Family Programme – Junior English & Surfing Information pack
Firstly, we would like to thank you for choosing Donegal English Language School for your English and Surfing holiday. Please find below further information on your stay.
What to bring
As much as we love our green country the weather can be unpredictable so we recommend the following items
- Water Bottle – It is possible to drink the water from the taps in Ireland
- Waterproof jacket
- Two swim suits/trunks
- Three pin adaptor (for charging phone lap top etc)
- Lock for your suitcase
- Photocopy of passport to be kept separate to your passport (in case of loss)
- One towel. A towel is provided but it is recommended to take an extra towel
- Warm clothes i.e. jumpers, jackets
- A white t shirt/baseball hat (for drawing/spraying graffiti on)
- Pocket money approx. €50 per week (maybe a little more if you want to buy some presents).
For Class & School
- A copybook and pens
- A device – some classes are digital so please bring a phone/laptop
There are hairdryers on campus. They are located in the coordinator room.
What to Expect – Surfing
About our Surf Centre
We offer quality coaching with experienced, qualified, local surfers. Our aim is to ensure your surfing skills progress in a fun and safe environment. We believe we can help you achieve your surfing goals by keeping groups small and providing personal attention to each student. Regular feedback is always given to students to ensure progression. We have a range of different boards for you to try, so you can progress
- all sizes of boards from 5’11 up to 9 foot
- 5/3 mm wetsuits and 3mm boots provided. Gloves, and hoods can be provided on request. When you change into the wetsuit at the centre please put all your clothes and personal items into your backpack.
Please note that your wetsuit can often be wet when putting it on, they are washed daily
- changing rooms, hot showers and post surf hot chocolate provided
- 4 surf spots within a short driving distance
- surf shop with 10% discount exclusive to Donegal English Language School students. (does not include Surf Co, own brand t-shirts and hoodies sale items).
Our lessons are broken into three categories
Beginners: This is an introduction course to surfing. We work on the correct techniques to position on the board, paddle, getting through the waves and stand up. At this level our goal is to get you surfing the white water on your own, with a basic knowledge of currents, etiquette and technique. Ratio of students to instructor 1:8 max. We use a range of beginner soft boards from 7 foot to 9 foot.
Intermediate: Students focus on surfing techniques such as effective paddling, wave knowledge and selection, take off and bottom turning, trimming and duck diving. The courses also focus on surfing etiquette. We use video analysis to correct faults when appropriate. Ratio of students to instructor 1:8 max. We use a range of Torq intermediate soft top boards from 5’11 to 7’6.
Advanced: We are happy to accept students at advanced level. Please note that you will receive tuition on a Torq intermediate soft top board. Students work mainly on posture correction and technique, timing, positioning, turns and wave selection. We use video analysis to correct faults when appropriate. Ratio of students to instructor 1:8 max. We use a range of Torq intermediate soft top boards from 5’11 to 7’6.
Mobile Phone Usage
Please note that in order to encourage English language use and a more interactive language learning experience, phone use is restricted to 5.15 pm – 10.00 pm during the week for residential students. Students are allowed to use their phones on Fridays and at the weekends. Occasionally during the week, students will use their phones for some class room activities. Students in host families will not have their phones during the day 9.00 am – 5.15 pm approximately, Monday to Thursday. For any emergencies, please contact 00353 87 051 8592
There is a safe in the coordinators room in each house for the residential students to put their valuables and money in. Their ID and money will be placed here on day of arrival. They will have weekly access to their money. We recommend that the students place their money here.
Collection and Drop Off
Families must arrange for the son/daughter to be at the school @ 8.45 am every morning and collect @ 5.15 pm every day. Collection point will be either from the school or from the campus, we will confirm at the beginning of your stay.
The residential centre is within five minutes’ walk of the school. Breakfast is at the residential centre. Lunch is with the other students five days per week (Monday to Friday). Dinner is not included. There are self-catering facilities available.
We cater for all allergies. Due to an increasing volume of students with nut allergies, we do not allow nuts on campus.
Host families want you to be a member of the family. They will appreciate your efforts to integrate, your active participation in family life and activities. Your smile, your gratitude and enthusiasm will be the best reward for the host family efforts and encourage the success of your stay.
You must always pay your share during an extra-curricular activity with your family. Please use your own mobile or an international calling card when using the host family phone
If not within 5 minutes walking distance, host families will bring you to school each morning and the school bus or host family will take you home every evening. You will have a warm lunch Monday to Friday at the school, a packed lunch on Saturdays and on Sundays you will have lunch with your family.
On Monday, Thursdays and Saturdays, host family students will partake in evening activities on campus, during these evenings you will have dinner on campus and return to your family afterwards. On Friday evening, you can have free time to go into town. If you wish for your son/daughter not to go into the town centre unaccompanied, please contact us.
As we are 3 hours and twenty-five minutes by bus from Dublin airport, students who are staying in host family and have an early departure (before 2 pm) may be asked to stay on the residential campus the night before. We will notify you on the Friday before departure if you will be moving into residential accommodation. If this is the case, the family will drop you to the residential centre @ 9.15 am on Saturday morning before the excursion with your bags. You will be allocated your room on return from the excursion.
