June 2012 issue

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Language by the beach

Language schools in a beach setting have obvious appeal, and luckily there are many within 100 metres of such a location, as Claire Twyman discovers.

People travel all over the world to learn a language, so they might as well enjoy the place they travel to while they are learning,” asserts Torrique Borges from LAL Language Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, 100 metres away from the beach. At the school, with facilities including 16 classrooms and a large garden with barbeque facilities, he enthuses that the ocean promenade is part of student life. “The ocean can give so many different experiences,” says Borges, “From having a great view to smelling the fresh sea air, relaxing on the beach [or] swimming or surfing in huge waves.” In Cape Town, he adds, students can sometimes spot groups of southern right whales from June to November.

Borges notes the school moved nearer to the beach in 2007, perhaps accounting for an increase in recommendations. But while the idea of spending leisure time at the beach is obviously appealing to language students, such a location also adds to the educational experience. “The main benefits of learning English by the beach is that you are immediately integrated into a relaxed, multi-cultural environment,” explains Samantha Milton at Sydney English Academy (SEA) in Australia. “[This makes] you more confident so it’s easier for you to practise your English.”

It was initially hard for SEA, now only 20 metres away from Manly Beach – located in Sydney’s northern beaches – to attract Korean students when the school launched in 2003. Milton suspects they thought learning a language in this idyllic setting might be distracting, “But this perception was quickly dispelled once students saw that we were completely focussed on assisting each and every student to achieve their potential,” she enthuses, adding that programmes include weekly progress check exams and one-to-one interviews.

Milton notes that in terms of attractions to SEA, “The list is endless. Manly Beach has got to be one of the most perfect swimming and surfing beaches in the world: safe, unpolluted and with consistent swells.” She says the school works in partnership with a surf and a dive school to deliver English with surfing and scuba diving courses.

Auckland-based Unique New Zealand, which launched in 1989, has also experienced good growth. The school’s Nick Arnott enthuses that the English Plus Activities programme for eight-to-18 year olds now attracts a wider range of nationalities, “And this has led to longer peak seasons based on other countries’ school holidays,” he informs.

An interesting trend Arnott notes is the growth in requests for family courses. “It’s become popular for parents to accompany their children,” he says, explaining, “The children join the English Plus Activities programme and the parents join our adult English classes. This trend is spreading across most of our markets – recently we have welcomed families from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America.”

The English Plus Activities course is made up of morning lessons and supervised afternoon activities and excursions. Some activities, such as barbeques, volleyball and kayaking, take place at the beach that Arnott describes as “one of Auckland’s most beautiful and popular”, while others take place all over the region.

Classes structured around beach-related activities are unsurprisingly common, with Laura Ellington of Intercultura Sámara Language School in Costa Rica, reporting, “Classes are four hours per day, and [alternate in the] mornings or afternoons so that everyone has a chance to do all the activities in the area.” Classes are small, she adds, with students and teachers sitting around one table. “Pedagogical games are all part of the learning experience,” she says, “very different and more fun from what people may have experienced in school.”

Like others, Ellington notes a surge in popularity at Intercultura. “Within four years it outgrew the city programme, mostly because of its amazing location. Sámara Beach is beautiful, and we are fortunate enough to be right on the beach. Our gates opens onto the sand, so it is easy to combine study with a quick swim in the ocean.”

A trend she has noticed since the school began in 1993 – and subsequently moved to its beachside location in 2001 – is a growth in Europeans. “[We] now have fairly equal numbers between European and North American [clients], compared with about 75 per cent North Americans 15 years ago.”

A handful of language schools near the beach

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






English Australia
Fedele Spain
Groupement FLE
International House Spain
Languages Canada / Langues Canada
Quality English
Study Gold Coast
English Network (The)

Britannia Student Services
France Accommodation & Culture
Generation Estates
Sara's New York Homestay LLC

English Australia
Lexis English
Study Gold Coast

Braemar College
Coquitlam School District
ILSC - International Language Schools of Canada
Languages Canada / Langues Canada

Latin Immersion

iMandarin Language Training Institute

Intercultura Samara Language School
WAYRA Spanish Institute

Language Conquests - EFL

Accent Multilingual
Britannia Student Services
Cambridge Esol
Camp Beaumont
Clubclass Residential Language School
English Network (The)
Generation Estates
Interactive English
International House London
INTO University Partnerships
Kaplan International Colleges
London Language Centre
London School of Business & Finance
London School of English
Malvern House London
Oxford Royale Academy
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's College
University of East Anglia
University of Essex - International Academy
Wimbledon School of English

Alphe Directors club
Alphe Miami
Fedele Spain
Quality English

Cambridge Esol
City and Guilds

Accent Français
Ecole Suisse
French in Normandy
Groupement FLE
International House Nice
ILCF Institut Catholique de Paris
Langue Onze Toulouse
LSF Montpellier
Lyon Bleu
Paris Languese
Université d'été de Boulogne-sur-Mer

CES - Centre of English Studies



LAL Cape Town

Fedele Spain
International House Spain
Malaca Instituto

EF Language Colleges Ltd.

Malta Tourism Authority
Study Gold Coast

Academia Language School
College of St Benedict & St John's University
ELS Language Centers
FLS International
Forest Ridge
Hargrave Military Academy
Madison ESL
Riverside Military Academy
University of Arizona
University of California Berkeley
University of California San Diego
Zoni Language Centers

Gower College Swansea

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