8 Best Language Immersion Programs For Adults to Improve Language Skills and Cultural Knowledge
Remember all the fun you had at summer camp?
Well, now you can relive that while reaching fluency in a foreign language.
In a job market that’s globalizing all around us, added language skills can make you not only an asset to your company, but also a better participant in your own community.
In this guide, I’ll share with you eight great language immersion programs for adults that will not only boost your skills, but also improve your cultural knowledge!
- Language Immersion Programs for Adults
- 1. Best for Cultural Enrichment: Concordia Language Villages
- 2. Best for Flexibility: Lingua Service Worldwide
- 3. Best for Older Adult learners: Road Scholar
- 4. Best for Private Lessons: Berlitz Total Immersion
- 5. Best for Less Commonly Taught Languages: FLSAS: Foreign Language Study Abroad Service
- 6. Best for Personal Touch: Anders Languages
- 7. Best for Destination Range: EF Language Immersion
- 8. Best for 24/7 Language Immersion: Middlebury Language Schools
- How to Fit Language Immersions Into Your Life
- And One More Thing...
Language Immersion Programs for Adults
The constantly increasing demand for language skills and multilingual people means more options and, over time, more affordability, leaving the modern adult language learner with an overwhelming number of options.
Depending on your goals and constraints, you can choose from both domestic and foreign immersion programs, and within these traditional categories there’s a slew of traditional and non-traditional programs available.
Here’s a sample of nine highly recommended ones. This will give you an idea of what the world of adult language immersion looks like and where your next language learning trip might take you.
1. Best for Cultural Enrichment: Concordia Language Villages
Price: Varies by language
Concordia Language Villages is a language immersion program in Bemidji, Minnesota focused on “building globally minded communities” through language and cultural immersion trips.
Concordia’s adult immersion programs are all designed for adults, whether you’re looking for professional advancement or personal enrichment, including courses designed specifically for educators and companies. The “villages” are offered year-round in nine different languages, perfect for the busy adult to squeeze into a hectic work and family schedule.
2. Best for Flexibility: Lingua Service Worldwide
Price: Varies by course
Lingua Service’s language immersion programs are, as the company’s name suggests, available all over the world. This agency works with schools and programs worldwide in a variety of languages, offering maximum flexibility for even the choosiest learners among us.
The agency primarily works with programs that are designed for maximal language learning in minimal time, which will be appealing especially to business professionals looking for a quick jump-start or brush-up on a language before heading back to the office.
Lingua Service offers courses for adults, professionals and programs for seniors and older adults.
3. Best for Older Adult learners: Road Scholar
Price: Varies by program
A newer name in language immersion, Road Scholar has drawn headlines for its success in particular with older adult learners. On the Road Scholar website you can browse and book various “immersion experiences” that fit when, where and how you want to learn your language.
Road Scholar describes its typical customers as solo travelers or couples who are “passionate lifelong learners, usually over the age of 50,” which may be part of why their all-inclusive model works so well. With lodging, meals, transportation, expert lectures and field trips included in the price tag, all you’ve got to worry about is speaking and listening.
4. Best for Private Lessons: Berlitz Total Immersion
Price: Varies by course
If you’re more of an independent learner or you can’t get out of town any time soon, private immersion classes under Berlitz’s Total Immersion program might work for you.
Berlitz is one of the largest companies offering private language classes in the US and the world at large, and its Total Immersion program pairs you one-on-one with a language coach for about 40 hours a week. It’s personalized, conversation-driven and available in a variety of languages in 36 locations across the US and even more abroad.
5. Best for Less Commonly Taught Languages: FLSAS: Foreign Language Study Abroad Service
Price: Varies by course
FLSAS is an organization that arranges foreign immersion programs and homestays for adults, teachers and professors.
FLSAS brings a couple of benefits to the table that other organizations miss out on, like its specific programs developed for different groups of language learners, such as its programs for solo female travelers, family immersion trips and executive language immersion for business professionals.
Add these custom courses to its emphasis on less commonly taught languages and you’ve got an organization that’s filling in a lot of the holes left by others in the industry.
6. Best for Personal Touch: Anders Languages
Price: Starts at $400
Alongside the global giants in language immersion programs, you have providers like Anders Languages, a smaller company offering four languages in the US and three more locations abroad.
Anders caters to, as they put it, “a more mature public.” The average age of their clients is 45, and about half of their customers are from the US and Canada, making for culturally diverse experiences that adult professionals might not otherwise have.
Anders prides itself on offering a personal touch. Promising personal attention from the company’s owners in developing your language immersion program, Anders offers an experience that many may find warmer and more intimate than those offered by other immersion companies.
7. Best for Destination Range: EF Language Immersion
Price: Varies by course
EF Language Immersion has a range of programs for adults on offer on their site in the EF Languages Abroad section.
You can visit a range of locations including Barcelona, Berlin, Paris and more to immerse yourself in flexible length courses that will boost your language skills.
Their learning guarantee means that every 6 weeks you’ll advance one EF course-level, and you’re also able to select from different lessons, including academic, business and arts-related lessons.
According to EF, from a group of 2000 former students, 90% improved their soft skills, 96% increased their cultural competence.
8. Best for 24/7 Language Immersion: Middlebury Language Schools
Price: Varies by course
Middlebury Language Schools offers a range of great options for adults looking to develop their language skills, with over 1500 students finding success with them each summer.
Their immersion programs take place during the summer in Vermont, and comprise of up to 8 week courses for beginner to advanced students.
There are courses for languages such as Spanish, Japanese, Italian and more. The programs include elements like classroom instruction, homework, as well as activities where you’ll be able to develop your cultural knowledge.
How to Fit Language Immersions Into Your Life
On the list of things that get in the way of adult language learning, a career is usually number one. But it doesn’t have to be.
In some parts of the world, companies even fund in-house or independent language training as part of employee professional development.
If your employer hasn’t jumped on the language learning bandwagon yet, maybe they’re following the trend of flexible and even unlimited vacation policies. Under many of these arrangements, three months off for a language immersion program that’ll make you even more of a company asset can be an easy sell to your boss.
Even if you don’t see a practical opening in your adult life for a language immersion program now, don’t be surprised if you see it come next year. You might find that a newer and more disruptive program will extend you the chance to immerse yourself in a language. Take any opportunities that come your way!
Create an Online Immersion Environment
One way to create a home immersion environment is with your favorite language learning apps and immersion software programs. You can use these digitally-enhanced approaches to add some extra practice during your immersion trip, or to fill your every waking hour with the language you want to hear without even leaving your home.
For example, FluentU is a program that focuses on making authentic videos approachable for learners of all levels.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Language Immersion by Working Abroad
If you’re already working for a multinational company with offices overseas, explore your options for transfers and see if those options include free or subsidized immersion language courses on the ground.
Sites like Idealist and Overseasjobs.com offer listings of jobs overseas; if you’re lucky, bigger employers may include language training programs in your employment package, but if you’re not, you’re still living abroad, one of the best ways of getting the total authentic immersion experience.
For those focused on building their professional profile abroad, skills-intensive volunteer trips can do just that. Many of the projects on sites like Workaway and HelpX are more like informal internships than traditional volunteer projects, including roles in everything from marketing and business development to construction and community development, and their terms are often flexible.
Whether you’re setting out to find the perfect Spanish immersion course, take a language learning trip to Germany or tide yourself over with an online oasis of French immersion, take a look at the programs we’ve listed here and bookmark them, because the future is looking more multilingual for folks of all ages.
And One More Thing...
If you dig the idea of learning on your own time from the comfort of your smart device with real-life authentic language content, you'll love using FluentU.
With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.
Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.