Short-Term ESL FAQs

QAre all facilities on campus or do students need to leave the school?
AAll of our facilities are located on our beautiful campus. Students only need to leave campus to take part in some of our scheduled outings.
QAre the activities and classes compulsory?
AYes. However, if a student is not allowed to do an activity for some reason (eg, swimming), then we make alternate arrangements for him or her.
QCan students leave the school at any time?
A

Usually, students only leave campus for an organized activity. They are not allowed to leave campus without a supervisor. If they need to go to the store for a special reason, or have some other personal errand, we try to incorporate it into one of the regularly scheduled outings. Friends and family members can request permission to take students off campus by filling out an Application for Leave form and speaking to the Head of Boarding.

QCan students use cellular phones, personal computers and other electronic devices in the school?
A

During the school day, cell phones may not be brought to school. Cell phones will be confiscated immediately if they are brought to class. After 4 p.m. the students are free to use their phones to contact family members and use according to the discretion of boarding staff. If necessary, cell phones and electronic devices will be entrusted to staff if their use becomes a distraction.

QCan you describe the activities, schedule, visits and how many hours of English instruction there are each day?
AThe students begin studying at 8:30 am and finish at 4:00 pm, with a one hour break for lunch. This is the schedule from Monday to Friday. On some days, there are field trips, and afternoons are often spent doing musical activities or playing language games. This provides some variety from sitting in a classroom all day long.
QDo international students have a chance to interact with local Canadian students while attending ISPY?
A

Local Canadian Student Ambassadors are a special feature of the ISPY program. These peer mentors work with students in the classroom as well as in the evening and on weekends. They play with the students during recess breaks and participate in field trips and other recreational activities.

QDo you have Wi-Fi on campus?
A

Wi-Fi is available throughout the school campus and in the dormitories. Student Wi-Fi accounts are active between 7 am and 9:30 pm.

QHow are the boys and girls dormitories separated?
A

Boys and girls are in one building, which is physically divided into a boys and girls side. Access is controlled by a magnetic swipe card. Students are not allowed in the rooms of the opposite sex but can mingle in common areas.

QHow do you ensure the safety and security of the students, especially after school and on weekends?
A

Each day after classes are finished, houseparents are on duty to ensure that students check in to their dormitory on time. The houseparents organize and supervise prep time (homework), activities, snack time, and bed time preparations, including evening check-in. The doors are monitored by security camera, and rear exit doors are alarmed. Boarding staff are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students must sign in and out when they leave the boarding house for any reason, even going to class. Students are always supervised in small groups by an adult staff member when they leave the campus.

QHow much free time do students get?
AStudents have about one hour after classes in the afternoon, and a couple of free hours on the weekend between meals and organized activities.
QIs there any pick up service?
A

Victoria International Airport (YYJ) and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) transfers are available for an additional fee. Please contact our office for rates and to arrange pick-up and drop-offs. Flights into Vancouver International Airport (YVR) must be scheduled to arrive between 9:30 am and 6:00 pm; departures must be after 12 pm and before 7 pm. Arrivals and departures at Victoria International Airport (YYJ) can occur at any time.

QWhat are the qualifications of teachers and monitors?
A

All of our teachers have BC Teaching Certificates and are members of the BC Teacher Regulation Branch. Our Senior Boarding Staff come from a variety of backgrounds, but all have completed an undergraduate degree, and many are teachers, or teachers-in-training. They all receive extensive training for their role, and have up-to-date First Aid training.

QWhat do the tuition fees include?
A

Tuition fees include accommodation in our residences, evening and weekend activities, basic medical insurance, admission to all attractions, campus-wide Wi-Fi, and a SMUS program souvenir. 

QWhat food and drinks are available?
A

The food served in the cafeteria is delicious and nutritious. Students can choose from two hot-food entrées, including a vegetarian option. The cafetaria also includes a full self-serve soup and salad bar with several different types of salads, vegetables, condiments, pickles and protein options. There are a variety of hot and cold drinks. We also serve a mid-morning snack and an evening snack just before bed time. Cold beverages include 100% fruit juice, water, milk and chocolate milk, as well as tea, coffee, hot apple cider, and hot chocolate. Soft drinks are not available on campus.

QWhat is the suggested allowance for a week?
A

It depends on the individual and their age and how long they stay. Our suggested amount would be $20 to $50 CAD per week for  8–12 year olds, and $30 to $100 CAD per week for 13-18 year olds. Please note that the only thing students need to buy is personal items such as souvenirs and snacks. At students’ arrival week, we require that they buy a book in English to read while they are studying at ISPY. The suggested amount would be $4 to $20 for a book of their choice from the local book store.

QWhere are washrooms located in the residences?
AEach double room has its own bathroom and shower.
QWhere do your students come from?
A

Each summer we welcome students from 12-14 different countries. These include Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Thailand, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, and Russia. The largest populations come from our Pacific Rim neighbours in Asia, but there is always a diverse range of countries and languages represented.