BEFORE YOUR DEPARTURE
Things you must consider:
- Travel arrangements
- Personal money
- Photo to send to us for security measures
- Speaking French
- Assessment test (this will be provided via email when you have booked)
1. Travel arrangement
Please organise your travel to France as early as possible (this is particularly necessary for the summer when flights are more expensive).If you have any queries about arrival and departure times we are happy to discuss the best options with you. As a rule, it is best to arrive in the early afternoon on Sunday, this gives you plenty of time to settle into your accommodation once you have arrived in Biarritz.
You are not covered by BMA for insurance in any form. It is essential that you have some form of cover. Should you wish to take out alternative insurance for your program we are happy for you to do so but PLEASE you MUST take out insurance coverage prior to leaving the country. Please REMEMBER to take your policy document with you to France.
BMA has a multi-risk policy that covers participants as part of its "group" contract which covers responsibilities related to activities, the people who make up the group, without any nominative list being required: administrators, employees, volunteers, children and adults, participants in activities, the assets belonging to or made available to the group, it provides global cover through five guarantees adapted to the needs of the group and its members.
3. Personal money
This will vary according to your own needs, but BMA suggests that approximately €100.00 per week should cover the cost of snacks, etc... BMA will not exchange money for students and recommends that you exchange your money for euros prior to departure from your country.
4. Passport - Visa
If you are a citizen of the European Union you will need a passport to travel. Please ensure that it is valid prior to departure, and, (if you are not a citizen of the EU), it will remain valid for a period of 3 months beyond your departure date.If you are not an EU citizen you may also need a visa to enter France. Please check with your nearest French Consulate for advice. On the first day of your arrival, your passport will be taken into the care of the course organiser to avoid loss or theft.
As you are required by law in France to carry some form of identification please make & bring a copy of your passport.
BMA requests a current photograph of yourself as we need it for our emergency file and so that we can identify you when collecting you from the train station, airport, etc.
The easiest option is to email it to us as a .jpeg.
6. Speaking French
Ensure you are prepared mentally before you even get on the plane or train.Language learning is a gradual process, requiring a lot of practice.This includes making errors and being corrected. Practice makes perfect!
7. Assessment test
It is imperative that you complete the online assessment test.The best way of allocating you to the correct class is to complete the test without help from anyone, including a dictionary! The test will be provided via email when you have booked (please check your spam).
It is not obligatory to answer all the questions. If you don’t know the answer, leave it and move on to the next question. It’s really not daunting so please don’t worry.We recommend that you do it three to four weeks before your course start date. Don’t forget, it's very important for us so we can place you in the correct classroom. If you did not send your test results before your arrival, we won't be able to provide you with the necessary French course books.
Cancellation information is indicated in the "Terms and Conditions" section on our website.
9. GOING OUTPERMISSION - LIABILITY - MEDICAL RELEASE
After the booking, you will receive a confirmation by email with a personal link to complete the online test, fill out the Under 18s form and send us your flight details as soon as possible.
YOUR JOURNEY TO BIARRITZ
- Travel to Biarritz by air
- Travel to Biarritz by plane and train
- Transfer service
- Travel to Biarritz by car
- Independent travel
- Your first night in France
- Phoning home
1. Travel to Biarritz by air
The majority of students arrive by plane at Biarritz Airport. At present the only direct flight to Biarritz from the UK is provided by Ryanair, there is also a good connection from Dublin with Ryanair. You can also travel by air via Paris where there are daily direct flights to Biarritz operated by Air France from Orly or Roissy Charles de Gaulle airports. For contact information for the above please refer to the last page of this Briefing Pack.
