Saturday, 30 August 2008

Take a Break

Students deserve a break - they deserve a holiday. But wouldn't it be a good idea for the holiday to also be a fun way to really boost their fluency in English? How about a trip to an English-speaking country - perhaps even the U.K.?

One option, especially for younger students at language schools, is to go on an organised trip with their classmates to a summer school offering language lessons in the morning and trips or other activities in the afternoon. This can sound like a great idea but it has its drawbacks. One is the lessons - more lessons. Heck, haven't the kids had enough lessons? The other is that students are likely to spend most of their time speaking their native tongue with their friends from back home rather than mixing with hip English dudes and learning the authentic lingo.

So is there an alternative? Yes. What we did was arrange for a couple of students to go on an outdoor pursuits course for two weeks in the Lake District with the long established organisation called Outward Bound. These are courses aimed mainly at British boys and girls with excellent programmes of team-building activities and interesting things to do outdoors (canoeing, raft-building, orienteering, hiking, camping, climbing, etc). The facilities at Ullswater, where our two students went, were first rate and the location is beautiful. The days are so busy that there is rarely a chance for a couple of foreigners to hide away in a corner being homesick. All the time they were mixing with the others, speaking English and enjoying their new-found ability to cope in English in England. Although the girls had their doubts before setting off for England, they had no hesitations in recommending the course on their return. And it didn't matter that neither of them were super athletes.

Outward Bound courses are not cheap but the prices are reasonable given what is on offer. They can also arrange helpful things like meeting people from train stations ensuring a safe journey.
For further details see

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