Frequently Asked Questions about the Lake Tahoe Institute of English
Why learn advanced English?
Internationally, English is considered by most to be the common language for conducting international business. As nations more and more become a part of a global economy, it becomes more important to have a common language in which to communicate. English has evolved as that common language. Clear unaccented English from the Western United States is the standard.
Who will benefit from the Institute’s program?
Any person who wants to substantially increase their level of English fluency will benefit from the Institute’s program. However, the course will prove to be particularly valuable to non-native English speakers who may be working in the United States, or working with an American or British company in another country. Foreign executives and professionals should know some of the basic rules and laws binding American companies and their labor practices. American business practices and customs can also be included in the course of study, giving you a significant advantage in management practice, negotiations and career advancement. Of course, anyone needing to speak English for business or personal use of any type will benefit greatly.
Am I qualified for the program?
All students must have a basic knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary acquired from formal classroom study, or independently. You need not speak or understand the language as well as you read or write the language. (It is very common to be able to understand more than you can speak in any foreign language.)
This course of instruction is designed for adults, professionals, executives or others interested in learning English the quickest way possible with the least amount of fear and intimidation.
What is the Total Immersion method?
Language Immersion, sometimes called Immersive Language Training, is a program exposing the student to the new language using only the new language. The lessons are presented in student-appropriate level English, and the exercises and activities are all conducted in English. Yes, English is the only language spoken, ever!
Why is the Total Immersion method the best way to learn a language?
Adult learning is different. Immersion training is best. The Institute uses the Total Immersion approach. With total immersion, you get exponential learning. The general consensus among language teachers is that, for adults, a good one week immersion program can increase your language skills more than a one year daily school program. Why? One main reason is that with traditional classroom learning, auditory understanding is missing. The ability to understand and respond naturally comes from total immersion. In the proper environment, adults can learn quickly. It is the consensus of language schools that less than a 60 hour immersion course of instruction is no more valuable than traditional learning models, yet most courses offer fewer hours than that.
Learning grammar and vocabulary does not teach you to speak English, nor will one hour classes per day. Traveling may teach you how to get places, find the bathroom and how to order in a restaurant, but traveling will not teach you to engage in legitimate conversations or to conduct business in English. It will not teach you what you need and want to know about American culture.
What will the weather be?
It depends on the season. The Institute is located at an elevation of 2164 m. (7100 feet) and therefore has very different weather each season. The summers are pleasantly warm, and spring is a short season of noticeable change, almost daily. The fall season reveals beautiful colors in the area’s deciduous trees, and is quite temperate, while the fantastically beautiful winters are usually covered in snow, but because Lake Tahoe is close to the Pacific Ocean, it does not get as cold as most mountainous regions do.
Typically, Lake Tahoe will get snow in a cumulative amount of 2.54 m. (100 inches) and often 5.08 m. (200 inches) or more every winter! This provides a unique opportunity to enjoy the very best that winter recreational activities offer.
Take a look at Lake Tahoe’s typical weather.
How much can I expect to learn?
You can expect to learn at least as much as a one year classroom course of English. In addition, and because every course is designed specifically to fit the needs of each client, you will learn exactly what you need to learn. Motivation and length of stay are also factors in calculating how much you will learn.
How do I pay for the program?
Please see the section on fees. We accept checks drawn on major U.S. banks, wire transfers, or through Google Checkout.
What is included in the fee?
Included in your fees are 10-12 hours per day of intensive advanced English language training and instruction, three wholesome, home-cooked typical American meals per day, a cocktail drink and appetizer hour each day, a private bedroom and bathroom in a luxurious mountain golf course home. Additionally, there will be one cocktail party and one dinner party with American guests per week. Many local recreational activities can be viewed here and are included in the fee, as well.
What if I want to stay for 1 week, then take a break, then return for a few more days? Or what if I want to take a break in the middle of the course?
