Be as free as a bird: fly south for the winter

If you have ever been in Brighton and Hove in the late autumn, you may have seen the huge flocks of starlings that dance in the air along the seafront. The birds arrive on England’s South Coast to avoid the bitterly cold winters of Scandinavia.

Brighton Starlings
Photo: Les Chatfield

Meanwhile, many of Britain’s own birds have grander plans. Swallows, for example, head southwards through western France, across the Pyrenees, tracing Spain’s eastern costas, through Morocco and eventually into southern Africa. They spend the European winter happily chirping away under the African sunshine in the company of elephants, rhinos and giraffes, before returning to the Europe in April or May. Now that’s how to fly south for the winter!

Have you considered doing something similar? Hop on a plane southwards during the winter months and you can have all the sunshine you want, along with some incredible new experiences. Ride the waves of the Indian Ocean, go on safari, relax on Australia’s beaches, explore New Zealand’s natural beauty, be seduced by the tango in Buenos Aires… there’s something for all tastes.

What’s more, with an ESL language study trip you can combine an active holiday in the sun with the kind of personal development that looks excellent on your CV. You can even top off your stay with an official qualification!

Here are some options to get your imagination going:

A taste of Africa

Learn English on the move in South Africa, as you make your way from Cape Town, along the breathtaking Garden Route from Mossel Bay to the Storms River. The route takes you along the Indian Ocean coast, past tropical lagoons and crystal-clear lakes, through jungles and out into the spectacular expanse of South Africa’s national parks. Along the coast, dolphins and whales enjoy sanctuary, while the coral reefs are teeming with tropical marine life.

Photo: Crystian Cruz

Our Travelling Classroom programme includes close encounters with the “big five” on safari in Addo National Park, surfing the legendary waves at Jeffery’s Bay, spectacular mountain passes, Africa’s highest road bridge and the world’s highest bungee jump. The whole journey is taken in the company of expert teachers from our school in Cape Town, who ensure that you come out of the experience with English language skills as well as plenty of spectacular Instagram photos.

If that sounds too frantic for you, perhaps you would prefer to enjoy the excellent value on offer in Cape Town.  Or set up in Port Elizabeth or in Jeffrey’s Bay for a month and immerse yourself in the local surf culture. Speaking of surfing…

Enjoy the good life in Australia

Australia is the beach country par excellence, and one of the great places to surf. We did a feature on destinations with legendary waves earlier in the year – if you are looking for some inspiration,  check it out. But Australia has so much more to offer than world-class water sports. It’s a huge country of vibrant cities, sumptuous landscapes and a friendly culture that welcomes new arrivals with open arms and an ice-cold beer!

sydney bbqPhoto: Julius!

Sociologists believe modern Aussie culture can be traced back to the first British arrivals on the continent. Many came from the poorest parts of London, where the rigid class system gave them few opportunities to make a living. When they arrived in Australia, the only thing that mattered was surviving and making a new life: this meant relying on each other and quickly integrating newcomers. The result is a country that radiates friendliness.

Whether you are surfing in Perth, sampling Sydney’s sizzling social scene or taking part in Australia’s booming economy through an internship or working holiday programme, this is a country where the European winter will feel a long, long way away.

Get back to nature in New Zealand

Nowhere on earth offers quite the same balance of urban excitement and genuinely untamed wildlife as New Zealand. Protected for millennia by its remoteness (or “distance from Europe”), this is a place where you can wake up in the middle of town but find yourself in a virgin forest within a couple of hours. Or you can head out to sea where the whales, seals and sharks get on with their business, unaffected by a country that is one of the world’s most environmentally aware.

New Zealand waterfallPhoto: Anoldent

As with Australia, a Working Holiday Visa offers the chance for you to perfect your English while earning some extra money to help fund your stay. When you fly such a long distance, it is really important to make the most of your time and a paid job or internship can help you do just that.

We offer much more than English courses…

How about a stay in Bocas del Toro, Panama, where the high season from February until April is the perfect time to enjoy tropical paradise? Or a Spanish + Tango course in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s deeply sensuous capital? You will learn Spanish while living a life that simply isn’t available at home.

Rio CarnivalPhoto: Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

Latin America isn’t only Spanish-speaking; a Portuguese course in Rio during January or February could have you chatting away with the Cariocas in time for carnival! For an even wilder carnival, you could head north to Olinda, not far from Recife, where one of the best party on the planet gets truly crazy.

These are just a couple of possibilities… remember half of the world lies below the Equator!

Find the best value

If you plan to stay for a longer period, the southern hemisphere can be significantly cheaper than Europe or North America. The exchange rates are good at the moment, so there’s never been a better time to experience life south of the Equator.

There are experiences on offer that you simply won’t find at home and, best of all, you can enjoy them while the northern hemisphere is cloudy, cold and dressed in shades of grey and black.

Our expert team are here to make it happen! Get in touch to find out how.