Sprachferien in York
Ausführliche Informationen zur Reise, Unterricht, Taschengeld, Gastgebern, Packliste etc. Bitte unbedingt lesen, damit alle Teilnehmer immer "Happy & Safe" sind.
‘Happy and Safe!’
Our company ‘mantra’ for all our students is they are ‘Happy and Safe!’ It is the underlying principle of everything we do! This is why we provide you with as much information as possible to make sure you know what you can expect from us and what we expect from you before and during your stay.
It is therefore important that both YOU AND YOUR PARENTS carefully read all the information provided in the secure login area to help you prepare.
You will find the information provided in this section as a PDF document in the secure login area, so that you can print it off and refer back to it when packing. Please feel free to ask if there is anything you are not sure about.
PLEASE NOTE: In addition to our ‘Happy & Safe’ talk on the first day, we will provide the students with a ‘Happy and Safe in York and London’ guide when they arrive. This guide will be in German to reinforce some important points about keeping safe during their stay and what to do if they get lost.
Your travel schedule
Your travel schedule with flight details and meeting times will be available from the Secure Login page on our website in January or earlier and we will email you or your parents when it is ready for download.
Meeting you at the Airport
Meeting you at the airport is very important as it means we meet you and your parents/carers personally before leaving Germany. It guarantees safe travel from your home airport to your host.
When we meet you at the airport in Germany, we will register you and you can then check in. All you will need for checking in is your passport/ ID. Please note that we will not issue tickets or booking references as you are all booked on as a group. Please ensure you have a mobile phone with you which is set up to make and receive calls/texts in England as well as in Germany. (Please see No 2 for more information on mobile phones)
Please DO NOT go through security after checking in. Return to the Embrace England group leader as the group will pass through security together.
We do not provide accompanied travel back to Germany on the return flight as your parent/carer will meet you at Arrivals. We provide coach travel to Heathrow airport and ensure you are checked in and have your passports. We divide the students into groups and the older students act as guides from security to the correct departing gate. This works extremely well as you will have learned during your stay to work with each other and tackle challenges as a team.
You will need a valid passport (Reisepass/Kinderausweis mit Bild) or identity card (Personalausweis) to travel to England. A visa is not necessary for EU citizens. Please tell us if you have a non-EU passport and do need a Visa. When you are in England you do not need to carry an ID card. We will look after your passports/ID cards during your stay because losing it will create unnecessary worry and complications! We will return your passport/ID card to you at the airport on the day of departure.
Please attach a luggage label to your luggage so that it can be easily seen and write the following English address on your luggage label.
Paula is our Embrace England Host Co-ordinator. In the unlikely event your baggage goes missing she will ensure you receive your bag. Make sure you have another luggage label for your return journey, which has your German home address on it.
We normally use British Airways (BA) for our flights but, depending on flight times and availability, we sometimes use Lufthansa, German Wings or another provider. Although baggage allowance is usually 23kg for many airline providers, please check individual flight provider’s websites for confirmation of baggage allowance and additional costs for exceeding the limit.
With British Airways the weight allowance for your main piece of luggage is 23kg. Please note that only one piece of checked-in luggage is allowed, maximum size 90cm x 75cm x 43cm. If it is heavier than 23kg British Airways will ask you to pay an excess charge of approx. £30. In addition, you can bring one piece of hand luggage to take onto the aeroplane as cabin baggage but it cannot be bigger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. This is important to consider, especially on your return flight if you have done some shopping and increased your luggage weight. It may help if you bring a small set of luggage scales.
Security regulations for hand luggage
One piece of hand luggage is allowed (56cm x 45cm x 25cm) plus one small bag for a laptop/DVD player.
If possible all ‘liquids’ should be packed in your main luggage and not carried in your hand luggage. “Liquids” means drinks, creams, lotions, perfumes, spray deodorants, toothpaste, hair gel and shower gel. If you really must have any of these items with you in your hand luggage then you have to bring or buy a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag (20cm x 20cm) to carry them in. Each item in the plastic bag must be no bigger than 100ml.
Essential medicines are allowed in your hand luggage but you must be ready and able to explain what they are.
Laptops, DVD players, mobile phones etc. may be carried on to the plane but you must be ready to have them screened separately.
