By Short Term Programs Assistant Lexy Deutsch and Short Term Programs Manager Melissa Trinley
As the summer approaches new adventures begin. This summer, many teens from across the world will go to an English speaking country for an ESL summer camp. For many of them this will be their first time boarding a plane alone to spend several weeks at an international English summer camp. Many students and parents do not know what to expect from the camp experience and they have no idea how much their children’s English will improve, they only hope it will. Let’s take a look at a typical camp experience to see how quickly students can improve their English through language immersion.
Multinational summer camps allow students from different countries around the world to create friendships through learning a common language—English. The advantage of studying at a camp abroad is that the teachers are native English speakers and are experienced in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). They also understand the importance of speaking English only. In a multinational classroom setting ESL teachers are trained to pay close attention to the cultural differences that might create barriers in learning styles between students. Teachers are skilled at using non-verbal cues to teach vocabulary and other communicative methods so that the entirety of the classroom can understand the lesson. Plus, ESL summer camps are an immersion experience. In other words, students not only learn by hearing the teacher speak, but they learn through interactions with others in and outside the classroom.
At a camp, not every activity should take place on campus. In fact, reputable camps have pre-planned excursions for the participants so that they can experience a new adventure each day. Off-site trips into cities and natural surroundings are fantastic ways to gain practical experience with a new language. No more classroom worksheets! At an ESL summer camp, students visiting famous cities such as New York City or San Francisco must place their lunch order, obtain their tickets, and ask for directions in English in real-life situations. Of course, an adult chaperone is always close-by to help when needed.
English summer camps should always include classroom learning, fun activities, and adventurous excursions. Students study English in the classroom just under 18 hours per week, and that’s on top of countless hours of English practice in the real world. You know you have chosen the right ESL summer camp when you feel confident that the schedule and atmosphere are right for the student. The biggest reward for the student and parent is when the student returns home wanting to talk about their amazing ESL summer camp experience in English, and not in their native language. Dive in to a new adventure this summer and sign up for an English summer camp!