Learning a foreign language while on holiday? Now that sounds like THE perfect way to pick up a foreign language if you ask me! I’ll be looking at 5 reasons why you should consider heading off on your own language holiday, and I’ll show you how you can arrange this fantastic experience for yourself!
Want to learn a new language? Then you should definitely consider doing a language course abroad! Trips such as this really are the best way to learn your language of choice in a unique way. Whether it’s French, Spanish, Arabic or Chinese, there’s no denying the fact that the best way to pick up a language is by spending time in that country. It makes sense really – why learn French in London when you could learn it with native speakers in Paris?
Today I’ll be looking at 5 very good reasons why you should consider taking a language course abroad, plus all the practical information you’ll need to arrange these sorts of trips by yourself!
Language holidays – the way to learn a foreign language!
There are endless reasons to learn a foreign language, especially when you can do it abroad! A few of my friends travelled all the way to South America to learn Spanish and they’ve always said how it was one of the best experiences they’ve ever had! It doesn’t matter if you’re a student wanting to get more out of your gap year or if you’re a bit older and finally wanted to learn a foreign language – there’s a course out there to suit you!
Together with language travel specialists from ESL Languages, I’ve delved into a world full of new experiences. Here are my top 5 reasons why should be putting this on your bucket list. And if you’re finding yourself itching to head off on an adventure, I’ll be going into a bit more detail as to the kinds of courses on offer and how you can arrange your own trip. Who knows, maybe you’ll be chilling on the beaches of Barcelona learning some Spanish! ¡Qué bien!
Reason 1 – Holidays!
As a travel blogger I obviously had to put this reason at the top of my list! If you go on a foreign language course abroad, you’ll realise that it hardly feels like you’re studying. In between classes, you’re just on holiday and free to roam around and chat with locals! Imagine learning Italian in the ancient city of Rome. Once your lessons are over you can head out and get some serious sightseeing done, such as exploring the impressive ruins of the Roman Forum. Plus you’ve got loads of opportunities to practice the words and phrases you’ve just picked up. Sounds good, don’t you think?
Reason 2 – Immersion
You’ve probably heard this before, but I can personally confirm this: the best way to learn a foreign language is to be in a country where it’s spoken. The TV, the radio and even passers-by – the language will be everywhere and you’ll be amazed by how much you pick up passively. It’s almost as if you’re brain is like a sponge, soaking it all in without you even realising. After all, learning a language isn’t just about cramming in loads of words and memorising set phrases. By being around people that speak the language, you’ll see for yourself how it’s really spoken amongst natives and pick up on subtle details such as intonation, body language and even slang. This is next-level stuff that you don’t often find in classroom textbooks!
In addition to this you’ll also learn a language much faster if you only hear and speak that language. When you’re learning French at college or university you’ll be switching back to English as soon as you’re done with the classes. But being France means that you’re constantly picking up on little things outside of the classroom. 24/7 learning – the easy way!
Reason 3 – The people
A language course abroad isn’t just like any regular course you can do. It’s an experience! During your time learning the language you’ll meet so many new people and make some great friends along the way. Whether it’s other international students on your course or even a host family you’re staying with, you’ll experience first-hand what day-to-day life really is like in the country and share some fantastic stories from all over the world.
Reason 4 – Your CV
Language courses aren’t just fun – they’re useful as well. Not just because of the fact that you’re picking up another language, but also because courses such as this look fantastic on your CV. Employers always see foreign language skills as a big plus, and if you’ve gone out on your own volition to live in a foreign country and learn some of the language it says so much about your character. It shows that you’ve got initiative, confidence and the openness to embrace foreign cultures.
Reason 5 – The culture
Last but not least, reason 5 is a big one: culture! When you go on holiday as a tourist, a lot of the time we are focusing more on sightseeing with your friends and family. If you’re going on a language course abroad however, you’ll have many more reasons and opportunities to actually get chatting to the locals, especially if you decide to stay with a host family.
You’ll also find that you’ll want to keep testing your newly-acquired language skills! So the next time you pop out for a coffee or sit down for lunch somewhere, get chatting to the people there! More often than not, you’ll find that making the effort to speak their native language goes a long way and they’ll love to share some insights with you about their country and culture.
