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English Immersion Course

My wife and I just returned from a week at an English immersion course about an hour outside of Frankfurt, Germany. We were there for seven days and five nights with 12 native German speakers, 10 other native English speakes and two staff members. We were housed in a lovely, small hotel located at the edge of a public forest full of paved, gravel, or wood chip walking tails. The hotel was wonderful, the food was excellent, and their small, family-oriented staff did a fantastic job.

Prior to our week in this program, my wife had spent a week traveling in the UK with a good friend who lives in the Nottingham area. I had spend a week in Budapest attending a Formula 1 race and a week in Vienna visiting their amazing museums and cultural sites.

So why include this as a trip report? I am a proponent of travel as a political act and the immersion course provided the opportuity to get to know 12 Germans. I spent time with them in 1-on-1 and small group sessions, took three meals a day with them (all meals were shared tables of 4 with 2 German and 2 "anglos") and socialized with them in the evening. One of the German partipants was born in East Germany, spent many years as a child in Bulgaria, studied in Russia and lived in Cuba. She returned to a reunified Germany shortly after the wall came down. It was facinating to talk to her about her life expereinces. Most of the Germans were there because English is the defacto global language of business. They work for firms that are global in either ownership, customers, or suppliers and daily meetings require effective English language skills.

Lastly, participating as an "anglo" is a volunteer expereince. Room and board is provided, but we were responsible for getting to Frankfurt on our own. My wife and I are active volunteers at home now that we are retired and this act of volunteerism was very satisfying.

Posted by
1210 posts

Ack! I don’t know about the OP’s program in Germany, but I just looked at that link to Vaughan in Spain. A jammed week with just a couple hours of free time per day, compensated only just room and board. That’s not “volunteering”, it’s indentured servitude… for a for-profit company!

Posted by
8820 posts

@Scudder, Absolutely. This looks like a nightmare to me. How much were the Spaniards or their employers paying? This would come under job training, which is often funded by employers, per legislation, at least where I live.

I could see doing this as part of a refugee program for those in dire need of English language or in a developing country for a NGO.

Finally, this particular for-profit company could be skirting the law, taking jobs away from Spanish resident English teachers and putting people admitted on vacation visas to work.

Posted by
12 posts

We were with the Englischhausen program offered by Pueblo Ingles. They have programs in both Spain and Germany. There are other firms, which we have not experienced ourselves, offering similar programs.

Yes, you can question whether or not this is volunteerism from your perspective. You give a week of very full days in exchange for room and board and the company running the event is making a profit. I'm OK with the arrangement given the genuine appreciation from the German participants who are really the ones paying for my participation.

Posted by
2 posts

We have participated in three similar programs in Poland and Hungary, and had wonderful experiences. We have met many extraordinary people, both paying student "mentees" and volunteer native English-speaking mentors from all over the world. We have visited places that would hardly have been on our "bucket list" itinerary. Of course, for room and board for a week, we spent many hours speaking English, but there was no need to prepare lessons or otherwise "work". We felt sincere appreciation from both the staff running the program and the student/mentees.

We are going back to Poland this fall for our second program this year.

Angloville.com has adult and youth programs in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Malta and Northern Ireland.
JustSpeak.pl has programs in western Poland.

I applied for the same program as jkh and then waited, and waited, and waited to be confirmed to participate in the program. I finally gave up and canceled. I was really disappointed as a YouTuber had talked about the close friendships they made during their week. I’m sure I’ll try again.
Just know you may need to wait months to get confirmed dates. I waited at least 3 months.
I’m glad to hear another confirmation of a wonderful experience.