Student life in the city
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Student life in the city

You may be wondering what Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg have to offer International Hotel School (IHS) students as university or college towns? Plenty, as it turns out! Let’s have a look at three reasons why these unique cities are renowned for hosting generations of students…

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The Durban beachfront © Photo courtesy of jitbag on Flickr

1. Things to do in your free time

Durban

Sunny Durbs (Durban) is known for its relaxed atmosphere and warm, golden beaches. Shopping, culture and sports are also high on the city’s list of attractions. Beaches to visit include Durban Beachfront, Umhlanga if you like a little more space, and Suncoast for a grassy spot if you prefer to avoid the sand!

If you’re a shopper, you’ll love Gateway Theatre of Shopping, The Pavilion and Westwood Mall (the latter two are practically on IHS’ doorstep). Durban has excellent sports facilities and cultural entertainment as well.

Cape Town

Cape Town is the glorious ‘mother city’, recently named the “top tourist destination in the world” by the 2011 Traveller’s Choice Destinations Awards. There’s so much to do in your free time, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Shopping is incredible with huge malls, street stores, local markets and fantastic factory shopping.

Eating out is a pleasure with everything from fine dining to family restaurants, trendy coffee spots, popular bars, fast food chains and sidewalk cafés.

Must-do Cape Town (CT) activities include touring the wine routes, cruising to Robben Island, going up Table Mountain, walking around Kirstenbosch, and of course, visiting the legendary white beaches with their dramatic mountainous backdrops.

Johannesburg

Do you thrive on bright lights, late nights and constant city buzz? Johannesburg, called Joburg or Jozi by the locals, is South Africa’s financial heart. People here walk fast, drive fast, and live fast.

The IHS campus is in Sandton, the business, shopping and entertainment mecca of Joburg. Sandton is packed with attractions like Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City and Montecasino. It’s the perfect place to sip espresso, shop for anything and everything you could imagine, and taste cuisines from around the globe. If you’re keen to learn more about the history of Jozi and South Africa, there’s opportunity for that too.

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A party on Long Street in Cape Town © Photo courtesy of flowcomm on Flickr

2. Cost of living

The cost of living in South Africa generally works in favour of international students. You can enjoy a high standard of living at a relatively reasonable cost in comparison with Europe, America, or Australia.

Durban is one of the most affordable South African cities for everyday living, followed by Cape Town, and then Johannesburg. Food prices are similar between the three, but rent varies from city to city depending on where you live. Student ‘digs’ or communal houses are a popular choice though for young people racing between college, odd jobs and social lives.

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The Johannesburg skyline © Photo courtesy of Mister-E on Flickr

3. Nightlife

South Africa has a diverse range of nightlife, especially because of the amazing weather which promotes outdoor activities. Durban’s nightlife is laid back with a focus on eating out, cocktail lounges, theatre, music gigs, and beach festivals.

Cape Town comes alive at night with restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs and a strong cultural element of theatre performances, music events, and gallery exhibitions.

Joburg is bursting with vibrant nightlife, especially due to entertainment complexes like Montecasino offering restaurants, movies, live performances, and gambling in the casinos. The city is also known for its clubbing scene and big events.

No matter which IHS campus you’re based at, there’s a thriving student life in each city, with student specials on offer almost everywhere you go. And your practical experience working in the hospitality industry will no doubt let you in on all the secrets of the ‘it’ places to go – whether they be pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels, or student hangouts.