About ECI

Unique summer study abroad programs in France, Spain, Costa Rica and the US

ECI experience

ECI has been organizing summer Study Abroad programs for high school students since 1998.

ECI Quality

With a reputation for quality and safety that parents can trust, ECI provides students with the best summer Study Abroad experience possible. Commitment to quality is a top priority for ECI as an organization, for its office staff and for its on-the-ground chaperone teams.

Click to play video - Meet the ECI chaperones in Spain Patricia and Dave

See all ECI Immersion programs

Professional

ECI is run by a qualified team of professionals. ECI  staff are all trained to a high standard. The majority of chaperones are high school language teachers, and all have solid experience in leading student groups.

ECI only partners with the very best language schools in France, Spain and Costa Rica, all of whom have close links to US accredited universities and ties with professional organisations in France and Spain including FEDELE (Spanish Federation of Associations of Schools of Spanish as a Foreign Language) and the Sorbonne University in Paris.

Careful planning

Every aspect of an ECI program is meticulously planned, usually months in advance, by a host of dedicated and experienced personnel.

Our Program Coordinators make every effort to choose activities and excursions designed to yield the very best educational and language learning benefit for our students.

The application process is continually refined and updated in order to make enrollment as clear and user-friendly for students and parents as possible.

Immersion Week and Individual Immersion host families are recruited well in advance of departure, and all aspects of this component are carefully planned by our Host Family Coordinators to ensure the most beneficial host family Immersion experience for our students.

ECI innovations

We have never wanted our programs to be simply sightseeing tours. At the heart of our philosophy is an attempt to enable our students to engage with the local culture through direct contact with local people.

Two ECI innovations that promote this philosophy are key aspects of our programs:

Language Partners

Students spend a few hours each week in the program town in the company of young local people, speaking only in the target language. Language Partners are college-aged, allowing the students to communicate on a peer level. Students often tell us that this is one of their favorite program activities.

Individual Immersion

Many organization arrange for their students to live in paid families in the program town, but we want more than a boardinghouse experience, where the target language is only briefly spoken during mealtimes. We want complete immersion in Spanish, French, Costa Rican and US family life.

Our Individual Immersion  feature is what makes ECI different. All our families are volunteers and genuinely want to form a relationship with our students. Our generous hosts go out of their way to plan for their individual student’s stay. Close bonds are forged throughout this week of total language and cultural immersion in a manner not usually possible with families who are compensated monetarily.

During Individual Immersion Week (in France and Spain), there are no classes and no group activities – just one student with one family speaking only French or Spanish for one entire week.

Specialists

ECI are specialists in the field of Summer Study Abroad. After many  years of organizing programs for US and European teens we are able to exactly pinpoint what makes a valuable Study Abroad program for high school students.

Our  programs are the result of years of experience, and years of reviewing, adapting and honing our programs—working out which components work, which don’t and devising a blueprint for a successful program.

We are certain that our immersion experience is the key factor in providing students with a program that will achieve the most important goals of a quality Study Abroad program:

  • A marked improvement in a student’s ability to speak the target language
  • Awareness, appreciation and tolerance for cultural differences
  • Growth in social skills, self-confidence and personal independence.

 

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