SWISS AIR: Geneve/Biarritz
RYANAIR: Londons/Biarritz -Brussels/Biarritz -Dublin/Biarritz -Stockholm/Biarritz
AIR FRANCE : Paris/Biarritz - Marseille/Biarritz
FLYBE: Birmingham/Biarritz - Bornemouth/Biarritz
EASY-JET: London/Biarritz - Paris/Biarritz - Lyon/Biarritz
SAS SCANDINAVIAN: Copenhague/Biarritz - Stockholm/Biarritz
VOLOTEA: Lille/Biarritz - Strasbourg/Biarritz
2. Travel to Biarritz by plane and train
Alternatively, you can take a flight to Bordeaux, Pau, San Sebastian (Spain), and then the train to Biarritz station.The train journey from Bordeaux to Biarritz takes one and a half hours and your host family will collect you at Biarritz train station. There is a transfer service from Bordeaux Airport to Bordeaux train station. On request, our transfer service can pick up students at Bordeaux airport, San Sebastian, or Pau airport and drive you to your host family.
3. The transfer service
For students staying with host families, the transfer service is offered for arrivals at either Biarritz Airport or the train station and operates for arrivals on Sundays and departures on Saturdays between the hours of 12 pm and 6 pm. The two-way transfer is arranged by your hosts, free of charge and we recommend all our students take advantage of it unless you are being dropped off by car by your parents. Either way, remember to return the completed travel online form (link in your confirmation email) as soon as possible
Travel details received later than 2 weeks before travel may mean that a transfer cannot be arranged.
You will be collected from the airport or station by your host family and dropped off at the end of your stay.
Please collect your luggage and come through Customs. When being met at the airport, the host family will greet you at the passenger arrivals gate with a sign with your name on it.
If you do not see someone immediately, please wait for at least 10 minutes (they may be meeting someone else from a delayed flight or have some other minor delays). Only then go to the Information Desk and see if there is a message for you, if not please ask the person at the Desk to call the emergency number: + 33 686 762 181, and Michel, in charge of transfers for BMA School will arrive asap.
Disembark and wait in the main arrivals hall, your hosts will meet you here, holding a sign with your name on it. If you should get lost or no one arrives to meet you (please give them at least 10 minutes, they could be trying to park the car) it is imperative that you wait inside the station and don’t wander off anywhere! Only after 10 minutes or so should you ring the BMA emergency number: +33 686 762 181
Remember: Don’t worry! There are rarely problems with transfers so do not worry, we have only given you this information as insurance against the unexpected situation.
Students arriving by car with parents are expected to make their own way to BMA and should arrive between 5:00 - 6:00 pm on Sunday. BMA: Biarritz 42, avenue J.F. Kennedy 64200 BIARRITZ
5. Independent travel
If you are not staying with a host family you will need to make your own way from the airport or station to your accommodation.
Just so you know…
For those not being met, bus n°2 takes you directly to the center of town. The bus ticket costs 1.00€ (5 tickets = 4.75€, 10 tickets = 9.50€). Tickets can be bought in a newsagents or CHRONO-PLUS (bus company) shop or at school on the first day. Bus pass: 10€ for 1 week. There are also taxis outside the train station that take you directly into town, which will cost approximately 9 to 15€ (no Ubers in Biarritz).
6. Your first night in France
The shock of meeting strangers in a new setting after a long day’s travel rarely brings out the best in any of us. Expect to have thoughts such as “What am I doing here?” running through your brain. A good night’s sleep and getting to the end of the first day at college can do wonders for your sense of happiness and self-confidence. Please remember that 99% of the students who are arriving on the same day as you are feeling just as disorientated and the feelings should leave within 48 hours of arrival.
7. Phoning home
In order to telephone your country from France, dial “00 --” and then the required number, removing the “0” at the front of the (your country) area code. If you have people at home who might worry whether or not you reached your destination safely PLEASE make sure you contact them on the first night to say all is well.
If staying with a host family please do not use the house phone for outgoing calls and only for incoming calls with your host’s permission and by prior arrangement. Mobile phone users are reminded to check with their service provider that they will be able to use their phones in France.