It is compulsory to have a European Health Insurance Card. This is free for all European countries and will cover any doctor or hospital appointments in the case of any medical issues. It is also compulsory for all clients to have travel insurance. For all non-European citizens, you must take out private medical and travel insurance. We can arrange this for you or you can arrange yourself.
Social Activity programme
Two activities and one excursion are included. These activities are generally with your parents, sometimes they are with the junior students.
Excursions are organised every Saturday. Students will visit a place of cultural interest and have some free time shopping. Students must stay with their parents on the excursion.
Important Travel Documents
Here is important information when travelling to Ireland with children under 18. Please click here.
Please ensure that your son/daughter/student is travelling with the necessary documents.
If opting for collection from Dublin airport
We are based 3 hours and 25 minutes by bus from Dublin airport. For this reason, we group transfers together. Typically, we have 2/3 buses at the airport on Sundays, this depends on arrival and departure times and number of students arriving. The shared transfers are based on arrivals between 11 am – 6 pm and departures between 11 am – 6 pm. Students will typically have a 1 – 3 hour wait before the bus leaves the airport. Please also note that for departures, if you flight is before 1 pm, you will leave Bundoran around 4.30 am in the morning, this allows for adequate check in time at the airport (you need a minimum of three hours check in time in the summer) and then 3.25 hours to reach Dublin.
Collection: On entrance of arrivals in Terminal 1 please make your way over to the right. You will see a sign saying Meeting point. Under or around this sign will be a Donegal Language School representative waiting to meet you with a Donegal English Language School Sign(see below).
If you are flying into Terminal 2 (Aer Lingus) please make your way to the right and one of our representatives will be there to meet you. They will have a sign showing the following:
Airport sign will look like this:
Baggage: Each airline has individual baggage weight restrictions.
Please adhere to and leave room in your bag for presents going home. We have had experiences of students paying up to €100 for excess baggage and don’t wish to see this happening again. Excess baggage is the responsibility of the student.
We have noticed student’s bags being delayed by a few days, particularly in summer time. If this happens, the bags are typically dropped to the centre within 3 days. Before leaving, please ensure that you:
- Take a picture of your bag before leaving in case the bag does get lost
- Put your name and something distinguishable on your bag, so it is easily identifiable
- Carry a change of clothes and tooth brush in your carry-on bag
If opting for collection from Knock airport
- Collection: On entrance of arrivals please make your way to arrivals. A DELS representative will be waiting to meet you with a Donegal English Language School Sign.
If opting for public bus from Dublin airport
There is a direct bus from Dublin airport to Ballyshannon every two hours. To arrive at the bus stop, walk out of arrivals from terminal 1 and cross the road, go through the tunnel and you will see a spar shop on your left, walk outside and to the left is the bus stop. Please go to zone noted beside Dublin Airport on this link. We then offer free transfers from Ballyshannon to Bundoran between 10.00 am and 8.00 pm daily. For transfers outside of these times we can arrange a taxi for you. The taxi fee is around € 15
If we are collecting you from the bus in Ballyshannon, please send us a SMS to 00353 876 00 82 05 once you get on the bus in Dublin and then again when the bus reaches Enniskillen. It is really important that you do this as sometimes the bus is late, and it ensures that our driver is not waiting a long time to collect you.
Please set your son/daughter up with the airline app and they can then check in online prior to arrival and departure. If you need boarding cards to be printed, please email activity@ donegallanguageschool.com before 6 pm on Saturday evening. Please note that the office email addresses are not manned after 5 pm on Friday evening and firstname.lastname@example.org is not manned after 6 pm on Saturday.
If arriving by car
The address of the Camp is Donegal Language School, 1 Portbeg, West End Bundoran. You can find directions here
Arrival is anytime from 4 pm onwards
Students and group leaders can be contacted on 00353 86 272 2495. Students can be contacted from 6.00 – 9.00 pm each evening.
Residential Address: Donegal Language School, Portbeg, West End, Bundoran, Co Donegal
Laundry is included in the programme. We collect the laundry every Thursday/Friday and it is returned to the students every Friday/Saturday.
There is free WIFI at the school. We also have Wi-Fi. at the residential accommodation in three houses. The other houses do not have WIFI access. The students in these houses can use the WIFI in the common area at the main house or at the school. Most host families have Wi-Fi.
There is a safe in the coordinators room in each house for students to put their valuables and money in. Their ID and money will be placed here on day of arrival. They will have weekly access to their money. We recommend that the students place their money here.
Mobile Phone Usage
Please note that in order to encourage English language use and a more interactive language learning experience, phone use is restricted to 5.15 pm – 10.00 pm during the week for residential students. Students are allowed to use their phones at the weekends. Occasionally during the week, students will use their phones for some class room activities. Student in host families, have access to their phones, but are not permitted to use them when on campus. For any emergencies please contact 00353 870 51 85 92.
