English Course Place of Choice
When thinking about visiting a country it’s quite natural to be drawn to the places that are most famous. The capital city or certain landmarks – for the UK this would, of course, be London and then perhaps Oxford and Cambridge or Stonehenge, Loch Ness etc. These are certainly worth visiting and London is also a city to come back to again and again to quote Samuel Johnson’s famous line:
‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’
However, London is not especially representative of the UK as a whole and there is much more to discover. The fact we are quite a small country also makes it very possible to explore further afield and find new places to experience. So I want to fly the flag for Yorkshire and point out some reasons why you may want to consider coming here for your English course.
Yorkshire is often called ‘God’s own country’ – people are fiercely proud of being from Yorkshire and have a word for those interlopers who move here from elsewhere in the UK – ‘offcumdens’. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t like visitors – the opposite is true – we are very warm and welcoming and eager to present the fantastic things this great county has to offer!!
10 Reasons to visit Yorkshire for your English language course
- Space – we are the biggest county in the UK by a long way. We have vast expanses of landscape for walking, cycling or just enjoying the outdoors. The roads are not crowded and getting around is quick and relatively easy. I can do a 70 mile round trip in 90 minutes! (This was my daughters’ school run). The Yorkshire Moors and Dales are amazing places to explore and when the Tour de France came here in 2014 even the cyclists were surprised at how fabulous it was!
- Friendly People – northerners are noted for being more friendly and open that their southern counterparts. I think there is some truth in this. People are inclined to chat more and there is a slower pace of life here. Students to Fleetham Lodge have reported that people were happy to chat with them and were generally helpful.
- Something for Everyone – large swathes of Yorkshire are rural – especially North Yorkshire with agriculture being the main industry, however there are cities – Leeds, York, Bradford, Sheffield all of which offer good city amenities – shopping, restaurants, museums and galleries as well as their own particular history. We also have a great coastline with plenty of beautiful golden beaches and lovely seaside towns to visit – Whitby with its Dracula connection, Scarborough a typical seaside resort dating from the Victorian times and Robin Hood’s Bay an old smugglers village as well as smaller fishing villages along the coastline.
- Pubs! – we have so many of them (more than other places), from the quaint traditional country inn to vibrant city venues, Yorkshire certainly tries its best to continue this very British tradition and it’s not all about drinking, most now provide good food and a lovely ambiance for a relaxing lunch or dinner. Tann Hill, England’s highest pub, is a favourite of ours – in all weather!
- History – we have our fair share of historic houses some of the most famous such as Castle Howard and Harewood House to name just 2. We also have a large number of ruined abbeys with all the history of the reformation that they exhibit. There are other gems with magnificent gardens to visit too. York is a city going back to the Roman times and has much to offer a history buff in terms of architecture, archaeology and is one of the most attractive cities in the country.
- Literature – You may not have heard of Bram Stoker but you will have heard of his masterpiece Dracula! Whitby is the setting for some of this story written while he was visiting the town. The Bronte sisters were also natives of Yorkshire and we have done many Bronte days out following in their footsteps.
- Yorkshire Pudding – this famous delicacy is what really makes a traditional Sunday roast dinner and we’ll provide one just for you (although I am not the best maker of these puddings!). We source all our food locally and have some wonderful food producers right on our doorstep. Our very own vegetable garden gives us organic vegetables and our very free range hens provide excellent eggs (we have been local egg champions in the Feast for the past few years).
- Market towns – being a largely agricultural area, North Yorkshire (yes the county is split into 4 sub-regions) has several Market Towns – these are largely Georgian and are so called because the farmers would come here to sell their produce. The markets still exist but sell more than just food nowadays and are a great place to visit.
- The oldest working Georgian Theatre in Britain – this gem of a theatre, small but perfectly formed, often features as one of our afternoon visits. If there is a performance then we’ll include this too.
- Fleetham Lodge – this is where your course will be and it is in the heart of the Vale of York
between the Moors and Dales and so ideal for all the things mentioned above! Of course in-between visiting these places you’ll be immersed in English and getting expert lessons to help you improve all your English skills so you can take full advantage of these trips.
These are just some of the reasons why Yorkshire is special. There is much to see, do and experience and I hope that this little snapshot will entice you to visit here and book an English Immersion Course at Fleetham Lodge very soon!
A question I often get asked is ‘How much or How many’. How many hours will we study per day? How many trips will there be in a week? How many tasks will I get to write? How much time is spent in the classroom? They are valid questions and are often used to assess value for money but it is important not to get too hung up on these things, as they don’t always give the full picture. The bigger picture that you need to know about is what the outcome will be for you and how this will give you the results that you are looking for. The amount of time you receive may not give you your desired outcome if it doesn’t address the things you need for you to move forwards with your English language goal. So ask lots of questions and make sure that this isn’t just a numbers game.