For more detailed information please see the British Airways website (www.britishairways.com)or other relevant airline’s website.
What to bring
In line with our company mantra for all our students to be ‘Happy and Safe!’ we need you to make sure you arrive at the German airport with a mobile phone that is working and can make and receive calls in Germany as well as in England. This is a mandatory requirement.
We will ask for your mobile phone number as you register with us at the airport and will then provide you with the group leader’s mobile number. Please store this number in your mobile phone as soon as you have been given the number by the group leader. We ask parents to make sure that students do this immediately. It is extremely important that we are able to communicate with every student at any time of day (or night!) and we insist this process starts immediately at the airport. The same applies to students who can contact our group leader at any time!
The mobile phone must be charged every night and be switched on at ALL TIMES during your stay. If you have any problems with your phones then inform us immediately, more often or not we can fix the problem! If your phone does stop working during the stay and it cannot be fixed, we will provide a cheap mobile phone for you to use for the remainder of your stay (There will be a small charge for this). Please note: Students cannot decide not to have a mobile phone if their original mobile phone stops working. You need to make sure that you always have plenty of credit.
Each student receives a free computer account for use on any one of the 1200 computers at St John University as well as an access code to the St John University’s Wi-Fi network, which is accessible throughout the university campus. We provide this FREE OF CHARGE and we hope it will help students to ‘keep in touch’ with family and friends while saving on phone costs.
You will need to bring an adapter if you want to use/charge electrical equipment (mobile phones, laptops, DVD players, etc.) in England. You can buy an adapter at travel shops or at the airport in Germany.
The English climate from March to September is usually mild but it can be very changeable. It will probably be a little cooler than in Germany. You must be prepared for cooler weather and rain, so do bring some warm, waterproof clothes with you.
Your host family will wash your clothes, if you want them to, at the same time as they wash their own clothes. (See below: ‘Host Guidelines’ – Number 6)
Towels & bedding
Host families do provide bed linen and towels to use within their own home but these cannot be taken to sports venues or the beach. For this you will need to bring your own towel.
The London Youth Hostels also provide bed linen but some only provide towels at an additional cost. So our general recommendation is to bring a towel with you.
For Sports activities
Embrace England can provide all the necessary equipment for the activities that we offer but please remember to bring swimming clothes, sports clothes and trainers - they are essential for some of the sport activities!
For Medical services
If you have a medical issue while you are in England, please inform your Embrace England leader or your host family and we will assess the condition. If you have a serious medical condition (NOT a cold, sickness/diarrhoea, mild muscle strains etc.) we can arrange for you to see a doctor. This may not be on the same day or the day after if no appointments are available under the National Health Service (NHS). Please note that treatment under the NHS is free for all but this can mean a slower service than in Germany.
Dental treatments are not covered under the NHS and costs will be charged to the German parents/carers.
Please bring your German health insurance card (Versicherungskarte) with you. Although you can see a doctor or receive emergency treatment without it, it will make it easier if you have one. And if you do have additional travel insurance for unforeseen emergencies, such as having to return home early, please also bring the relevant documentation with you. Please make sure your parents have carefully completed and sent your Embrace England medical form.
The cost of our language holiday is fully inclusive. The only things you will need to pay for are:
- Midday snack during your stay in London (The Lodge only provides breakfast and evening meal)
- Lunch on departure day (Breakfast is included at the Lodge but any food between then and returning to Germany is not included)
- Any additional snacks and/or drinks not supplied by the host family (although free drinking water dispensers are available at St John’s University) for those students used to snacking throughout the day.
For any additional costs, we would recommend approximately £150 for the stay as a minimum. Obviously, this does not include any extra optional costs such as shopping for clothes, souvenirs etc. and any extra activities undertaken in their ‘free time’.
Security of money is one of the main challenges while on holiday, particularly for young people who may have to do this independently for the first time. There is no single absolute secure method of ensuring money is managed and kept safe. However, we strongly advise the following steps:
- Never carry large sums of cash and have only what you need for that day.
- Exchange at least some of your money into British Pounds (GBP) in Germany. We recommend £50.00 (ideally a mix of £5, £10 and & £20 bank notes), so that you have enough cash for anything you may need during your first few days with ‘Embrace England.’
