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What to Look for in a Language School Vacation

Language schools
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

It sounds like a dream come true–a week learning French in Paris, or a month immersing yourself in Spanish when you’re not sunning yourself on a Costa Rican beach. A language learning vacation can add an interesting element to travel and can help you develop a great new marketable skill as well, but not all language schools and vacations are created equal. Below are a few things to take into account when you start to research your vacation.


Where in the world do you want to go, and what do you want to learn? There’s more to this question than you might think. Think about your travel style and what you need to feel comfortable. A language school vacation is nothing like traveling abroad with kids, so pick a location that suits the purpose of your travels. 

Learning a language is hard enough without throwing in a dialect that’s different from the one that you’re most interested in learning, so consider whether you will be learning the version of the language that is most interesting and useful to you. The Portuguese spoken in Brazil is not exactly the same as in Portugal, just as Quebecois French differs from Parisian. Beyond this, think carefully about where you want to be. Are you a big city person or do you love the countryside? Do you want the chance to practice your skills with locals, and where will you be more likely to be able to do this?


Language school costs vary greatly, but when you are comparing them, be sure to pay attention to what is included. Some programs offer homestays that will include meals. An all-inclusive program like this can save you a lot of money, but you may decide that you will forgo the cultural experience of living with a family for the freedom and privacy of your own place. 

Costs are sometimes but not always correlated to the quality of the education you’ll get. If you don’t have the money that you need to pay for the program that you want, put the credit card away and consider taking out a personal loan instead. This will nearly always offer a better repayment plan.


Last but by no means least is the school itself–specifically, the classes and the teachers. You don’t want to squander this opportunity of a lifetime on a substandard school, so do your homework. What is the teacher to student ratio? What do previous students say about their experience? What qualifications do the teachers have? Will you be studying with students from many different countries as opposed to mostly English speakers? 

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

This can be important because if you are with a more diverse group, it will give you more opportunity to practice the language you are all studying as it may be your one common language. If it is important to you, find out the average age of the students in the term you are attending. Think about your goals. Some people go to language schools hoping to spend a few hours a day in some light conversational practice and the rest of the time being a tourist. Others will want a more intense academic experience. Neither of these is inherently better than the other, but you’ll be very disappointed if you are looking for one situation and you end up in the other.

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