Not all integration is created equal

14th February 2019

The integration of local British children and international students has been the ‘Golden Ticket’ for summer language programmes in recent years. Some have tried and engineered various ways of trying to achieve this, but few have done it successfully.

This summer will be our fifth year of operation, opening the doors to Cothill House School, our residential language camp venue near Oxford, welcoming international students from across the world. Uniquely, we will once again also be inviting local British children to join us each day to take part in activities alongside the International students.

Experts in the UK market

Our CEO, Ben Prior has over 30 years’ experience running activity day camps for British children and continues to run Varsity International’s sister company, Ultimate Activity Camps. Varsity International draws on this experience to offer an outstanding range of activities that form the basis from which local UK children (we call them ‘Camp Buddies’) integrate with international language students in a natural way, communicating and making friends through sports, arts and adventure.

Boosting the ratios

We made the decision this year to teach half the international students in the morning and half in the afternoon. This boosts the ratios of UK Buddies to International students within the activity sessions and will allow everyone to get to know each other and interact in greater depth. Our English instructors ensure everyone speaks English and structure their sessions to ensure children not only take part but learn new skills or techniques.

The Buddy Task

We also take the opportunity to bring the UK Buddies into the classroom with our daily, 45-minute, Buddy Task. Our teachers set a team building challenge for the children to complete together in English. It’s perfect for the international students to immediately use what they have just learnt within the classroom and builds speaking confidence within a small group which includes native English speakers.

Natural Integration

We allow children to do what they do best – have fun. Our tasks and activities really are the best place for everyone to get to know each other and the children tend to integrate subconsciously whilst taking part; their focus being on completing the challenge, playing the sport, learning the art technique or discussing their experiences. This flows into every area of camp, during social time, meal times and evening activities.

Other providers try, but few can equal

In our opinion, our integration is unique within the summer language school market and is a brilliant opportunity for international students to learn English with English children. It works effectively because all children benefit from the others being on camp and it becomes less about where you’re from and more about what you enjoy doing.  

Written by: Mark Vingoe, MD