Spend your holidays on an English summer course? You must be crazy …
At least, that’s what one 15 year old Bulgarian was told: “When I said I was spending six weeks of my summer vacation on an English summer course for international students in Sherborne, my friends made fun of me. ‘You’re supposed to be on holiday from school, not going to another one!’ and ‘Haven’t you had enough of school all year?’ they laughed.”
I was sitting having lunch at the picnic tables outside in the sunshine, among a group of excited smiling faces entertaining each other with tales of their lives in the various countries from which they came.
“Yes, but what they don’t understand,” interjected her new Japanese friend, “is that it isn’t like school at all, it’s FUN!”
“My friends told me I was crazy,” volunteered a Paraguayan, “but they’re the crazy ones sitting at home doing the same old things when they could be here making new friends from all over the world, playing new games and activities, experiencing new places, having a great time, happy days.”
Ah yes. The learning. Lots of learning to be done. For these young people had come on an academic English summer course for international students – not a summer camp with a couple of hours of study in the morning and then sports and games all day (though that is a good option for many) but a summer school – with 30 lessons a week. An English summer course that doesn’t feel like a school – “I never knew learning could be this fun,” enthused an Italian.
Students may want to improve their grades by studying a little extra in a less pressured setting, or just to develop their English language skills in an academic context. They may experience fresh ideas and gain inspiration. Perhaps they are considering attending a UK boarding school and want to get a taste of what life will be like. Perhaps they just want to improve themselves, stimulate their minds, be helped when interviewing for schools, university or even a job. Attending a quality academic English summer course will demonstrate a thirst for learning, a desire to improve understanding and knowledge.
Attending an English summer course for international students will also help develop poise and confidence, build self-esteem and promote independence. English summer courses with a language base will give greater ease of communication, more sophisticated conversation and the enriching opportunity to mix with peers from several cultures and nations, and to make international friendships that can long outlast the summer.
Good academic summer courses will also engage the body as well as stimulate the brain with a wide variety of sporting options and activities such as quizzes, debates, contests, talking games, puzzle solving, team challenges, film nights, talent shows, fashion shows, performance and presentations. The list is endless and exciting! And all involve working and talking with others.
Students will also of course experience England. While organised excursions take in more tourist style sites (usually with an educational connection), the local village or town of their chosen school may be off the usual tourist route and offer a genuine insight into British culture.
Back at the lunch table, another character was summing up her experience as she was lamenting having to leave the next day.
“My best summer ever!” she boomed with a great flourish. Now that’s a summer definitely worth considering.
Daryl has worked as both teacher and director in international schools in several countries and has been Director of Short Courses (Spring and Summer) at Sherborne International since 2011.
English summer course options
There are four summer school options at Sherborne International:
- Intensive English Summer School (plus subjects)
- Specialist Academic Preparation for Starting GCSE / IGCSE
- IGCSE / GCSE Science and Maths Summer Booster
- Specialist Academic Preparation for starting A Level / IB