YOUR FIRST DAY & LIFE AT BMA
- Arrival at school
- Teaching material
- Courses & timetable
- BMA Staff
- The Teachers
- The School
1. Arrival at school
Your hosts will show you how to get to BMA from their house on the first morning. You will be expected to report on the first Monday of your course, atBMA: Biarritz 42, avenue J.F. Kennedy 64200 BIARRITZ
You have already completed the language level test online which enables the teachers to establish your level and the relevant class, prior to your arrival. Morning classes are followed by a break, during which the students generally go outside and have a chance to get to know the other students. After the break, the 2nd lesson is used to ensure the following information is understood properly by the students:
1) General information: family, telephone numbers for emergencies, course schedules, a timetable of the weekly activities giving the hour & the place to meet, plus details on where to go and what to do for those booked in for the Surfing program.
2) Map of Biarritz. Each student will have to show where their family lives, where the school is located, and where the meeting points are for the booked activities.
Each student will have to know the names and addresses of their host family.
3) For those students who are + 15/20 minutes walk from the school, bus passes will be provided.
After which the students go back to class for the final lesson of the first day. Lunch can then be eaten at the school or on the beach before you go for your first planned activity or surf lessons.
On the first day, EVERY student must return to their host family, NO LATER than 6 pm. Each family is required to call BMA staff to confirm that their student has safely returned home. The beginning can always seem a little chaotic, but the staff will do everything they can to explain where you should be and what is going on, so please be patient, order will prevail!
And remember if in doubt ASK!
2. Teaching Material
The school will provide pens, books, notebooks...
Predominantly students are between 15 to 20 years of age. The students are from different European nationalities (mainly British, Spanish, Irish, Swiss, Italian, and German) with others joining from all over the world in smaller numbers.
Please note that tuition in class and communication out of class (even for beginners and from the first day) will be in French. Speaking English will be limited (but there is always someone at the school who can speak English, should there be an emergency).
The atmosphere in the classroom is generally informal, however, students need to be prepared to work hard and participate fully.
The lessons are a good balance between conversation, grammar, reading, listening, and writing. Although this is an academic program, the emphasis is very much on the pleasure and benefits of learning another language. The aim is for students to return home positively motivated and eager to continue making linguistic improvements.
A selection of material other than grammar and exercise books is available for the teacher’s use and these can be supplemented with additional material (according to the group’s linguistic capability) as needed i.e. films, newspapers, advertisements, texts on current affairs, and topical issues.
Students will not receive homework or assignments.
At the end of a course, students receive a teacher’s evaluation concerning the students’ general participation in the class and the level of French attained during the course.
5. The Course
Minimum course duration: 2 weeks - 15, 20, 25 lessons x 45 minutes duration per week. Lessons taught: Monday to Friday- 9:00 am to 12:30 pm or 13:15 pm. (for the Leaving cert 25 lessons program some courses will be in the afternoon).
Additional classes can be booked as a mini group sessions in the morning or afternoon.
French College Plus Points
-20 years experience of teaching French has enabled the college staff to develop a detailed and effective methodology.
-The college grammar books have been specifically designed for each level offered and are provided free of charge to everyone for a practical and personalised experience. Learning and revising grammar is guaranteed on a daily basis through written and oral exercises.
-Each day one lesson will involve carefully selected texts concerning; social issues, civilisation, and history. Each topic covered is accompanied by teacher-initiated questions as the basis of discussions and debates in class.
-Carefully designed educational supports enliven the oral classes, (tailored and adapted to meet different language level needs of each class) depending on the student's current experience, to facilitate expression and oral comprehension, whilst strengthening written language skills.
-A professionally designed range of audio-visual data, exploring everyday life situations: at the market, in a restaurant, in the family, etc. This ensures authentic language skills needed for day-to-day life are covered.
-A relaxed and vibrant classroom atmosphere to encourage everyone to get involved in the teaching sessions through role-plays, discussions, and real-life simulations.
-Phonetic corrections are made by the French native-speaking teachers throughout the language course addressing the needs of individual students, according to their level and progress, within the group context.
-Each student will be tested prior to departure, by written and oral assessment, and will be issued with a certificate of achievement.