On top of all that, the language school that will be running your course will be sure to have all sorts of activities arranged for you to introduce you to the culture in a fun and interesting way. For example you’ll see many language schools offering cooking lessons. Now I always believe that food is a great way to get acquainted with a country – so imagine making your own hummus and baklava when studying Arabic! Sounds delicious!
Different types of language courses
Hopefully now that you’ve seen my list of the reasons why you should be considering a language course, you’ll be starting to think about the practical side of things. How do you arrange these sorts of trips? What kinds of language courses are there? Can I learn Spanish as a complete beginner? Or are there courses for more advanced levels? I’ll be answering as many questions as possible with this article, but if you’re still unsure then just leave a comment below!
Courses for adults
This is the most popular type of course. It doesn’t matter if you’re 25 or 45, want a 1-week intensive crash course or would rather take things slow over 4 weeks – the adult learning category has an endless amount of courses going. You can have a tailor-made language trip put together based on your personal wishes. Whatever your preference, wherever you want to go.
These are aimed at people looking to get away for an extended period of time. Students looking to head off on a gap year before or after their studies is a good example. But that’s not to say that adults can’t go off on a longer trip either. You could be between jobs, or you might be considering on moving abroad and want to pursue a language course alongside your work.
Some people will be looking for something that’s a bit more business-orientated. For example, you might be sent out to Lyon for six months to work on a project for your company. While you’re there you might want to pick up some French along the way, but since you’re tied to a busy work schedule you’ll probably won’t be sure if you even have the time for classes. Luckily there are language schools that tailor the courses to suit busy people and will adept the courses to fit around your professional life.
It’s scientifically proven – the best language learners are kids! Young children are able to pick up foreign languages almost effortlessly, so with a language course aimed for children and teenagers you’ll be giving them a huge head-start. Plus there’s loads of extra-curricular activities to keep the little ones entertained, meaning that learning a language will never be a chore for them.
Whether you want to start a career in education or want to expand on your own skills as a qualified teacher, there are courses out there specialising in education and pedagogy. You’ll be able to combine a professional course with the experience of living and studying abroad. Even if you’re a native speaker of the language your teach, this course can still help you refine and hone your skills.
The next time you go on holiday with the whole family, why not take part in a joint language course? It’s a valuable experience for both young and old. Every family member can choose their own programme and what they want to focus on, but at the end of the day you’ll be able to share what you’ve learned during the day. This is also very useful for families looking to emigrate to a foreign country, enabling them to get a good foundation for their new life and feel much more at home in their new home country!
You’re never too old to learn! With language courses aimed specifically for people over 50, you’ll be finally picking up the language you’ve always wanted to learn, all at your own pace. Together with your peers you’ll be immersed in the language and culture. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how quickly you end up picking up the language! It’s also a great way to travel to unique destinations with professional guidance and support at every step. “Too old” – hah!
Arranging a language course abroad
Now that you’ve got a good overview of the different kinds of courses available, it’s time to start arranging the trip and pack your suitcase! However before you start rushing off, here are answers to some questions you still might be having. These are the sorts of things you should be asking yourself:
What language do I want to learn?
Which kind of course will suit me?
How much time will I have (a week, a month, a year)?
What is my budget?
If you can answer those four questions, then you can start looking for the destinations that you’d be interested in. And you’d still have loads of opportunities open to you – if you wanted to learn Spanish, you could head to Spain or even consider a country in South America! Of course to help you decide, your budget and time will be a big factor. Generally speaking, shorter, more intensive courses are best done closer to home. But if you’ve got the budget and time for a longer stay, then you could look further afield to regions such as South America or even Asia!
It’s also worth considering your current level you have in your target language. Are you a complete beginner, or would you feel comfortable going straight into a course aimed for more advanced speakers? It can be pretty difficult determining your level, but luckily lots of language courses will involve a preliminary assessment so you can figure out exactly what level you’re at – and receive recommendations for a suitable course.
Book your language course!
If you’re itching to set off on a different kind of adventure, then I can only recommend heading over to ESL Languages’ website for more information! You can send off a request for a brochure and get in touch with experts who can help you plan the ultimate language learning experience abroad. Have fun!