Language Schools New Zealand’s set to finally reopen its doors today, with new global reach and environmental goals.
The Queenstown school first shut during 2020’s lockdown, and while funding allowed a temporary reopening later that year for
free classes to the local non-English speaking community, it’s remained mostly non-operational till now.
Owner and director Guy Hughes says it feels awesome to finally be able to welcome students back to the classroom.
‘‘It was quite a reunion [last] Monday when the teachers all came back together … [they’re] ready to start … we’re thrilled.’’
He says the hiatus allowed the school to refine operations and introduce new ideas to their mission to be ‘‘the best language school in New Zealand’’, including a booking system upgrade, and a focus on decreasing their environmental footprint.
‘‘People need to get on a plane to get here but once they’re here, we see ourselves as one of the lowest-impact businesses around, and so we are removing paper from the whole operation.’’
But the biggest development is expanding the reach of their tuition with new online and recorded classes.
‘‘We’ve had this little language school that everybody loves in little old Queenstown, but it’s very limited in what it can do in terms of turnover and impact on people, and now we’re going global so we can offer online courses.
‘‘Imagine a student in Japan, who’s been here for three or four months, they’ve got great relationships with their teacher and the students — they can go home, dial in and join the class from Tokyo.’’
With capacity for 100 students, a dozen students will start today — that’s expected to almost treble by the end of October.
While acknowledging staffing’s in crisis locally, Hughes says he’s been lucky during his 30 years of running the school that when staff are needed ‘‘they just seem to walk through the door’’.
An ex-student from 2018 has come on board as the school’s new manager, three previous teachers are returning, and another ex-student from 2016, now with a masters in English language teaching, has also joined the team.
The school also facilitates homestays with local families and has several student accommodation properties around Queenstown.
‘‘The experience that students have living together in an authentic NZ flatting-style situation … is possibly the experience that is
talked about most fondly [for years to come].’’