I am going to start this blog by being brutally honest … to start with I thought that Anglovile and its camps were scams. None of the TESOL lecturers in my university had heard of them and I hadn’t either before the camp. On top of this the communication is received about the camp was at times poor and unprofessional. We were instructed to pay a deposit and once paid I was taken to a foreign site in a language I didn’t understand which seemed very unusual. Also, any requests for information about the camp was deflected (such as where are meeting points so we can plan accommodation and any contact information wasn’t given. Many volunteers at the camp shared similar views to me and believed it was also a scam. But it wasn’t. The camp was real and when I was there was well organised. Except when organising getting to the camp I was told to book accommodation from the nights between camps but when I arrived I was told that I could stay in the hotel where the camp was held. Being told this would have saved me about £50 and would have been really useful to know prior to arrival.
Despite all this, however, the camp was so much fun and was organised incredibly by the local coordinators. We stayed at a location called kunsagi major with is the ideal summer camp location. It was big enough to have a large open space where we could play fun games/do activities and also have enough room for quieter times. This venue gave off very adventurous vibes and made me think of western films.
To start the camp I was informed I was sharing a room with another guy which is awesome. The room was everything we needed it to be for a camp.
However, when we looked in the room I realised we had to share beds that were so close together that I looked like a double bed. This is very strange to me. But also made me feel sorry for my roommate as I’m a know sleep-talker and moving and I know this can be very frustrating when you’re trying to sleep so if you are reading this roommate I am sorry.
The main difference between this camp and many of the other English teaching camps I have attended is that this one didn’t have a classroom environment. Instead of a classroom where students learn grammar etc we were encouraged to have a speaking session with the participants. This meant that the students could use the language instead of learning new vocabulary and grammar rules which many students enjoyed. As the speaking session was rotated so each session the natives would have a different participant, this meant you could speak to every learner in a genuine way. This also meant that you would build friendship and bonds much easier with the participants. As everyone at the camp was so friendly it was impossible to not develop a strong friendship and I will miss many of the people who I met through this experience.
Each native English speaker was given two mentees to help coach them to create a presentation at the end of the week. This allowed the students to showcase what they learnt through a topic that they were passionate about. These presentations were incredible there were really interesting and engaging topics which many students presented perfectly. This is a really great way to engage learners and meant each child had the chance to talk about something they love. The only problem I had with the presentations was the fact that it was made into a conception. Students and natives were given the chance to vote for their favourite presentation which meant there was a sense of competition for this activity. While I understand it is a motivation tool for the participant, I don’t think this was necessary and I think it should be changed for future years.
The actual activities here in Anglovile were some of the most fun activities I have ever participated in. The games were hilarious and were typical summer camp, getting to know you games which were great. One of my favourite activities was an extended game called Angloamerica which had students running around going ‘state to state’ across ‘America’ doing fun activists and doing difficult tasks for Anglo dollars. This game was complete carnage but was so much fun. It was so creative and enjoyable so whoever create this game should be proud.
We had a party on this last night which involved loud music, snacks and fizzy drinks. Due to this heat in Hungary, it did become very sweaty and smelly after a short time but this was a great way to end the week at camp. We also created envelopes for each camper where natives and participants would write kind messages to one another which was very heartfelt and emotional. This was a real sweat idea and was executed perfectly which no one taking advantage of it.
While at camp I discovered a new sport that I really enjoy. During the free times, me and one of the participants would go and play squash. Although this a very tiring games and involved a lot of running around (which normally I despise) I thoroughly enjoyed his game and I think I will find someone who wants to start playing when I’m back home. During the night time, after the Participants had gone to bed, the natives would all hang outside and chat about the day. This would end with a native playing some songs were everyone would sing-along this was probably my favourite part of every day as it was so sweet and heartwarming. One native was incredible at playing the ukulele and so she would take request and play the song which shows real skill. Everyone would find the lyrics and sing along which was great to see everyone bonding over their love of music.
In conclusion, I think Anglovile themselves could improve the clarity of their communication but the camp itself was fantastic. I would encourage everyone to travel and take part in an English camp at least once in your life even if it’s not Anglovile (but I would recommend going with Anglovile.)
Ps. I don’t think I will write a blog post about next week as I am in the same location with the same activities/programme