Interview with Isabella Conti, Sales Director of BELS Kercem: “The pandemic has not cancelled the passion of human beings to learn foreign languages”

Isabella Conti, Sales Director, BELS Kercem


Why would a student choose your school?

If you are looking for a boutique style language centre.
If you want to be a person and not a number
If you are looking for personalised service, care & attention
If you want high quality language courses, in small, international classrooms
If accommodation is important to you!
Then look no further!
We are the answer to you! Book your language stay at BELS Gozo.
On the other hand if you are younger in age (between 20 to 30 years) and whilst you are serious in improving your English language skills but wish to main on the main island of Malta… then we can offer you our BELS MALTA centre located in the seaside resort of St. Pauls’ Bay.

In your opinion, what are the main benefits for a student to study abroad?

If you truly wish to succeed in speaking English you need to think English to speak English .. you need to immerse yourself in an English speaking country and the language itself.
When you book a study abroad programme, you do not just only learn grammar techniques, or you listen to English being spoken perfectly by a native speaker of the English language, but you get to experience different accets of the language, as you get to meet with different students of different nationalities who all speak English differently. It is through their mistakes, that you improve on yours. When you study abroad, you get the chance to speak English at all times. Getting a bus, asking for directions, grocery shopping and ordering a drink at a bar needs to be done in English. It is a complete immersion!

How do you see the future of language tourism?

Economic crisis, world deadly pandemics may have created havoc in our lives however they have not cancelled the passion of human beings to learn foreign languages. If anything, the need has increased.
So I firmly believe that the future of language tourism is secured. It has changed facets and evolved. Gone online and then hybrid. We’ve had to become for tech savvy but we have not died. We are here, stronger than ever.

What types of courses do you think will be most in demand in the future?

Over the past year, since the beginning of COVID-19 we have already seen a change in the way people look at Online lessons. In March 2020 everyone was against it. It is true online lessons will never make up for face to face lessons. What you manage to learn when you are live in a classroom will never be replaced but nowadays we see that people have accepted this new way of teaching. Some are using it, in preparation prior to the actual study abroad programme.
Hybrid courses have also become more popular.
In the actual schools, I think there will be a further increase in long term, academic programmes as well as Business oriented programmes, as following major events, many people decide to change jobs or go back to studying.



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What are the most significant things the school can offer?

Firstly it has to be the unique location. Gozo is Malta’s sister island. Cleaner & greener, it is a haven for those students who wish to escape their daily hectic lives. The island has numerous small, sandy, secluded beaches and off the beaten track walks, ideal for those bicycle lovers. The school itself, originally built as a farmhouse, today houses 9 classrooms, each with interactive whiteboard and air condition. The windows look into a lush garden, now, in spring time, in full bloom. Each classroom, has an interactive whiteboard, an air condition unit, window and white board . It is fully wifi’d and can accept students with a disability. The students who chose BELS Gozo are also very niche. They are mature (between 38 – 43 years). They want small classrooms with students of similar age, of different nationalities, with more teachers attention. They choose to live with carefully, chosen Gozitan host families so they can literally immerse themselves in the Gozitan way of life!

Which are the types of courses taught at school?

We offer Standard & Mini Group General English courses with maximum of 12 & 6 students respectively. Both courses can be sold in 2 different intensities: 20 or 30 lessons. The 20 lesson programme consists of 4 lessons per day which is divided in 2 modules – each 90 minutes long. Both modules, are mainly dedicated to grammar; using the Communicate Approach. The additional afternoon 10 lessons, which make up the Intensive course are then dedicated to fluency, conversation. On Gozo, we also run a Business Mini group with selected start dates. This programme includes 15 hours of weekly tuition, in groups of max. 6 students. Each start date duration is of 2 weeks – minimum entry level is Intermediate. And finally we also sell Individual Tuition, either as a standalone or in addition to the group course. Individual tuition, is tailor-made according to the request of the client. All students have to sit for our English Online test & are given a course book. We use LIFE by National Geographic.


What are the most attractions around the school and in the city in general?

BELS Gozo is located in the small village of Kercem, a 20-minute walk from Victoria – Gozo’s capital city. Whilst Kercem is a farmers village, Victoria, is Gozo’s mecca – quite literally – everything happens over here. This is where you find shops, groceries, supermarkets, cafes, bars and restaurants. The main bus station is located here too! The island is very well connected by means of public transport; and buses run like Swiss clocks.
At the school we offer our own leisure activities. These are reather unique as they need to appeal for a more mature clientele. These include pilates, gozo cooking, wine tasting & crafts making. For the more adventurous we offer kayaking and cliff hanging and for those looking for relaxation, we can book spa treatments and lovely bbq’s by the Blue Lagoon on Gozo. Lovely dinners, playing cards with the locals in the village bar, listening to jazz music or sharing a bottle of wine on a beach are part of the Gozitan student life. Gozo is not boring!