42 years of Vacational Studies English Summer Schools for children and teenagers in the UK


English Summer Camps Accredited by The British Council

Scanning these documents which describe our English Language Summer Courses over the last 42 summers, most of which I had not seen for decades until I unearthed them from my voluminous archives, has been a walk down Memory Lane for me. Vacational Studies has become a huge international family with thousands of children spanning three generations.

What strikes me is how much Vacational Studies has developed over the years, but how almost all the photos could appear on the 2015 web site and seem as fresh as they were on the day they were taken. How well I remember lying flat on my back and staring up at the volleyball net for the 1981 cover photo, getting a bucket of water thrown over Stefan for the 1982 brochure and taking Otto to the highest point on a fire escape to get the sky shot for the 1978 brochure.

The fun, the laughter, the sheer joie be vivre of the youngsters who have been to our Summer Camps is the same whatever the year. But what incredible social and technological changes have occurred in this time. Those were the days before the computer and mobile phone: the days before fax even, when telex was as hi-tech as it got. Quotes, even in the 1998 brochure, refer to ‘letter-writing’ as the way to keep in touch. Skype and Facebook have changed everything. Now Google rules the world and I have rewritten everything in the hope that the spiders find their target and push vacstuds.com up to page one.

The format of the brochures from the ’80s and ’90s was a concertina into DL envelope-size which is not the easiest for an A4-based scanner. The information section was separated from the ‘news’ part.

The ‘news’ went only to those were with us that year and, reading between the lines, I can see why. I used the ‘news’ to say, sometimes cryptically, what I thought. In those politically less correct times, I can see why the staff loved spotting the barbed comments. Nowadays I use ‘IGM’s page’ knowing that only those who are really interested will penetrate so far into the site.

I see, too, that some of the wording I use is unchanged since the beginning. In that the essential ‘message’ is the same as it was in 1973, it has stood the test of time. In that words on the web now need to be read by robots as well as humans, their time has passed and I now have to use a strange Google-search speak.

The Course is basically what it always has been. I shall add student lists from time to time. The staff are mentioned in the ‘news’ part of the brochure. Click on the icon or the list below the pictures to read the whole brochure. Remember – the photos in the brochure are those from the year before…


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Yannick MolArchives