FAQ for IP
How far away is the host family from school and how much time do students spend with the family?
In Bournemouth our host families live an average of 30 minutes bus ride away from school. A few are in a walking distance to school and some live further, but no longer than 45 minutes bus ride away from school. In Bournemouth, the costs for public transport are not included.
In Biarritz our families live in Biarritz, Bayonne and Anglet, up to max. 60 minutes bus ride away from school. On average, students need 30 minutes to get to school. In Biarritz, the local bus pass is provided for the duration of the stay.
Students have breakfast and dinner in their host family, they also get a packed lunch. As they have lessons in the mornings and activities in the afternoons and evenings, they do not spend a lot of time with their host families.
When do we receive the information about the host family?
Information about the homestay provider is normally sent to you 7 to 10 days prior to arrival together with the travel documents. You receive a detailed overview about the family including their contact details, the family members and how to get to school and back.
Can children be accommodated with their friends?
In some of our student residences we only have single rooms available. Here, we can place friends next to each other if they are of the same sex. In Biarritz, Hohensolms and Teignmouth we have multi-bedded rooms in residence and in Biarritz and Bournemouth we have twin rooms in homestay. Here, we can place girls together with girls and boys together with boys.
If your child wishes to be accommodated with his/her friend(s) please let us know at least 4 weeks prior to arrival by sending an email to email@example.com.
Do you cater for special diets (vegetarian, lactose free, gluten free, halal…)?
Vegetarian options are available in all our centres as a standard option. Gluten and/or lactose free meals are available in all our centres on request, in Biarritz we might charge a supplement. Halal food is available in some centres, in the others pork free options are offered. Please inform us 4 weeks prior to arrival about possible meal requests by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do the students have to bring bed linen and towels?
Bed linen is provided in all our centres. Towels are only provided in homestay accommodation (Biarritz and Bournemouth) as well as in Winchester (one big towel). In all other centres, students need to bring their own towels. In any case they have to bring beach towels too.
Do we need to pay any deposit when we arrive?
In some centres, like Hohensolms for examples, students do have to pay a deposit on arrival. Read your travel documents carefully as you will find all the details in there. IP International Projects sends out the travel documents 7 to 10 days prior to arrival in our destinations.
Can students do their laundry on site? And how much does it cost?
We advise children to bring enough clothes for the length of their stay. Of course, for longer stays this is not possible, therefore children have the possibility to do their laundry on site. In some centres washing machines work with coins, in others the students must download an app to operate the washing machine and process the payment (credit card needed).
In Exeter, Portsmouth and Bournemouth, students need to download the Circuit laundry app which then has to be topped up with a credit card or PayPal. That can be done before coming to the centre already. In Winchester, the laundry is still coin operated. In Teignmouth and Hohensolms, laundry can only be done by the team. Students have to hand in their laundry to the team members and they will get it back once it’s done. For one-week stays, there shouldn’t be any laundry planned in Teignmouth and Hohensolms and this is only offered in emergencies.
Does my child need to have good grades in English/French/German to participate in your summer language
On the first day of classes a placement test takes place after which we form groups of students with the same level. Therefore, grades are not important. We offer courses for different levels according to ‘The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages’ (CEFR). Your child should have at least an elementary level (A1).
Are the teachers and supervisor native speakers?
Our teachers are either native or native level speakers. We primarily employ teachers who have a TEFL or PGCE qualification but in some peak weeks we may also work with In-Service Training Teachers who have an appropriate background and experience.
In the IP International Projects summer centres, we have international staff members working, therefore our supervisors come from many different countries, but they all have a good level of English/German/French.
What do the students learn in the lessons?
In the lessons, we want to help the students improve their language skills, especially to minimise their inhibitions when using the language in real life situations. At the same time, they learn a lot about the host country – it’s culture and historical background. We do project works, presentations, interviews and role plays during our classes, all of which will help their personal growth. At the end of the course the students receive a certificate which shows their learning success. Our detailed teaching concept can be found here.
Do you give any books, pens, paper, workbooks? What do we need to bring for the school?
