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Summer in the EU

Europe’s English-speaking countries to see boom for language schools

Ireland and Malta are well-placed to corner much of the European junior summer market this year. With sterling riding high against the euro and visa problems aplenty in post-Brexit Britain (see opposite page), parents and agents may play it safe and send their children to fellow EU member states.

They’re not the only EU destinations looking to grow. Cyprus has a handful of schools and there are stories of school groups heading to the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

Ireland and Malta have long hosted year- round junior groups, another factor which has helped these two small countries punch well above their weight. The Irish EFL industry already attracts more students per capita than the UK, which is more than 10 times its size, while tiny Malta, population under 450,000, welcomes 85,000 language travellers a year.

These countries also have growing year- round markets for long-stay adults built on the right of both EU and non-EU students to work while studying, giving them an advantage over both the USA and, since Brexit, the UK. Both destinations are also well-known for their summer language and activity packages for juniors, offering such sports as diving in Malta and horse-riding and golf in Ireland. And both of these countries have a reputation for friendly host families. Malta even has a family accreditation scheme. But in both cases demand in peak season now outstrips the supply of families, so their EFL industries have had to look for alternatives: hotels, student hostels, university residences….

Now, though, some language schools in both Ireland and Malta have taken a leaf out of the British and American playbook and gone into the residential summer school market.

In Malta they’ve gone for American-style summer camps. NSTS, for instance, has its own specially designed student hostel, complete with a swimming pool, while ESE has gone one step further and hired a four-star hotel for 10-13 year olds that’s staffed with qualified teachers, known as Language Facilitators, who are running both the English classes and the activities.

In Ireland they’ve followed the British model, which uses the premises of its historic educational institutions as bases for summer English language courses. Dublin’s Irish College of English is offering courses in two boarding schools, Clongowes Wood in Kildare and Glenstal Abbey in Limerick, while Emerald Cultural Institute is offering a university environment in its residential course at Trinity Hall campus, part of the historic Trinity College Dublin.

Image courtesy of Picasa
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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