No problem! The fees for extra days are specified on the Low Cost Fees page and if you want to take a recess in the middle of your course to travel in the area, that can be arranged so long as the time you need for your course is reserved in advance.
What if I want to participate in an activity during the day, such as skiing? Can lessons be given at other times?
The curriculum is customized to your needs. If you prefer to take part in a recreational activity during the day (and recreation is encouraged!) we will adjust your formal learning time to the evening. Of course, conversation, grammar, and informal training will occur throughout your recreational activity to the extent possible.
Will the Institute assist me in setting up activities outside the curriculum?
Yes! The Western United States is a uniquely fascinating and beautiful part of the world. We encourage you to take advantage of your time here to see the great sites and cities of the region. And we will help you arrange your travel to see the areas you may be interested in before, during or after your stay at the Institute.
Do I need to rent a car to travel from the airport, or to travel in the area?
No. The Institute will provide transportation to and from the Reno International Airport (RNO). Transportation will also be provided for any local trip or recreational activity as part of the basic fee. However, if you want to rent a car to see the region, with or without an instructor, we will help you arrange for a low cost and reliable rental car, and will help you arrange your touring plans, maps, accommodations and activities at your destination. We will also be available by telephone to help you if you need any help while traveling!
Can I rent equipment for recreational activities?
Yes. There are local vendors who will rent or hire any equipment you wish. Bikes, skis, snowboards, boats, tennis racquets, golf clubs, fishing poles, jet skis, kayaks, or anything else you would possibly require. We have kayaks, snow shoes, hiking poles, and some cold weather gear for your use.
What type of clothing is appropriate while participating in the English lessons?
The Western United States, and especially Lake Tahoe, calls for very informal clothing. While there are a few activities that call for more formal dress, your clothing should mainly be casual and appropriate for the season and expected weather. Bring clothing that can be worn in “layers” so that as the weather changes, as it does through every day, you will be comfortable. (As they say here in Nevada, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it will change!”)
What do I need to bring?
Please make sure to bring your English translation dictionary, prescription medications, extra spending money and a camera. Since Lake Tahoe is at a high elevation, and is usually sunny, wearing sunscreen and a hat while outside (level 30 to 55 spf) is a good idea all year long. It rains very little, but during the winter, it can snow a lot! We have good winter condition cars and equipment, and travel is not a problem, even during storms.
What course materials are included?
Since your course will be designed specifically for you, the course materials will be different for every course. You will be provided with copies of everything appropriate for your particular instructional course.
How do I obtain a visa to visit the United States?
The U.S. requires a visa for most people coming to the U.S. We can provide you with some limited help in the application process.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO APPLY FOR YOUR VISA AS SOON AS YOU ARE ACCEPTED INTO OUR PROGRAM. WAIT TIMES TO OBTAIN ONE VARY GREATLY FROM A FEW DAYS TO A SEVERAL WEEKS. Generally a visa is valid for one full year, BUT please confirm your individual status to be certain. Some applicants must pay a fee, but many countries do not. The websites below also contain the estimated times each embassy or consulate typically will take to process a visitors visa ('Wait Times').
Visitors from many countries do not need a visa.
HOWEVER, even if your country is listed in the Visa Waiver Program please be sure you see the general information about this Program because some restrictions apply to everyone.
Student visas are directed at long-term study programs with less than 18 hours per week of instruction, and so are not appropriate for most applicants to the Institute. Because of this, we are not listed as an educational institution that can provide you with automatically accepted documentation and expedited visa processing times.
You will probably need to travel on a B-1 (Business) or B-2 (Tourism, Medical needs and Pleasure) or a combination of these types of visas. These visas generally cover tourism and short term business trips or training programs such as is offered by the Institute.
Find a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country and local area for more details. All U.S. embassies and consulates are listed in this link, and are viewed in all foreign languages. Contact information is available here, and you should contact or call your local embassy or consulate as soon as you can to begin the visa process.
For more detailed information about the visa process, the U.S. Dept. of State has a very large site, with detailed information about every type of visa available.