July 2007 issue

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Colourful Christchurch.

Christchurch is near to perfect for language travel students; close to both sea and mountains, it is small and friendly with lots to do, and, to top it all, has a wide selection of English language schools. Gillian Evans reports.

New Zealand’s second-largest city, Christchurch has a population of only around 400,000, nevertheless, according to William Neale, Director of Seafield School of English, it offers students the “type and variety of activities and facilities found in most large cities, while enjoying the convenience of a city small enough to make it easy to travel around”.

Beth Knowles, International Services Manager at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, agrees, adding, “Christchurch has the vibrancy of a big city without the hassles – there is no major traffic congestion nor the social problems associated with big cities.” And, with over 30 registered English language schools in Christchurch, there is choice aplenty when it comes to studying English. The city’s location is also ideal: situated in the Canterbury Plains, yet close to the coast. “Only minutes from Christchurch city centre are beaches, parks and native forests,” confirms Knowles.

The people are another of Christchurch’s great assets. “[Studying in] Christchurch offers students the opportunity to become part of a small, close-knit, friendly community, the members of which are always interested in, and supportive of, overseas visitors,” declares Debbie Chambers at Languages International. This also means that staying with a host family is more than a convenient form of accommodation. “Students are often included in all family activities in a homestay,” says Chambers. “Hence, students may be taken on holiday with their families, taken to work or taken along to social events.” An example of this is a group of Japanese students, who provided origami lessons to a class of local primary school children.

In terms of weather, Christchurch experiences a pleasant temperate climate, and, according to Julie Allan, International Marketing Officer at the University of Canterbury, has only around half the annual rainfall of other cities such as Auckland or Wellington. “From hot summers to crisp winter days with clear blue skies, to awesome autumnal displays and springtime blossoms, Christchurch is a city of colour and constant change,” relates Allan.

The city itself is known as the “Garden City” because around 10 per cent of it is “green” – either a park or sports ground. It also “has character”, says Neale. “Christchurch has a rich English heritage, evidenced in the 19th-century stone buildings of the city centre, street names, tree-lined streets, parks and the sporting and cultural pursuits enjoyed by its citizens.”

For students who want to get involved in sports, Chambers points out that there is a wide range of sports clubs in the city, many of which offer student discounts. And to experience some of the Kiwi sporting passion, she recommends going to watch a rugby match with some locals. “Christchurch is home to the Crusaders, a regional rugby team with a fearsome reputation,” relates Chambers. “Going to a Crusaders’ game is a truly cultural experience not to be missed and offers the added bonus of seeing a few All Blacks [national rugby team members] in action.”

For students interested in culture, Christchurch offers a colourful canvass of experiences. Allan says, “The stunning Christchurch Art Gallery (1) is the country’s newest – and largest – purpose-built art gallery and forms part of Christchurch’s unique cultural precinct, which also includes Canterbury Museum (2) and the vibrant Christchurch Arts Centre (3), with cafés, bars, shops, studios and galleries.” For a taste of Kiwi retail therapy, Christchurch also has a wide range of shopping malls, from the cafés and boutiques of New Regent Street (4) to the bustling High Street (5) and Riccarton area.

Describing what students enjoy after school, Chambers says, “Students favour alfresco lunches relaxing by the River Avon or watching street performers in Cathedral Square. [They] socialise in the many local cafés and bars, such as the restaurants on Oxford Terrace (6) where the outdoor seating overlooks the Avon. Others meet for a game of pool at The Rockpool, a pint of beer at one of the city’s micro-breweries such as The Twisted Hop or an Indian or Thai meal on Colombo Street (7).” She asserts, “From nightclubs to wine bars, there is something in the city for everyone.”

At weekends there are lots of activities and things to see within easy reach of the city. Neale mentions “Queenstown, the ‘adventure tourism capital of the south’; Kaikoura, for whale-watching and swimming with the dolphins and seals; Mount Hutt, a large ski field less than two hours’ drive from Christchurch; Hanmer Springs, an alpine hot springs resort; Akaroa, New Zealand’s oldest European settlement with a distinctly Gallic flavour; and the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island”. Like many other language schools in Christchurch, Seafield organises regular daytrips and weekend excursions to these areas throughout the year.

Back in Christchurch, there is usually something happening as the city organises a lively calendar of events – Knowles even labels it “New Zealand’s foremost festival city”. One such highlight is the World Buskers Festival in mid-to-late January. “[This] is a popular event,” comments Nick Arnott, Sales Manager at Christchurch College of English, “with performers from all over the world visiting Christchurch. Students enjoy the free street entertainment and the high degree of audience participation.”

Other popular festivals include the Lantern Festival, held for two days at the end of the Chinese New Year, which showcases Asian food, music, dance and other arts; and the Festival of Flowers, which includes wearable flower parades.

