‘An outstanding language school’ – online course review

We were delighted to receive this wonderful review from Victoria from Germany, who recently studied online with us. Thank you, Victoria, and we wish you the best of luck with your future studies!

From July 20th to 7th August 2020 I was lucky to attend an Online Intensive English Language Course at Advanced Level for University Students at Hilderstone College sponsored by the German National Scholarship Foundation. Moreover, I enriched my learning experience with an additional IELTS preparational course which helped me achieve a C2 level score and enabled me to successfully apply at British universities (as a Visiting Student). In these three weeks, I experienced excellent teaching and support from my teachers who managed the challenging task to teach online without us noticing the difficulty. Not only did they come up with innovative concepts, they also encouraged us to participate in discussions with native speakers and improved my confidence and oral fluency significantly. As our class was already familiar with basic grammatical structures, I enjoyed the chance to engage with language at a deeper level, focusing, for example, on more complex topics such as information flow. Additionally, I highly appreciated the teachers´ effort to focus on every student individually by offering one-to-one teaching or using their expertise to improve our CVs as we could always ask for their help.

Apart from class-time activities, I vividly remember the social programme which provided fun activities and valuable insights into British culture. Now I am not only capable of discussing grammatical structures but also the quality of British food or the peculiarities of British Pub culture.

All in all, I can highly recommend attending a course at Hilderstone College as an outstanding language school but most importantly as a centre for international friendships!

Victoria Sievers

OUR ONLINE COURSES: ‘I would like to repeat this experience.’

Our latest feedback for our online courses has been fantastic, and we would like to share some of our students’ comments with you!

‘Very professional, a friendly and experienced teacher, a lot of content.’

‘I liked the lessons, and I also liked the fact that we didn’t spend forever on one thing, but that it went on quickly. I also liked the fact that in the breakout rooms they paid attention to what level you were at, which was more productive when you were speaking.’

‘Quite a detailed enrolment form, but very friendly help from Natacha (Enrolment Officer).

‘The enrolment process was very well structured and every single step was understandable.’

‘When I had questions before the start of the course and sent them per email, I always got such friendly answers.’

‘The communication was very clear and there weren’t any problems concerning the administration.’

‘I have made significant progress.’

‘I would like to repeat this experience.’

‘The combination of Zoom and Google Drive was very useful for our course.’

‘Zoom was very good because there are so many possibilities like breakout rooms, surveys, etc.’

‘The use of break-out rooms really provided some variety during the lessons.’

‘We received a variety of different materials and additional materials, which we could use to get further practice.’

‘We decided some topics together, so we learned what we wanted/needed.’

‘It was a great experience! I did not expect a course which is adapted to our own needs, that was really surprising for me. Therefore, it was a huge benefit for me.’

‘I learned a lot during these three weeks. Those parts when I presented something or we discussed were those when I actually learned the most. Our Hilderstone teacher did a very good job and identified our needs very well.’

‘The course really helped me to grow more confident in speaking English and I very much enjoyed the exercises and discussions. The revision of grammar was really helpful as well.’

‘While the lessons comprised plenty of speaking exercises, we were also encouraged to hand in our writing for correction.’

‘The content was adjusted to the needs of the participants. That was very good.’

‘I really enjoyed my lessons at Hilderstone College, despite the fact that everything had to be done online. The teaching platform worked surprisingly well for me, mainly because our tutor Jon adapted his style of teaching perfectly to the new situation. What really contributed to my learning experience was the way the content of our course was tailored to the needs of our group.’

‘Liz (tutor) found the perfect balance of theoretical input and practice. I really enjoyed the lessons. These three weeks have passed way too fast! Although I was unfortunately not able to meet anybody in person, we had the possibility to get to know each other. I had a great time.’

‘It was a good mix of input papers, exercises and also of writing, listening and watching tasks.’

‘Jon tailored the lessons specifically to our needs and provided additional material if needed.’

‘I liked that we students got grammar sheets and exercises with regard to these. So, I will be able to learn the topics again, if I forget some of them.’

‘I liked the mixture of grammar, speaking and writing. It is a great idea to offer lessons, but also homework, extra activities, reflective journals etc. Therefore, everybody is able to adapt the learning process to daily life.’

‘Great topics and interactive lessons! Thanks for all the material as well. This will be great to check my language/grammar later on. In the middle of week three I had some trouble phrasing a German sentence, which is a level of immersion into the English language I hadn’t expected for an online-course. Overall a great course!’

‘Very good mixture of different types of exercises concerning all topics I wanted to work on.’

‘Rachel (tutor) did the best job and was super flexible and supportive!’



Cambridge English course review: “Coming to Broadstairs was definitely the best choice.”

Are you thinking about studying for the Cambridge First or Advanced examination? Then let our experienced teachers help you! Here is some wonderful feedback from one of our Advanced students, Christian Hiemisch, who studied with us back in February, and wanted to thank his teacher, David.

‘This February I had the unique opportunity to improve my English skills at Hilderstone. Coming to Broadstairs was definitely the best choice. It not only has left me with delightful memories, but also it has fostered my personal development.
Back in Germany, after a few months of preparation, I took the C1 Advanced exam in June. I felt well-equipped and confident as I knew that I could rely on my abilities and particularly build upon the things I learnt at Hilderstone. Eventually, the exam day was a tough ride and left me with ambivalent feelings. But all of them suddenly disappeared when I got my result in late July: I passed the exam undoubtedly.
Therefore, I want to thank you and the whole Hilderstone staff again for the valuable experience, the high-quality training and your genuine advice offered to me during my three-week stay. You’ve been a great help to reach my goal. Now I meet all the entry requirements for my favoured traineeship programme at the European Parliament in Brussels and hope that my application will be successful.’


