Holidays are for most of us a time to get away from anything work- or study-related. They can however be a time to achieve things we are too busy to achieve during the rest of the year, and one of them is language learning.
People want to learn a new language for business reasons, in order to get a better job, be promoted to a better position, or because they are interested in another culture and want to get to know it on its own terms, or for different various personal reasons. Whatever the reason for one's interest in a particular language, many of us discovered that with age these things come harder and that the stress at work and at home hinders our studious efforts.
One solution may be to organize language travels – which broadly means dedicating some of your holidays, or a sabbatical, to taking more or less intensive language courses, generally in a country where those languages are spoken.
Language travels vary in intensity and scope. Some are really intensive, and you get to spend most of your days in class. Others give you plenty of room for visiting the city and the surroundings. Some courses offer you guided trips to places of interest, or socialization time for you and the teachers and colleges. You can, broadly speaking, distinguishing several types of language courses abroad:
o Language summer schools: are generally meant for a young audience, but now you can find such courses developed for various categories of people, and for various interests. These courses offer you total immersion in a language, with courses for part of the day (but not less then 40 hours per week) then field trips, visits to museums and other cultural points of interest.
o Intensive language courses: with these courses you spend about 30 hours per week in class and the rest of the time you are free to do what you want. You probably will not be offered trips or means of socialization
o General language courses: they take about 15 to 20 hours per week and are considered semi-intensive courses. Similar to the intensive courses, they focus all language aspects such as vocabulary, grammar and speaking and writing styles.
In addition to that, you can choose language courses based on your special interests – you can find courses with a focus on communication, or on business, academic purposes or any other interest you might have, be it cooking, culture or fashion.
Whatever language course you plan to take abroad, there are some things you need to check before you go. You will need information on all administrative issues, such as visas, particular health issues or any hazards in the country you will visit and all the other problems you have in view when making a travel plan. It is advisable to gather as much information as you can about the language school where you will enlist, to check its accreditations and to try and find as many details as you can about the experience there. Be sure to ask the exact details about the extras offered – some schools will offer you low-priced accommodation, meals and trips, while others will not. You need to invest at least two to four weeks in your travel plans if you want them to be efficient and if you also want to enjoy your experience.
Because they combine effectively tourism and learning, language travels could have what it takes to be a great holiday. If you select with care the most appropriate program and a good language school, in a country that you love or that you would love to discover, chances are you will come back home relaxed and ready to use your new language skills.