March 2012 issue

News Round Up
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Laid-back Australia

With a high quality of life, a unique landscape, thousands of miles of coastline and multicultural cities, Australia has a wealth of activities to offer, as Jane Vernon-Smith discovers.

Students are tempted [to Australia] by the promise of a relaxed lifestyle with a high quality of life, cosmopolitan cities and beautiful white beaches, a favourable climate and the opportunity to learn English from friendly and welcoming native speakers,” says Sheryl Jackson, Business Development Director for Australia and New Zealand at Kaplan International Colleges.

Kaplan’s Sydney City college is located moments away from Hyde Park, “a beautiful, green oasis in the middle of the city and a favourite spot for lunchtime breaks”, Jackson notes. Its Sydney Manly campus will appeal to water sport afficionados. This seaside resort offers “a community feel and great surfing”, she says, adding that this campus now offers English and surfing.

At the Think: Class centre in North Sydney, “Students can walk across the Harbour Bridge from the college, and straight into the city. What a great way to see the Sydney Opera House at close range!” says Director, Denver Craig. Meanwhile, students attending the school’s Surry Hills centre “can visit all the hottest restaurants and art galleries at Sydney’s hipster hangouts, within a short distance from the campus”.

“Every [Sydney] tour guide will tell you to go see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House... However, there is more to Sydney than those iconic sites,” affirms Richard Arkell, Navitas English General Manager for Elicos and Tesol Programmes. “I would recommend doing the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. It takes about one hour, but what a view!” he enthuses.

At the Academy of English, located in the heart of the city, close to public transport and the shopping district, Academic Manager, Debbie Le Roux, highlights the botanical gardens and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for the Open Air Cinema. Meanwhile, she says, “Darling Harbour is known for its vibrant restaurant scene, with excellent views of the harbour, and fireworks on some evenings.”

Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, is a fantastic location, according to Marcus Scott at the Northern Melbourne Institute of Tafe (NMIT). Among its highlights, he lists “the great restaurants, with food...from all over the globe, the little lane-ways with cute bars, and the plethora of sporting, entertainment events and festivals - and then, great access to some of the natural wonders, the beaches and the mountains”. The location is ideal for water sports and activities, including kite surfing, windsurfing, sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving, he adds. Furthermore, “In winter, a couple of hours’ drive will see you in the snow fields, where snowboarding and skiing are very popular.”

The north-eastern state of Queensland boasts many popular destinations. Its capital, Brisbane, “is a river city, where people enjoy a superb quality of life”, notes Gyorgy Csiszar, Sales and Marketing Manager at Shafston International College. Facilities include beautiful parks, bikeways, major shopping and cultural complexes, sports and festivals.

The Shafston College Brisbane campus is “a truly unique destination”, he comments. With an inner-city riverside location, landscaped gardens and courtyards, and sports facilities, its central building, Shafston House, has a 160-year history that “gives the college a sense of dignity and sophistication”, Csiszar remarks.

Less than 100 kilometres from here, in Gold Coast City, is the college’s second campus. Claimed to have the best selection of surf beaches in the world, this destination also offers theme parks, wildlife parks, top quality bars and restaurants and “amazing” shopping districts, according to Csiszar.

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is home to Sea English Academy, a small language school priding itself on personal attention. Its Sunshine Coast centres are convenient both for Brisbane and for exploring the rolling hinterland, which, as school administrator, Kimberly Byrne, highlights, provides endless opportunities for bush trekking, camping, mountain-biking, para-sailing and abseiling. “When camping, chances are that you will wake up to a furry family of kangaroos waiting for you just outside your tent!” she relates.

Noosa National Park, with black volcanic cliffs hugging white, sandy beaches, is, she attests, “a national treasure”. With numerous coves, wave breaks and walking tracks, she says, “it is possible to have a brand-new experience each time you come to Noosa.”

This beach resort was the chosen location of the first Lexis English school (which has since expanded into New South Wales and Western Australia) on the basis of a very simple idea, according to the school’s Managing Director, Ian Pratt. ”We wanted students to be able to enjoy a stunning lifestyle and still ensure that they could reach their learning goals.”

Perhaps equally alluring is the north of Queensland. In Cairns, Kaplan students can sign up for “every water sport you could probably imagine, as well as...platypus spotting, touring a crocodile farm, exploring nearby limestone caves and rainforests, camping and even bungee jumping”, Jackson notes. City lovers can “sample the excitement of the bustling night market”, which is open every day of the week, or relax in the idyllic parkland and lagoons of Cairns Esplanade.

Nearby Port Douglas is the place where the rainforests meet the Great Barrier Reef, and tropical safaris, volcanic lake or river cruises, kite and wind-surfing, snorkelling and diving are all at hand, according to Port Douglas English Language Centre’s Director of Studies, Sveta Hurford. To experience something special, Hurford recommends taking a free sunset cruise to the Low Isles, or sampling water sports “on the beautiful white-sand Four Mile Beach”. Equipment is available for hire, and friendly instructors provide a personalised service, she says.

For Claire Sprunt of Perth-based Phoenix Academy, Perth in Western Australia is the country’s “sunniest and most welcoming city”. It also offers beautiful beaches, inner-city parkland and “a ‘resort-style’ lifestyle built on the majestic Swan River”. Perth is, she says, “an outdoor Mecca, particularly for water sports”, and offers great opportunities for marine life encounters. Housed in Edwardian buildings, “in a lush, tranquil garden setting”, Phoenix itself is just 1.5 kilometres from the central business district. Alternatively, students can opt for its beach campus in the historic port of Fremantle.