The range of activities, combined with shopping, dining and mixing with the locals, means that students can choose their ideal experience. As Allan sums up, “The best thing about being a student in Christchurch is that you can choose the lifestyle you want.”

Agent viewpoint

“Christchurch is a beautiful city, which is very easy to travel around, and the people are friendly and helpful. Students choose Christchurch because it is an English city outside England, and there are [relatively few] Asian students there. It is a nice city with a good climate, lots of English schools and courses and [plenty of] activities. It is also very environmentally aware.”
Chompoonuch Thongboonrawd, Kiwi Centre (Thailand) Co Ltd, Thailand

“For high school students, parents normally choose the city and school for their children. [They like the] safety, nature, friendly people, international airport and activities in Christchurch. Some students have friends, relatives and family in Christchurch. In Christchurch there are a lot of historic places like the cathedral, museum, art centre, etc. Students like sightseeing around Christchurch and the South Island such as Kaikoura, Akaroa, Hanmer Spring and Queenstown. It is easy to travel from Christchurch to other places. Students easily find Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Chinese and other international food in Christchurch, which is a good benefit of staying in this city. ”
Suphattra Bunsong, NZ Study, Thailand

“Our clients generally choose to study in Christchurch due to the excellent educational options available there. They are also attracted by the beauty of the city, the nature and pure environment, the excellent opportunities for sports and leisure and the relaxed way of life. The educational institutes are conveniently located and students have good access by public transport. Students enjoy the great combination of study and leisure opportunities. Almost all are keen on mountain skiing and the gondola experience!”
Andrey Mikheev, Students International, Russia

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





Boa Lingua
CI - Central de Intercâmbio
Discover Canada
ESL - Séjours Linguistiques
TK Tours

Capls Canada
English Australia
Quality English

CareMed International Travel Insurance
Student Guard Insurance

Malta Tourism Authority

Alphe Conferences
CEC Network

English Australia
English Language Company

Academie Linguistique International
Algonquin College Ottawa
Bodwell College
Cowichan Valley School District #79
East Coast School of
      Languages (ECSL)
English Bay College
English Language Training College ELTC
Eurocentres Canada
Global Village
(Australia, Canada, USA)
Ilac - International Language Academy of Canada
International Language
      Schools of Canada (ILSC)
Intrax English Institute
Language Studies Canada
Lethbridge Community College
London Language Institute
Malaspina University College
National School of Languages
Pacific Language Institute
Richmond School District #38
Saint Mary's University
Saskatoon Catholic Schools
Stewart College of Languages
Study English in Canada
University Canada West
University of Toronto
Vancouver Community College
       International Education
Vancouver English Centre
Vanwest College
York University English
       Language Institute

American Intercontinental
       University, London
      (Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand, UK, USA)
Bell International
InTuition Languages
       (Australia, France, Germany,
       Ireland, Italy, South America,
       Spain, UK, USA)
Islington Centre for English
LAL Language and Leisure
      (England, Malta, South Africa, USA)
Liverpool International
      Language Academy
Malvern House College London
Millfield School
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's College
Sels College London
Southwark College
St Giles Colleges
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada, England,
      France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
      New Zealand, South Africa,
      Spain, USA)
Twin Group
University of Westminster
West London Business College

France Langue
French in Normandy
Home Language International
      (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil,
      Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic,
      Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France,
      Germany, Holland, Hungary, Ireland,
      Italy, Japan, Malta, NZ, Norway,
      Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain,
      Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA,
Institut Linguistique Adenet
SILC - Séjours Linguistiques
     (England, France, Spain)

Carl Duisberg Centren
      (England, Germany)
F+U Academy
      (Austria, Germany, Russia)
Humboldt Institut
inlingua Berlin
International House Berlin - Prolog
Lichtenberg Kolleg E.V

Atlantic Language Galway
Centre of English Studies

EC English Language Centre
      (England, Malta, South Africa)
inlingua Malta

Christchurch College of
      English Language
Languages International
Riccarton High School
Seafield School of English
University of Canterbury

EAC Language Centres
      and Activity Camps
      (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)

Cape Studies
Good Hope Studies

Babylon Idiomas
      (Argentina, Costa Rica, Spain)
      (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica,
      Cuba, Ecuador, Dominican Republic,
      Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Spain)
International House Sevilla - CLIC
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispánico SL

EF Language Colleges Ltd
      (Australia, Canada, China, Ecuador,
      England, France, Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Russia,
      Scotland, Spain, USA)
      (Australia, Canada, England, France,
      Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta,
      New Zealand, Russia, South Africa,
      Spain, Switzerland, USA)

ALCC - American Language
      Communication Center
Kaplan Educational Centers
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Zoni Language Centers
      (Canada, USA)


Global Lifestyles
IH Vancouver

IH Newcastle
Tellus Group
Twin Group

Malta Tourism Authority