Last year over 600 students from Austria came to visit us at City Language School and experience the pleasures of Dublin and Ireland. Our location is popular with students and group leaders as it is safe and easy to get around. As one of the least densely populated countries in Europe, Ireland has a lot of open space that allows you and your students to breathe and enjoy the natural beauty of the Emerald Isle.
At the end of their stay, we caught up with the leaders of one group who had spent a week in Dublin with 90 students. Here is what they said of their time with us…
Hi guys, where are you from?
I am Christoph Hogl from Vienna, which is nearly as nice as Dublin.
And my name is Barbara Boehm.
Ok, nice to meet you. So why are you in Dublin?
Barbara: My job was to accompany my students here. I’m their English teacher and head teacher and Christoph is the second head teacher and we usually take our students somewhere for their seventh grade. So they’re about sixteen and seventeen.
Why do you think it’s important to go to an English speaking country?
Christoph: It’s about giving them more confidence and also to show them that the language they are learning is actually real and spoken by real people. It’s not just in a book or a subject at school, getting them to realise they can actually communicate with people in this language.
How many students are with you?
Christoph: We brought thirty students with us.
And what did you have to think about before coming over?
Christoph: Cost, safety and the language programme
And why choose Ireland over the UK for example?
Barbara: Many of our students have been to London and two of them were in Brighton last year. None of them had been here before so it was completely new. We discussed it with them and we decided Ireland would be nice.
Christoph: And an other thing I’d like to add is that we were able to give them lots of free time. I wasn’t sure how that was going to work before we got here but really it was perfect. And free time means ‘OK let\’s meet in three hours here’ or ‘let’s meet at Tara Street Station’ [DART station] in two hours or whatever and that was really great. The guys felt safe here and we felt it was safe to let them do things on their own.
So you liked Dublin…
Christoph: We liked it a lot. It\’s vibrant and lively and the students felt safe enough. It’s not difficult to find your way around which made them feel comfortable. They stayed with host families in Dundrum and Balinteer and we stayed around the corner from the school.
But you didn\’t just stay here, did you go to other parts of Ireland?
Barbara: We came to Dublin last Friday and went straight to Galway. We gave them lots of free time there, it was great because it was small and it’s a beautiful place. From there we rode bikes around the Aran Islands and we heard people speaking Irish.
Christoph: I have to say we had a great driver who knew everything and was very interesting and he told us lots of history as we drove around the country. So after the Aran Isands then the Cliffs of Moher and then we drove through the Burren, an unbelievable place. Then we spent one night in Cork and then the Rock of Cashel and Glendalough and it was perfect.
How are the classes going for your students?
Barbara: They have morning classes. They are in separate classes – 30 students in three classes – and that worked quite well for us. They say they are talking about a lot of interesting topics which they were still discussing later that day. It’s school but not school.
Christoph: It was easy for them they were relaxed. I think it’s a mixture of the host families, the school and the classes it’s really not like their school. We can end it with the word ‘lovely’.