The traditional student language vacation
Traditionally, Students are sent in groups to a foreign country. They stay in dorms as a group where there can be anything from twenty to a few hundred students. The daily schedule is normally English Classes in the morning and some sporting activities in the afternoon. The typical duration is 2 weeks The experience is great fun for children/ teenagers, however, there is a limited benefit to improving their English.
The challenge with this approach is that students are surrounded by children of the same nationality for the duration of the stay.
The impact of this is as follows:
- They will revert to talking their native language as it is easier to converse in that way
- They have no opportunity to practice what they are learning in the English lessons
- No opportunity to practice conversational English with people who speak English as their first language
The end result is that opportunity to improve English from being in another country will have been missed. In addition, they do not get to experience what normal life or culture is like in the country they are visiting.
The new language vacation approach - Total Language Immersion
The more recent approach to Language travel and improving a child's English or second language is through total language immersion. The approach of total language immersion has been fine-tuned and adopted by HEBE Adventures. It is a completely different approach to what is outlined above.
What we have found, is that in many cases international students have been studying English from a young age. There general level of English is very good and in essence, what is required is an environment where they have to practice speaking English.
Total Language Immersion puts the student in an environment where they live life as a local, living with a host family and attending camps/ schools/ work placement that is principally attended by local children/ teenagers.
Private English lessons can also be provided if required and the learnings from these lessons can be applied immediately with their host family or in the summer camps.
With this approach they get 3 key benefits over the traditional approach:
- Because they living with a local host family that are not fluent in the students' first language it is an environment where they have to speak English
- The camps they attend are for local children, therefore, they have to practice their English while they are attending camp.
- Living with a host family and being part of the family, immerses the student in family life, outing, sports etc. They get to experience the culture of the country and what daily life is like.
Overall it is a much more complete and rewarding experience and very advantageous from improving their conversational English. They also make new often life long friends in another country.