Things that make us Unique at Fleetham Lodge
We sometimes ‘boast’ about how our immersion courses offer a unique experience to our students and how these are things which may not be offered on other English courses in the UK. Some of these may be intangible like the atmosphere we try to create on our courses or the ‘feel’ of being in an English ambience, but others are much clearer, like the fact that many of the fruit and vegetables we cook come from our own kitchen garden and are grown ‘organically’ or the hens that you can see wondering around which produce our eggs. Students enjoy collecting the eggs or even picking vegetables.
I wanted, in this post, to share some other more tangible things that we have included in our courses – some were planned and others just happened to coincide – which was a bonus.
We try, where possible, to include a theatre performance in our courses especially for the adults. Our nearest theatre is The Georgian Royal Theatre – this is a historic theatre dating from 1788 and is really tiny in comparison with later theatres. It has a really rich history and we often go on a theatre tour even if there is no performance available to attend.
At one performance with a group of Dutch and Colombian business students we were all invited to a drinks party in the bar with the actors and then took a photo on stage with them. We had no idea that this would happen but it made for a very exciting evening and also a great chance for our students to interact with the cast. On another occasion one of our group was actually invited to go up on stage in the performance (it was a comedy) to take part in a small scene!
During the summers it is a tradition in many parts of the UK to have open air Shakespeare plays and we have twice been able to take students to these. The most recent was with a German family who were on our English and Golf programme. The play was Romeo and Juliet and it was performed with an all-male cast (which was the tradition in Shakespeare’s day). We took a picnic, chairs and blankets and sat beside the lake of a beautiful old country mansion and enjoyed the play – a magical experience, if a little chilly towards the end :-).
Parties are always fun and we have included our student guests in some of these. My mother-in-law’s 90th bash coincided with a student’s visit and we took her along for the celebration. This not only meant the party itself, but travelling to Tunbridge Wells in Kent where we stayed with a friend. As her course was a month then it was a good way to see another part of the country and Tunbridge Wells is a lovely historic town. She was able to meet lots of people and really practise her English with native speakers who were at the party.
Royal anniversaries and events are always a time for national celebrations and we have had several in recent years. One of these was the Royal Wedding of William and Kate in 2011. The village celebration was a dinner dance with a royal theme at the local Solberge Hotel. Martina, a business student from Germany, was here for her immersion course so we bought an extra ticket for her. It was a black-tie event (we took another student to a black-tie event and kitted him out with a dinner suit from a local suit hire shop – everything is possible) and suitable glittering for the royal occasion. We even had a really clever magician to entertain us all.
Sports and Hobbies
Three of our young students had particular hobbies that they were keen to continue during their time with us and we were able to accommodate these requests and enrol them into local teams.
The first, Yoann from France, was a football ‘fanatic’ and really wanted to play during his 6 weeks with us. A local five-a-side club were very happy to have him train with them every week and he even managed to play two games
for them. It was a real win-win as the team were grateful to have an extra and rather good player and he was able to engage with this fellow players and improve his English skills. They were all very sad to see him return home. We even arranged a trip to see Newcastle United play Hull (he had hoped for Chelsea but sadly there was nothing local during his stay).
Just last year Jeremie and his sister Sophia came for a month to improve their skills in order to enter a UK boarding school. Their passion was basketball. Again we rang around local teams and found two that were close enough. As a result they were able to go to basketball practice twice a week and took part in two tournaments. Again this worked for both the teams and the students as they made friends with whom they could speak English and the teams got two new experienced players!!
Two local events which are brilliant for a day out are the Great Yorkshire Show in July and our very own village small equivalent in August; Kirkby Fleetham Feast – we’d love to take you to these two events! The first is now the biggest in the UK and is a really interesting day with something for everyone from the competitions for the best cow, sheep or pig to huge tractors to some great shopping for woollen sweaters, country coats, dresses and bags. At the Kirkby Fleetham feast there is a chance to enter something or just enjoy the day – something hugely traditional, social and actually quite impressive for a small community. Another chance to meet local people and join in the fun!
These are just a handful of the things that have been included in courses that are a little bit special, but they give you a flavour. We try to be as creative as possible with what we offer on our immersion courses and the more we can get you in front of local, native speakers the better the experience will be. And not only that, but the more we can involve you in the local life of our community, the better the immersion.