AY Student of the Month: September 2014

by Sheetal Makhan / AYC I remember the exact day I met Mohidin (“Mohi”) from Libya. During our interview, he seemed ambitious and a true “go-getter”. As I got to know Mohi and his work ethics, my respect for him has grown tremendously. Always at school well before 08:00, he displays discipline towards his studies. He has been writing with me for a the past couple of months and I sometimes sit in awe and pride after reading his work. Most of all, I’m so proud that he has now joined the Cambridge Preparation Course (FCE). He is a shining example that hard work pays off. Well done, Mohi! Name: Mohidin Amar Esaadi Nationality: Libyan Profession: Doctor When did you begin at EC?: 1 April 2014 What level did you begin at?: Pre-intermediate Current level: FCE Cambridge Course (Upper Intermediate) What is your reason for studying English?: I’m studying English because I want to complete my postgraduate study and I hope to get IELTS Band 7. What extra facilities/classes at EC do you do? (eg Listening Center, Pronunciation Class etc…): I have been listening to a lot of stories and I have nearly finished all of them in the Listening Center. Has this helped? How? Yes, of course. If I talk regarding my medical field, the most important thing to understand in another language is listening. What tips/advice would you give to other students to improve their English?: You will have a lot of disappointments in your way and if you have these disappointments, you will realize that you are on the right path. Remember: Success has to come after a lot of disappointment.

My mother. My blood. My life…

Sheetal Makhan (AYC) In one of my classes recently, we spoke about patriotism and what it really means. What does it mean to be patriotic? [patriotic means to express deep devotion/love for one’s country] Well, this morning, I had a surprise when one of my AY students, Otman Eltalis appeared at my office door. I was surprised because he told me that he wasn’t coming to school today as he had to run some errands this morning. He said: “I just came to give you this,” as he handed me a sheet of paper. A piece of writing to mark? Sure! It was nothing out of the ordinary. Until I actually read it. The best way of knowing if something was written from the heart is if it gives the reader goosebumps. It did more than that for me. I could feel Otman’s emotions. With my extra writing sessions that I have with my students, I tell them that they only need to do one thing when they write: Make your words jump off the page and dance! I interviewed Otman on his very first day at EC Cape Town. He has grown in leaps and bounds, not just with his English, but as a person. I’m so proud of him! With his permission, I would like to share what he has written. by Otman Eltalis  My name: Libya My nationality: Libyan My phone number: Libya My biography: Libya I am a patient. I am a villager. I am a national. I am a soldier for protect my country. I am peaceful. I extend my appreciation to my country everyday. It is my mother, my blood, my life. I left because I was forced. I didn’t like homesick, but this is for you. I hope to accept my excuse. I can’t forget … Read more

I can speak English! by Ahmed Abujarida

Sheetal Makhan (AYC) I have many students who do extra writing for me, over and above what they do in class. One such student is my Academic Year student, Ahmed Abujarida from Libya. He left this piece of writing for me to mark and I felt that it was really written from the heart and I had to share it with all to read. ——————————————- by Ahmed Abujarida (Libya) I am going to talk about how I learned English.When I came to Cape Town in April, I didn’t know how to speak English with people, but I started to learn English at EC School. Also, after three months, I started to speak English and learned a lot of things. For example: vocabulary, listening and grammar. I am really very happy at my school. I would advise everybody who wants to learn English just to speak English. If you’re Arabic speaking, speak English even with Arabic students!If someone speaks Arabic (or their native language) everyday, they will not learn English. Also, I would like to advise people to speak English in the streets – while shopping or anywhere. Then they will improve quickly. When I started studying at EC School, I started at Elementary level and then I moved to Pre-intermediate level after two months.You will be able to practice and do exercises everyday. Guys, I want you to always speak English at school and in class. I saw a lot of people speaking in their native language and not learning English. I learned this from my teacher, my friends from different countries and my host family.I couldn’t believe myself after three months. I can speak English! Guys, please! I want you to speak English as much as possible, because this is very good, worthwhile and important for you! ——————————————- Ahmed … Read more

Creative sparks from students!

