Immersion for Business School in Boston
Yoann, 19 years, had completed his education in France and it was his dream to study Business and Finance at Boston University in the US. The entry requirements asked for a TOEFL score and, as it was a well-known university, the required score was high – 85 on the iBT test. His parents were keen for him to prepare well for the test and wanted him to have some intensive training.
Yoann’s mother first contacted me in July and we decided that he would come for 6 weeks to focus on the TOEFL exam. He would take the exam here in the UK in November and then return to France to prepare for his departure to Boston in January. As courses here at Fleetham Lodge are very intensive due to their immersive nature, 6 weeks would be the longest course I had ever run and I decided that we should have two teachers to share the teaching, which would be better for both teachers and student.
The plan was to do 4 hours of English and exam practice every day plus some homework in the evenings. Yoann was a keen sportsman and so he wanted to go to the gym on some afternoons. He was also interested in playing football and running. Where we are located is perfect for running (and cycling too – something we often do with students) as it is quite flat and very quiet during the day with few cars or people around. We found a local football team who were delighted to have Yoann train with them and so everything was set for his course.
He arrived at Newcastle airport from Paris and we collected him and drove the 50-minute journey to the house. His spoken English was very good and he also understood everything so I was very confident that in 6 weeks we would be able to get him to his 85 TOEFL target.
We started the next morning on the TOEFL practice and it was clear that there would be much to do on reading and listening especially, so I decided you change tack a little and mix more general English vocabulary and grammar with the actual exam work so that this would become easier.
We soon got into a rhythm of lessons followed by a trip, the gym or a run. Yoann also went off cycling some days. In the evenings we watched TV or movies or simply sat and chatted before he went off to complete his homework. At the weekends we went on longer visits to castles, shopping, out into the Yorkshire Dales or Yorkshire Moors or, on one Saturday, to a football match at Newcastle United. I tried to vary the visits to include many types of venue.
Yoann became something of a local celebrity. His football team-mates found him to be not only a good player but a real role model for them in terms of his dedication, generosity of spirit and his ability to be a great team player – all this was reported to him and us by the coach. The receptionists at the local gym looked forward to his great smile and easy chatter. The local pizza restaurant where he would sometimes go after the gym, and even the lady in the post office, were all sorry when he told them that his time here was over and he would be returning home to Paris.
Yoann moved to Boston, took his test (in the end he decided to sit the exam in the US) and was offered a place at the university to study business. He is now in his second year and doing well.
Another success story!
In a small place like our local town, it is easily possible to make connections with local people as Yoann proved, and even on a short stay you will find that people here in the North of England are always willing to chat – which is great for your English practice!