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So you’re keen to learn a language but you’d like a holiday too? Easy – one of the nicest ways to learn to speak a foreign language is to learn about the country at the same time – its food, wine, art and history.
Most language schools offer both short and long-term courses, as well as a cultural program. So after a hard day’s study, you can hit the town and try out your new-found skills on the unsuspecting locals! Or you can learn conversational language by cooking, attending theatre or sports events, or learning about painting or history.
Most schools will also test you before you start but don’t be put off, it’s only to make sure they place you in the correct level so that the course is neither too easy not too hard.
Learn French on the Riviera with the French Language School.
The school covers all levels from beginners through to advanced and all ages from teens to adults. There are intensive and standard courses in French, as well as activity-based courses such as French and Sailing for teens, Biarritz Teens camp, or Language Stays for 50+ on the Cote d’Azur. Learn the language, then practise it at the beautiful museums, galleries and beaches of the French Riviera. Or if you’re more of a foodie, you can learn at a wine tasting, a cocktail evening or with a Provencal cooking course.
The Istituto Linguistico Mediterraneo is based in the enchanting Tuscan region of Italy (campuses are in Pisa, home of the famous Leaning Tower, and Viareggio on the beautiful Mediterranean sea). The Istituto offers Italian language courses from beginners to advanced, as well as cooking, wine-tasting, painting and art history.
So you can do what the Italians do best – eat, drink and paint – and learn a new skill at the same time! There are holiday courses if you prefer a more relaxed pace, or an intensive series if you need to get up to speed quickly. There’s even Business Italian!
If you need Chinese for a career move, or are just interested in the country and its culture, the Hutong School, with branches in Beijing and Shanghai, is one of the largest and best known.
If offers courses on conversational and written Cantonese and Mandarin (they recommend that you start with Cantonese). You can opt for a group classes or their one on one program, and the school has Internship and Volunteer program as well.
The school has it’s own accommodation, and will meet you at the airport; they even supply you with your own mobile phone while you are there if you wish. As well as the opportunity to practise your language in the business capital of China, there is also a cultural program. You can learn Chinese board games such as Mahjong, practise Tai Chi, learn authentic Chinese cooking including learning to cook dumplings and stir-frys from different regions.
The Insituto Picasso Spanish Language School in Malaga, Spain is located in the birthplace of the famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso.
It offers short intensive courses all levels from beginner to advanced, in a historic 19th century building that is close to theatres, restaurants, shopping, night life and the beach.
The school offers apartment accommodation sharing with other students, or can also arrange a homestay with a Spanish family for you.
As well as formal lessons, there are cooking classes, guided excursions, bar tours, Spanish songs and dancing, and lots of night life fun!
Do something different for Oktoberfest – learn the lingo!
The most famous place for learning German in Germany is the Goethe Institute.
It has branches in most major cities in Germany including Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg and Munich.
The Institute offers all levels of courses from beginners to advanced with both intensive immersion courses and classes at a more relaxed pace.
It also has an extensive cultural program as well, showcasing the specialities of each city, and including city tours, sports programs, pub nights and food. Prost!