- In addition to the £50 already exchanged in Germany we recommend that you bring a bank cash card (EC-Karte) instead of Euros. This way you will be able to withdraw safely the cash you need from the many cashpoints available in York. It is also possible to pay with your EC-Karte in most shops in England, reducing the need to carry large amounts of cash with you. But please check with your own bank at home how much they will charge for each cash withdrawal/debit transaction. Please also ensure that your parents explain how to use the card and give you the correct PIN number.
- Any cash not needed for the day/activities should remain at the host house. Please discuss this with your host and make sure you all know where and exactly how much money is being stored. This is not a guaranteed method of security but is one which has proven successful. PLEASE NOTE: Embrace England and Embrace England hosts cannot be held responsible for any loss of monies during any part of the stay.
- Embrace England staff are available for any help or guidance you may need to manage your money during your stay. Please ask a member of the team!
For your English lessons
Lessons usally take place in the morning from 8.45 am to 12.00 pm at St. John University in York. You will need to bring your school equipment such as pens, writing paper (A4 size) and your German/English dictionary. We strongly recommend you also bring a USB pen as you will have to save your work/presentations onto this. Your work cannot be stored on the school’s computers. All other learning resources and materials will be provided.
Your English lessons
For your English lessons we will place you in a group which matches your abilities but we will move you if it becomes obvious you would be better placed in another group. You will probably find yourself in a class with similar aged students although ability is not always matched to age.
The grammar tests we ask students to complete are incredibly accurate reflectors of understanding/application of grammar but not necessarily conversational English. We do make students aware of this as grammar is a large component of our learning and this is why we use the grammar tests to assess levels.
Our class sizes are small and never more than 16 per teacher.
The lessons are aimed at helping you to improve your grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and conversational English and our fully qualified English teachers ensure that your learning is progressive, fulfilling and fun. The Beginner classes have emphasis on vocabulary and grammar whilst the higher classes concentrate on reading comprehension, analysis and composition.
All of our classes are matched against the Common European Framework (CEF) which defines levels of efficiency for each of our learners.
To help us place you in the right teaching group we would like you to complete the written assessment which you can download from our website via the secure log in. It will help us to recognise your current level of understanding of the English Language and to identify where we need to work with you. Please save, print and mark your completed test and bring it with you to your first lesson in York. We will also assess you on your first day by completing another similar test. This means we have two points of reference to ensure you are in the right group and can progress at the right rate.
And to help you with your learning outside the classroom, we also set you some small additional tasks such as: ‘Getting to know your Host Family’ which help you with asking questions, practice listening and writing techniques and give you confidence early in the 17-day schedule. You may also be asked to do a little research and work on mini-presentations in St. Johns University Learning & ICT Suite. This will offer you a change of environment and some new challenges.
But the success of your language holiday is also very much dependent on you and your attitude! If you speak very little in or outside lessons or mainly in German you will only learn a limited amount. But if you really immerse yourself in the language and speak as much as possible, even after lessons have finished, you will soon notice the difference; especially when you get back to school in Germany.
Your host / host family
Host Contact Details
We will email you the name and address of your host at least one day before your departure, so that your parents know where you will be staying in York. We do not normally provide telephone numbers to avoid the hosts’ landline getting blocked by students.
Our Embrace England Host co-ordinator knows all our hosts personally and checks all host accommodation. Hosts may have a variety of reasons for wanting to host. Many simply enjoy having students in their house whilst others are keen to enrich their own cultural experience by including a variety of nationalities in their home. For other families, hosting is a service offered for other companies as well as our own and it does provide them with additional income. But no matter what reasons your host may have, their aim is to make your stay as comfortable and as welcoming as possible.
All of our hosts are normal, busy working people living in typical English houses which may be detached, semi-detached or terraced. The family structure and family size of our hosts is varied, so that you could be living in a family with children or in a single person household or somewhere in between. The majority of our hosts will be working during the day whilst students are doing activities but will always be at home when students return at tea time or evening. For this reason, students do not go home earlier than the return times stipulated on the schedule unless the host family has given permission and is at home. The Group Leader must be informed by the student if permission has been given.