French and activities include French lessons - one sporting activity - one cultural activity - one French workshop activity - one excursion (Bayonne, Saint Jean de Luz, San Sebastian (Spain) per week.
Aside from surf lessons, these may include beach ball, Pelote Basque, basketball, body-boarding, hiking, swimming in the ocean or swimming pool etc. You will also get opportunities to spend time at the beach. Cultural activities; an organised visit to a local rugby match, to the chocolate museum, to the cinema, or going bowling together as a group.
With its long sandy beaches, Biarritz offers endless possibilities for the water sports enthusiast.
Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne (BAB) is situated on the Atlantic Coast, in the southwest of France in the Basque Country. The area is a very attractive holiday destination because of its diversity and its nightlife! Inland, Bayonne offers a beautiful riverside setting, a medieval old town, a famous gothic cathedral, and great shopping. Biarritz, just south of Anglet, is a surfer's paradise and offers a wide range of daytime holiday activity possibilities and good nightlife, while Anglet is also a surfers’ paradise for its famous beaches.
For those less actively inclined the region offers superb sightseeing opportunities. BMA organises a range of guided tours and trips. Students will be informed of the activities on offer for each week and may sign up for them in advance. Depending on the program you have booked.
French and surfing includes French lessons and four surf sessions (1 session is 1 hour and 30 minutes) -If possible, one excursion (Bayonne, Saint Jean de Luz, San Sebastian (Spain) per week.
Learn to surf for four afternoons a week with the local Surf Club (the exact timetable dictated by the tides). A very popular course choice – so early reservation is essential.Surf lessons take place at la côte des Basque. This beach is ideal for beginners. All surf Instructors hold a diploma from the “Federation de Surf” to prove competence to teach Surfing. The course is offered through LA VAGUE BASQUE – Ecole de Surf.
LA VAGUE BASQUE – Ecole de Surf -Boulevard du Prince de Galles 64200 Biarritz +33 (0)662 761 732
David QUEYROL and his team of qualified French Surf Instructors take care of all their students, whatever their prior level of experience. They will teach you the basics and get you up on a wave, or help you acquire more experience, technique, and confidence, in safety. The Surf staff speaks English & Spanish, as well as French. Wetsuits and surfboards are included in the course. There are a variety of boards available from beginner boards to more advanced shapes so that you can progress quickly and safely with the right equipment.
The Activities program cannot be offered in the same week as a Surf course, but students are welcome to book one of each option, on a two-week+ course.
6. College Staff
7. The Teachers
All teachers are native speakers. Many of them have lived and taught French abroad and speak several languages, therefore relating easily to different cultures. With their enthusiasm and spontaneity, the students are guaranteed lively and effective lessons!
Should you have any queries or need any advice whilst in Biarritz please talk to the school office.
8. The School
Students will enjoy spacious classrooms and excellent facilities in a pretty residential part of Biarritz with easy access to the beaches and town center. The school is a self-contained college just an 8/10 minute walk from the center of town.
The College offers 10 bright and spacious classrooms, a computer room, a kitchen, a big lounge, and a meeting room, so you can really enjoy improving your French.
Arrive Sunday (in the afternoon) - Depart: Saturday (in the afternoon)
- General rules
- Host families
- Additional nights
1. General rules: BMA will arrange accommodation for all students taking courses in Biarritz.
For your own comfort and safety, we ask you to take note of and follow the rules outlined below:
A/ The use, sale, or possession of illegal drugs is strictly forbidden. Students not respecting this rule will be sent home immediately at their OWN expense.
B/ No animals, weapons, firearms, explosives, fireworks, or open flames (i.e. candles, cookers etc) are allowed in the rooms.
C/ No alcohol is allowed in the rooms of students under age.
D/ You may be given a key to your accommodation. Please keep it very carefully. If you lose it, you may have to pay for a new lock, which could be very expensive!
