What level of Spanish, French, or Chinese is required?
Frankly, if you are a motivated person, if the choice to really assault fluency is your goal (and not just your parents'), then we can do the rest. We teach to as many as three different levels, and have even contracted special tutoring for those either just above or just below everyone else. Bring your energy, enthusiasm, and leave the driving to us. Note that the French and Spanish programs require 2 or more years of the target language, while the China tour doesn't requires any—beginners to more advanced students are accepted. This is because Chinese languages are not that widely taught right now. And, for China only, that is why we encourage high school seniors to apply. In France and Spain, students ranged from 2 to 5 years of the language on our programs last summer, in fact, there were a few students who were close to fluent. We take French and Spanish students with 1 year of the language in only certain circumstances. Please call if that describes you.
When do I get detailed information on what to bring, etc.?
In the spring, we send out a detailed packet for your trip. It goes over clothes to pack, money to bring along, presents for your host family, etc. It also includes a detailed questionnaire designed to help us select a family for you. Specifics of our flights are also sent out then. Overall, don’t be too concerned about all these details right now. We will take care of everything! As the summer nears, we send out several other letters to help you prepare for your trip. As always, be certain to call or e-mail us with even what you might think of as the most mundane question.
Can personal travel plans be accommodated before or after the program?
Our flights can be adjusted to meet almost any schedule, but the earlier we know your plans the better. Changing our group flights adds to the cost, but not substantially. Our flights cost around $1,000 ($1,800 to China) if you schedule your own flights, we refund that; if you change dates or airports (NY/ Paris/ Madrid/ Barcelona/Kunming/Beijing) but use us, there is a non-group charge plus any additional flight costs. And, in most circumstances, we can easily arrange to meet you in Europe or at our gateway (currently Kunming or Beijing) to China or get you to where you're going after the program is over. Last year, we arranged to meet students pre-trip in Tours, Madrid, London, Toulouse, and Paris; and post trip, we put students on trains or planes for Frankfort, London, and Hong Kong. We are flexible, but again, we need as much advance notice as you can give us.
What are the other kids like?
This one is a hard one to answer, for example, one student, enrolled last summer, had climbed Mount Ranier in Washington State, another who had trekked through Alaska for 5 weeks, and yet another who sang throughout Europe with her choral group. But there are also several who spent the prior summer in study programs, bus trips, or on family vacations. Our students are as diverse in their interests as our programs! They are usually very active and curious about the World around them—these would be the most apt generalizations that come to mind.
Special Note: New for summer 2013: Middle School Language Immersion in Gijón, Spain, June 26 to July 9. Summer camp along the coast with Spanish kids plus Rassias Language instruction and brief home stay experience. Call us for details, 1.603.643.3007.
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