About The Bilingual Connection

The Bilingual Connection provides a personalised service for bilingual and international schools in Europe who are looking for English language immersion courses during the school year.

The students have the opportunity to improve their language skills and experience another culture through various activities.  The company works exclusively with Achill College in Co. Mayo.

During the Spring school holidays, we organise language camps for students to to improve their English while taking part in various sports and cultural activities.   The children attending generally come from bilingual families or have been schooled abroad at some stage so have a reasonable level of spoken English. 

We started to take school groups in 2014 and we now welcome both primary and secondary school students.  Each trip is organised in collaboration with the school staff and their objectives are incorporated into the planning for the week. We organise all aspects of the trip from transport to parent information evenings to the day-to-day camp activities while in Achill.  We have both indoor and outdoor schedules.  These can be blended depending on the focus of the trip. (Some activities are weather dependent)

About the Director

I set up the Bilingual Connection in 2011.  The first trip to Achill took place while I was still based in Paris where I ran The Roaming Schoolhouse, a school for bilingual children which started in 2006. As The Roaming Schoolhouse grew and I made contact with more and more multi-lingual families, I realised that it was the cultural aspects of the language that was often the key reason many families signed their children up for classes.  I noticed that during our holiday camps in Paris students made great progress when all classes, sports and activities were through English, they had a full immersion experience. 

Bringing a group of students to Ireland was a project I had had in mind but had yet to find the right place that would provide the activities in a positive and secure environment for the children.  A young teacher from Achill Island joined the RSH staff in 2009, and she often spoke of the Irish college there.  It seemed like an ideal place to bring our students so in April 2011, 22 very excited students along with 3 very enthusiastic teachers headed to Achill Island.  The trip was such a success that we had almost double the numbers the following year.  The centre in Achill was well organised, with excellent facilities, dedicated staff and it provided a safe learning environment for the students.  The centre continues to add to its facilities every year, with new activities and workshops.

When I left Paris in 2012, I decided to continue to organise these trips during the Spring holidays and the numbers at camp have grown ever since.  In 2014 we had our first trip with an international school who sent some of their primary school students to Achill.  Since then a number of other schools in Paris have also used The Bilingual Connection to organise their school trips.  Now I spend quite a bit of my year in Achill with the school groups and there is something different with every group.  Seeing them discover this beautiful part of Ireland is still as fascinating as ever.

Cate O’ Connor, Director.

About Achill College

Coláiste Acla is an activity centre based in Achill Island.  They provide a wide variety of adventure sports, including surfing, coasteering and bog snorkkling.  They also have a number of formal classrooms and a full sports gymnasium.   We work in conjunction with the centre to provide a varied and active program which includes both indoor and outdoor activities as well as many cultural based events.