Extracurricular activities can be excellent opportunities for students to learn foreign languages in less formal contexts. It is common practice to organise end-of-course meals or celebrations as close-up out-of-school activities but why not do the same when a new course begins.
As a student in Kew Gardens myself (London 1992) we got invited on arrival to a garden party after the first day at the Language School. What happens in these informal meetings is not only that you get to know your classmates during more natural encounters but also you learn what cannot be found in books, for example, expressions like «You can’t have the cake and eat it» and most interestingly you can learn a lot about British humour. It is all part of the Learning process.
Britain’s true national dish
So with Intermediate to Advanced students an evening out can be organised as an outdoor activity at the beginning of a new academic year as well. Our choice of venue for quite a few years were Indian restaurants following the fact that Chicken Tikka Masala is popularly referred to as «Britain’s true national dish» and Curry Houses, as they are also called, are easily found in our area.
No preparations needed for this activity in particular. Just enjoy the company and let it be. The students will be learning from the moment they arrive and introduce themselves to then sit at the table, read the menu and order their courses, until they part with a good picture of their new classmates for the year.
Needless to say L2 is spoken from start to finish!