E/ Damages. Whilst accidents can happen it is very important that you notify someone if you damaged any object in your accommodation and make arrangements to fix them as soon as possible. The school may act as a mediator between you and the owner but neither they nor BMA can assume responsibility for any damage caused by you.
Should you feel unhappy with your accommodation within the first few days please consider whether you are suffering from “culture shock” because the French do things differently to the lifestyle you are used to at home.
If you believe there is a problem, which needs to be addressed, please contact a member of the BMA staff, ideally the Accommodation Officer (Michel) in the first instance and explain the situation to them.
If you still feel that the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved, please contact Patrice DUVERT, School director whilst still in France so that she can act on your behalf.
Experience suggests that many problems arise out of misunderstanding or misinterpretation due to communication failure, remember that you must make an attempt to sort the matter out whilst in France.
Patrice DUVERT, director of the school recommends you in case of a problem in your host family:
Patrice will quickly resolve any issues or miscommunications.BMA wants every student to spend a good time in Biarritz and will find a solution if needed.
2. Host family Accommodation
Host families are chosen by BMA and offer students the chance to experience the culture of France. BMA is aware that accommodation is one of the most important factors of your stay and their selection process is rigorous. One of the main criteria for selection is the host family’s enjoyment of hosting a foreign student and a willingness to improve a student’s spoken French. So take full advantage of your stay with them by practicing the language as much as possible. Who cares if you make mistakes! To ensure that you do enjoy your stay and to avoid possible disappointments and misunderstandings, we have set out some guidelines which we think may be useful:
The host family will provide breakfast, lunch (generally in the form of a picnic meal), and an evening meal, each day. Breakfast: Remember French breakfast is a light meal, so don’t expect a fry-up! Generally speaking, it will be a coffee or chocolate drink and a roll or croissant.
Lunch: The hosts will give you a lunch box meal each day to take to school with you (but you eat with the hosts at the weekend).
Evening Meal: The main meal of the day, eaten with your hosts.
There will be a bed, sheets and covers, pillow, and closet space and you will have access to a desk or a table (which may be in another room).Towels may be provided for use in the bathroom but it is generally advisable to take your own, as they can be rather small and useless by UK standards!
You will be sharing a bedroom with another student (same gender, different nationality) unless you specifically request to be placed in accommodation with a friend who books with BMA at the same time as you.
Please be considerate, in many houses the supply of hot water is limited – therefore do NOT use an excessive amount of hot water.
Your host family will provide bed linen. They may be prepared to do a little light washing for you (especially if you are tidy) but they are not cleaners, picking up after yourself is crucial.
Should you wish to invite a friend to the house, please ask your hostess' permission first (and do not expect the to feed your guest). It is not customary for guests to invite a friend from the opposite sex into their bedrooms.
All families are located in Biarritz residential districts, but if not within walking distance, they will be within an easy bus ride of the school.
This is not possible for students under 18 unless accompanied by family. There are several hotels close to the school in Biarritz ranging from one to four-star quality.Prices vary according to season and for the busiest months of July and August, bookings must be made at least 3 to 4 months in advance.
For a single room with a toilet, shower, and TV but excluding breakfast and taxes, prices range from €65.00 to €140.00 per night.If you require hotel accommodation please request up-to-date price information.
4. Additional night
Additional nights can sometimes be arranged on request and will be charged as extra. Kindly contact BMA about any extra nights required as soon as possible, giving the exact dates required, in writing.
Finally what to bring with you to Biarritz!
-Sufficient personal money for the duration of the course, passport and an additional passport photo, travel tickets, and a photocopy of your passport.
-Insurance documents, EHIC Card (if European).
-Beach plus bath/hand towels, sunscreen (high SPF), sunglasses, swimming gear, insect repellent cream, and trainers or hiking shoes.
We wish you a very pleasant stay in Biarritz and a safe journey. Have a fabulous time in Biarritz and try and speak as much French as possible!
We hope that we have covered any queries that you may have, if there are any further points you wish to raise please contact BMA on
BMA Biarritz French Summer Courses