her peers and teachers that she is the epitome of a “go-getter”! The presentation, titled “The smile behind the veil” was aimed at bridging any cultural gaps among students. For many, it is the first time that they would be meeting people of other countries, cultures and religions. Questions are bound to arise, like “Why don’t you eat pork?” to “Why do ladies cover their entire bodies, revealing only their eyes?” All these questions create a sense of curiosity, which some may be hesitant to ask another directly. Thank you, Nawal, for sharing your story and tidbits about life in Saudi Arabia. It was definitely interesting and educational for all present.

French Electro vs Angolan Kuduru

From time to time, we get to catch a glimpse into some of our student’s talents. Two students who are quite hush about this are Chancy from Gabon and Denilson from Angola. It was discovered at our Valentine’s party in February this year that Chancy is extremely talented in break dancing. During an AY tutorial with Denilson, I found out that he dances Kuduro, an Angolan dance that originated in the 1980s. I invited the two young gentlemen to give a presentation about these dances. On Thursday, 17 October, both did an excellent job describing their dance styles and also gave a demonstration of each. Congratulations, Chancy and Denilson! Do you have any special talents or something you’re passionate about? If you’d like to share it with your peers, come and speak to Sheetal in the Academic Office (5.9) about giving a presentation. ~Sheetal Makhan / AYC

Lecture: Develop An Attitude of Gratitude

by Sheetal Makhan / AYC Following the act of gratitude shown by my Pre-Intermediate class towards Abdul (our friendly security and door attendant), I felt extremely inspired to start a wave of gratitude. For many years, I have kept a “Gratitude Journal” where at the end of every day, I list everything I am grateful for  – from my health, to my two healthy, loving and supportive parents, a job that I love, supportive colleagues…and the list just goes on and on. I have even written that I was grateful for the petrol attendant for serving me with such a beautiful smile and graceful attitude. My point is that you can be grateful for ANYTHING. Even people who feel as though they have hit rock bottom have something to say “thank you” for. Even if it’s just for a meal, or the hot water they showered in. Each one of us says “Thank You” on a daily basis, but what do we really mean by it and do we honestly “feel” it? Even though I write a daily gratitude list, in an effort to start a trend amongst those close to me, I started “Thankful Thursday” where we list what we were grateful for that particular week. On Thursday, 23 May I was very excited to have the lecture slot available where I could give a presentation titled “Develop an Attitude of Gratitude”. My wish is for it to spread like wildfire. Why? Because I would love others to feel as elated as I do when I receive the many gifts of blessings that are given to me…just by being aware of everything around me and by being grateful. I shared two very personal stories. Firstly, my months of being unemployed which led me to a place that had no … Read more

Free Activities at EC Cape Town

EC Cape Town offers free academic activities and services to all students. During these activities students are able to enhance their English skills by interacting with teachers and students at all levels one on one and in group settings. Pronunciation Workshop Students meet once a week with EC Cape Town’s pronunciation expert to work on improving vowel and consonant pronunciation. Students also practice accurate sentence and word stress and natural intonation. Listening Centre Daily sessions are available throughout the day where students can practice listening skills through lectures, news broadcasts, audio-books and listening tasks, with the help of EC Cape Town’s staff. Film Afternoon Twice a month, students are offered the opportunity to watch a film. These films are to enhance listening and reading skills through the use of subtitles. Lectures Offered twice a month, lectures offer students contact time with native speakers and the opportunity to practice extended listening. Students will be exposed to a variety of topics, and regional accents, and are encouraged to ask questions to interact with the lecturer.