January 2013 issue

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English plus sports in Australia

With plenty of coastline and glorious sunshine, Australia is an obvious destination for English plus water sports programmes, as well as other English plus sports courses, as Claire Twyman reports.

For many overseas students, Australia is a natural choice for English plus sports courses. As May Yang at Browns English Language School in Brisbane and Southport, QLD, enthuses, “Australia has a beautiful environment and the people have a huge love of sports – you can see this in most cities every day.”

The school offers a real range of English plus sports courses, from English plus surfing to English plus tennis, although water-based programmes receive the most enrolments, as Yang relates. “The Gold Coast is renowned as the best city for surfing in Australia. Browns partners with [a top] surf school and former world surfing champion Cheyne Horan,” she relates. And in terms of structure, “All of our English plus sports students join our regular intensive general English programme for most classes,” meaning that students integrate with the regular study body comprising nationalities from all over the world, she adds.

ILSC in Brisbane and Sydney, however, is a chain that recently introduced a different programme at its Australian schools: English through yoga. “Basically it is an integrated course,” explains Mara Müller at the school. “The main focus is on teaching English, but students learn terms about the body and physical activity while they [undertake yoga lessons].” One of the main benefits of the course, she says, “is that it engages students mentally and physically, enabling them to integrate language learning in a holistic way. Yoga is also a great stress reliever, and studies have shown that physical activity and keeping stress levels in check can help the learning process,” she says.

Byron Bay English Language School in NSW also offers English plus yoga, as well as English plus surfing and English plus diving, as Michael O’Grady explains. He believes in the “great health benefits of combining a few hours learning in a classroom with a few hours of doing some physical exercise. So surfing is really popular with our students – and staff!” Although these courses are not as popular as others as students need to provide their own equipment, he notes a long average length of stay on the course of 10 weeks.

Lexis English, with centres in Byron Bay, Noosa, Perth and the Sunshine Coast, has seen significant growth in its English in Action surfing course according to Aimee Broad, which gives students the opportunity “to learn English in a classroom and outdoor environment, making the most out of their time in Australia”. An established course, it has been streamlined into a very structured programme, as Broad relates. “[It consists of] 15 hours tuition per week, a two-hour surf lesson four afternoons per week, pick-up and drop-off transfers between the campuses and beach and all beach equipment,” she adds.

Kaplan International Colleges, meanwhile, runs an English plus diving programme at its Cairns centre and an English plus surfing course at the Sydney Manly branch. The diving programme “offers [students] a unique experience to improve their English and learn to dive around some of the world’s most beautiful reefs with expert instructors in tropical North Queensland”, as Trish Marshall from the Cairn’s college highlights, adding that a handful of past students have even continued with diving career up to Divemaster level, the top diving qualification. “Students study a Vacation English programme over a two-week period, while also taking the five-day Open Water course that includes three days and two nights living aboard a boat out on the Great Barrier Reef,” says Marshall, adding that the course is internationally recognised.

In terms of markets, the English plus diving course was very popular with Japanese students at first, “But more and more students from Europe are also adding on the programme to their long-term English courses,” explains Julie Delaney at the Cairns school. Browns English Language School, meanwhile, has seen “more European and Russian students for our English plus surfing programme. However, we have always had steady numbers from Japan, Korea and Taiwan,” says Yang.htenstein to the west, Austria is, quite literally, at the very

A selection of English plus sports courses in Australia

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