1. Is transportation provided from/to the airport?
Yes. Upon students’ arrival at a New York airport (this includes 3 airports: LGA – LaGuardia Airport, JFK – John F Kennedy Airport in New York, and EWR – Newark Airport in New Jersey), our bus will be waiting and will take them to their student dorms directly. At the end of each Our Programs, our bus will take the students to the airport of departure city as well.
2. What is the local area like?
The local area our students will stay in is the town of Nyack in Rockland county. Rockland county is the smallest county by area in the state of New York outside of New York City. This is a very leafy suburban area and many Rockland residents commute daily to work in New York City.
Rockland County is designated as a Preserve America Community, and roughly one-third of the county is parkland. According to the 2000 census, Rockland ranks 9th on the list of highest-income counties by median household income in the United States.
Our students will be privileged to stay in the beautiful campus of Nyack College which is situated right by the shore of the well-known Hudson River overlooking the calm water, sailing boats and the Tappan Zee Bridge. This college has a long history of 130 years.
The village of Nyack is a beautiful small town that’s ranked top ten best small towns in America. There are many restaurants, boutique art shops. It is a college town too with Nyack College and the Alliance Theological Seminary.
Only 2 miles from our campus is the Palisades Center Mall, often referred to as the Palisades Mall, in West Nyack. This is the eighth largest shopping mall in the United States by total area. This shopping center has 400 stores and attracts 20 million visitors a year.
3. What kind of supervision will students have?
All activities are supervised by staff members. At night, in addition to the campus wide security guard, we have a Residence Advisor (RA) who stays with the students in the same building. The RA speaks Chinese as well as English.
4. Will my child be safe?
Yes. Your child’s safety is our number one concern as well. All excursions will be transported by professional drivers from transportation companies that are licensed and adequately insured. At night, there will be at least one bilingual person on site in the dorm building. There will also be a campus security guard on call 24/7. This Christian college is a very safe area.
5. Is the campus far from medical facilities if my child needs to see a doctor?
Our residence campus is in the village of Nyack. It is 1.2 km to Nyack Hospital – a local public hospital. All Blue Sky excursions scheduled are within reasonable reach to a city or town. Unless specifically disclosed, there is no planned trips to the wilderness.
6. Does the program buy health insurance for students?
Yes. For each student, Blue Sky will purchase limited medical and accidental insurance coverage.
7. What will happen in the case of a medical emergency?
While on campus, the main student dorm building’s front desk is staffed from 8:00am until 12:00 midnight. There is a security guard on call 24/7 in case of emergency. Our campus is 0.7 miles away from Nyack Hospital.
If we are outside of campus, at least one of our staff on duty is trained to minister first aid and CPR. We have established procedures to handle medical emergency situations. Our activities are either on campus, or in New York City and vicinity. Ambulances and police are readily available to our aid. We do not take our students to remote rural areas.
Thus if a student needs to see a doctor or go to a hospital, day or night, there will be a responsible adult present to make the necessary phone calls and ensure the student receives medical assistance without delay.
8. What is the program policy on visitors?
Relatives and friends of our students are welcome to visit them during specified visitation days and hours. Students will be notified of such days and times during orientation. However, visitors will not be permitted to stay overnight with our students. All visitors will be required to sign in and sign out.
9. Can students leave campus during the day with a relative?
No. Relatives may not take our students outside of campus day or night. If there are special circumstances which warrant such, the relative needs to get written approval from the Program Director.
10. Can you tell me more about the food provided?
Our students are provided three meals a day. Nyack College dining services will prepare our students’ meals. The food is served as buffet style. Students can eat as much as they want. The menu usually suits a wide variety of ethnic groups.
11. What facilities and amenities are available to students?
Summer students will enjoy two fields, one outdoor and one indoor, and two gymnasiums. We will also make use of local parks. Students will have WIFI on campus. Our students can use the student center. There are laundry machines available.
12. Are the student dorms air conditioned?
Some buildings are and some are not. Register early so we can reserve the air conditioned apartments for you.
13. Are linens provided?
Yes. Each linen package includes one pillow, one pillow case, two sheets, one blanket, two towels, and two washcloths.
Our facility host Nyack College will provide clean linens to our students once a week.