Value for money is really important when you are considering
investing in a course and we all fear poor value as it simply wastes our time and we don’t get results. I know from my own courses that most students who come here want to leave with more fluency, better vocabulary and also improved confidence in using English. Those who study IELTS want to get to their band score goal – these are clearly defined outcomes and so the course I provide must deliver this as far as possible in the time available. I too need to ask great questions! And I do!! I want to be certain that I can deliver what my students want in the time we have together and so it is important to find out where they are now and how much can be achieved.
The great thing about English language is that given the optimum environment everything you do will help you improve. Talking over breakfast or dinner, watching a movie that you can discuss, having a guided tour of a house or garden – all of these things can help you boost your English skills just as much as sitting studying in the classroom. In fact, I would go so far as to say that as long as you engage in these activities you can actually gain far more English! The main point about these non-classroom situations is that they are spontaneous and often with ‘random’ native speakers who are totally unconnected with your course making them ‘real, live’ experiences. There is higher ‘risk’ for you and no expectation for them so they are incredibly valuable as ‘tests’ of your language ability.
This is the idea around studying in-country so personally I feel that a really valuable question to ask when choosing your course is; how much exposure to random language events will I get?
Of course these cannot be ‘stage-managed’ by your school but if there are times when you are out and about on visits or if you have a chance to engage in non-classroom language activity then use these opportunities to test out your language skills and the result should really make you proud of yourself! If your teacher is on-hand to help you out if you get stuck, then so much the better.
On all our courses here at Fleetham Lodge we provide lots of chances to engage in activities like those described above. From our point of view this is true immersion. It’s an opportunity to test what you have learned and put it into practice. The very best way to make sure things are retained is by using them – so this helps you to do just that. In our experience this fact of being literally surrounded by English at all times is what helps our students to make great strides in their fluency and confidence in speaking and listening. Some even ‘complain’ they are now ‘thinking in English’ – which is a wonderful thing to have happen while your are here – not so great when you go home perhaps :-).
So the next time you are looking at courses don’t only consider the number of hours of contact time with your teacher but also the opportunities that are available to use the language outside of the classroom.
I really enjoy working with IELTS students especially those who need very high bands such as 7 or 8 in every part of the test. For these students IELTS is very challenging as they need to keep all the balls in the air at the same time and this requires a lot of discipline and practice.
Most of the work done with IELTS students is online but for some students online is not their preferred method of study or they want to come to the UK to experience more of an immersion in English as well as prepare their IELTS skills for the exam. To date, students choosing our IELTS Workshops have come from Western Europe, the Middle East, India, Nepal and Russia.
The main advantage of an immersion IELTS workshop over an online course is the fact that here English is being used all day even outside of the lessons which allows the students to get into the habit of hearing, speaking and generally absorbing English which helps to boost their IELTS skills too.
IELTS Intensive Workshops are, “as it says on the tin” – intensive – typically around 6 hours per day are spent in learning. This includes, as well as actual practice of the IELTS components, work on techniques and strategies to achieve the high bands that our students must have for their next step in life be that a career overseas, a high-level university course or the move to an English speaking country. We also give out homework for self-study so the days are packed with study.
Many students combine the IELTS Intensive Workshop week here with some follow-up or pre-workshop online work so that they can continue to hone their skills or use the workshop as the final push before the exam itself. Both methods can work equally well.
It is not unusual for our workshop students to have taken the exam several times before they decide to come (indeed this is the case for many online students also) but we hope that the next exam they take will be the last one and when the visit is planned well according to their level and readiness for the band score this is mostly the case.
Being able to really concentrate on the exam can be difficult while going about your daily life. Things take over, the kids, the job, other family members and before you know it IELTS is in the twilight zone and you find yourself studying late at night in a corner of the house trying not to disturb the sleeping members of your family. Or just as you get some momentum on your practice the extended family decide to come and visit and bang goes your practice for a week or two. It’s a familiar story that I hear again and again. So the chance to have a whole week (or weekend) just for IELTS is a luxury and it can be the answer for many students.
Although we are not an IELTS centre, if students want to take the exam while they are here, there are centres close enough (York, Leeds and Newcastle) to get to and we can help students make the arrangements where necessary providing there is enough time to book (this will usually be decided at the time of booking the workshop).
