March 30, 2016

Language Holidays in the current climate

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freizeitprogrammDoes it make sense to send my son/daughter on an language trip in the current climate? This or other similar questions are asked by a lot of parents when booking a language trip abroad. Some of these worries „The Reisenetz“ – the trade association for youth travel in Germany – have  addressed in its latest press release from the 24th of February 2016. Chairperson Klaus Eickmeier stated: „All the members  of our trade association are  well versed in dealing with the current crisis. All the member companies of the Reisenetz have appointed  local representatives, who know the specific situtation in the course centre, have up to date information abouth the security situation and have the mandate to resolve any arising emergencies quickly and directly.“ 
Since we are  an active member of the Reisenetz we have been instrumental in developing structures which prioritise and ensure the security and wellbeing of our students in line with the above statement.

What do we do in order to ensure the safety of all our students

Since 9/11 2001 we are aware that we are living in a world which is overshadowed by terrorism. The most recent attacks in Paris, Istanbul and in Brusseles have regretfully hightened this awareness and brought the danger closer to home. We as a company have always lived by and stand for values, such as Freedom, Equality, Tolerance and Autonomy. We do not want to limit or compromise these values, but we realise that  we need to be realistic in the current climate and take the necessary care and precautions when organising our students. For our language trips this means that they will take remain unchanged, but we will adapt our structures to take account of the hightened  security risks.

Our specifically trained staff and management teams are available 24/7

In all our course centres you will find a specially trained staff team, which is available to all students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All our supervisors and managers are selected carefully and trained extensively by our experienced training team. The training programme includes educational elements as well as the legal framework of a youth trip. Health and Safety concerns, risk assessments, safe guarding  and the general well being  of our students have always been a central plank of the training programme, which have been adapted to incorporate issues arising out of the current situation.

In IP language centres the supervisors or team members will spend all day with our students. They live in the same residence, eat meals with the students, supervising them during break times and organise activity programmes for the afternoons and evenings. They  are on call whenever they are needed.

Each IP course centre is managed by a Centre Manager who knows the locality and speaks fluent English. We have developed local networks, which ensure quick assistance and help for or students. He/She is in constant contact with all our local partners and with our head offices in Bournemouth and Bremen. The Centre Manager and all his/her staff will ensure at all times that our students have a safe but still enjoyable language stay.

24/7 Emergency hotline

In emergencies we can be contacted by parents and guardians on a 24/7 basis. The emergency number will be made available with the travel documentation.

Risk Assessments

Before our students arrive in the UK,  we have carefully selected the course towns and the course centre. The main considerations in the selection process are the central location of the school and the necessary infrastructure for our course concept as well as concerns about safety and service. Surgeries or hospitals must be  on hand. We carry out regular risk assessments  of the centre itself as well as for the programmed activities. As  part of our local network we maintain good contacts with the local police and take their recommendations and advice  in regards to  risky areas in town and any other dangers and avoid them as far as possible in the programmed activities.

The same  applies to our trip destinations and we reserve the right to make adjustments to the intended trip by changing elements of the trip programme or replacing the trip altogether especially as far as the London excursions are concerned.

Emergency Plans for all our staff teams

All our members of staff have been trained in emergeny procedures. They know what they have to do in a crisis situation. Therefore we are able to help our students and their parents quickly and effectively.

What can parents do?

Explain the current situation to your child

It is usefull for us if you have a serious and frank conversation with your son/daughter before they embark on their trip to the Uk. If the child expresses concerns, these of course have to be taken seriously but at the time the student should be advised about the very remote dangers of a terroristic attack in our course towns.

Assist and support your son/daughter

As a Language Tour Operator we will provide all students with a clear set of rules and regulations for the specific course centres.We would ask your child to adhere to our rules and regulations so we can guarantee their safety and well being while they are in our care. Please support your son/daughter to understand, accept and live by these rules. All these rules are based on our 30 year experience of language holidays and have been designed exclusively with the well being of our students in mind. Please avoid contradicting these rules especially in emergency situations. Some of these rules might sound strange to you, but they have been developed in difficult negotiations with European partner organisations and international authorities and are a core element of our Emergency Plans which will become active in emergency situtations. If you have  specific questions or concerns about the rules and regulations you are welcome to contact our emergency hotline.

Health Insurance

Be prepared. Our international health insurance will cover all medical costs in the UK and will not only cover a suitable transfer back home if necessary  but also your travel cost to the hospital in the UK.

In Conclusion

We are an internationally operating Language Tour Operator and welcome students from all over the world. We live by the motto that our customers will  „Learn more than a language“ and will gain a better understanding of different cultures. Intercultural Learning is at the heart of our language programmes and therefore we will not tolerate any forms of discrimination and or aggressive behaviour.