Some of our hosts also have students from other countries staying with them at the same time. This is a big advantage because it will help you to improve your English, as English is of course the common language of all the international students, and it will help you make new friends. However, you will not be sharing a room with another international student. The maximum number of students in one room will be two, unless otherwise requested. Occasionally, we may have to have 3 German students with a host family although not in the same room.
We encourage students to visit each other at the different host families but this is has to be sensibly managed to ensure students are safe at all times. Consequently, we do not allow students to catch buses from their host homes after they have returned from their daily activities. During the evening/night time the hosts are responsible for the well being of their students and although students may wish to have the freedom to travel on night time buses, such freedoms can compromise safety and cause significant worry for the hosts.
All students must be back in the host home by 21.00hrs (summer camps) and 20.00hrs (Easter camp) if they have gone out of the host home after their evening meal for a walk or to visit friends in walking distance. We request students ask the hosts permission first so they are aware of location/plans and therefore can be assured of both safety and agreed return time.
We carefully match the requirements you have provided on your booking form and select the most suitable host for you. They will meet you upon your arrival at York and will make sure you settle in quickly and comfortably. We hope you enjoy comparing and contrasting family life in England to your own ways of living in Germany…it is part of the adventure!
Happy and Safe with your Host
To ensure your stay is safe, comfortable and secure we have created a framework of host guidelines, which are designed to provide the best possible support whilst you are staying with us.
- All lessons /activities start at 8.45 hrs and students need to leave their hosts’ homes no later than 08.00 hrs.
- All twilight activities finish at approx. 17.00 - 18.00 hrs and students are expected to be at home no later than 18.00 - 18.45 hrs. (This excludes the disco nights which finishes at 21.45 hrs when hosts pick you up)
- An adult (18+) will always be there whilst you are in the house and will be waiting for you when you return from your activities. Families do not normally provide keys as students are not allowed to be in a house on their own. If a key is provided it will be because the host is in the house but wants you to feel free coming in and leaving with your own key. The families have a copy of your schedule and will confirm each day’s activities with you and your return times. Host families and students exchange mobile numbers on the first night to communicate any unexpected changes to the schedule.
- All hosts are keen to embrace you within their normal day-to-day routines and you may find yourself being invited to and enjoying some ‘free time’ activities with them. However, this is entirely down to the family’s commitments and the time available to them. They are not officially responsible for organising any ‘free time’ activities for you and will expect you to be active and leave the house during allocated ‘free time’. You will have access to their living room and TV and they will try to eat or sit with you at meal times to encourage conversation in English.
- Food is a significant part of enjoying your stay! Your hosts provide breakfast, a packed lunch and an evening meal. And although hosts are happy to accommodate students' food preferences, you need to be aware that some foods will be different to what you are used to and that different types of food are served at certain meal times. For example, breakfast usually consists of orange juice, cereal (something like cornflakes) and/or toast & jam and a hot drink. It is not customary in England to have cheese or cold meats (Wurst/Schinken) for breakfast.
For example, breakfast usually consists of orange juice, cereal (something like cornflakes) and/or toast & jam and a hot drink. It is not customary in England to have cheese or cold meats (Wurst/Schinken) for breakfast.
You may also be aware that English bread is quite different to German bread and you will be able to try some interesting sandwich fillings for your lunch which you may not have had before.
Your hosts will normally serve you a cooked evening meal, varying from traditional English dishes to international teenage favourites. Please be adventurous and try the meals your hosts have prepared for you even if it is not something you would normally eat. Nobody will ever be forced to eat anything they don’t like but is only polite to at least try them! Moreover, after a long and tiring day of lessons and activities, your evening meal will provide you with the nutrients you need to keep healthy and ready to tackle the challenges of the following day! Please note, we do not advocate host families giving money as a substitute for providing a meal.
Please inform us of any important dietary issues (allergies or particular dislikes) you may have if you haven’t done so already.
If an all-day activity or excursion is planned, a lunch and evening pack up will be provided. On these days the logistics of the students arriving back home for a hot evening meal are impossible to organise and they will therefore take with them a cold lunch and evening pack-up. If students are still hungry when they return home, toast and cereal will be provided but not an evening meal. However, this is a rare occurrence and we aim for our York based excursions to finish in time for a hot meal back at the hosts. A standard pack-up will consist of:
- A sandwich or bread roll (with a filling of your choice)
- A drink
- A minimum of 3 items from: fruit, yoghurt, crisps, cake or biscuits
(If you feel this minimum lunch requirement is not being satisfied please take the pack up to the group leader immediately)
The family will also wash clothes for you on a weekly basis. Students are expected to provide enough underwear for one week and this will be washed with any additional clothes they may need washing, such as trousers, T-Shirts etc.
