When you want to learn or improve a language, going to the country itself is the ideal solution. Intensive language courses, total immersion – every option has its advantages.
By the end of your stay, you’ll have met new people, you’ll speak the language better, you’ll be prepared to sit exams and you’ll have an extra asset to add to your CV.
It’s best to follow a programme that leads to a diploma or certificate. The added advantage is that you can go for short periods of time and during the holidays.
What is available?
- Short-term language packages (usually from 1 to 4 weeks, but also up to 10 to 12 weeks), tend to be focused on language learning through classes and/or immersion in the country. This type of stay is mainly aimed at young people, often under the age of 18. Most often, it includes accommodation with a family in the country concerned, but group accommodation is also available. Whether you stay is in a single place or travel to several destinations, the trip may include additional activities to language learning.
- Long-term packages (from 3 to 12 months) are organised in a country where you are learning the language and includes going to school in the country and staying with a host family – usually unpaid. These visits concern young people between 15 and 18 years of age who have already studied a foreign language. Each participant has a fixed destination (place of residence with the host family). This mainly involves private, unaccompanied travel. It is a truly personal experience with cultural, language and social dimensions which presupposes that it is the young person in question who has decided to go ahead with this option.
Knocking at the right door
In UK, several organisations offer language courses abroad. How to make a choice? Which ones are reliable? Is it a good idea to put your trust in their commercial arguments alone?
You must choose your organisation carefully to avoid unpleasant surprises should a problem arise.
Going abroad via english-speaking organisations
EnglishUK is a language teaching association accredited by the British Council and includes private language schools, language centres in lifelong learning colleges and universities. You will find all the information you need to prepare your stay (finding the right classes, where to study, everything you need to know before you leave etc.)
An Irish association MEI, accredited by the Ministry of Education, brings together a vast choice of English classes for all levels.
Going abroad via french organisations
In France, many organisations propose language learning opportunities abroad. How to make a choice? Which ones are reliable? Is it a good idea to put your trust in their commercial arguments alone?
To help you find a good organisation, the National office in charge of supervising language learning visits and experiences has drawn up a rigorous quality charter to which around 40 associations have adhered.
From travel to accommodation and from language learning to supervision, the associations must follow strict criteria. They are regularly inspected by the National Office.
Unosel (the National union of organisations arranging educational and language-learning trips and language schools) has accredited around 40 organisations arranging language-learning trips for young people in conformity with European standards.
Going abroad via german-speaking organisations
Going aboard via a spanish organisation
Instituto Cervantes is a mine of information about Spanish. On this portal, you can find cultural information, Spanish diplomas and places where you can follow classes.
Benefiting from a grant
- In a number of companies, the works committee offers financial aid for employees’ children. These may include grants for language courses, financial aid for summer schools, holiday vouchers etc.
- The local council in your town may propose financial aid for trips over the summer. They may help you finance your language-learning trip or offer grants for language courses.
- In some towns, the twinning committee and friendship associations with other countries may be very dynamic. Some committees offer language course grants or financial aid to go abroad and discover the twin town!
- Most regional authorities offer financial aid for trips over the summer. This aid may take the form of a grant for a language course.
- Some Embassies offer study grants to learn their country’s language. Offices and associations promoting cooperation between France and another country can also offer financial aid for language learning and grants for foreign language courses!