Are you a native English speaker?
Have you always wanted to see Madrid, Prague, Bucharest, Budapest or other places in the world?
Are you a person who is easy to talk with?
Would you like to help non-English speakers improve their English?
Are you an active listener?
Would you like to meet other “Anglos” from around the world and share their experiences?
Can you talk about a variety of topics?
Are you social? Can you play charades, or sing, or just have fun in a group?
Do you have a talent you could share with others?
Do you have week to share your knowledge and abilities with others?
Would you like 6 days, all expenses paid in a resort or four star hotel?
If you can answer yes to most of these questions you may be interested in participating in an English Language Program.
Lately, it seems like I am the poster gal for these programs. When people ask how I can travel so frugally and what I do in my varied volunteer jobs, interest in English Immersion Programs seem to get the most attention.
The first thing you need to understand is that you must get yourself to the venue. That means that if the program is in Budapest, then you must also be in Budapest at your expense. So this works well if you are already traveling, like me; or, if you can plan ahead for vacation time in order to find cheap tickets (off-season travel, guys!).
The second question is something like this – Do I need to be an English teacher? NO! You are not teaching grammar, or sentence structure or verb conjugations. You are offering real live English conversation to people who want to improve their English speaking skills. Period!
Having now done 5 of these programs I feel confident in sharing what I have learned. The programs are structured. The coordinators are professional. You are treated well by the organizers and held in esteem by the participants. You will get more from the experience than you give, and you give quite a bit during the week. The accommodations have been lovely each time no matter the venue or the organization holding the program.
Are you interested yet?
The caliber of people you will meet is amazing, like a physician who gave up his profession to become a perfume entrepreneur; or, an elementary school teacher who motivated his class to write a book, which was subsequently published and copies of which now reside in many school libraries throughout Spain; or the woman from New Zealand who had been teaching English in Siberia for 6 months and came home with pockets full of money.
And, the food! A Michelin 2 star chef at an exclusive golf resort in Poland who made lavender ice cream for dessert one night. A delightful Spanish wine with dinner, at the mountain resort a few hours from Madrid.
Accommodations are lovely. Below is my room at the mountain resort in Spain, followed by the golf resort in the Czech Republic, near Prague.
So, you ask, what is it we will actually be doing? The programs are similar and provide opportunities for the “student” to speak on a topic, one-on-one (with you) and to incorporate specific words into that conversation along with one idiom. Your job is to participate in the conversation (but not to control it), to assist with words that may be unfamiliar and to explain the idiom. These sessions are 50 minutes each and you will have about 6 each day. You will also be conversing during your meals, and in the evening there is some type of entertainment that you will be a part of. Each program also has individual differences, but these are the basics. You will be involved with the participants from 9 am to 9 pm. This is why it is immersion!
These photos are from the riding academy. Our breakfast buffet and a snap shot of a group of participants giving a presentation.
So, how do you become a part of this? You can type “English Immersion Program” plus the name of a country and search or if you are interested in Spain, go to Vaughntown. If you are interested in eastern Europe go to Angloville. Sign up, get accepted and then look at their calendar and choose your program location. My suggestion is that you choose your programs early, because they fill quickly.
If you have a 2 week vacation, your plan may go something like this: arrive at your destination (Prague) 2 days prior to the program date. Relax, see some of the city. Day 3 join the group and participate in the program. End of program, return to destination city and enjoy the rest of your free time. You have paid for 7 days in a hotel, hostel, B&B or couch-surfed; and met some interesting people, perhaps made new friends and gave someone additional confidence in speaking English! Not a typical vacation, but who wants typical, anyway?
An additional benefit of Angloville is that they offer the opportunity city to earn a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification which is easier and much less expensive than getting it online.
There are smaller organizations that offer these programs in Poland and you can find them online. I have not found any in Italy or France.
If you decided to do a program let me know.
See you there!