Minimum standards expected of your host
Obviously, there are differences between cultures and the living standards you experience with your host may be different to your own. English houses are generally smaller than what you might be used to in Germany and may seem a little cramped. This can often be a surprise to German students but they quickly adapt to the change. It is also important to remember that the time you spend with your hosts is relatively limited and should therefore not be seen as a central focus for the student but as a cheaper, safer and more interesting way to live and study in York.
The host does not attempt to replicate the same experience you have in your own home life but guarantee the following standards:
- The house is clean. Towels are provided and all bedding is changed mid stay.
- The food is generous and provides a balanced diet of carbohydrates, fats, protein and vitamins and minerals. (Please see no. 5 above)
- Weekly laundry services are provided. (Please see no. 6 above)
- The host is friendly and welcoming. They will try and engage the students in as much conversation as possible during their stay. Initially hosts will try and give the students time to unpack, settle and get used to the new house, culture and routine. But they will soon try to have longer conversations once they get to know the students and everybody feels comfortable.
Host Family Concerns
We have an incredibly high success rate of students who have been extremely happy with hosts and the feedback we receive from the student about their hosts is generally excellent. However, despite our belief that the all our hosts satisfy the above criteria, we still have the occasional student who may disagree with our assessment. But please be assured that we are very much aware of what is realistically acceptable and not acceptable for host accommodation.
If a student does feel unhappy with his/her host or the house we always make a big effort to deal the issue as quickly as possible. We find that many ‘problems’ are caused by genuine misunderstandings or misconceptions which in most cases can be quickly resolved. It is therefore important that the student speaks first to one of their leaders before worrying their parents!
In the unlikely event that we cannot solve the problem, we can and will move the student to a different home. However, if we believe that the host is not at fault because he/she has satisfied our guaranteed minimum standards we will ask the student’s parents to pay the additional costs to the new host at £21/day (as we will have to honour our payment to the original host for the entire 14 days, regardless of whether the students remains there or not). Payment must be transferred to the ‘Embrace England’ bank account by the German parents before we can move the student. We can only provide one alternative host.
Please note: We make every effort possible to secure the best hosts we can for each student and the feedback we receive from students is excellent. However the dynamics of relationships and expectations means not every student will have the same experience. Irrespective of our best efforts, we cannot guarantee every student has a perfect time with their host but we hope each student/parent is assured we act quickly and fairly to address any issues that may arise. This is a rare occurrence but one that cannot always be avoided when dealing with human beings. Of course, if we feel the host does not satisfy the standards we will pay for all moves to alternative hosts.
Activities & Free Time
Schedule of activities
A sample schedule is available for you to look at on our website now. Your finalised schedule with internet links will then be available from the secure login pages about 8 weeks before your departure and we will inform you about this by email. Please be aware though that minor last minute changes are occasionally necessary which is why you don’t need to bring the schedule with you. We will give to you a printed copy of your up-to-date schedule on your first day in York.
Where possible, activities have been linked with a website so you can do your own exploring before you arrive! It may help you make some provisional plans on what to do in your ‘Free Time’. If you have an idea or thought on how you would like to spend your ‘Free Time’ we will gladly help you and give you advice so that you to get the most from your language holiday.
Please remember, ‘Free Time’ is your time to explore and you cannot return to your hosts or the London Lodge during those times. (Hosts are mainly working families and will not be in their homes to supervise you and we cannot have students at the London Lodge unaccompanied by Embrace England staff.) Although the schedule is dominated by lessons and activities/excursions we also want you to make the most of your ‘Free Time!’ Much better exploring with friends then spending your time in a Starbucks Café or going to McDonalds! To help with this philosophy, we do have ‘Optional Free Time Activities’ which are organised by our staff but they are not compulsory for students to undertake them. For example, we organise a trip to climb to the top of the York Minster Tower if students wish to take this option. There is an additional charge for this.
