English as a foreign language
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General English

Speaking English is essential for work and education - learn to speak English fluently and confidently with the Language School at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Join an international student community in multi-cultural and multi-lingual South Africa!  View the recent outings with our students here!

Improve your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Lessons are student-centred with lots of opportunities to practise speaking. Each level is seven (7) weeks: Monday to Friday (09:00 – 14:00). Our classes are small, so you get personal attention from your teacher. 

Applicants are required to do an online placement test (1 hour), which includes an application fee of R750. This fee is separate from the course fee.

Please scroll down for guidance on accommodation and a study visa.

General English | Course Description

This course is aimed at foreign language users of English. It is ideal for students who want to improve their English-speaking skills, fluency, and confidence for work or social purposes. Improve your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills as well as grammar and vocabulary.

Six different levels are available and students are placed in the appropriate level after completing a mandatory assessment. 

Course Fee

R16 100 (per level) (Approximately USD 850)

The course fee includes:
- An online placement test 
- 140 hours of class (9:00 - 13:00)
- 20 hours of club activities (13:15 - 14:15)
- Course material
- Use of computer lab

WP_Banking Details


7 weeks per level (160 hours)


Certificate of Competence (minimum 85% attendance)

General English | Programme Overview
  • Improve your grammar and pronunciation, expand your vocabulary, and develop your skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing, across a range of contexts
  • Improve aspects of English grammar, such as the correct use of tenses, pronouns and prepositions
  • Improve reading skills: comprehension of written texts, review of books, newspaper and magazine articles
  • Improve writing skills: emails, formal and informal letters, essays, etc.
  • Improve listening skills: comprehension exercises based on audio material from CDs and DVDs
  • Improve speaking skills: pair and group interaction, presentations

We use international books from Oxford University Press.

Entry Requirements
  • 18+ years old
  • Valid study visa
  • Online placement test (USD40)
Application Process

Step 1: Complete the registration form & email Registration from + a certified copy of your passport + proof of payment of ZAR700 to wls@wits.ac.za

Step 2: We email you a link to write the Oxford Online Placement Test.

Step 3: Write the test (1 hour)

Step 4: We confirm your level. We email you the acceptance letter and the invoice for the course fees.

Step 5: Email your proof of payment.

Step 6: We email you a letter of registration to apply for your study visa.

Step 7: Apply for your study visa in your home country.

Step 8: Start class!


WLS does not provide accommodation directly; however, we can help you to arrange this. There are several host families close to the school. We inspect the homes regularly to make sure that the accommodation is suitable.

We also arrange letters for proof of residence – one of the requirements for visa applications. For proof of residence the hosts need to do the following:

  • Affidavit to be done at a local police station
  • Provide a certified ID copy
  • Provide a utility bill in their name 

Transport to and from the school is included in the accommodation costs when you stay with a host family. If your host family cannot transport you themselves, they will arrange other transport such as Uber.

You need to book your own flights to South Africa. Your host family can arrange transport for you from the airport if you need it, which will be at an additional cost for you.

Study Visa

We cannot apply for the visa for your. We will give you the letters you need to apply for your visa. We can also:
- advise you on visa applications and extensions, and
- refer you to recommended agents for visas and medical insurance cover.

To apply for a visa, you need:

    1. Letter of acceptance
         *Register and pay for your course.
         *Email the proof of payment to wls@wits.ac.za.
         *We email you a letter of acceptance.
    2. South African medical insurance (study visas)
      If you want to study in South Africa for more than three months, you must get South African medical insurance. We can email you advice and refer you to a company that specialises in medical insurance for students.
    3. Medical clearance
      Go to a hospital for radiology clearance and x-rays. You also need to provide a Yellow Fever certificate.
    4. Police clearance
      Get a police clearance certificate in your home country.
    5. Proof of sufficient funds (bank statement)

*NOTE: Apply and register for your course at least three months before it starts so you have enough time to get your visa and book your accommodation.*

English Conversation | Course Description

If you want to improve your general conversation and speaking skills, this is the course for you. Lessons focus only on speaking and topics regularly encountered in everyday contexts when living, travelling, or working in an English-speaking environment.

You'll develop your fluency and confidence through 2-hour daily classes (Monday - Friday) for a month. Course duration is 40 hours.

The course is aimed at students at a pre-intermediate/intermediate level.

The course fee is R9 020.

English Conversation | Programme Overview

• Locations such as the airport, shops, speciality stores, restaurant, pharmacy, doctor / hospital, schools, restaurants, etc.
• Invitations, requests, and offers
• Topics related to travel and tourism
• Topics related to activities of interest, hobbies, and events such as concerts, expos, and seminars
• Basic telephone phrases, exchanges, and etiquette
• Asking for and giving opinions, agreeing and disagreeing
• Making suggestions about places to visit and things to do or see
• Expressing gratitude and making complaints in a manner that demonstrate the relevant cultural norms
• Talking about future plans and arrangements
• Prepositions of time and place
• Phrasal verbs related to the topics covered on the course