Guam uni offers a sporting chance of learning
Reports by Karmel Shreyer and Sally Course
As 3,000 overseas students investigated the delights of the University of Guam as part of their tour package of the Western Pacific island last year, it sparked an idea that would enable the university to put its 120-acre campus to use as a centre for educational tourism.
With the assistance of the Guam Visitors' Bureau, this year the university's established English Language Institute has started an English language adventure programme aimed at groups of students from Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Japan looking for short-term courses.
'Educational tourism is a hot item and the Visitors' Bureau has been proactive in working with the university to get programmes off the ground,' said Cathleen Moore-Linn, director of integrated marketing communications at the University of Guam.
'We need to have a minimum of 15 students per session so we are looking to work primarily with families and friends, or schools,' she said.
'The group can then decide to have English in the morning and perhaps a soccer clinic in the afternoon. Or they may choose scuba-diving or art or a combination of activities. They let us know what they want to do and we work to fulfil their needs.'
Students from eight to 18 years can be catered for with classes split into mini-groups if there is a range of ages. The length of programme is also flexible, lasting for as short a time as one day or up to four weeks, with a lead time of six weeks required to allow for preparation.
'People don't have to adhere to our timetable. We are willing to work with the students' schedule,' Ms Moore-Linn said. The university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Guam, four hours by air from Hong Kong and with a population of just 150,000, offers a way to sample the American way of life in a small and safe environment, according to Moore-Linn.
'We are the furthest flung US territory,' she said. 'Students can gain experience of different cultures and an understanding of the US educational system which will benefit them if they decide to pursue a US college education.
'And as we are so close to Hong Kong, parents could actually fly out for a weekend during a two-week course, check on their child, have a look at Guam for themselves, play some golf and fly back.'
The Institute also runs an intensive 14-week English language programme but this requires a student visa whereas students can attend the English language adventure programme on a tourist visa.
Tuition costs US$45 per student per day for four hours' English instruction with most afternoon activities charged at US$25. Groups would need to find their own accommodation but the university or Guam Visitors Bureau can help to arrange this.