Want to travel and learn the lingo at the same time?
We reveal how to take your language skills to the next level while enjoying an unforgettable holiday.
Spend part of the time boning up on your chosen tongue and then enjoy the usual benefits of a break away from home.
There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in a culture and surrounding yourself with the people of a country to learn a language.
Read on to find out more.
With centres in Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, Marbella, Malaga, Salamanca and many more, Don Quijote offers a feast of course options such as summer camps, family groups, over-50s learners, students, personal tuition, winter breaksand gap-year learning. Courses vary in length, including ‘intensive’ and ‘super-intensive’ options.
AF is a well-established not-for-profit organisation with a large network of French language schools around France. It encourages learners to stay with a matched host family for complete immersion in the culture and language, in addition to the many hours of classes you get per week.
EF Language Centre
EF’s Berlin centre boasts an excellent city location, and offers good value for money with a solid focus on social and cultural immersion. The no-surprises fee includes German lessons and your accommodation, whether you stay with a local family or prefer something more independent.
JaLS is an award-winning immersive Japanese language school with courses in Sapporo (during summer) and Kyoto. The school offers short-term courses alongside cultural experiences so that students can learn as much as possible.
Scuola Leonardo da Vinci
This school, with places in Rome, Florence, Milan, Turin and Viareggio, is authorised by the Italian ministry of education. More importantly, the vibe is positive, welcoming and fun. A range of learning is on offer with the school, from one-week courses to super-intensive small groups and family classes. Who can resist a course calledLa Dolce Vita?
Known fondly as the Nant to Welsh people, this centre has guided adults through the intricacies of the Welsh language in its remote location on the Llyn Peninsula in north Wales. It specialises in teaching adults Welsh as a second language and, found on the site of an old quarry and former village, it’s a good spot to immerse yourself in the history and language of Wales.
- If you’re still unsure about what language to tackle, have a look at the ingenious Lingoo. It works like a dating agency for language learners and matches you with host families, language teachers or exchange partners all over the world. Prices vary as Lingoo puts learners in touch with individual teachers and homestays but it’s great for tailor-made options.
Jon Strachan chose the Alpine French School in the ski resort of Morzine to brush up his Duolingo learning.
‘I picked an intensive course, three hours a day for five days, which proved to be a perfect balance, says Jon.
‘My head was full of new words and conversation, but I also had afternoons free to explore the mountains, go hiking, swimming or mountain biking. In winter, you can combine it with skiing.
‘I was placed in an advanced beginners group after a telephone appraisal – a somewhat terrifying experience, having given up French at school when I was 13. This is a group for people who have a reasonable amount of vocabulary and a grasp of grammar basics, but not a lot else.
‘I found it challenging – the future tense is my sworn enemy – but there was a lot of practical vocabulary based on people and towns. My favourite new word is éolienne, which means ‘wind turbine’.
‘My classmates – a group of British, Australian, Dutch, New Zealand, Swiss and Chinese adults – and I all butchered the same words in completely different ways. Luckily our French teacher, from outside Paris, really knew how every intonation and phrase should sound.
‘The classes were all about talking French in pairs and groups – and felt nicely immersive. There was a lot of laughter and fun and it wasn’t like being back at school with tedious, long lists of verbs to learn.
‘Outside school, I tried to use my French where I could. The classes helped me realise that it was OK to be a learner and gave me the confidence to go out and practise. Apart from my new friends and the chance to explore the area, I also feel a hundred times more fluent than before.’