FAQs

We’ve grouped the questions you may be asking into different sections:

General

What, in a few words, can I gain by taking a KE programme? To put it another way, where will I be at the end of the programme where I wasn’t at the start!

At the start of a KE programme, you’ll probably not know much about the country you’re visiting, not much about its universities or its cultural background, not much, either, about certain subjects which seem interesting, but which remain largely unknown.

At the end of a KE programme, you’ll have gained a real insight into different aspects of the country you’re visiting, you’ll have seen a really good selection of its universities or its cultural attractions, and you’ll have a real understanding of what it’s like to study a particular academic subject. Plus you’ll have gained a lot of self-confidence, seen how to move in the best circles, met a lot of really interesting people… and had a great time!

As you sit on the plane going home, be prepared to say, ‘Wow! Did I really do all that?’

How long has KE been in operation?

For 3 years, as of 2015. In our first season, we welcomed about 200 students. Not bad for a first year!

Do you have a year-round school?

No, we concentrate very much on summer programmes.

So are you working year-round?

Our management and administration teams work year-round, so you can contact us at any time. Our academic staff work for us on a seasonal basis, and do other work at other times of the year.

Are the programmes just for students who want to study at university in the country visited?

No, not at all. Anyone who is looking for a challenging and stimulating summer school experience is welcome to attend, and will benefit from doing so. Many of the skills taught – such as making a good impression in interviews – are useful for everyone.

Do you take individuals or groups?

We welcome both. If students do come in a group, we encourage them to be open to others and not stay in their group all the time. This is perhaps a little different from what happens in many summer schools. For us, all our students are individuals, and we look after them as such.

Do groups come with a group leader?

In most cases, yes, but it’s not obligatory. If group leaders do accompany the group, we ask them to join in with our staff in making sure the programme is a success; we have a group leader handbook with a lot of information about the programmes and what happens.

We’ve grouped the questions you may be asking into different sections:

General

Where do the students come from?

We welcome students from all over the world. In the past, countries represented have included the USA, Switzerland, Croatia, Lebanon, Sweden, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. We’re planning to increase the range of nationalities still further.

Many of our students come from international schools where there is a very wide range of nationalities represented. So, for example, even though they may travel from and return to Malaysia, they may not necessarily be Malaysian, but perhaps the children of people who happen to be working there.

How many students attend each programme?

This varies a lot, but they are not huge: usually around 40, not more than 100. We have a maximum of 15 students in each class, but in fact our classes are generally much smaller than this.

Do I get a certificate at the end of the programme?

Yes, you do – and we also send a report to your parents by email.

Can I get credit for my attendance?

It may not be possible for students taking the International Baccalaureate to gain credit for the CAS component (Creativity, Action, Service). Some schools may give internal credits for successful attendance.   We are working on developing this area further.

Why don’t you include lunches?

We want you to experience going out at lunchtime and trying what’s available; we find that most students appreciate having a wider choice of food, at least some of the time. Students do also enjoy having the opportunity to explore the place where they’re staying in small groups of friends.

Many summer schools have discos, karaoke, casino night, maybe dating contests, events where boys dress up as girls and vice versa. Do you have these events?

No, we don’t do any of this! If you’re looking for ‘party central’, you should probably look elsewhere… Our students have a lot of fun. But it’s a different kind of fun.

Your fees are rather high…

Some people say this (but others say they are very reasonable for what is included!). Our fees are generally higher, it’s true, than those for standard English language programmes, because we’re not providing standard English language programmes! We believe that we offer a much broader educational experience. And we include much more: more things happening, seven days a week; more specialised courses, taught by staff with quite specific knowledge; a high ratio of staff to students; in the UK and Australia, transfers around the country. Also, the programmes are not huge – we don’t have hundreds of students, and therefore offer a more personalised service. Finally, we do include services which some, but not all, summer schools offer, such as airport transfers, insurance, a high level of support for student welfare…

Programmes

What is the difference between the programmes for 14-16s and those for 16-18s?

The content of the courses is modified to suit the different age groups.   But the basic timetable is the same.

