Frequently Asked Questions
Who are we?
Caledonia has been providing tailormade advice and a personalised booking service for language courses and cultural activity holidays overseas since 1996. We regularly visit our overseas partners to ensure that we are up to date with new developments, and can personally recommend the best places to go according to your particular interests.
Why book with us?
When you book with us you can be assured that:
- we have personally visited the locations and can vouch for our schools' standards of teaching, accommodation and student welfare. We can also talk to you about the location and how to get there. For tailormade cultural trips, we have visited the locations and accommodation in most cases and can give you firsthand information
- we handle all administration, bookings and payments so you do not have to worry about making international money transfers or having to double-check your booking.
- you can speak with previous Caledonia clients before you make your final decision. Word of mouth recommendations are important, so ask us to put you in touch with someone who has already been to the location you are considering.
- you can be sure that your fees are safe with us as we operate a Trust Account which ensures financial protection and security for your payments.
Which type of person travels with us?
The appeal of learning and travelling abroad, whilst immersing yourself in a different culture, is that it is not restricted to any age group or type of person. You may want to try a new kind of stimulating holiday abroad, or you could be a professional who needs languages for international business and trade. You could be at school, college or university as a student, teacher or lecturer, or someone who is searching for a life changing experience; perhaps you are someone who wants to travel with like-minded people, learning something in new company whilst soaking up some of the local culture.
Whatever your background or motivation, all of the above are typical Caledonia client profiles: people who share a desire to enjoy a language/culture/adventure experience overseas.
Why travel abroad?
Because it is stimulating, motivating and fun! Whether wishing to discover another culture, enjoy a different climate or learn something new, there is a whole world of opportunity out there. It can be invaluable to learn abroad by taking locally based classes - what better way to improve your skills than to be immersed in the culture of another country and to hear, speak and experience things first hand? The structured learning environment in our language and dance/music schools encourages you to work hard and to make the most of your lessons, whilst after classes you can relax and enjoy being abroad in a new cultural environment in the company of like-minded people.
When can I go?
Courses and holiday trips run all year round and most of them start on any Monday throughout the year. The majority of our language schools are closed for 2 weeks over the Christmas period although some offer special festive programmes. The peak months for language courses abroad are July and August when the average age of participants tends to be younger (18-24 years) than at other times of the year although there will still be people of all ages participating in the classes. Mature students often prefer to travel in the spring or autumn months, when schools are quieter but still offer an interesting mix of course participants.
Our group holidays to Cuba and elsewhere have set departures throughout the year although tailormade itineraries can be arranged to suit your travel dates at any other time of the year.
Bookings can be made at any time of the year. A minimum of 6-8 weeks in advance of departure is advised although it is also possible to book with less notice.
What about accommodation?
You can book accommodation through Caledonia in local homestays, self-catering student apartments, studio flats or school residences where available.
We always recommend homestay accommodation as this is the best way to gain firsthand experience of the everyday life of the country whilst staying with friendly native speakers. You will not necessarily be staying with a family (parents + children) as many hosts are single people, or an older couple whose children have already left home, but it can be very reassuring to have a home from home for the duration of your stay where you are guaranteed a welcoming and safe environment. Breakfast and a main meal per day are included and towels and bed linen are usually provided. Many of our students make friends with their hosts and keep in contact after they return home.
Shared student apartments are self-catering and offer communal facilities such as an equipped kitchen, living/sitting room and bathroom. This type of accommodation varies from fairly basic to the luxury end of the market depending on the location.
Some language schools have their own residences, offering single or twin study bedrooms with private bathrooms, laundry facilities, telephones and communal kitchens. Student residences can often be quite noisy and may lack privacy although they are an ideal way to meet other international students.
All types of accommodation are usually available from the Sunday before the course starts until the Saturday after it finishes.
Extra nights can be booked upon request according to availability.
How will the school assess my language level?
When you make a booking with us for a language course, we will ask you to rate your own level of ability. Following that, either prior to or on the first morning of the course, all students (except complete beginners) take a placement test which accurately assesses their level of ability. The test can be a combination of written and spoken exercises and your allocated class will usually start later that day or the following morning. For some locations, you will be asked to complete a language test without the use of a dictionary or grammar book in your own time at home before you depart.
Your teacher(s) will identify if your need to move to another level and will suggest this at an appropriate point during your course.
Does Caledonia book flights?
Yes, we can book flights for you, if you wish. If booking an air package holiday or flights only with Caledonia, all monies paid by you for the air holiday package or flights are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Our ATOL number is ATOL 6387, subject to eligibility. Please see our booking conditions for more information.
How is my booking protected?
In accordance with the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992, your fees are held in a trust account controlled by Mr D Anderson of 4 Stirling Road, Edinburgh EH5 3HY, thus providing financial protection and security for your payments. This means that the monies you have paid for your ground package are completely secure, as monies in the Trust Account are not touched until you return from your trip.
If booking an air holiday package or flights only with Caledonia, all monies paid by you for the air holiday package or flights are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Our ATOL number is ATOL 6387. Please see our booking conditions for more information.
The CAA offers financial protection to ensure that customers contracted with the ATOL holder do not lose the money paid for the air package holiday or flights, and are not stranded abroad in the case of tour operator or airline failure. Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. For more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to:www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate
If you have booked your flights elsewhere but book your accommodation, language course or other tuition and other ground services with us, these items are not covered by our ATOL licence. However, if our overseas partner fails before you start your trip, we guarantee that we will find you an alternative at the same price. We recommend that you take out insurance to cover you if you have to cancel your trip.
If you opt to book your own flights, you should either ensure that the agent has an ATOL licence or, if booking direct with the airline, pay by credit card or take out SAFI (Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance) to protect your money.
How do I book my trip?
It's very simple! All you have to do is contact us:
+44 (0)131 621 7721
or submit an
Payment can be over the phone by credit or debit card, or by direct bank transfer or cheque. Please note that there is a 2.3% surcharge for credit cards and we do not accept American Express. Please check our booking conditions for further information. We will take care of all the necessary administration on your behalf and will usually be able to confirm your booking within 48 hours of receiving your booking request.
Remember, if you would like to speak to someone who has already been to the location of your choice, please let us know and we should be able to put you in contact with a previous client.
The balance of payment is due 8 weeks prior to your course/ holiday start date. If you book less than 8 weeks in advance of the start date, you will be asked to pay in full at the time of booking. For any flights in the booking, payment is required in full at time of booking.
Please note that an administration fee of £35 + VAT is usually included in course fees for all locations except for short bookings or for some Cuba itineraries. All prices are subject to alteration according to exchange rate fluctuations.
If you have any further questions or would like more information, please contact us by:
+44 (0)131 621 7721
or submit an