Meanwhile, in Bentley is Polytechnic West, Western Australia’s largest training organisation, according to spokesperson, Kunihiro Tachi. Offering a diverse range of training in trade and para-professional areas, including English language programmes, Polytechnic West is to be found in “a peaceful, parkland setting of pine trees”, in an area which, he says, is renowned for the large amount of student accommodation available.

Students in Perth have countless attractions nearby. For Sprunt, the south-west of the state is a favourite, as “Margaret River and its surrounds have some of the world’s best wineries, oldest forests, spectacular coastline and beaches, world-class surfing, food, art and cosy places to stay.”

An interesting alternative destination is Darwin, in the Northern Territory, home to one of Australia’s eight Navitas centres. “It has such a unique landscape, wildlife and lovely tropical weather – a great backdrop for wine bars, a buzzing nightlife and amazing markets,” comments Arkell. Kakadu National Park is still inhabited by Aboriginal clans and boasts a concentration of Aboriginal rock art. It’s a place “to have a very cultural and authentic Australian experience”, says Arkell.

Agent viewpoint

“I think what students underline most is the fact that Australian people have a good life balance and know how to work hard but also how to play hard. Australia has a lot to offer students in terms of flora, fauna, landscapes and treasures which they all want to discover and get blown away by. Most of our French students love the [Australian] lifestyle, where everything seems so easy and people so friendly. The only thing they do miss, in some cases, is the real French baguette! Except for that, students often call us to ask what their options are to stay longer, which is a good sign.” 
Anne-Sophie Morvan Francaustralia Education, France

“The ability to stay long-term, to experience the country in different ways, to get the opportunity to learn English and use it practically out of the classroom, these are important factors in choosing Australia. Other reasons include the climate, and the friendly, optimistic, helpful people. This is especially important to the younger students below the age of 18, as they have to stay with a host family. They usually remain in contact after their stay, too. Generally, Australia is an optimistic part of the world, where people smile, the sun usually shines, and the environment is student/visitor-friendly...so when students arrive in Australia the majority of them are very, very happy there from the very beginning, and they often try to repeat their stay.”
Jana Oveckova Austra Agency, Slovakia

“Australia is a very different and exotic experience for students. They find the culture quite interesting and like to experience new things. The climate and beaches have a positive effect. The students choose Australia above other English-speaking destinations, like the UK [or] USA, because Australia still offers part-time work permits to students, since this affects their English-speaking abilities and lowers the living costs. The quality of education providers is high, universities are recognised worldwide and have good reputations. It is not the cheapest destination for study, but, because of the high quality of education it [is worth it].”
Pinar Ural Karya International, Turkey

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Sara's New York Homestay LLC  

English Australia  
English UK  
English UK London  
Groupement FLE  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
MEI Ireland  
Perth Education City  
Quality English  
Study Gold Coast  
English in Chester  

Access Macquarie Limited  
Bond University  
ILSC Australia  
Impact English College  
International House Sydney Teacher Training & Prof  
Language Studies International  
NEAS Australia  
Perth Education City  
Study Gold Coast  
University of Newcastle Language Centre  
University of New South Wales  

CERAN Lingua International  

Bow Valley College  
Destination Canada  
Global Village  
Greater Victoria School District  
Guard Me  
ILSC - International Language Schools of Canada  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
Niagara College  
Ottawa International Student Programmes (OISP)  
Omnicom School of Languages  
Saint Mary's University  
Study Abroad Canada Language Institute  
Upper Madison College  
Vancouver English Centre  
Victoria International Academy  
York University English Language Institute  

iMandarin Language Training Institute  

Tandem Santiago  

Angel Language Academy  
Ardmore Language Schools  
Askham Bryan College  
Cambridge Education Group  
Camp Beaumont  
Capital School of English  
Centre of English Studies  
EAC Language Centres and Activity Camps  
ELC London - Hampstead School of English  
English Studio  
English UK London  
International House London  
INTO University Partnerships  
Kaplan International Colleges  
Prime Education  
LAL London  
London School of Business & Finance  
London School of English  
Malvern House College London  
Princes College School of English  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
School of Oriental and African Studies  
St Giles International  
Study Group  
Sussex Coast College Hastings  
University of East Anglia  
University of Essex - International Academy  
Wimbledon School of English  
SR Events  
Study World  
STM Star Awards  

Cambridge Esol  
City and Guilds Branch Office in Europe  
TOEFL Educational Testing Service  
Trinity College London  

Accent Francais  
Alliance Française Lyon  
Ecole Suisse Internationale  
Groupement FLE  
Langue Onze Toulouse  
LSF Montpellier  
Lyon Bleu International  
Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  

F+U Academy of Languages  

Dr Walter  
Guard Me  

IRELAND English Language Academy ELA  
MEI Ireland  
Dialogo Language Services  
IH Milan  
Percorsi d'italiano  

Bell International  
EC English Language Centre  

Good Hope Studies  

International House - Sevilla CLIC  
Xul Comunicación Social  
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  

EF International Language Centers  
Eurocentres International  

Malta Tourism Authority  
Office de Tourisme Montpellier  

Brown University  
California State University San Marcos  
ELS Language Centers  
FLS International  
Global Language Institute  
New York Language Center  
Open Hearts International College  
Saint John's University  
Sara's New York Homestay LLC  
UC Berkeley Extension  
University of Arizona  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  

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