So why do you have two separate programmes?

Well, 14 year-olds and 18 year-olds have rather different outlooks and focuses! The older age group have also had more years of education, and therefore tend to have a broader knowledge generally. We do treat the two groups a little differently.

I’m 16. Should I join a programme for 14-16s or 16-18s?

Good question! It’s your choice, but here are two things to consider:

  • In some countries, students make subject choices and start on new courses at the age of 16. If you’ve already made your choices, the older age group might be more appropriate; if you still have a year before making this kind of choice, it might be better to join the younger age group.
  • Would you prefer the material for the specialist subject to be a little easier or a little more difficult?

Programmes

What if I’ve already reached the age of 18?

You’re welcome to join, but please remember that these are programmes for teenagers. This means – for everyone – no smoking, no drinking, you have to be back by a certain hour etc. If this kind of restriction would be a problem for you, the programmes may not be suitable.

Is there any flexibility on the age range?

You can contact us to ask, but generally: not much. For all sorts of reasons, things work better this way.

These programmes are quite specialised. How do you make sure that students attending the programmes are really suitable for it?

Generally, students ‘self-select’: you decide yourself whether a KE programme is going to be right for you. And this approach works! We try to provide as much information about the programmes as we can.   We find that people understand this. And we do recognise that, for most parents, our programmes represent a significant investment – they want to get value for money by choosing the right type of investment in their children’s future.

But we should also say this. The programmes are specialised, but the level is adjusted according to the students: you’ll work at your own pace.   If you’re likely to be going on to further study after high school, these programmes should be suitable for you. While we certainly want to challenge everyone, we challenge everyone at their own level – the programmes are not just for top scholars!

Subject choices

Each course only lasts for one week. How can you teach, for example, English for Academic Purposes (EAP), or prepare me to take IELTS in such a short time – never mind teaching me medicine or law…?

These are introductory courses. We teach you about the subjects. So for EAP, for example, you may not have a complete course – which might well run for six months at a university – but you’ll find out what EAP is about, and learn a remarkable number of useful points to assist you in your listening, speaking, reading and writing at university level. For IELTS (or TOEFL), you’ll have a lot of very targeted practice, mainly in speaking and listening, and take advantage of your native-speaker teacher. In the academic subjects, you’ll explore the range of topics covered in the subject area and have a lot of hands-on experience; you’ll see inside the subject and discover what it’s really like.

What is the basis of the course material? Do you use text books?

We have had all our course material specially designed to suit our particular courses. We have eight topics for each course, each running for two hours. The material has been created to suit that time scale. We don’t give you a text book, but you receive a lot of printed material which you keep in a binder which we provide.

All our course material is designed for lessons which are creative, interactive and stimulating. We do not offer dry lectures!

I’m not really sure what subject I want to take at university. How can I choose a KE course?

We suggest that you choose the subject which you find most interesting.   You’re not committed to taking this subject at university level. Whichever course you take, it should be fun, and you will learn something exciting and different.

Are the courses designed for complete beginners, or for people who already have some subject knowledge?

Basically, they’re designed for beginners. But if you’re already studying the subject, or a closely related subject, they still work very well for you. If we take a subject like economics, business and entrepreneurship, you may already be studying economics at school. OK, fine. While some students in the class are being introduced to some basic concepts, you will be applying what you know already to work on an economics-based project linked to the place where you’re studying. And then the material on business and entrepreneurship should be new to everyone, anyway.

Subject choices

What if the subject I’m interested in is not covered?

We’ve designed the 5 specialist subjects very carefully so that a wide range of interests is covered. We suggest that you choose the subject which comes closest to what you want to do, because it will give you a different perspective on your actual chosen subject. For example: you want to study history? OK, we suggest that you take ‘law, society and international relations’.

By all means ask us for advice!

Why don’t you offer General English classes?

Firstly, because there are so many other schools doing this; secondly, because if you really need classes in General English, then the rest of the programme may not be suitable for you. If you feel that you should be working on your general English, we suggest that you go to a good school specialising in English language teaching first, and then come to KE when your English is at a higher level.

