Explore the Opal Coast on Primary School Trips

For pupils in the early key stages, that first journey away from home can be a thrilling experience, but also a daunting one, so choosing the right destination is paramount. France’s Opal Coast is ideal: it allows students on primary school trips to discover somewhere new and exciting, while being close enough to home that it can be visited in a day – although there are certainly enough attractions and activities to fill up several days, for those wanting a longer trip. From amazing aquariums to friendly historic towns, from the opportunity to try out some French to the chance to see chocolate being made – and try some – this is a region that has something to inspire everyone, whatever their age. Here are just a few of the top attractions that the Opal Coast has to offer.

NAUSICAA National Sea Life Centre

A whole marine world of discovery awaits at NAUSICAA, one of Europe’s most acclaimed sea life centres. With a shark aquarium, world ocean aquarium tropical lagoon, sea lion reserve, underwater forest, penguin beach and touch pool, it offers endless opportunities for exploration and wonder. It is also a great option for primary school trips, offering a comprehensive educational programme in English as well as French. Qualified activity leaders facilitate a range of interactive workshops on subjects as diverse as the deep-sea abyss, marine diversity, conservation and carbon footprints, the life of coral, and adaptation to survive. A multimedia library and online resource pack with pages on various types of marine life, ecology, and even pirates, make it easy to do preparatory or follow-up lessons and projects in the comfort of your classroom.

Bagatelle Theme Park

Primary school trips are many things, but foremost among them is fun! Located near Le Touquet, Bagatelle Theme Park is great for younger visitors with a range of gentler rides as well as some more challenging ones for the brave – but almost all of them are well-suited to a primary school group. Favourites include the rollercoasters, log flume, giant water slide, 360-degree cinema and carousel, and for variety there is also a petting zoo. Musical school groups can even book a performance slot!

Beussent Lachelle Chocolate Factory

What better way to treat students on primary school trips than to take them to a chocolate factory? The Beussent Lachelle factory is a respected producer of chocolate, serving Paris and its surroundings, and its dedication to chocolate makes it an eye-opening place to visit. Tours enable students to learn about the masterful techniques needed to manufacture quality chocolate, as well as discovering the history of cocoa, its cultivation and how the transformation from bean to chocolate is completed. There is also the opportunity to try some of the products, which is sure to make this a popular and memorable experience.

What You Need to Know About International Travel Insurance

If you like travelling, you should take good care of your health too. Without good health, the travelling plans you made would be really wasted. One more thing you must take care of while you are travelling is the medical costs.

Why International Travel Insurance?

The answer is really very simple, security and budget. If you are travelling from one country to another with limited resources, travel insurance will help you adjust your budget and your expenses accordingly. Compare this to the risk of travelling without travel insurance and then falling sick. You might end up spending much more which will mess up your entire travel plan. Therefore international travel insurance should always be a part of your plans wherever you go.

What are the Other Benefits?

A good example of international travel insurance is the Atlas Travel plan that covers tourists visiting one country from another. In short it provides international travel insurance for both US and non US citizens. The travel could be as part of tourism, research or study. Also the insurance can be from a term period of just 5 days to as long as one year and the cost will vary accordingly. Again, the insurance can be renewed for as long as 3 years.

Features of an International Travel Insurance

The insurance covers quite a lot of features that will keep you safe and give you a comfortable sleep at nights. You don’t have to fret over the rising medical costs and massive bills for visiting doctors. The insurance sometimes provides coverage as high as one million dollars. The insurance covers the cost of the visits you have paid to various doctors, the cost of repatriation and evacuation that you were involved in or the cost of any hospitalization at any point of time. Medications and prescriptions are also covered under the insurance. Hazardous sports riders can insure themselves too if they love adventure and want to play safe as far as finances are concerned.

Applying for the Insurance

Applying for the insurance is very easy. One can do it online instead of going elsewhere. Online applications are processed faster and one can see the exact status at any point of time. Also, one receives the insurance as soon as it is processed in the form of mails. One can keep a printed copy of the PDF documents as proof of the insurance with them at all times. The CMN network is the provider and one gets only 80% of the coverage or whatever the terms of the insurance are. This is generally laid out in the policy and is known as coinsurance which means the ratio of coverage provided by insurance company and self. But a benefit of the coinsurance for a policy holder is that this amount is capped to a maximum of $1000. This means beyond one limit the policy holder doesn’t have to pay for the amount, even though it is his liability as per the co-insurance terms mentioned on the insurance policy.

10 Top Tips to Improve Your IELTS Score

So you’re thinking of taking the IELTS test and want to maximise your score? Here are my top ten tips based on my many years of teaching IELTS to a variety of students in different countries. They are presented in no particular order.

