Erlebnisse und Erfahrungen

Sprachferien in York

General Information

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: To accompany our 'Induction' 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. We politely ask German parents to read and discuss this document with their son/daughter before arriving in the UK as not all components will be revisited during the first day induction.

Travel

Your travel schedule
Your travel schedule with flight details and meeting times will be available from the Secure Login page on our website.

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. The Airport Escort will provide details of the process of schecking in etc at the airport.

All you will need for checking in is your passport. 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 insert Airport Escort numbers and Grpup Leader phone numbers in your phones before you arrive at the airport.

We do not provide accompanied travel back to Germany on the return flight as your parent/carer will meet you at Arrivals. If we are flying with BA, please ensure you have completed your BA consent form that allows students to travel alone without an adult as it may be asked for at check in or during any time during the return flight. 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.

Travel documents
You will need a valid passport (Reisepass/Kinderausweis mit Bild) oto 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 during your stay because losing it will create unnecessary worry and complications! We will return your passport to you at the airport on the day of departure.

Baggage allowances

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

Mobile phones
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 confirmation of the student's mobile phone number at the meeting point at the German airport. We will also confirm with you the group leader's mobile number. This number will have been sent to you previously in the 'Travel Schedule' Please store the group leader's number in your mobile phone as soon as you have been given the number, as it saves time during registration at the airport.

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.

Adapters
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.

Clothing
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.

Towels & bedding
Your host family will provide towels and bedding.  However, please bring your own towels! This is important for the YHA hostels as towels are not provided but are available to hire at a small cost.

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 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).
Dental treatments 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.

Ensure you have travel insurance and a copy is available for easy access for any medical providers. Please noten since BREXIT – medical provision is no longer free to EU countries.

Pocket money 
The cost of our language holiday is fully inclusive. The only things you will need to pay for are:

  1. Midday snack and evening meal during your stay in London (The Lodge only provides breakfast) For any additional costs, we would recommend approximately £200 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:

  1. Never carry large sums of cash and have only what you need for that day.
  2. 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.’
  3. 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. The UK is rapidly becoming a cashless society and most students now use bank debit or master cards when they are in  the UK. 
  4. 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!

Despite everybody's efforts to ensure money is secured and not lost, it does still happen! In the event of money being stolen or lost, we will provide the student with on the day Emergency money. If this occurs, we ask parents to transfer the said amount into our German account and to take note of the exchange rates of sterling versus the euro.

Please note this service is only for emergencies and for larger sums of money we recommend parents use 'Western Union' – www.westernunion.com 'Embrace England' nominated staff will accompany students to a 'Western Union' pick up point to ensure safe and monitored collection.

For your English lessons
Lessons usally take place in the morning from 8.45 am to 12.00 pm at St John University. You will need to bring your school equipment such as pens, writing paper (A4 size) and your German/English dictionary. Please also bring a USB stick as you will have to save your work/presentations onto this. Your work cannot be stored on the university 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 20 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.

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.

Free Time
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 you think about 'Free Time' Activities, we recommend you visit: https://www.visityork.org/whats-on. This website provides suggestions of 'What to do in York' and staff will help you with any suggestions you might have.

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.

Shopping
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.

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.

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 / E-Vapes can only be sold to individuals who are 18 or above and have proof of age (ID).
  • Students can smoke or E-Vape 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. If any student breaks the law in relation to drinking and smoking we will consider the possibility that the student returns to Germany. We take every opportunity to emphasise our ethos is educational and we ask parents and students to respect this key component of our provision and respect the laws in relation to cigarettes/ E-Vapes and alcohol.

Returning home early
In very rare circumstances students may need to return home early for a range of reasons, such as illness, severe homesickness, poor behaviour etc. In the interest of safety we kindly request students are collected by a German family representative (18+) from an agreed pick-up point in York/Manchester Airport or London Airport. This is certainly our desired preference and more often than not the desired preference of the German parents.

However, we do appreciate it can be logistically very difficult for a German family representative (18+) to come to England to collect the student, especially at short notice. Therefore, final agreed return home arrangements with parents will be made on the basis of age, maturity, health and the well-being of the student. If it is deemed by BOTH the 'Embrace England' Group Leader and German parents that the student is able to travel independently from York or London (on any form of transport) we will require an email stating parents give permission for their son/daughter to travel independently. Please note we cannot accept any responsibility for students travelling without an adult.

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.

Returning home late
In the highly unlikely event of a student not returning to Germany based on medical or legal grounds, 'Embrace England' does not accept responsibility for any care or return transport of the student after the duration of the stay ceases. All responsibility for care, travel and accommodation is with the parents or legal guardians of the student.