Who are the teachers?

They have very varied backgrounds. Some are postgraduate students who are already teaching at the universities in which they are carrying out research. Some are high school teachers (for example, one of our UK engineering teachers in 2014 taught general science at school, but studied engineering at university). Our teachers of English-related subjects are generally specialist teachers in the particular area we’re offering (e.g. EAP).

In the past, some of our teachers have been outstanding academics: they have included Rhodes Scholars, Gates Scholars and Marshall Scholars. However, the most important factor for us when we appoint teachers is that they should be able to relate to students, speak with passion and commitment, and really make their subject come alive!

At American universities, don’t you start with a very broad subject base?

That’s true. You don’t normally start your university career by immediately taking law or medicine, for example. But most people have an idea of the direction they want to take in the future, so an idea of what’s involved is really valuable.

In the US, a lot of people begin by studying ‘liberal arts’. This is a range of subjects designed to expand your general knowledge and range of educational experience – although you do make certain choices. Some colleges only offer liberal arts. You may take a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and then go on to specialise, say, in law at postgraduate level.

Can I change courses after I’ve started?

This may be possible, if there is space on the course which you would prefer to take. But we would talk to you to make sure that this is the right decision, for you and for the other people in the classes, because it’s a little disruptive if students keep changing from one course or another.

Level of English

You expect a certain level of English and talk about IELTS bands and TOEFL scores, but I’ve never taken IELTS or TOEFL. Do I need to take one or the other?

No, you don’t. We talk about these exams because a lot of schools and agencies have a good idea what these levels represent.

So how do I know whether my English is good enough?

Have a look at the page describing the specialist subject which you’re interested in taking. See what is covered in the course. Ask yourself: will I be able to cope with this in English? Don’t worry if you don’t understand every word – specialist language will be explained, anyway. But is your English generally at a level which will enable you to understand and take part in lessons about this subject?   If you think you can cope, your English will benefit enormously: you won’t be studying English grammar and using it in artificial contexts any more – you’ll be using it, almost unconsciously, because you want to learn something now. This is how a language really comes alive. It will be a very valuable experience.

Level of English

I’m really not sure…

We can send you a test. Just contact us on info@kgdm.org and we’ll send it to you!

What if I start and I just can’t understand?

Try to choose carefully so this doesn’t happen!   In fact, it’s very rare for students to join our programmes and not be able to cope – our teachers will do all they can to make sure you can follow. Of course, for some the language issue will be a challenge. But don’t we say our programmes are challenging?

 

Activities

Do I have to take part in sports?

No, but… we would really like you to try! Many of the activities we do, like croquet, are very gentle, and anyone can take part. Trying something like cricket is a lot of fun – no one is very good at it, and everyone laughs at everyone else! And who wouldn’t like to try golf, at least once? You don’t have to be good at sports. Also, at the level at which we play, girls and boys can easily take part together.

Visas

Can you help me get a visa?

We send you detailed information with your welcome pack.

If you need a visa, we’ll give you the necessary documents so that you can make your application, together with some suggestions as to what to do. But we can’t be there with you when you make your application. You may find that you need help from a local representative.

Transfers

When should I arrange my flights?

As soon as possible after we’ve confirmed your enrolment. But do just wait until we’ve told you about the times when we can meet you and drop you off at the various airports.   Also, if you need a visa, wait until you receive it – just in case.

What actually happens when I arrive in the country?

We will be there to meet you and to accompany you to the study centre. We will give you detailed information with the welcome pack which we email to you after you’ve enrolled.

What should I bring with me?

It’s all in the welcome pack!

Insurance

Will I need to buy insurance for the trip?

We have included medical insurance in the programme fees. In the USA, the policy does not cover personal possessions, and you may wish to take out additional insurance. In other countries, the policy does cover most personal possessions. But please note that none of the KE policies includes personal electronics, e.g. laptops, digital cameras, mobile phones.

Parents

Can parents accompany students?

Parents are very welcome to visit students if they are in the country at the same time. But they can’t join the programmes – it wouldn’t really work.