If you want to spend some time in a country of your choice and learn the country’s language at the same time, a language holiday is perfect for you. Usually, you spend a few hours in a language school and have the rest of the day off to go sightseeing, to the beach and/or socialize with your classmates. Language holidays are great if you’re by yourself and want to meet new people from all over the world, but of course you can also go on a language holiday together with some friends. However, there are many different ways of going on a language holiday – short term, long term, staying with other students or locals… here I would like to introduce you some concepts of language holidays and their advantages.
More than a Holiday
No matter for which kind of language holiday you decide – it will definitely be more than a holiday. By attending classes in a language school, you always get a much deeper insight into the culture than by being just a tourist. Furthermore, you meet locals and people from other countries and you learn a language more effectively because you can practice after class by talking to people in the supermarket, restaurant etc. You definitely won’t regret it!
Where to Stay
Hotel or Airbnb
When you go on a short language holiday, you can stay in places you would also stay in on a “normal” holiday, for example a Hotel or Airbnb. This is not suitable for longer language courses, because, especially a hotel, might be too expensive. But even for short language holiday I don’t really recommend hotels because living closer to locals and other students is part of the fun.
Often local families make some extra cash by renting out a spare room to language students. This kind of accommodation is suitable for shorter and longer stays and is often a good opportunity to dive deep into the country’s culture. Many host families will accept you – no matter which age you are – as a family member, make you join the family dinners, cook local food and really show you how daily life for locals is like. However, in host families you have to pay respect to the family’s rules, so, for example, bringing friends home to have drinks or overnight guests might not be possible. If this matters to you, one of the other accommodation types is probably more suitable for you.
Some language schools offer residences and boarding houses for their students. There you usually share bathroom and kitchen with plenty of people, similar to a college dormitory. These accommodations are suitable for people in college age, who like partying and don’t mind a little noise and dirty dishes. You will probably make many friends and have fun, but as these residences are very close to “ERASMUS”-culture, you cannot expect too much authentic local lifestyle. These residences are suitable for short and long stays, however if you stay longer you might want to look for a “normal” apartment or flatshare at some point.
Apartments or flatshares
These are probably the accommodation types that will ensure you most freedom and a life close to the one you would have at home. Especially when you are planning to stay longer, renting an apartment or – depending on your budget – a room in a shared flat, is a good idea. In this case you have a proper place to cook and you have a reasonable amount of privacy. In this case you are neither a tourist nor a guest, but actually a citizen of the city you chose for your language course.
Choose the Duration
Up to 2 weeks:
When you stay one or two weeks only, it is very close to “just a holiday”. But still you will improve your language skills a lot and experience the place more intensive than when you’re travelling there without attending the language school. A short language holiday is especially recommended when you want to get out of your country a little, but you have nobody to travel with. In a language school you won’t get lonely for sure!
2 weeks to 3 months:
Staying in a city to attend a language school for 2 weeks or more is already a little bit like living there. You will automatically develop a kind of daily routine by going to school in the morning and your place will feel at least a little bit like home. When you stay a little longer, you may also have time to take some exams in your language school and finish off with an official certificate, that can be useful in your future career – or maybe this certificate is already the purpose of your language holiday. This duration of a holiday gives you a glimpse of how it’s like to live abroad – for example if you want to find out if a semester or job abroad could be a thing for you.
3 months or longer:
When you stay at your language school 3 months or longer, you are actually living abroad. You will probably finish the course with an official certificate and you can sell it in your CV as “international experience”. You might also have a side job in the afternoon or on weekends to make some extra money or stay a little longer after finishing language school to work or do an internship. This kind of language course experience can definitely compared to a semester abroad or other kind of living-abroad-experience.
What You Get
A good first impression of a city or culture
You are considering to move to another country or spend a semester abroad there, but you are not sure if you would feel comfortable there? A few weeks of language holiday are the perfect opportunity to find this out. On your walk, bus or subway ride to school every morning you are among locals following their daily routine and that way you already get an impression of how it would be like to live and if you would enjoy it. And if you do decide to move there for longer, you already learned some of the country’s language.
Many people who go another country for a language holiday travel by themselves. And many of them need someone to go sightseeing with, explore the area and go to restaurants and for drinks. So no matter which age you are, in your language school who will probably find plenty of new friends from different countries.
An official certificate
If you need a certain language certificate to apply for a job or a university, a language holiday is a convenient and enjoyable way to get it. Instead of boring cramming at home you improve your language skills easily by interacting with people and getting to know another culture. Just make sure to choose a language school that takes official exams such as DELE, IELTS etc. and offer proper preparation for it.