Frequently Asked Questions - Language Camp West

I want to book the course, but I’m worried about coming on my own!

Students are often very concerned that they will be on their own and that other members of the group will be paired off or in groups of friends. While friends do sometimes come to camp together, it is much more common for individual students to book the course. Many of the other students will be in the same boat in that they do not know anyone else going to camp. Our Animator team, teachers and staff make every effort to ensure everyone settles in well. There are ice-breaking games, an evening meal and an orientation on the first night of arrival. By the time classes and activities start the next morning, students will be very busy, and these worries will fade away.

Will you be adding any additional course later on? Do you run any courses in August?
We will not be adding any additional course dates for 2019 and we do not run any camps at all during August. In 2019 we will run French camps from June 2nd to July 7th and German camps from July 7th to 28th. There are no other camps after July 28th, 2019.

The course I want is full, will there be any more places available?
There may be cancellations, so you should add your name to the waiting list. Just email us at info@languagecampwest.ie, stating your name and mobile number along with the course you want and the students name, age and gender. If a place on the waiting list comes up, you will be texted and emailed to notify you of this. If after 24 hours there is no response, we will offer the place to the next person on the list. We would be grateful though if you drop us a quick note to say you’re not taking up the offer – that way we can offer it to the next person on the list without delay.

What age are the students on the course?
We run separate Junior and Senior camps. All the students on that course will be in the same age bracket. Also, we run one language at a time, either French or German!
Junior Camps: for pre-Junior Cert students, generally aged 13-15 years of age.
Senior Camps: for pre-Leaving Cert students, usually between 15-18 years of age.

How many are in the morning lessons?
There are up to 15 students in each class for the 3-hour morning lessons. Lessons are split into 2 or 3 sessions, with a short break between each. Teachers are qualified secondary school language teachers with experience working in Irish schools and within the Junior and Leaving Cert programme.

What do students study in class?
Teachers follow the Junior or Leaving Cert curriculum and will revise all elements of the language in class – reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students are assessed at the beginning of camp and a report at the end of the camp is given to parents that shows areas of improvement and progression as well as areas that need work going forward.

Do students have to speak in French or German at all times?
This is an immersion language course, which means that students must communicate in the course language at all times. Help and encouragement as well as written visual aids will be given – students will be expected to attempt a percentage of the sentence in the course language and to gradually increase that effort as their confidence grows. Do your best to attempt the language at all times and you will really improve!

Will I get sent home if I speak English?
During orientation the Camp Supervisor will explain what is expected of students in terms of speaking the language. If you continuously speak English and make no effort, and several warnings have been issued, then you may be asked to leave the camp. However, making your best effort and trying to include at least some of the language in your sentences will mean a successful and productive camp for you and your camp mates!

Can I bring my mobile phone?
Students can bring one mobile phone to camp. It will be held by the Animator team and given to the students for half an hour each evening. This time is limited so as not to interfere with the language immersion element of the camp.

Where do students sleep?
Students sleep in dormitory rooms (10, 8, 6 and 4-bed size rooms) in a youth hostel. Language Camp West staff sleep in rooms adjacent and students are supervised 24/7.

Can I stay with my friend?
If friends come together we can accommodate them in the same dormitory room. If there are 3 or more friends coming together we may split the group but they will be with at least one of their friends.

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag/duvet or any bedding?
No, all bedding is provided at The Valley House. You do need to bring your own towels and toiletries however. For more info, see the “what to bring list”. (If you have a favourite pillow you want to bring, that’s ok!)

Do we need to bring wetsuits or equipment to camp?
No. The Adventure Centre provides all wetsuits and equipment for the adventure sports programme. You do need to bring a pair of old runners/shoes to wear in the water. If you have a favourite football/hurley or other equipment like a musical instrument, feel free to bring that along!
Please don’t bring tablets/laptops or other electronic or gaming devices as these are not allowed.

Do parents/guardians need to visit?
There is no need to arrange a visit on the one-week Junior course as there is a full programme of activities for the entire week. If a student is staying for two weeks, on either a Junior or Senior course, again we do not encourage family visits. This is because we try to create an immersive language atmosphere for the duration of the course. We have a full programme of activities for the duration of the course. However, if family members are holidaying in the area and wish to visit, the best time to do so on a two-week course is on the Sunday afternoon of the middle weekend. Please do not arrive at camp without notifying us in advance by phone or email.

How much Pocket Money should be brought to camp?
It is not recommended that students bring large amounts of money to camp. There are no shopping malls on Achill Island but some pocket money to buy souvenirs, treats etc. will be necessary. €25 per week might be a good guideline, but it depends a lot on the student, it is hard to give a guideline that suits everyone.

Can I do laundry or wash my clothes?
There are no laundry facilities for students staying on a one-week camp. For two-week camps, one large load of laundry will be done during the middle weekend. There is no extra charge for this.

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Where is Language Camp West located?
The camp is located in The Valley House on Achill Island in County Mayo. Achill is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It is an approximate one hour drive from either Castlebar or Westport, via Newport and Mulranny.

I am driving my son/daughter to camp, how do I get there?
Driving directions can be found online here: http://www.languagecampwest.ie/Directions-LCW.pdf

What time do I drop off or pick up students to the camp?
Please drop off students to The Valley House, Achill Island, Co. Mayo between 5pm and 6pm on the first day of camp. On the departure date, students should be picked up any time between 8:30am and 11am. Supervision cannot be guaranteed for students who arrive earlier or who stay on past the pick-up time – please be sure to arrive within the times mentioned.

When can I book the bus?
Bus ticket booking will be available online from late April, 2019. All course participants will be notified and will be able to book a bus ticket online or call us to book over the phone.

Can I book a bus closer to the time of the course?
You can, but we cannot guarantee a last minute place on the bus. It is best to book the bus by the end of April to guarantee a spot.

Where do I get the bus in Dublin?
We meet in the car park of the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, in the PURPLE zone, outside Marks & Spencers’ Food Hall.

Do you have any buses going from Cork, Limerick or Galway?
Unfortunately we are not able to provide buses from those locations, but if it is convenient for you, you can get on the Dublin bus at Athlone.

Are buses supervised?
Buses are fully supervised by a member of our Animator Team, who will be there to meet you at the bus pick up or drop off point and who will supervise the students on the bus.

Where does the bus stop?
The bus will stop for a break, and to pick up students, in Athlone. This is usually at the Kilmartin N6 Service Station, but locations and times will be confirmed at the end of April. There will also be a bus stop in Castlebar, at the Casey’s service station (McDonalds).

What time does the bus leave/return to Dublin?
Bus times will be fully confirmed at the end of April however, the usual time for departure from Liffey Valley to Achill is 2pm. When returning at the end of the camp, the bus normally arrives back to Liffey Valley from Achill at 1pm. Please arrive in plenty of time before the stated departure/arrival to allow time to board the buses.

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Still have questions?
Call us on 086-4578672 or 086-1728866

Or just Contact Us and we can take your booking over the phone. We are available to take your call 7-days a week, 10am-8pm.