Frequently asked questions about Immersion Island’s Summer Language Immersion camps:
DO I HAVE TO HAVE HAD SOME OF THE LANGUAGE BEFORE CAMP?
Each camp is designed so that everyone learns, from the person who is brand-new to the language to the experienced student who needs to really be immersed and practice their conversation and listening skills. For more formal conversation activities, students are grouped by level. However, the campers are immersed in activities all day long that help them learn as they move throughout their day.
WHAT WILL I LEARN DURING CAMP? A typical week at camp includes many formal as well as informal opportunities for learning. More formal activities may include anything from discussing people and personalities, giving directions to places around the city to shopping and bargaining vocabulary. These activities are presented in a hands-on manner so that students have real-world experience while learning the vocabulary and expressions. Furthermore, the campers learn through all of the other activities: presenting meal information before each typical meal, clean up and washing dishes, song, dance, plays, games, sports, cultural presentations and much more. Students will have a notebook to write down things as they wish but there are not formal lessons typical of a school setting.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF AN IMMERSION CAMP? The biggest complaint most students have who have spent years of study in the classroom is “I have taken — language for years and I can’t even speak it!” Our goal is to put the language to use and to lower the famous affective filter so that students / campers begin to get comfortable using their spoken language and improve their comprehension in typical every day situations.
HOW MUCH WILL ACTUALLY BE IMMERSION? From the time the campers come through immigration and customs at the door of Immersion Island they will hear the language of the camp 99% of the time from our staff who are native and native-ability speakers in the language of the camp. We have a 15 minute “English” break after lunch so that campers can bond with staff in English and ask for clarification of anything they may have had trouble with during the day. Campers do tend to speak more to each other in English; however, heavy incentives and competitions are built in to encourage them to use their new language. We use many different positive incentives to encourage them, included, but not limited to, “Island Pesos” to use at the Island store which is stocked full of souvenirs from around the world. It is good for parents to speak to campers before they come to make their own goals about how much they will push themselves to use their new language and learn during their time at camp.
WHAT DOES THE COST INCLUDE? The cost at an Immersion Island camp includes a counselor to camper ration of one to four or five campers so the staff is always there to push the camper to get the most out of each activity and get the most from their time with us. Many counselors are trained teachers in the language of the camp and all are native or native-ability speakers. In addition, junior counselors have native ability too and also add to the fun atmosphere of camp during game, dance, sports, swim, crafts and other camp activities. Immersion Island also offers a home-cooked authentic meals typical from counties where the language is spoken. Counselors sit with campers to push mealtime conversation in the language of the camp. Furthermore, in the overnight camps, activities include game night with typical games, movie night, campfire night and dance party night. Because we keep our camps small, the atmosphere is very comfortable and familiar.