October 2013 issue

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Australian international study centres

Designed to provide overseas students with the support they often need, international study centres at Australian high schools help set students on their way to academic success. Claire Twyman reports.

As Michael Bartlett from All Saints Anglican School in Merrimac, QLD, outlines, international study centres (ISCs) at Australian high schools – located on-campus or outsourced – tend to offer a wide range of support services to overseas students. “We specialise in preparing [international] students for high school study, which is about much more than teaching English,” he says. “We realise that generally, the parents’ goal is for their children to attend a good university after high school graduation, not just to succeed at high school. As such, we focus on academic achievement, coupled with a high level of pastoral care.”

The school’s ISC – located on-campus – welcomes students of both sexes aged between 13 and 17 years old. “Students study much the same curriculum elements as are being taught in the year nine and 10 mainstream classes, but delivered in the ESL context,” he explains, adding that five per cent of places are reserved for overseas students to preserve an international balance. “International students mix with other students of the same age and are not placed into what is essentially the adult learning environment of a traditional private English college.” With students studying at the ISC for a period of between 10 and 40 weeks, around 80 per cent of students go on to study at the mainstream school and ultimately graduate, he adds.

Bartlett makes the point that ISCs “attached to high schools also have the advantage of being in tune with high school curriculum development and pedagogical trends”. The same can be said for the ISC at all-boys Cranbrook School in Bellevue Hill, NSW, located off-campus, with ESL classes taking place at Sydney College of English (SCE) in NSW. Adam Kilburn at the college explains that it works with a number of high schools to prepare students in the way that each institution wishes, which is sometimes a nuanced task. “Our academic staff communicate regularly with the schools informally, but we also prepare detailed monthly reports on each student’s progress. Many schools also benefit from SCE’s experience in marketing international education, and working as an effective support to both agents and schools.” Furthermore, as Michael Atkins at Cranbrook reveals, overseas students are encouraged to attend classes at SCE while boarding on campus. “We are a relatively small school,” he says, explaining that internationals have come from countries including China, Vanuatu and Italy in recent years.

John Paul International College (JPIC) in Daisy Hill, QLD, is a purpose-built international education facility located on the John Paul College campus, according to Russell Welsh, Director. With primary and high school preparation and English language among the courses on offer, 98 per cent of students, studying for a period of between 10 and 50 weeks, graduate into mainstream classes. “Advantages of having a dedicated international study centre on site is that we can provide a comprehensive curriculum with targeted courses that encompass general English with good preparation for high school in maths, science and business – a very conducive environment for success,” enthuses Welsh.

While JPIC opened in 1997, the ISC at St Paul’s International School in Bald Hills, QLD, is relatively new. Established in 2011, the two-storey building boasts a barista classroom and coffee shop as well as educational facilities, according to Debbie Kemish at the school. Although she notes that international enrolments have declined over the past three years due, in part, to the high value of the Australian dollar, there are currently students of 13 nationalities among the current international cohort. “The international school office provides English and study skills support for all overseas students – from prep to year 12 – and the homestay coordinator is available each day for students who seek assistance,” says Kemish. With 90 per cent of students on the programme gaining English proficiency within a year, “Students join tutorial groups of 14-to-18 other students of the same age from the first day at school,” she adds.

JPIC has a good network of agents, Kemish says, and potential partners should provide details of their company as well as references. “We keep in touch through emails, in-country visits, fam trips, newsletters, Facebook and our website,” she adds. Meanwhile, Bartlett says that the institution works closely with agents specialising in the high school market. “Service and trust is of paramount importance in the under-18 market,” he explains. John Paul International College has a strong network of agents both on- and off-shore, notes Welsh, adding, “Education agents are engaged under a formal written agreement with the college to accurately promote the services and facilities provided.” claire@hothousemedia.com

A selection of International Study Centres in Australia

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Britannia Student Services  
ESL Townhouse  
Sakura House  
Sara's New York Homestay LLC  
UK Guests Ltd  
Urban Nest Accommodation  

English UK  
English Australia  
Groupement FLE  
International House World Organisation  
Quality English  

English Australia  

CERAN Lingua International  

Algoma University  
Centennial College of Appplied Arts and Technology  
Peace Wapiti School Division  
Pickering College  
York University English Language Institute  

Mandarin House  
Sino-British College, USST  
Xi'an jiaotong-Liverpool University  

English UK  
Chichester College  
GSM (Greenwich School of Management)  
International House Bristol  
International House World Organisation  
INTO University Partnerships  
InTuition Languages  
Kaplan International Colleges  
The Language Gallery  
London School of English  
Quality English  
Queen Ethelburga’s College  
St Giles International Brighton  

Alphe Brazil  
Alphe Brazil  

Accent Francais  
Alliance Française Lyon  
Groupement FLE  
ILCF Institut Catholique de Paris  
Institut de Touraine  
Institut Linguistique Adenet  
IS Aix-en-Provence  
ISEFE - Université de Savoie  
Langue Onze Toulouse  
Lyon Bleu International  
Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  

Carl Duisberg Centren  
F+U Academy of Languages  
Goethe Institut Berlin  

IMLC (Inter-Media Langues Caraïbes)  

English For Asia  

Cistercian College  
Galway Cultural Institute  

Manabi Japanese Language Institute  
Yokohama International Education Academy  

Oscars International  

EC Cape Town  
EF International Language Centers  
English Language School of Cape Town  
Eurocentres of Cape Town  
Good Hope Studies  
inlingua Cape Town  
Interlink School of Languages  
IH Cape Town  
Jeffreys Bay Language School  
Kurus English  
LAL South Africa  
Language Teaching Centre  
Oxford English Academy   

EF International Language Centers  
Malta Tourism Authority  

Brown University Continuing Education  
ELS Language Centers  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
Global Language Institute  
University of Arizona  
University of California Berkeley  
University of Maryland Baltimore County  
Zoni Language Centers  

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