College to re-open on 7th September!

At last, we have positive news. We aim to re-open the College for face-to-face courses from 7th September.

We are receiving enquiries for September 2020 and so we would like to make 7th September our date to look forward to. We wish to assure everyone that precautions will be put in place to help protect the health and safety of all students, hosts, staff and the local community.

It is possible the student experience may be a little different at first as restrictions are gradually lifted and we return to a more normal way of life, but we are committed to providing the best possible course for our students. Class sizes will be smaller and our social programme will be modified to respect social distancing and other guidelines. However, we aim to offer a busy programme and to make each student’s stay beneficial and enjoyable.

We are looking forward to re-opening our doors once again and to welcoming students and staff back to Hilderstone!

Former Hilderstone student publishes her first book!

We are very proud that one of our former students, Dr. Zahra Tavassoli Zea, has published her first book, ‘Balzac Reframed: The Classical and Modern Faces of Éric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette’. Zahra studied here in 2011 and later obtained a PhD in History and Philosophy of Art from the University of Kent in Canterbury. Congratulations, Zahra!

Click on the video link below to hear Zahra talk about her book.


Teacher Sue’s trip to Russia, January 2019

Recently one of our teachers, Sue, was invited to teach a small group of teenagers in St Petersburg, Russia, on a trip organised by Perspective Language School. Here is Sue’s account of her trip, with some great photos.

Hi everyone, my name’s Sue and I am one of the teachers at Hilderstone College. I have been working here for nearly five years and I love it!

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to go to St Petersburg in Russia for the college to teach English to a group of teenage students from the Orenburg area in the South of Russia. It was a special project arranged by their school for them to combine learning English with a winter holiday including the period from New Year to the Russian Orthodox religious celebration of Christmas Day on the 7 January. Due to that I had a second Christmas with the students and we enjoyed all the lit up Christmas trees and beautiful sparkling lights in the city and after lessons on Christmas Day, exchanged Christmas presents, played games and compared Christmas traditions in our different countries.

The students were lovely and worked hard in the morning before daily excursions to historical sights, museums and palaces like the Hermitage in Palace Square. Everyday we met our super guide Viktoria, who is Russian and lives in the city… but she spoke in English all the time, which the students had requested so they could practise their English all day.

Of course, we also found time for shopping in Nevsky prospect, which is like Oxford Street in London, and at the Christmas Markets. We did a lot of walking in the snow and the lowest temperature was -16, and we went on the metro every day especially Admiralteyskaya, which is one of the deepest metro stations in the world at 86 metres below ground. We timed it and it took 5 minutes to reach the platform!!

All in all, it was an amazing trip to a beautiful and cosmopolitan city and I am looking forward to meeting some of the students again when they come to Hilderstone in the Spring for some more English lessons!


Lynne Hoenes, our Head of Marketing, talks about meeting our partners abroad.

A part of my role as Head of Marketing is to attend workshops and exhibitions designed to meet new educational tour operators.  These events are a wonderful opportunity to meet new partners from around the world – all in one room!

I pre-make appointments and at the event, each educational tour operator comes to my table for a 20 – 30 minute meeting.  In that time, I need to make Hilderstone stand out as being a language school they would like to send students to.  Of course, there is a lot of follow-up afterwards and getting to know each other on a professional basis.

Our partner educational tour operators are paramount to our student recruitment activity and have a very important role in helping students to enrol in the best possible school to meet their personal needs and goals.


We are pleased to announce that the FREE ARRIVAL TRANSFER offer will be extended for courses starting before 31 January 2019.

This may be by shuttle bus or by taxi, depending on flight time and which London airport.

The promotion will be available for all new individual enrolments on courses starting before 31 January 2019.

Bookings must be of a minimum of 2 weeks on the following courses:
Intensive English
Cambridge English

• Bookings shorter than 2 weeks
• Bookings received before 1 November 2018
• Bookings from UK-based sponsors
• Closed groups

Conditions apply. Please see our website: http://www.hilderstone.ac.uk/

NEW: Hilderstone College promotional videos

We are delighted to announce the launch of two brand new Hilderstone College promotional videos (90-second montage and 3-minute video with student interviews and comments). The videos were filmed in Broadstairs this summer with the participation of staff and students. We hope you like them and welcome your comments!

See the shorter, ‘montage’ video here.

For the full-length version, click on the link:  https://youtu.be/d6xDQjI6tOU




We are delighted to announce the news of a special award presented to Tessa Woodward, who many of our readers will remember as a key member of the teacher training team at Hilderstone for many years.  Tessa retired from Hilderstone in 2016 but has remained active in the profession, editing the Teacher Trainer and maintaining her connections with professionals from all over the world.


Tessa attended a ceremony in London on 18th June and was presented with the British Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2018.  This is recognition of Tessa’s huge contribution to the profession through her teaching, training of teachers and teacher trainers, writing and publishing activities.  At Hilderstone we are especially grateful to her for the years of service that she gave to the College and the work she did with hundreds of course participants.  Many will also remember the support she gave to dozens of work colleagues in her capacity as the College’s professional development co-coordinator.  All at Hilderstone congratulate her on her fantastic achievement.


For a video of the ceremony, further tributes to Tessa and her acceptance speech, please click here.


Ian Johnson