Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Accommodation and Meal Plan
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 20 minutes bus ride away from school. A few families live withing walking distance of the school and some live further away, however not more than a 45-minute bus ride away. In Bournemouth, the cost for public transport is not included.
In Biarritz our host families live in either in Biarritz, Bayonne or Anglet, up to max. 60 minutes bus ride away from school. On average, students take 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 usually do not spend a lot of time at home.
When do we receive the information about the host family?
Information about the homestay provider will be sent to you 7 to 10 days prior to arrival together with the travel documents. You will receive detailed information including the family’s contact details, information about the family members and instructions on how to get to school and back.
Can students 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 and Hohensolms 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.
Vegetarian options are available in all our centres as a standard option. Gluten and/or lactose free meals are available in all our centres upon 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 their own beach towels.
Do we need to pay any deposit when we arrive?
In some of our centres, e.g. Hohensolms and Biarritz, students have to pay a deposit on arrival. Read your travel documents carefully as you will find all the details in there. The travel documents will be sent to you 7 to 10 days prior to arrival.
Can students do their laundry on site? And how much does it cost?
We advise students to bring enough clothes for the length of their stay. Of course, for longer stays this is not possible, therefore students are able 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.
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. In Winchester and Biarritz, the laundry is still coin operated. In 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 required 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 holidays?
Previous grades are not important for us. Our courses are for everyone willing to learn. There will be a placement test, which either takes place online before arrival or on site on the first day of class. Depending on the results, classes of similar language proficiency levels are formed. Students in the same class usually are of a similar age. We offer courses for different levels according to ‘The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages’ (CEFR). For our Centres in the UK and France, some elementary knowledge (A1) of the language the student wants to study is required, in Hohensolms we offer absolute beginner courses in both English and German.
Are the teachers and supervisors native speakers?
Our teachers are either native or native level speakers. We primarily employ teachers who have a level 5 (Ofqual accredited) TEFL qualification, normally a CELTA or a TRINITY for English, or they will have a qualification to teach French or German as a foreign language. In the IP International Projects summer centres our supervisors come from many different countries providing a truly international experience, but they all have a good level of English/German/French.
What do the students learn during the lessons?
During the lessons, we want to help the students improve their language skills. We aim to reduce their inhibitions when using the language in real life situations. At the same time, they learn a lot about the host country – its culture and historical background.
We do project work, presentations, interviews and role play during our classes according to the students’ levels, all of which will help with the development of their language and communication skills. At the end of the course the students receive a certificate which reflects their learning progress.Our detailed teaching concept can be found here.
Do you provide books, pens, paper, workbooks? What do we need to bring for school?
All course materials are provided but we advise that 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 students: 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 (TTTs). 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 are safe?
The students can give their documents and money to our staff members who can keep it in their locked 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 there is a high chance that we have someone who speaks the native languages of the student in the centre. In other cases we have always found ways to understand each other. In our centres in Germany and France all staff members speak English as well.
- Who can I contact if my child does not answer the phone? Or if I need to speak with somebody about my child’s worries/problems?
With your travel documents the telephone number and email address of the centre manager in your child’s destination is clearly displayed. 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 his/her friends?
In the UK and Hohensolms, 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 the town only in the afternoons after having informed their supervisors and signing out on the designated register. In Biarritz, students can go in pairs or small groups alone to the town or beach in the afternoons and after dinner until 10.30 pm, after having informed their supervisors and signing out on the designated register
In all our centres in the UK 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 does it have to be booked in advance?
We recommend to book specials such as the surf course in advance. Nevertheless, if we have places available once the student is already on site, we are happy to add it to your booking. This 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 all materials are provided for the surf lessons.
Swimwear and towels need to be brought by the student.
Are the students supervised by a lifeguard when they go swimming (beach or pool)?
When using the pools on campus in Exeter there are lifeguards at the pool. When visiting a public swimming pool in any centre, there are also lifeguards. Beach activities will only take place on lifeguarded beaches but students are not encouraged to go swimming in the sea.
Does my child have to participate in the activities?
In our centres in the UK, on the Junior Programme the activities are compulsory for all participants aged 15 and younger. Students aged 16 and 17 who are not on 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) and have the option of an off-campus programme in the evenings. In Biarritz activities are not compulsory for students and they can choose if they want to participate in the afternoon and evening activities or explore the town and beach with friends (in pairs or groups). In Hohensolms students of all ages are highly encouraged to participate in all activities as part of the language learning experience however they can choose to spend the afternoon and evening in one of our indoor or outdoor chill out zones with their friends. The campus of Hohensolms is supervised at all times and students younger than 16 are not allowed to leave the campus without a supervisor.
During our Young Adult Programme for students aged 16 to 20 our staff members do not supervise students, but instead provide guidance on how to enjoy their holidays safely. On this programme we organise some activities which are not compulsory, but they are always great fun and also help to develop language skills further
Can I book the course for a student with a disability?
This depends on the degree of disability and is different for each course centre. Please contact our sales team for an individual consultation.
What happens if a student becomes ill? 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 medical practice. They make a phone call and arrange an appointment if a student needs a doctor’s appointment. In emergencies, students are taken directly to the hospital. A staff member will always accompany students to the doctor or to the hospital.
What if a student has to take medication regularly during his/her stay?
Our staff can keep 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 are 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 and Biarritz the reception is very limited, and you only have access in certain areas of the campus.
Can students use their phones?
Nowadays it is not possible to prevent young people 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 or during activities (unless e.g. taking pictures is part of the activity). They can of course call their parents in their free time. We advise you to make sure that your child’s phone works abroad.
Students can only use our centre manager’s 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 and Germany. Your bank will be able to inform you about the best option for your trip.
Germany: Students in Hohensolms have almost everything included 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 on campus, 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 and travelling to the UK, you can use your ID card until the 30th September 2021 (included). From the 1st October 2021, you will need a passport to enter the UK. While travelling to France and Germany an ID card is sufficient.
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.
Furthermore you will need to complete a ‘consent form’ to say you are happy for your child to be accompanied by a group leader we will provide the template for this, you will need to fill it in and your child will need to have it with him/her when travelling to the UK.
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 from 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.
- What to do with passports/documents when the student arrives? Where to keep them to make sure that they are safe?