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October 2007 issue

Contents
News
Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
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Special Report
Market Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
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Regional Focus
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English and culture in the UK

Language schools aim to appeal to a varied market and language plus courses offer international students a chance to inject more culture into their programme. We look at several cultural options on offer at UK language schools.

English language programmes are big business in the UK, but many international students are not only looking to improve their language proficiency but also gain an insight into the British way of life. Stuart Rubenstein from Language in London says, “Most students can find a typical general English course anywhere in the world so we need to offer them something they can’t find at home.”

Demand within the language market has driven many schools to combine language learning with cultural elements or leisure activities, such as gardening, pottery, drama or art, and many students find such variation appealing. It seems schools are also keen to cater for more varied pastimes, as Norman Renshaw from InTuition Languages in London explains. “Constant requests for the unusual meant that we sat down and made some new courses that enabled us to mainstream the requests into manageable courses.” Today, students can enrol on programmes that combine general English with filmmaking, horse riding, historic homes, golf, cinema studies and at the Loch Ness School of English in Fort Augustus, one can even learn to cook authentic Scottish fare including Arbroath smokies [smoked haddock] or cullen skink [fish soup].

Having offered instruction in a variety of different cultural pursuits for the last 10 years, Renshaw says the most popular courses at the school include creative cookery and British culture. Here, instead of taking 15 lessons of English per week, students can exchange five lessons for a more creative module. He notes, however, that although, “demand has remained constant and [cultural classes are] still a peripheral part of our business, we have not seen a strong growth.”

Elsewhere, Ann Hawkings at Malvern House in London, says that they wanted to provide an alternative to general and business English and so back in 2005 the school launched their English plus arts, film and literature module. However, she notes, “Students are more likely to transfer into such programmes after beginning a general English programme than they are to book one when they buy a course.”

Meanwhile, Rubenstein has upped the cultural pursuits level by introducing a course solely dedicated to cultural immersion. He says, “As the school is based in London, we are fortunate enough to have the most fantastic selection of museums and galleries and so we built a general English course around these places.” Students who opt to take the school’s Cultural Experience course are taken out of the classroom environment and instead receive instruction inside a gallery or museum. The programme earned the school the British Council’s ‘Elton’ for Innovation in 2006.

At the Berlitz Language Centre in Birmingham, Pamela Brown reports that the school developed a Shakespeare Programme back in 2001, where students combine general English with instruction on the famous English playwright. She says, “The programme includes lessons on Shakespeare’s English to prepare for a theatre visit,” and adds that the course is, “a specialised programme for a particular, highly cultured group…with a strong interest in England and its literary and theatrical heritage”.

At the Eckersley School of English in Oxford, Steve Hirschhorn saw a gap in the third age language market and says the school now intends to “introduce third age courses in 2008 to attract a more mature participant”. At the school, students can enrol on an English plus drama, art history, sport or music programme.

Another institution that offers a number of cultural pursuits is the Wimbledon School of English in London. The school’s Principal, Jane Dancaster, explains that they too realised the older clientele were not well catered for in the language travel sector and so five years ago they launched an English and culture course aimed at the more mature student. “We wanted to provide something that would appeal to that age group – a serious course, but with an extra dimension – a study holiday with a difference,” she says. The course focuses on historical places of interest, such as Hampton Court Palace, and provides organised excursions. The programme also explores aspects of British culture, including etiquette.

More recently, however, and at the request of the London Metropolitan Film School, the school launched an English for film makers course. Dancaster explains, “It was originally designed to help prepare international students who were going on to the film school’s one year practical film-making course. However, we are delighted that we have attracted a wider range of clients than anticipated.”

Rubenstein sees such course evolution as a challenge and says, “For the students this is a course but for the school it is part of an evolving programme to challenge the dependence of teaching from course books, where Wednesday’s lesson can feel (and look) just like Tuesday’s.” It seems that language plus courses will continue to crop up and cater for those who look to get the most out of their language travel experience.

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.

Name

Company
Country

Telephone

Email


ASSOCIATIONS / GROUPS
English Australia
Feltom
Ialc

INSURANCE
InterGlobal Ltd

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
       Authority

WORKSHOPS / EXPOS
Alphe Conferences
CEC Network
Ialc

AUSTRALIA
English Australia
Milner International  
       College of English

AUSTRIA
Cultura Wien

CANADA
Canadian
       International
       Student
       Services (CISS)
College of New
       Caledonia
Global Village
       (Australia, Canada,
       USA)
Hansa Language
       Centre of Toronto
National School of
       Languages
Ottawa International
       Student
       Programmes (OISP)
Pacific Language
       Institute
Richmond School
       District #38
School District #8
       Kootenay Lake
Village English

CHINA
Mandarin House

ENGLAND
Bell International
       (England, Malta)
Bloomsbury
       International
Chelsea School of
       English
Kaplan Aspect
       (Australia, Canada,
       Ireland, Malta,
       New Zealand,
       South Africa, UK,
       USA)
LAL Language and
       Leisure (England,
       Malta, South Africa,
       USA)
Language in London
Malvern House
       College London
Queen Ethelburga’s
       College
St Giles Colleges
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, New Zealand,
       South Africa, Spain,
       USA)
Wimbledon School
       of English

FRANCE
Alliance Française
       Paris
SILC - Séjours
       Linguistiques
       (England, France,
       Spain)

GERMANY
Carl Duisberg
       Medien GmbH
       (England, Germany)
International House
       Berlin - Prolog
Lichtenberg Kolleg
       E.V

IRELAND
Dublin School of
       English
ISI - International
       Study Institute
       Ireland
MEI-Relsa

LATVIA
Durbe Ture

MALTA
EC English
      Language Centres
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Feltom
Linguatime
Malta Tourism
      Authority

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
       Centres
       (England, Ireland,
       Scotland, Wales)
University of
       Glasgow

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

USA
ALCC - American
       Language
       Communication
       Center
Kaplan Aspect
       (Australia, Canada,
       Ireland, Malta,
       New Zealand,
       South Africa, UK,
       USA)
University of
       California San Diego
University of
       California Santa
       Barbara
Zoni Language
       Centers
       (Canada, USA)

WORK WISE

AUSTRALIA
Australian
       Internships

CANADA
IH Vancouver

ENGLAND
LAF
Tellus Group
Training Partnership
        Ltd. (The)
Twin Group (Ireland,
       UK)