14. Will students have roommates?
Yes, most of them do. It’s usually double occupancy. If due to medical reasons a student needs a single room, that may be considered with additional fees. It is recommended that students have roommates as it provides an opportunity to make friends, learn to get along with someone outside of classroom, and learn to be independent.
15. Is it safe to stay with a host family?
Yes. Our host families are strictly selected and pre-trained to host our students.
16. Can parents request that their child not to participate in a particular activity/trip?
Such requests must be made before the Program begins. Once into the Blue Sky Programs, all students are required to attend all classes and activities unless for health reasons with the Program Director’s approval.
17. Will students need to pass exams?
For ESL courses, we will have a diagnostic test at the beginning for placement in the right level for them. At the end, we will have another test to measure students’ improvement. During the Program, we may have small quizzes to aid learning.
18. My English is not very good/very good – will I be overwhelmed/bored in class?
No. You will be placed in a level suitable for you. If you have a weaker starting point, our experienced teachers will help you learn with a lot of encouragement. If your English is ahead of the majority of the class, our wonderful English teachers will give you enough materials to learn and projects to do so you will not be bored.
19. How much pocket money should students take with them?
Meals and accommodation, as well as Program fees are included in the tuition fees you have paid. Pocket money will be for the student’s own spending such as gifts, clothing etc. Parents have to decide if their child is mature enough to handle large amounts of cash. Generally US$300 to US$500 maybe enough.
20. Is it recommended that students bring a cell phone/laptop/other electronic devices?
We want to create an environment for our students to have a true immersion experience where they will hear English, speak English and surround themselves in a totally American environment.
As such, we have some requests from the students and families.
1. Please help us minimize distraction to the student’s learning. Please keep in mind, their learning happens everywhere, not just in classroom.
2. That includes minimal phone calls, chats, emails and messages during their stay with us.
3. The students will be provided with enough activities that will require their full attention, individual time to think, preparation for discussions etc. as such, we well ask the students to please take a break from your normal social media involvement. Please don’t post your photos everyday for your family and friends at home to see. Instead, keep them until you return home and them share all of your photos with them.
Thus, this is what we will do:
• Cell phone: Students’ cell phones from China will be stored away most of the time during the Program. They will be given opportunities to contact home.
• Laptop: It is not necessary to bring a laptop. In fact, we recommend that students do not bring them. Blue Sky will provide students opportunities to check and write emails.
• Other electronic device such as iPad: it is unnecessary. We recommend no. If you are used to certain music on your machine, we’d like to let you know we have prepared a lot of good American music for you during our Program.
• Contacting home and vice versa: For short term programs within two weeks, we will have the students call home after arrival and again the day before departure from America. For longer term courses, we will have student contact home on the weekend. We ask that the students refrain from contacting home too frequently so as to best utilize the immersion opportunity. We ask for parents’ cooperation to provide our students a true English immersion experience. Frequent contacts to and from home could be distracting to their focus and experience. Blue Sky will keep parents posted about the children’s activities frequently.
21. How will I best be able to stay in touch with my child/my parents?
Our Program Director will send out communications to parents/guardians daily. If you have urgent family issues to let the student know, please contact the Program Director and she will relay your message to the student.
22. What will students need to pack?
Accepted students will be provided with a suggested packing list.
23. Is there an application fee?
Yes. A $30 application fee is required and non-refundable.
24. Is the air ticket included in program fees?
No, it is not. Expenses outside of the United States are not included. Our fees include all Program related traveling and fees within the United States.
25. What benefits will the program give for graduates of the program?
We will keep in touch with our alumni through newsletters. We may ask some of them to contribute to our online community by writing an article. We will help organizing alumni networking events to help them maintain ties and continue practicing English. We will be available to offer support to graduates. We want them to know that they can always contact us if they need help.
26. Will attending Blue Sky programs benefit students in applications to American schools?
We strongly believe our graduates will have a distinct advantage in their application to an American school. Our 4 to 6 week program will help the student get prepared to adapt to the American learning environment nicely. Our program will prepare students well at criteria important to most American schools – language and communication skills, extracurricular and social events, etc. Participation in our Programs will also help them succeed in their preparation for TOEFL and GRE when they apply for university.
27. If my child needs to take TOEFL while in America, will Blue Sky provide such an opportunity?
Yes. We will try to accommodate such requests. Fees are additional.