The owners of an international language school, with modest beginnings in Whistler, have walked away from a prestigious London awards ceremony with top nods as the world's best.
For its English language camps, Tamwood International won the Study Travel Magazine Star Junior Courses award for students under the age of 18. The honour essentially secures Tamwood’s spot as the number-one language summer camp provider in the world.
Tamwood also won the continental equivalent with the Star School North America Award.
The wins beat out thousands of other nominations of large chains and independents around the world.
A press release noted the awards presentation, at the Hilton Hotel in London, England, last month are akin to the Academy Awards for the language travel industry.
Tamsin Plaxton and Mathew Collingwood founded Tamwood in Whistler, 1992, as a single language camp in Creekside. Since then Tamwood grew to include traditional language schools, expanding to Vancouver, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston.
It's Whistler camp, which contributed to Tamwood's Junior Courses award last month, combines language instruction with a variety of activities specific to the region, including an adventure camp with mountain biking, rock climbing and orienteering, and an eco sustainability camp combining ecology and conservation with team building and leadership for social change.
Part of Tamwood's success is due to its association with leading institutions, and internationally recognized certifications, but also for its inclusiveness of multiple nationalities—anywhere between eight and 12. Tamwood’s co-president and managing director, Tamsin Plaxton, said this improves both the cultural experience for students, as well as their use of the English language.
“It’s easy to go into certain markets and pull a large number of students in from one country. But we put a lot of focus on quality, and steer away from that. When you’re in a classroom with only two or three people who speak your native language, you have no choice but to speak English on a regular basis.”
Go International, Tamwood’s Work and Travel provider, was also shortlisted for the STAR Work Experience Provider award. The subsidiary focuses on sending people abroad for work and volunteer opportunities.
STM Star Awards are peer-voted awards in the international education industry. STM is the flagship business publication for the study abroad sector of the travel industry.