FUN and learning are now being combined with travelling thanks to a new scheme offering young people the chance to study a foreign language while on holiday abroad. Students aged from 10 to 18 can make good use of their summer holidays to help improve their foreign language skills by studying and travelling abroad, according to Grace Cheung Fung-ling, programme co-ordinator of the new summer language travel course run by EF International Language Schools. Three-to four-week summer courses are being provided at schools and colleges in Cambridge and Brighton in England, San Diego, San Francisco and Boston in the United States, Sydney and Cairns in Australia, and also Canada. Ms Cheung said a student's confidence in speaking English would be helped by a travel language course. '[Getting confidence] is especially important for Chinese students, because many of them are rather passive and will not speak the language in class, even when they are required to,' Ms Cheung said. Placing summer school students into groups of mixed nationalities for lessons and games, where English was the only common language, encouraged them to use the language, she said. 'We believe they are able to communicate using the language. All they need is a little encouragement from people and the environment around them.' Studying a language abroad also enables youngsters to get to know more about a country. Ms Cheung said: 'Students can choose between staying with host families or in dormitories. Through intense interactions with the host family members, or residents of a dormitory, they can better understand the people and culture of the country they are visiting.' She said a high level of English comprehension was not the most important criterion for being accepted on courses, because pupils would be placed in classes alongside participants of similar ability after taking an assessment test. 'Applicants need to be interviewed to see if they are enthusiastic about meeting new friends and staying abroad because we want to make their stay a happy experience.' The summer language courses run by EF International Language Schools cost from $19,000 to $25,000, depending on the choice of country and length of stay. Further details are available from Ms Cheung on 2525-1663.