Top Tip One

Prepare, prepare, prepare….yes, I know it sounds obvious, but I have known many “over confident” candidates take the test with little or no preparation. One candidate told me that they had lived and studied in America for over 4 years and so considered their English level to that of a native speaker. He was expecting to score at least an 8.0 – unfortunately he only scored 6.5 because he didn’t understand the way the test works. A good preparation course will prepare you for the test and enable you to achieve a score based on your true English level. Look for reputable schools or online courses.

Top Tip Two

Speed! One of the criticisms of the IELTS test is that it asks the candidates to do too much in too little time. Many candidates find that they do not have enough time particularly in the reading and writing sections. So what can you do?.

Start by doing a search on the internet for speed reading techniques – there are many good sites with some excellent tips. Once you are confident that you have mastered the techniques read some IELTS practice papers and time yourself. Is it taking too long? If so, why? Maybe your vocabulary needs improving or perhaps you need more practice with the speed reading techniques. In general try to read as much as possible in the lead up to your test.

Speeding up your writing can be just as daunting, especially when you have to come up with your own ideas during the test to answer the question. To help speed up your writing practice writing out paragraphs from a book and time yourself – make sure that you are not squeezing the pen too tightly, but use a relaxed grip with a fluid motion.

Listening takes practice – listen to English as much as possible so that your ear becomes attuned to the language. Listen to the radio in English or turn off the subtitles on a DVD movie. Try having an English evening out with friends to practice both your listening and speaking – one group I knew used to have a small fine for anyone using a non-English word during the evening and they gave the money to charity each week.

Top Tip Three

Make sure you read the examination instructions – too many candidates just dive into the test without taking this important step. The instructions can contain vital information needed to answer the questions correctly. For example the listening test instructions may contain details about the place where the ‘conversation’ is taking place. e.g. the student dormitory. You might think you are saving time by skipping the instructions but it may cost you in the long term.

Top Tip Four

Keep up in the listening test – unlike in reading and writing, in the listening part of the test you have no control over the timing. If you notice that other candidates are writing and you are not then you may well be lost – do not panic – listen for the sound of other candidates turning to the next page and do likewise. You may well find that you can get back on track just by following what the other candidates are doing..

Top Tip Five

Don’t leave blanks – in both reading and listening you are required to answer a variety of question types including multiple choice, gapfills, short answer and so on. If time is short or you have no idea of the answer then GUESS. When guessing use logic to try to work out the answer and make sure you insert the appropriate answer style. You do not lose marks for the wrong answer and you may get lucky and earn a few extra points.

Top Tip Six

In the speaking test – it may not feel like it – but this is the one part of the test that you have control over. To be in control you must be willing to talk, and be positive. As with any interview first impressions count – if you are asked a question give more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Be helpful and willing to answer questions. As a general rule you should be speaking about 70-80% of the time. Show the examiner that you are fluent and have good grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Be careful of your body language – your body can take on a life of its own when you are under stress. Sit comfortably, with good posture and hold your hands together in your lap in a ‘formal style.’ Be aware that your examiner may not come from the same cultural background as you so controlled body movements are usually the best strategy.

Top Tip Seven

In most speaking test interviews you will be asked to introduce yourself – be careful not to become a robot: my-name-is-George-and-I-graduated-from-xyz-university … try to be natural and friendly, a person who is willing to speak and has interesting things to say. To get better at introducing yourself write out a “2 minute me” on a piece of paper. Include information that you think is interesting and maybe a bit different from other candidates. Then go out and practice, firstly with people that you know and then with people you don’t know – is the content interesting? Does it sound natural when you speak? and so on. How do people react when they hear it? Adjust the content as appropriate.

Top Tip Eight

Articles – many candidates find the use of articles one of the most difficult tasks in English. There are two kinds of articles in English, the definite and indefinite. The definite article (the) can be singular or plural. The indefinite article (a or an) is singular. Check your writing to make sure that you have included and used articles in the correct format. Use a good grammar book to practice your use of articles before the test.

Top Tip Nine

Keep up to date with current affairs. Make sure that you read a newspaper each day because the IELTS writing tasks are based on items of general interest. In theory no special knowledge is required to answer the questions but it is always useful to have a knowledge of topics that are of concern particularly in English speaking countries. For example, you probably know about global warming but do you have sufficient ideas and vocabulary to write an essay arguing for or against the banning of cars in city centres?

Top Tip Ten

Writing word count – writing task one usually requires you to write 150 words and writing task two 250. If you fail to write a lot less than the correct number of words the maximum score you can be awarded is 5.0. If you write too many words in one task and not enough in the other again you will be penalized. The best strategy is to keep an eye on the clock – divide the time by the total number of words that are required for each task, generally 20 minutes for writing task one and 40 minutes for writing task two. However, as stated before, read the questions carefully and make sure you follow the instructions in your test.

Good luck with your IELTS test, and remember, prepare, prepare, prepare!