January 2002 issue

Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Special Report
In Focus
Market Report
Course Guide
City Focus

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In focus

Agent viewpoint

Students like the fact that [the location] is different from the norm for Swedes and that there are no other Swedes [in Cardiff]. I enjoy working with Celt because they are friendly, caring and efficient."
Russell James, Cambrian Language Service, Sweden

Cardiff itself is a big city, full of life and attractions, and it has beautiful surroundings to visit, but at the same time is a safe place, which allows even younger students to move around freely. The school is extremely caring. For example, Greg, the school director, one evening last summer, left his dinner party with friends to go to the police office to report the loss of a backpack that one of my students had left in the park. The bag was found thanks to his effort, and this tells a lot about the readiness of the school's owners to help the students, whenever they need it."
Stefania Bresquar, MB Scambi Culturali, Italy

We decided to work with Celt six years ago because the director of the school is ready to help and design the courses according to clients' needs. Also it is a rather small school, so our students are not anonymous."
Ewa Mieklicka, Cosmopolitan Private Language School, Poland

I always appreciate how Celt does its best to arrange suitable host families for my students. Celt always helps, supports and encourages students if they have problems. I think Celt staff are very patient and offer good guidance to keep students on track."
Hide Ogasawara, Cosmo Cultural Exchange Centre, Japan

This issue's In focus examines Celt school in Cardiff, Wales. The school's Director, Greg Nelson, answers our questions about the institution and a variety of overseas agents provide their views and experiences of working with the school.

Year established: 1989
School location: city centre
Top student nationalities: Italian 18%; Spanish 12%; Middle Eastern 8%; Japanese 8%; Taiwanese 6%
Max. class size: 15
Min. age of students: year round, 17; summer, 13
Min. length of course: two weeks
Accommodation: host family, guesthouse, hotel, residence for adult students during July and August
School facilities: student room, café, computer room
Max. travel time from accom. to school: 25 minutes by bus
Transfer time from airport to school: Cardiff-Wales Airport, 20 minutes; London Heathrow, two-and-a-half hours
Two-week general language tuition with half-board host-family accom. costs: UK£350 (US$503)
Contact details: Celt School, 6 Salisbury Road, Cardiff, Wales, CF24 4AD. Tel: +44 2920 339290; Fax: +44 2920 339515; Email: english@celt.co.uk

Q: Why did you set up this language school?
A: The main reason Grace Durighello, Co-director of Celt, and I set up this school was because both of us had a background in language teaching in various countries and had one common interest: we had always wanted to run our own school. Furthermore, there was very little activity in the way of language teaching in Cardiff at the time, particularly for younger students. As one of us was from the city and knew the area well, it became a logical choice for us to establish Celt there.

Q: How did you set up your language school?
A: We decided to take a gradual approach to setting up the school and looked at a segment of the market which no one at the time was really catering for in Cardiff, which was the teenage summer market. We then slowly expanded into the adult market.

Q: What is the philosophy behind your school?
A: To be able to give our students high quality language programmes at a reasonable cost. Also, as a relatively small school, we aim to give students a level of personal attention that larger operations cannot always provide.

Q: What would you say is a rewarding moment in the school's history?
A: Finding out in 1993 that we had achieved British Council accreditation at our first attempt. Gaining British Council accreditation was a major turning point for us.

Q: Please give an example of a student problem you have encountered and tell us how you dealt with it.
A: We find it hard to isolate a significant incident to exemplify our approach to solving problems. Often problems are caused by poor communication. The most common problems come from inaccurate details about allergies, medical conditions and special dietary needs. We try to have as much contact as possible with agents and compare the feedback we have had from our students, even when there were no apparent problems during their stay.

Q: How do you see your school developing in the future?
A: It is our intention to remain a relatively small school. We are keen to give students a certain degree of personal attention and make them feel "at home". This would not be possible if we were to expand much beyond our present size. However, we feel we can still grow slightly and are working to further develop adult year-round courses, in particular our new general/business English course.