SYLE background

SYLE (Servas Youth Language Experience) in Australia

SYLE, or Servas Youth Language Experience is a scheme where young Servas travelers, between the ages of 20 and 28 spend extended time in a Host country in order to gain language skills and to be involved in everyday life and culture of their hosts.
To this end, visitors will be offered home-stays of blocks of one or two weeks for a month total with 2-4 host families. In addition to the usual Servas hosting and hospitality, SYLE visitors will be offered extra time in conversation in both formal and informal ‘lessons’ within the home and in the community.
‘Cultural’ activities, particularly ‘language rich’ experiences with the host families, with other community members and alone will be arranged and encouraged.

At the Board of Management meeting in Canberra (28/29 March 2009) it was decided to run a pilot trial of SYLE in Australia. Pablo Chufeni, the Servas World Youth Co-ordinator, is preparing a visitor from Argentina as the first to come to Australia.
It is expected that the SYLE visitor will have some degree of proficiency in English and arrive prepared with a Dictionary, Grammar Book, and other language learning material. This seems a necessary step for the SYLE visitor in order to get the maximum benefit in the time available. ‘Starting from scratch’ is outside the scope of this type of language experience.

The plan for the pilot trial is for David Watts and Elizabeth Fudge to host for one 2-week spell and for Lindsay and Judy Chambers for the other fortnight. It is thought that these visits be after a couple of weeks ‘self-orientation’ by the SYLE student and spaced from each other by another spell of more relaxed travel and sight-seeing ‘on the road’. A stay of a couple of months in Australia would represent not only value for money so to speak, considering the costs of getting here in the first place, but also provide time for the SYLE visitor to put new-found language skills into practice.

The SYLE visitor will be responsible for any additional fees and costs associated with ‘out of home’ language activities. In addition, inconsideration of the extra cost to Hosts incurred in an extended visit, SYLE visitors will be asked to contribute $AUD100 per week to the Household Budget.

After the pilot trial, evaluation and feed-back it is planned to offer SYLE to all Australian Servas Hosts. Information on Hosting, Expectations and Responsibilities, Application Forms and a Guideline for Language Study in the SYLE Australia scheme will be available for Hosts who may wish to become involved.

April 2009