This Monday, there were many class tests which were written. Usually, students want to go home immediately – exhausted from 3 hours of tests! However, this week was very different. Five students joined me for a group tutorial focused on writing. As their tutor, my purpose was two-fold: 1. I wanted to unleash their creative sparks and show them what they are unknowingly capable of. 2. I wanted them to escape. Even for 20 minutes. To forget about their worries, fears, situations with their families and countries. By the end of the tutorial, my mission was accomplished. Here’s why: I presented the students with a picture. They had only ten minutes to write – absolutely anything that came to their mind and heart. As I always say, “Words that come from the heart, enter the heart.” Their writing was so good that I had to share it here for the world to see. Congratulations! I’m so proud of you. This was the picture: I won’t surrender by Mohamed (Libya) I can see the ant. It will try to do something difficult. With the end of the day, it keeps trying …and it’s tomorrow. It’s a new day. And I will try again. So whatever. I will try again and again. And I won’t surrender. Never. Every day is a new start. If the world doesn’t support me, I can support myself. When I fail in something, I try to go to the top. I will try and I will do. Finally, I do. Nothing is impossible. I am possible. No pain. No gain. —————————————- It still has the power by Mustafa (Libya) The picture appears how the ant is working. How it lives in the desert. On the rocks. Besides the sea, on the beach…and it still has the power until sunset. It tried … Read more

Listening Center Benefits by Ahmed Zubi

by Sheetal Makhan With my office being on the fifth floor, I get to see the “regulars” of the Listening Center everyday! One student who is there daily is Ahmed Zubi. I was really interested to learn more about how this facility has helped Ahmed’s progress while studying English. Please read his piece below: Listening Center Benefits by Ahmed Zubi Nobody can argue that Listening is one of the most important communicating skills because it enables you to understand people and respond properly to them. That’s why language students ought to give it a considerable effort as well as the language centers ought to do. Listening will expose you to a variety of accents. Moreover it will improve your pronunciation, intonation and ellipsis which are not achievable by reading. However, as reading does, your collocations, structures and expressions will also be improved by listening. Having done both simultaneously, you’ll get most of the input skills, which you can imitate to express yourself. By listening and reading at the same time, your brain can subconsciously bind the word with its pronunciation, but that doesn’t mean you leave reading completely! Realizing all the above, I started going to the Listening Center on the 5th floor and I noted a significant improvement after about one month. In addition I got a better score in listening tests. The center contains a diverse collection of amazing books which explain quaint natural facts such as world wonders. Others speak about courage and people experience, although the majority have been stories of different sorts. They are thought-provoking detective stories, romantic, courage, poignant stories narrated in an fascinating way and taken from different countries (UK, USA, India, South Africa, Ireland and Thailand). However some of them has a message which I disagree with, but it’s  the language that you should seek, not only the ideas. … Read more

Weekly football unites students

by Sheetal Makhan / AYC It always fascinates me when expats find each other in a foreign country and soon socialize and celebrate special events as they would if they were in their own country. Homesickness becomes a thing of the past.  I was really interested to learn that a group of our Libyan students have weekly football matches. The sole purpose of these matches is just to foster brotherhood between the guys. I spoke to Abdulmoaz (“Azoo”) who gave me a glimpse into what our students get up to on a Thursday evening. Using the football field near the V & A Waterfront, the guys plan to meet and enjoy a friendly match.Why do they do this?Living in a foreign country, it’s easy to get tied up in ones own life. With the sole purpose of just studying, our students all have goals and a mission to complete it by a certain deadline. While it’s important to immerse oneself into a new culture, it’s also vital not to forget ones roots! “It’s not about competition,” says Azoo, who is quite strategic in the way teams are formed. He explains that depending on everyone’s level and strength, they ensure that each guy has an opportunity to play. It was great to know that these matches aren’t just confined to “Team Libya”. Their Saudi Arabian peers also get in on the action and from time to time, they even play against South African’s!Azoo exclaims, “It’s an awesome, amazing feeling after playing.” He goes on to say that for at least 5 hours a week, the guys imagine that they are not in Cape Town. They’re back in Libya and enjoy spending time together – even after the match, when they proceed to the Waterfront to enjoy dinner together. He advises other students … Read more

Abdul – Our Boxing Champion!

by Sheetal Makhan / AYC For someone who initially thought that boxing “was a little bit weird”, it may come as a surprise that 22yr old Abdulwahed “Abdul” Abdalah recently won his first boxing match! The Business Management student from Libya is currently completing his English course at at EC Cape Town. He’s been in Cape Town for almost a year and prides himself on living and enjoying life to the max. It was during high school that Abdul took a keen interest in the sport and has been training for five years now. “It makes me calm. It’s like a stress relief,” he says. Abdul joined a local boxing club where the coach is a four-time boxing champion. He is confident that his techniques improved during his 11-month training in Cape Town. “Winning a gold medal out of Libya is an honour for me,” says Abdul and goes on to say that he will continue training when he goes back to Libya. Boxing was not a mainstream sport in Libya, forcing those interested in it to train underground. However, after the country’s revolution, there has been a revival and clubs have started to re-emerge. Abdul says that while his family had some (reasonably understandable) reservations about his involvement, they did support him and are very proud of him…as are his friends! Friends of various nationalities came out to support Abdul at his match and have nothing, but praise and pride for him. His advice to those who wish to pursue boxing? Abdul maintains that the sport is “good for the soul, mind and fitness. Not only does it strengthen your heart and broaden your mind, but it keeps you young!” While Abdul towers over many of his peers (and teachers) he has a very soft nature and actually comes … Read more