What makes our IELTS Intensive Workshops so successful? Firstly I have had over 20 years of IELTS training experience all of this at bands 7 and 8. Secondly I was, for a few years, an IELTS examiner myself and because we actually specialise in these high bands then the whole momentum of the course is aimed at getting band 7 and 8 in each part of the test.
We have a great track record. Most students get their required score and scores in Reading, Listening and Speaking are often very high, typically 7.5, 8 and even 8.5. In fact we have had 3 students achieve Band 9 in IELTS Reading!!
It would be a great pity to come all this way to North Yorkshire and only see the inside of Fleetham Lodge so we do take off a couple of hours in the middle of the week and on Saturday afternoon after our final session to go out, relax, gather our thoughts and experience something of the local area. These are welcome excursions after the rigours of non-stop IELTS study.
Groups are from 1:1 up to 4 participants – come alone or with fellow IELTS students.
Aysgarth Falls to Castle Bolton
We set off on our first Yorkshire Adventure to the Yorkshire Dales. The day was very overcast and windy which made it a little cold. However, undaunted, we drove to the waterfalls, parked and began the first walk.
There are three waterfalls at Aysgarth and they are quite spectacular at this time of year being very full of water. Poets and artists alike have visited them to record their majesty and power.
Our walk starts before we reach the falls as these will be at the end so we turn to a small wood called Freeholders Wood to take the path to Castle Bolton.
This wood is called Freeholders because it has allowed all local villagers to collect and coppice wood for their own use. This means the trees were cut down to ground level to encourage new shoots. These often grow very straight and can be used for tool handles, fencing and other uses. The practice continues today to create a good biodiversity in the wood.
We continued through the wood and on to Castle Bolton.
After a lot of rain the fields were quite muddy but the sun began to come out which made the walk more pleasant. It was, nevertheless, a very windy March day.
As we approached the castle the day got brighter and we could see this ancient building in all it’s glory, in a moorland setting with the first spring flowers bobbing cheerily. Bolton Castle (also called Castle Bolton) is a favourite place with all our visitors both for its views and also the history (as well as a well-stocked tea room). The castle is still owned by the original family – Scrope, although it is now a museum rather than a home.
It has a long and interesting history featuring famous monarchs as well as battles and political struggles.
From the castle there is a magnificent view over the Dales which on a bright day takes your breath away.
Although it was lovely to bask in the sunshine, we needed to move on with our adventure to take a look at the waterfalls before going home.
The second half of the walk took us along a country road and through a village before turning once more towards the river and the waterfalls. A feature of this part of the world are dry-stone walls. These are made by arrange stones on top of each other to create a sturdy and very firm wall around the fields. The art of dry-stone walling requires a lot of skill and has to be learned but the feature is very attractive and makes the Dales quite unique.
We finally arrived back at Aysgarth Falls, the sun shone and the wind seemed less wild. The Dales looked amazing and I was excited about seeing the waterfall as they always seem to delight everyone who sees them whatever season it is. We walked down to the viewing platform for the middle falls and were not disappointed.
The water roared and came tumbling over the rocks spraying cold drops of water everywhere. The noise was incredible and the power awesome.
It’s hard to imagine that on a summer’s day this waterfall is almost a gentle river and in some areas it is possible to paddle and even swim.
So we come to the end of our first Yorkshire Adventure and we hope that you have enjoyed the walk with us and would like to do it with us in person. Whatever time of year you come, there will be something exciting to see at both these venues.
Come to Fleetham Lodge and experience a continuing professional development class that will not only increase your passion for teaching but will also leave you inspired, refreshed, and restored!
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As you are settling in to your surroundings as a student in English Language Immersion, you can’t help but be enamored with the handsome, Edwardian-style Fleetham Lodge that you now call your home away from home. You will stay with like-minded individuals who you can share the excitement and challenges of learning new language skills in this quintessential environment. Continue reading
There are 2 different immersions; complete immersion and partial immersion.
Complete immersion, almost 100% of class time is spent in the foreign language. Subject matter taught in the foreign language is incorporated as necessary throughout the course. The goals are to become functionally proficient in the foreign language, and to master subject content taught in the foreign language. This type of program is usually sequential, cumulative, continuous, proficiency-oriented, and part of an integrated grade school sequence. Continue reading
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One of the course options we offer is the English and Cycling Immersion course. Here is your chance to ride the amazing terrain of the Yorkshire National Parks and experience the beautiful outdoors in England. Among the many cycling adventures on which you could embark, your main focus would be the first rate English training that we have to offer. Immerse yourself in learning the English language and enjoy going on many bike rides in between. Trust us, you will not only be learning, you will be making life-long memories on your exciting cycling adventures. Continue reading