The York and London schedules will be accompanied by other information to help you find your way and things to do:
- A ‘What’s on in York Guide’ including a colour map. This provides you with lots of ideas for ‘Free Time Activities’. The map has a grid reference and links to all the activities listed in the York schedule which makes city centre navigation in York easy! We will go through this document carefully in your Induction on day one.
- A ‘Happy and Safe in York and London’ guidance pack to help you during your stay. We will go through this document carefully in your Induction on day one. It is written in German to help guarantee being: ‘Happy and safe’!
- A ‘Welcome to London Guide’ including a colour map. This provides you with lots of ideas for ‘Free Time Activities’. The map has a grid reference and links to all the activities listed in the London schedule which to makes city centre navigation in London easy! We will go through this document carefully in your London Induction after your final certification ceremony in York.
Shops in England are open every day, Monday to Saturday and some open on Sunday. Normal opening hours are from 09.00 until 17.30.
Access to IT facilities and the Web
We are confident that St John’s ICT facilities will be the best the students have ever experienced. We provide each student with a computer login to enable access the computers and the internet. There you can upload photographs onto the ‘Embrace England’ Facebook page or access your email etc. You will also get an access code to the St John University’s Wi-Fi network, which is accessible throughout the university campus. We provide this FREE OF CHARGE and we hope it helps you to ‘keep in touch’ with family and friends. It also means we have computer access for students to complete group work, research or presentations.
Many hosts also have free Wi-Fi access, so do most of the London Lodges. However, we cannot always guarantee this.
Last but not least...
Dealing with homesickness
Homesickness is something that probably affects most students at some point during their stay, regardless of their age, gender or previous travel experience. It is one of the many feelings you will experience when travelling and growing up and you should never feel ashamed or be embarrassed about it! It is, however, important to deal with it calmly and rationally to make sure you can still enjoy and get the most of your holiday. To help you (and your parents!) deal with it, we suggest the following strategies:
- Do not expect to be immune to homesickness, no matter how confident you normally are. Being in a different country with a different culture and without your parents (and perhaps without your best friend) is very exciting but it can, at times, also feel a little scary!
- If you do feel homesick, please talk to your friends or your leaders. They can help you take your mind of it or suggest further strategies of how to deal with it.
- Remember that in most cases homesickness disappears after the first few days, when you have had a chance to get used to your new home and have made some new friends.
- Try to phone your parents once every evening (early evening is usually best) and tell them about what you’ve learned and done that day instead of calling and/or texting throughout the day. Although frequent contact with home may feel reassuring at the time, it can have the opposite effect! It will prevent you from fully immersing yourself in your new environment and therefore from enjoying your holiday and ‘freedom’.
- The same applies to your parents. Please ask them not to contact you too often and ideally only at agreed times.
- Try to avoid speaking to your parents immediately before bedtime as this can produce a feeling of loneliness, even if you felt perfectly fine before the phone call.
- Remember that your parents will miss you too and will worry about you being unhappy. So try not to exaggerate any negative feelings you may have. Instead, speak to one of your leaders if there is anything you are not happy with. They are here to help!
Differences in English and German Law
‘Embrace England’ is a ‘no-smoking and no-drinking company’ and we kindly request all students respect this throughout their stay, during activities and while with the hosts, regardless of their age.
However, students will have time where they are not directly supervised and have their own free time. Some of our older students need to be aware that smoking and drinking alcohol during their stay is not only against Embrace England rules but that there are significant differences between English and German law with regard to purchasing and consuming alcohol and cigarettes:
- Alcohol and cigarettes can only be sold to individuals who are 18 or above and have proof of age (ID).
- Students can smoke in public if they are over 16 but cannot consume any alcohol in public environments whether they are under or over 18.
These rules apply both in York and in our London Lodges.
Returning home early
In very rare circumstances students may need to return home early for a range of reasons, such as illness, severe homesickness etc. In the interest of safety we expect students to be collected by a German family representative (18+) from an agreed pick-up point in York or London. This will depend on the age, maturity, health and well-being of the student. All travel and associated costs will have to be arranged and paid for in advance by the student’s family. Embrace England does not accept responsibility for any costs or travel arrangements for an early return, neither do we provide any pro-rata refund.