On Bank holiday Mondays ((17 March, 22 April, 6 May, 3 June & 28 October 2019), there will be no English classes, students are offered an excursion/activity in place). We open on the August bank holiday.
Students must not be disrespectful or act in a threatening manner to fellow students or staff of Donegal English Language School or any members of the community. This includes raising their voices, using foul words or foul gestures, broadcasting music with explicit lyrics, being argumentative towards others or being disruptive in class. Discrimination based on sexual preference, race, physical or mental ability, religion, age or ethnicity is not tolerated. Items which promote or encourage discrimination or illegal activity will be confiscated. Smoking and chewing gum is not permitted in the school buildings. Food and drinks are not permitted in classrooms.
The student is responsible for any damage he or she may cause to buildings, furniture, fittings, individuals, host family property etc. while registered with DELS. Should a student behave in an unseemly and/or inappropriate manner that may bring the school or its agent into disrepute or cause damage to its reputation or standing in any way, either real or imagined, he or she will be asked to leave.
Should a student break other school rules or behave badly he/she may be withdrawn from activities until behaviour improves.
If gross misconduct occurs, i.e. bullying or breaking an Irish law (including drinking of alcohol, stealing or drug taking), the student will not be welcome to participate further in the course and will be removed immediately from the programme). Parents must make arrangements for the students to leave the campus/host family promptly/within 2 days.
Students will be walked to town and allowed to go to the different shops, amusements or supermarkets for one hour one evening per week. Students must go as part of a group. No student is allowed to go alone without prior permission from the coordinators. If you do not wish for your son/daughter to do this, please let us know in advance of their stay. For residential students only – there will be free time on Sunday . Students are allowed to visit the town unaccompanied between 10 am – 3pm. Students aged 11 will be accompanied, students aged 12+ will be unaccompanied. If you wish for your son/daughter not to go to the town centre unaccompanied, please contact us.
Students will visit a place of cultural interest and have some free time shopping. Students over 12 will be unaccompanied during this time. If you wish for your son/daughter not to be unaccompanied, please contact us.
What happens on my first day?
Arrivals for students are generally on a Sunday. All students are welcomed and shown to their accommodation followed by a short introductory meeting. This meeting will go through the first day and any questions that may arise. On the first day of school, students take a test covering reading, writing, listening and speaking to ensure that they are placed in a level most suitable to them.
If the students have opted for one of the activity packages, their chosen sport takes place in the afternoon/morning depending on their age and level. Student Coordinators are on hand to help and assist all students through their first day.
Parents hereby commit to undertaking full financial responsibilities if their son/daughter, is dismissed early from the programme in the event of bad behaviour.
Looking forward to meeting you
Useful Surf Terms
Rip – current going out to sea.
Duck dive – going under the wave.
Turning on the rail – generating speed on a board by turning the board from one side to the other.
Pop up – going from lying down to upright position on the board in one movement.
Booties – neoprene shoes to keep you warm.
Wettie – neoprene wetsuit to keep you warm.
Rashy – coloured lycra shirt worn over your wettie to identify you.
Wax – sticky substance for rubbing on the board for grip.
Out the back – common term for the part of the ocean beyond the breaking waves i.e. “I got so smashed paddling out that I couldn’t make it out the back.”
Bomb – word used to describe a good wave. i.e. “I just got a bomb” or “There are a couple of bombs out the back.”
Reform – a wave that breaks out the back and then reforms close to the shore and breaks again, quite good for intermediate surfers.
Grommet/grom – name given to young surfers.
Glassy – name referring to the condition of the waves and/or ocean when there is no wind and the surface of the water takes on a glass like appearance i.e. “After the rain it just went super glassy and fun.”
Choppy – name referring to the texture of the water usually when it’s windy or big i.e. “The waves weren’t good today. It was too choppy.”
Messy – when waves are not lined up, opposite to clean.
Clean – when the waves are nice and lined up usually accompanied with offshore wind.
Offshore – when the wind blows from land to sea making the waves clean. This can also produce good barrels. Sometimes if the offshore is strong it can make it choppy.
Onshore – when the wind blows from the sea into the land making conditions messy and choppy and generally not that good for surfers. This can be fun sometimes.
Cross shore – when wind blows across the shore, different combinations can occur i.e. cross onshore, cross offshore.
Whitewash – referring to the wave after it has broken. Most beginners will start by catching the whitewash.
Green wave/unbroken wave – referring to the wave before it has broken
Righthander – a wave that breaks to the right (if you’re looking back to the beach).
Lefthander – a wave that breaks to the left (if you’re looking back to the beach).
Close out – a wave the breaks all at once offering no shoulder to surf, not good for surfers.
Goofy footer – a surfer that rides the wave with his/her right foot forward.
Regular/natural footer- surfer that rides with his/her left foot forward.
Weak – when waves have no power.
Strong – when waves have a lot of power. Currents and wind can also be referred to as strong.
Leggie/leash/legrope – the plastic cord that joins you to your surfboard, commonly worn on your back foot, essential piece of equipment when starting out.
Wipeout– when you fall off the wave.