Language schools in the UK do their best to offer students a really special experience - but few have gone as far as principal James Nicholls.
He has bought a round-the-world ocean-going yacht for his school in Torquay, and is hoping for good weather this summer so that students can use it on specialist courses and outings.
James, principal of the Riviera English School, says: "We are the only English language school in the UK to have our own yacht, so we can offer something unique. And of course England is a famous sailing destination."
The school bought Bavaria 41, a 12.5 metre yacht, in late 2007 but were prevented from using it as much as planned last summer because of unusually bad weather.
James hopes that this summer the school will be able to run its English with sailing courses as it had planned, with classroom lessons in the mornings and sailing in the afternoons. He has loved sailing and racing for years, and is fully qualified to take the yacht out himself with students either helping to sail or simply enjoying the view.
Despite last summer's dreadful weather, the yacht was popular with students. "There was interest from people in the English with sailing course, particularly people from Germany, Switzerland and also the Czech Republic. You can explain to your boss and your wife that it isn't just a fun trip and that you are learning English," says James.
Students at the school also got the chance to use the yacht when the weather was good enough. "That is something unique we can offer," says James. "They really like being able to see the coastline in a different way. They can do a bit of sailing if they like, and maybe a bit of fishing."
Article by Susan Young
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