Monday, 27 April 2009

Summer Courses for Teenagers

Every season of the year has it's own special signs; leaves falling and Christmas shopping panic setting in, proves it's the Autumn, New Year's Resolutions (broken or otherwise) can only mean January, the desire to buy hot cross buns weeks before Easter actually arrives, signals the on set of Spring (or maybe that's just me). By these signs we know where we are in the year. The same is true for CESA the rhythm of the year can be marked by the language courses that students are enquiring and booking, each season means we have either more GAP, exam orientated or adult enrolments etc or as is the case now that Easter is once more behind us - the summer teenager season has been declared officially open.

Dealing with parents whose child is already working towards AS or A2 A'level exams, or is still learning the basics of a language is very different to talking to an adult student - the needs, concerns and questions asked are very specific and when dealing with teenagers, whatever their language ability may be, centre on questions of safety, welfare and support. Quite rightly so. It is a big step to let a child go abroad alone, in many cases for the first time. Whether it is for a week, a fortnight or longer the parent/s want to be assured that all will be well and their child will return to the UK (or wherever home may be) not only linguistically more confident, but happy with the whole experience. After all, travelling without the family, living and studying with strangers and coping with the time away from home, is yet another step towards adulthood and requires serious consideration.

Thankfully the CESA team have built up relationships with a number of excellent language schools and can help parent/s ascertain which programme offers the right environment, degree of linguistic challenge and personal freedom appropriate to each individual child. Whilst I personally advocate staying with a host family as the best accommodation choice - full immersion in this way can really reap rewards linguistically - it isn't always right for everyone. Frankly some students simply won't go abroad if that is the only choice - so CESA ensures there are always a range of residential options on offer. Colleges may offer different degrees of freedom, allowing them to go out in the evenings only twice a week or perhaps not at all, or to go out each night but only until a set time or may provide total freedom from any curfew. Linguistically the colleges also differ, some provide courses that are all about fun and gaining in confidence, concentrating on the pleasure in learning a language, others will provide students with a far more demanding, academic course content. There is no one course that will be right for every student and CESA aims to offer as wide a range of course options for the teenagers as we do for our adult language learners.

The good news is there are some really terrific courses available and at present there are places available on most of them throughout the summer! So whether you like the idea of a two week course combining language lessons with lots of sports and beach activities in Tarifa to improve your Spanish or want a more academic A'level (IB/Matura etc) friendly course in Biarritz or Nice to enhance your French there is a solution available for you (and your parents).

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