All course materials are provided but we advise that the students bring a pencil case with them to the lessons.
How many supervisors are responsible for the children?
On our junior courses the degree of supervision and support depends on the age of the children: Our staff ratio on campus for the age group 10-12 years is 1:10 and for 13-17 years is 1:15. However, supervision groups during activities on or off campus have different ratios per member of staff of up to 15 students for 10-12 year olds and up to 25 students for 13-17 year olds, depending on the situation. Students will be divided into small groups with one responsible supervisor for daily meetings and assemblies. Please see our supervision concept for a detailed description.
What to do with passports/documents when the student arrives? Where to keep them to make sure that they
The children can give their documents and money to our staff member who can keep it in their office.
What if a student can’t explain what he wants because of his poor level of English/German/French?
Our team members come from many different countries, therefore chances are high that someone speaking the native languages of the child is in the centre. Otherwise we have always found ways to understand each other. In our centres in Germany and France, if not understanding German and French well enough, English can be tried.
Who can I contact if my child does not answer the phone? Or, if I need to speak with somebody about my
With your travel documents you receive the telephone number and email address of the centre manager in your child’s destination. During office hours you can also contact the head office in case of any questions, problems or concerns.
Can I allow my child to go to town alone with their friends?
Students aged 15 and younger are not allowed to leave the campus without a supervisor. Students aged 16 and 17 can go in pairs or small groups alone to town only in the afternoons after having informed their supervisors accordingly.
In all our centres town walks are offered regularly. During these, students go to the city centre with a supervisor. In the centre they define a meeting point with the group leader and get some free time in a certain area to discover on their own, buy some souvenirs etc. they are advised to always stay in small groups for safety reasons.
Can they book surfing (or other specials) in the centre or it has to be booked in advance?
We recommend to book specials such as the surf course in advance. Nevertheless, if we have places available once your child is already on site, we are happy to add it to your booking. This only requires an immediate payment by credit card (Flywire) or in cash directly to our centre manager in the destination.
Are all the materials provided in surf lessons / water sports?
In Bournemouth and Biarritz for the surf lessons all materials are provided. For the Water sports Experience in Teignmouth we recommend bringing water shoes with you as the school do not always have enough sizes available.
Adequate swimwear and towels need to be brought.
Is my kid supervised by lifeguard when they go swimming (beach or pool)?
When using the pools on the campus in Teignmouth and Exeter, there are lifeguards at the pool. When visiting a public swimming pool in any centre, there are also lifeguards.
Students are only allowed to go swimming in the sea in the lifeguarded areas at times when it’s safe to swim there.
Does my child have to participate in the activities?
In our Junior programme the activities are compulsory for all participants aged 15 and younger. Students aged 16 and 17 who are not in the Young Adult Programme can choose if they want to participate in the afternoon activities or explore the town with friends (in pairs or groups).
During our Young Adult Programme for students aged 16 to 20 our staff members do not supervise you, but instead provide guidance on how to enjoy your holidays safely. In this programme we organise some activities which are not compulsory, but they are always a great fun.
Can I book the course for disabled/handicapped students?
This depends on the degree of disability and is different for each course centre. The best would be to contact our sales team for an individual consultation.
What happens if children get sick? Do you have a doctor on site? Who will look after my child?
In all UK centres, our teams are in touch with a walk-in practice. They make a phone call and arrange an appointment if a child needs doctor’s attention. In emergencies, students are taken directly to hospital. There is always a staff member accompanying students to the doctor or the hospital.
What if a student has to take medication regularly during a stay?
Our staff can keep a medication for your child (if it has to be stored in the fridge for example). The students have to be able to take the medication on their own as our staff is neither allowed nor trained to do so.
Is there internet service or Wi-Fi in the campus?
Wi-Fi access is provided in all our campuses – however, in Hohensolms the reception is very limited, and you only get access in certain areas of the campus.
Can children use their phones?
Nowadays, we can’t prevent the students from using their phones during their free time, e.g. to take pictures etc. However, they are not allowed to play with their phones during lessons. They can of course use them to call their parents in their free time. We advise you to make sure that your child’s phone works even being abroad.