My Decision, by Mohamed Abogila

From Sheetal Makhan / AYC When I wrote the prompt on the board this morning, I had no idea that I would get back something like this: Writing prompt: She took a deep breath and said to her boss… My Decision by Mohamed Abogila …I fell in love with you! Her name’s Lara. She’s from Spain, 25 years old. She’s a teacher. Teach English Language. One day she fell in love with her boss. Her boss is Ian, from Cape Town. He works at a big school. He’s assertive, ambitious and serious. Also Lara is ambitious and hardworking. She has been this school 4 years. From the first day, Lara fell in love with Ian. He was strict with all the teachers and she’s a teacher. Ian is a single person. Handsome and decisive and the same time Lara is pretty, energetic and sociable. Anyway she was love him and couldn’t tell him because he was her boss and he was serious. Four years. Year by year. Month by month. Week by week. Second by second. She’s sensitive, but she could be patient…until this day. Lara was thinking, “What can I do? and how?” One month was thinking and asking herself. She was afraid from her emotions and maybe she fell in love with a wrong person. One day at the school Lara was wearing a perfect dress with a wonderful new look and she said, “I will. Life goes on and he’s my heart. If I get him or don’t.” This day Ian was looking for his princess and he decided to get married, but he didn’t think of Lara because he thought, “She might refuse me.” He was looking for another woman. Lara heard that from another teacher. After two months, Ian get married with another woman. Lara was in … Read more

My Sun & My Moon by English student “Mohamed Abogila”

By Sheetal Makhan / Academic Year Coordinator Mohamed reveals that his inspiration for this story came from the windy morning that Cape Town had today. His imagination has taken his writing to new heights and I’m really proud to share his latest piece with you! Well done, Mohamed 🙂 NOTE: This was a timed writing activity (20 minutes) Prompt: Write about the first time that your father saw your mother My Sun & My Moon by Mohamed Abogila, EC English Language Student My Sun is my father. He’s strong and powerful and he shines like the stars. He’s like a candle at night – always shining, kind, helpful and lively. Also, he’s like a fire and will hurt you if you touch him when he’s angry. The sun is a different type of light. It could be useful to see and at the same time it could be unuseful. Actually, I can’t live without him. The sun is also important for the life, plants, animals and humans. He makes me like fresh air…free. He helps me and he’s energetic. One day the sun felt alone and decided to find something to change his life. Suddenly, it was a raining day and the Sun escaped from the sky. After two hours, the Moon started shining with a massive, strong, attractive light. The Sun (my father) decided to fall in love with my mother. My mother is the Moon. However, the Sun was looking forward to seeing the Moon every night and he chased her. Like the Moon, my mother is strong, simple and optimistic. She’s open-minded, self-confident and strong-willed. One day, my Sun (father) decided to shine at night to talk to the Moon. “I want you in my life, but it’s dangerous.” (because he could die at night). Remember, the life of the Sun … Read more

A Tribute to My Friend, by Yahya Zwita

by Sheetal Makhan / AYC I pride myself on the fact that I share very special relationships with my students that go far beyond textbooks and Grammar. When Yahya Zwita, from Libya, opened his heart and told me that his friend, Mohamed (aged 20) committed suicide at the beginning of the month, I knew that I had to be there for this young gentleman. Far from home for the first time in a foreign country with family and friends far away, I instinctively took on the role of his big sister. During one of our conversations, he told me that he wanted to give a presentation / tribute about his friend. I immediately agreed and said I would help him in any way I could. For his tribute yesterday (Thursday, 27 March) Yahya spoke to a group of about 25 students – all his peers. Voluntarily, he put himself in the spotlight…and spoke. I have always maintained that “Words that come from the heart, enter the heart.” This was exactly what happened yesterday afternoon. Here is Yahya’s presentation: Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for coming. This is my first presentation that I’m giving and I would like to tell you about my friend. His name was Mohamed. He was 20 years old and he had 1 brother and 2 sisters. His father died when he was young.  As friends, we had a magnificent time together and enjoyed life. Two weeks ago, my brother called me and told me, “Your friend, Mohamed died.” I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. He died at home at 11 o’clock. Mohamed lived this life feeling depressed. He had diabetes since he was 4 years old. His family wasn’t very rich. He stopped school when he was young, because he didn’t have money and his mother … Read more