Spending a semester or a year abroad is a crucial experience in a student’s life that’s not just about learning a language. It’s also a unique opportunity for students to grow, discover new strengths, and foster their already existing talents.
Taking this process lightly by following the suggestions of acquaintances or simply accepting the first proposal we find doesn’t just impede us from making the most of our investment, but also converts what should be a constructive experience into a traumatic one. The student may return home having gained little from their time abroad and with no desire to repeat the experience.
As opposed to language-learning based travel agencies, The Georgian Manor house offers personalized services that aim to find schools that fit each student’s unique abilities and personal development goals. We collaborate with educational institutes that are interested in cultivating the quality of their students rather than the quantity. They are prestigious, high-level institutions that aren’t interested in filling agency quotas, but in educating students that will complement and benefit from their academic philosophy and ethos.
I have worked in this sector for 25 years and helped more than 5000 students achieve their goals. I’ve guided some students from childhood all the way to prestigious universities such as Eton, LSE, Exford, MIT, and Columbia and even seen “problematic children” transform into successful company executives.
Where do I start? Should I send my child abroad for two weeks, a semester, a year? Most importantly, when is the best time to send a student abroad?
Deciding when and for how long you’re going to send your child abroad isn’t easy. There are many factors that can influence a final decision. The child’s age, personality, their progress at school, the family’s economic limitations, and the characteristics of the school the student is applying to all come into play. At The Georgian Manor House we believe that every student is different. What works for one student may not work for another. Depending on the particulars of each case and our objectives, we offer distinct options. This doesn’t just mean deciding how long a student will study abroad, but also deciding what type of school they will attend, which academic system they will study in, whether they will stay in a boarding school or with a host family, and even the geographical region of their studies.
What process do you follow to make recommendations?
We draw from 25 years of experience to make our recommendations, along with the help of a talented team of coaches and psychologists. Professionals from our sister company, True Horizon, evaluate each student individually to determine their maturity level, adaptive capacity, talents, motivations, and personal interests. In this way, we’re certain that we choose not just the correct duration, but also the ideal school with departments and subjects best suited to fostering the student’s talent.
How are the educational institutes selected? How are you certain that a school is the best fit for a student?
There are an infinite number of schools. In England alone there are more than 1000, of varying types. Some are very academic, while others are more focused on sports; there are artistic and scientific schools, some with technological facilities comparable to any Silicon Valley start-up, and others with impressive orchestras and recording studios. Choosing a school properly makes it possible for a student to flourish and reach heights they’d never imagined, while making the wrong decision, on the other hand, can turn what should be a formative experience into the exact opposite.
I have to stress this point, knowing that many parents tend to follow what’s in fashion, choosing schools and academic programs based on what others around them are doing. This is dangerous, as what works for one student may not work for another and may even be detrimental. Furthermore, if a student has a poor experience abroad, they may be hesitant to return.
Is going to a prestigious school expensive?
Most schools in the same geographical location cost more or less the same. In many cases, these are non-profit institutions that place a high value on student quality and academic potential. What can differ from school to school, however, is the quality of teaching staff, facilities and, of course, the type of students that are usually accepted. I’d venture to say that there are quite a few less academic schools out there that are more expensive than the best schools and that, apart from that, have a high number of Spanish speakers.
How can I be sure that there are no Spanish speakers at the chosen school?
The latest academic tendencies and word of mouth often lead to an increase in Spanish speakers in certain schools. I have visited boarding schools where I’ve heard Spanish in the hallways, rather than English. If you’re going to make an effort to educate your child abroad, it’s vital to do it right and to look for guidance from experts in education abroad. I have students enrolled in schools where they are the only Spanish-speaker, something which is quite difficult to achieve.
On the other hand, parents often neglect to consider the nationality balance; it’s not just about avoiding schools with high percentages of Spanish-speakers, it’s also important to avoid schools with nationalities different from that of the target country. We have to take into account that the Anglo-Saxon education system is very popular worldwide at the moment. It attracts students from all over Asia, the Middle East, Russia, and Europe and not all schools are selective in maintaining a student balance.
A school isn’t a hotel. Students must spend time preparing themselves in order to be admitted.
That’s right. Gaining the skills and experience to be admitted to a top-tier school is a lengthy process. Schools want to be certain, of course, that they are choosing students that fit their academic philosophy and can meet the demands of their coursework.
To be admitted into a top-tier school takes time. We guide students in every step of the process, eventually choosing the school that best fits their personality and interests.
What goes on when the student goes abroad?
The Georgian Manor House becomes like a second family for the student. With personnel in Europe and the United States, we are constantly monitoring the students’ progress, providing additional support when necessary and even helping students make plans for school holidays. We also handle transportation for the student, sending a chauffeur to collect them at the airport upon arrival. Apart from that we have a twenty-four hour emergency service in the event of transportation strikes or any other situation that might prevent the student from traveling.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that all our services are provided by employees that we have contracted personally. This is particularly reassuring for families as we count on a large network of well-established contacts that we can call on in the event of an emergency. This is different from many companies who subcontract agencies and may be caught in a bind in a moment of crisis.
I have a friend or family member who lives abroad. Can that person take responsibility for my child during their time abroad?
If the legal guardian isn’t traveling with the student, only a qualified guardian can take responsibility for the child. These are professionals who have obtained official accreditation from the government upon completing a series of tests.
Many centers have expensive agreements set up with guardians to offer their services to parents. The Georgian Manor House doesn’t just provide a more affordable service, but also offers many more benefits. We make sure, furthermore, that the guardian is a figure independent from the school.
What about after the student returns?
The Georgian Manor House offers follow-up services after the student’s time abroad to make sure their coursework is officially recognized by the Ministry of Education and they can easily re-enter the Spanish education system at the appropriate level.