In the centres for smaller children like Hohensolms and Teignmouth, children can use our landlines to call home. In other centres, they can only use our centre managers’ phones in emergencies.
Does money need to be exchanged prior to arrival? How much pocket money should students bring?
UK & France: Experience has shown that our young guests spend an average of 60 to 100 Pounds / 80 to 120 Euros per week. We recommend taking a cash card with you. Cash machines for normal cash cards are located all over England / France. Your bank will be able to inform you about the best option for your trip.
Germany: Students in Hohensolms have included almost everything in their stay, therefore they only need a bit of pocket money for additional drinks, snacks, phone calls, post cards, little souvenirs. Experience has shown that 20 to 30 Euros per week should be enough. A cash machine is not available in the castle, therefore cash withdrawals are only possible during excursions.
If you take cash with you, we recommend exchanging your currency in your home country as this is a lot easier for your child. Please be sure to take enough pocket money with you.
What happens if my child doesn’t have enough money with him/her?
Sending pocket money to your child can be done quickly and easily. All you have to do is to contact the office and inform our team about the amount you would like to send to your child. In the next step you will receive a link to Flywire, our online payment partner, where you can make the payment quickly and easily via credit card.
Please note that we charge a fee of 5 GBP / 5 EUR for this service. Payments on Flywire have to be made by credit card (by bank transfer it takes more time) and in the same currency of your invoice.
Travelling and transfers
Which documents are necessary for children travelling alone?
If you are from a European Union country, you only need an ID card even with the Brexit: The UK are committed to the existing immigration regulations which are in place since many years until end of 2020. Consequently, there will be no changes until December 2020! While travelling to France and Germany an ID card is enough as well.
From all other countries you need a passport and you might even need a visa. Please contact the embassy or consulate of the country you wish to visit for detailed information. The visa application and approval process can take some time, so it is best to apply for a visa well in advance.
Further we send you a consent form which your child has to bring to the centre and, for all stays in the UK, a so-called “Parent or Guardian Confirmation”.
Please check your country’s rules and regulations for minors travelling abroad without their parents as there might be some additional requirements to be prepared/provided. For example, minors from France need to have another official form their parents with them.
Can you help me with the visa application?
You have to apply for the visa of the country you would like to visit. We can issue a visa invitation letter for you which will help you to get your visa. If you wish to be provided with that document, please send us a copy of your valid passport to email@example.com. Please note that we do not issue any visa invitation letter if we have not received at least the deposit payment. If you need the original invitation letter (not only a copy by email) please be aware that we would have to charge extra costs for the DHL transport.
Can my child travel alone from the airport to the IP centre?
Minors are not allowed to travel alone in the UK, therefore even 16- and 17-year-olds must be accompanied by a staff member/parent/legal guardian. Therefore, as a parent/guardian you either have to bring your child or book an airport transfer with us. In UK we offer a Low Budget Transfer on Saturdays from/to Heathrow Airport which is the cheapest transfer option. Please check the transfer part on each centre’s website for a detailed description.
In Biarritz transfers from/to Biarritz Airport, train station or the bus station at Avenue Charles Floquet are included in the price.
In Germany we also have a low budget transfer available from/to Frankfurt International Airport.
If you do not meet the required times for our low budget transfers or if you are flying to/from another airport, please book an individual transfer with us.
With a transfer booked, will my child be supervised at the airport?
On arrival we are waiting for your child at the exit of the baggage reclaim area. If you booked a low budget transfer it will be one of our airport supervisors, if you booked an individual transfer the taxi driver will be waiting for your child. We only work with DBS checked drivers.
On departure either a staff member or the taxi driver will help your child with the check-in and show the way to the security checks.
What is an Unaccompanied Minor Service?
The unaccompanied minor service is a service offered by airlines for children travelling alone. Please contact your airline for further information on how this service works. If you have booked this service with your airline, you have to book it with us as well.
This service ensures that your child is being looked after at the airport, during the flight and then brought to a designated member of our staff.