+ 44 1271 862834 | contact@country-cousins.com
65 Years of Learning 2017-08-02T15:51:59+00:00

How it Started

1951

Betty Stickney started Country Cousins in 1951 in Surrey. She had relatives in France and Italy, who wanted linguistic stays.

Therefore, the ‘Cousins’ were coming to the Country.

1964

John Gale was the Headmaster of Ilfracombe College in North Devon. Betty Stickney asked John and Pat Gale to become they agents in North Devon since the linguistic stays in host families were becoming more and more popular.

1970

Betty, knowing that John Gale was a Headmaster, asked him to arrange language courses in Ilfracombe, using the local college.

Ownership & Vision

1972

Betty Stickney retires and sells the business to John and Pat Gale since English courses with host families in Ilfracombe proved to be very popular.

John and Pat Gale now use the Ilfracombe College during the summer for lessons with students staying with local host families.

Channel School and Second Generation

1980

John and Pat Gale sell the business to John and Tricia Swan (Tricia is Pat’s daughter). That same year, Channel School is purchased, an old nurses residence that they turn into an English school.

1981

Jose Brinkmann, aged 9, attends the first ‘Young Learners’ course in Ilfracombe at Channel School. He likes it so much that he returns for every summer for two months until he is 17.

1982

Discovering Devon and Tennis programmes are introduced.

1985

Country Cousins becomes accredited by the British Council.

1988

The Adventure Sports programme is introduced. It is still the most popular sports programme to this day.

1995

Jose starts at York University and works for Country Cousins during the summers.

1997

Riding programme is introduced.

A Dream Come True and Third Generation

2006

Jose Brinkmann and Maribel Cabrera, who were in London working for Ford and American Express, buy the business from John and Tricia Swan.

Jose liked the school so much that he bought it! His dream came true.

2008

Surfing programme is introduced. This is now the second most popular sports programme.

2009

Football programme is introduced.

2010

Street Dance programme is introduced.

2011

The PALs scheme is created which proves incredibly successful with the local teenagers.

The three generations get-together to celebrate the 60th anniversary.

2012

Beach Volleyball programme is introduced following the success of that sport in the London Olympic Games that year.

2014

Country Cousins wins the Global ELTons award by the British Council in Local Innovation for the PALs scheme.

2015

Channel School of English becomes a Trinity College Examining Centre and Country Cousins starts residential courses at Bideford.

2016

The Table Tennis programme is introduced.

2017

The Sea Water Sports programme is introduced.

Country Cousins celebrates 65 years of excellence.