In today’s globalized world, one of the most valuable and rewarding skills you can possess is the ability to learn languages and speak foreign tongues. Multilingualism opens you up to authentic travel experiences, new professional opportunities, greater cultural understanding and friendships with people from across the world.
Whether you’re learning your second language or your fourth, whether you want to speak a lingua franca like French or an obscure tongue like Welsh, the best way to learn a language is to be surrounded by it. The following programs not only give you a solid grounding in foreign language skills; they also immerse you in local culture and all it has to offer.
1. Learn Spanish & Hike Volcanos In Guatemala
Situated in the stunning Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala, the Cooperative School San Pedro offers far more than just Spanish language lessons. Grow your fluency in Spanish in and beyond the classroom with salsa lessons, hiking, kayaking, zip-lining and film nights, as well as lots of information on Guatemalan history. Room, meals and classes start at $160 per week.
2. Learn Arabic With A Local Family In Fez, Morocco
Study one of the world’s most widely-used and fastest-growing languages in a vibrant Moroccan city at the Arabic Language Instite of Fez. Housed in a Moorish villa, ALIF offers a variety of Arabic language courses, paired with film screenings, Arabic calligraphy courses, Moroccan cooking classes and dancing lessons. You’ll also be lodged with a Moroccan family, an invaluable language building experience. Three-week courses start at approximately $720.
3. Learn Japanese In The Heart Of Tokyo
In the midst of the Japanese capital, Coto Language Academy offers one of the most reputable Japanese language courses in the country. With a strong focus on building conversation skills, Coto combines language classes with extra activities like Kabuki workshops, café conversation sessions and excursions to the Japanese countryside. Three-week intensive courses run at approximately $700.
4. Learn Spanish & Tango In Argentina
What better place to learn Spanish and Argentina’s famous dance than in the birthplace of the tango, Buenos Aires? Langua Travel’s unique course pairs intensive Spanish language lessons with four hours of tango classes per week. There are multiple accommodation options, but the most immersive is the opportunity to homestay with an Argentinian family. Suitable for all levels of Spanish and tango ability. One week of language classes, tango and accommodation costs approximately $650.
5. Learn Italian In The Shadow Of The Duomo In Florence
With its rich artistic, literary and political past, Florence is the ideal city in which to learn the beautiful language of Italian. Located in the heart of the stunning red-brick city, the Centro Fiorenza allows you to learn Italian not only through language, cooking and drawing lessons, but also through guided visits to Florentine museums, theaters and cinemas. There are even excursions to nearby cities and specialized classes for over forties. Basic intensive courses cost approximately $300 per week (not including accommodation).
6. Learn French in the Latin Quarter of Paris
Affiliated with the prestigious Paris-Sorbonne university, the CCFS offers varied French language and culture courses for all levels. Classes are scattered across buildings in various parts of the beautiful Latin Quarter, and students can also take guided city tours, culture lectures (from French cinema to Parisian history) and specialized French literature courses. Intensive four-week courses are available in the summer, but the standard offering is a semester-long language course, which costs around $3000 (accommodation not included).
7. Learn Russian With A Host Family In Saint Petersburg
Join the 170 million other people in the world who speak Russian by taking a course at CIEE in Saint Petersburg. You’ll be immersed into Russian language and culture through intensive language classes, a wide range of cultural excursions and living with a local Russian family. The course also offers Russian and Georgian cooking classes, museum visits and a trip to Moscow. Courses run on a term basis and sit at around $17,000, all expenses included.
8. Learn Mandarin in China’s Most Populous City, Shanghai
Mandarin is the world’s most widely spoken language, with around 2 billion speakers, and therefore one of the most useful foreign languages to learn. Get a grasp of this popular and complex language while immersing yourself in the bustling culture of China’s most populous city, Shanghai. Mandarin Rocks offers a variety of Chinese language courses, as well as an immersive summer camp, workplace internship opportunities and homestay options to practise your Chinese with a Shanghai family. Two-week classes start at approximately $600.
9. Learn Welsh On A Remote Retreat In Northern Wales
Welsh may not be the most widely applicable of languages to learn, but it is a fascinating, rich and complex tongue. Located in the stunning Nant Gwrtheyrn retreat, on the Llyn peninsula in Northern Wales, students can learn one of the world’s oldest languages while staying in Nant Gwrtheyrn’s quaint miners’ cottages. Sample traditional Welsh cuisine and explore the property’s period house in between language classes. Five-day courses with full board are approximately $800.
10. Learn German In Historic Berlin
Immerse yourself in the rich, artistic culture of Berlin all while mastering the language of German. Located in the trendy East Berlin area of Prenzlauer Berg, GLS offers multiple German language courses with the opportunity to stay on campus, as well as extra activities like bar and gallery crawls, Berlin walking tours and trips to other German cities like Leipzig or Potsdam. One week of standard language classes (not including accommodation) costs around $240.
Have you studied a language immersively overseas? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.
By Gemma King
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