“Latin is a dead language, as dead as dead can be. It killed the ancient Romans, and now it’s killing me.”
My grandmother used to make me laugh with this poem when I was a kid. She quoted it when she told me stories about her school days and the dreadful second language courses she had to take.
Back in her day, language classes were purely for academic purposes. Even when students learned more relevant language, such as French and Spanish, they still usually studied by staring at charts in stuffy classrooms. (Classrooms they had to walk a mile to in the snow with no shoes, mind you!)
The shift to learning languages for conversational purposes and even just for fun evolved as worldwide travel and communication became easier and more common.
Today there’s the growing trend of combining language courses with an overseas holiday as we recognize the cultural significance languages have.
This modern trend is known as a “language trip.” We’ve arrived at a place where studying a language is a part of your holiday.
What Is a Language Trip?
A language trip is a combination of a vacation and a language course. School environments can vary, ranging from traditional classrooms to field work or internships.
You might choose to pay only for language courses, then travel on your own. Or you can join a program that includes housing, cultural study and group activities.
All language trip programs are different. Some are intense courses, while others focus more on the holiday aspect. Maybe you’ll choose a complete immersion experience or a more casual program.
It all depends on your time frame, needs and preferences!
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Why Should You Take a Language Trip?
The answer isn’t simply to learn a language. Language trips are opportunities to experience the natural environment of that language every day. Teachers and students agree that immersion programs are one of the best ways to learn.
There’s a wide range of options for travelers wanting to combine language study with a vacation abroad. Learn languages for practical purposes, to improve your business acumen or learn something about history and art.
Joining a language trip program is a convenient way to let someone else handle the logistics and paperwork. Then you can just focus on enjoying your adventure abroad!
These organizations also have services like checking your visa requirements and making arrangements for your accommodation and airport transfers.
Who Goes on a Language Trip, and When?
The phenomenon of the language trip is popular across various age groups, from tweens to retirees.
Although this type of holiday invokes images of high school or a summer exchange program, these excursions are now tailored to virtually every age group.
Professionals go on language trips to take a break from work. They can combine their vacation with something fun and productive.
Those in their retirement years have more time to experience exotic cultures and languages than they once did.
Let’s Take a Language Trip! Travel the World As You Become Fluent
There’s an impressive variety of choices when it comes to language trips these days. Countless international language schools and travel agencies have information on these fashionable holidays.
Feeling overwhelmed by choices? If you know what language you want to learn or where you want to visit, start from that point.
You can also search by age group, location and local activities.
Prepare for your trip and supplement your language studies with additional resources. For example, you can study multiple languages when you try FluentU free for 15 days.
FluentU takes a huge collection of language video clips from real-world sources—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and uses it to generate personalized lessons for each learner.
These authentic videos also teach you about the culture you’re jumping into on your language trip. Prepare to impress everyone with your vocabulary, native accent and knowledge of pop culture!
LinguaTrip emphasizes English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in the United States and United Kingdom. However, the agency also has connections with schools in a variety of Asian and European countries.
A total of 12 languages are offered in various places. Most major languages are covered along with more obscure entries like Czech and Thai. You can begin by choosing your language and browse by location.
If you need inspiration, the LinguaTrip home page has a Top Destinations tool bar directly below the main search engine. Choose from locations on sunny beaches, near historic buildings or in the heart of busy urban centers.
Mix and match languages with different environments and activities. For example, combine a surfing school with your language classes in a tropical paradise while you learn Spanish in Mexico.
Or take a course with in a more academic environment in Valencia, Spain.
Regular programs offered have a minimum age requirement of either 16 or 18 years of age. The website lists special summer camps and high school study abroad programs for younger language trippers, though.
Prices are quoted starting with two weeks of tuition and accommodation. If you already have a place to stay, you can opt out of that charge during the online booking process. Prices vary depending on location, with initial tuition prices ranging from 300 to as much as 1,600 USD.
ESL Language Travel
You begin your search at ESL Language Travel with your age and motive. Are you an adult looking for adventure? A professional hoping to evolve in your career? A high school graduate hoping to find a unique gap year experience?
As the name implies, this is another agency that focuses on English. But that doesn’t mean they don’t focus on other languages! Choose from over 20 languages, from French, to Arabic, to Hungarian, to Turkish.
You can also choose from over 250 destinations! Guadeloupe, anyone?
ESL Language Travel’s programs definitely place a heavy emphasis on the vacation aspect of a language trip! They’re always integrated with extra activities and social events, like a riverboat trip in Olinda, Brazil. Or a free ticket to the famous Odessa Theater in Ukraine!
Check the Special Offers page for discounts on travel and accommodation. Perks like these can help your journey go more smoothly.
You can book everything with the handy online service, including accommodation if necessary. Programs include tours, local activities and discounts on transportation and airport transfers.
When perusing the site, keep in mind the prices given are in British pounds, because this agency is based in London, England. Quotes are for two weeks, and most of the language trip options are designed for the same duration. Expect to pay a base price of about 1,000 USD.
Languages Abroad probably has a larger selection of language trips than the other programs on this list combined!
Their extensive programs include language courses, cultural immersion programs, internships, volunteer work and several other options for adults and teenagers.
My favorite program is the Language Traveller trip. You learn a language in three different cities over three months!
Want to learn German in Berlin, Munich and Düsseldorf? How about Italian in Rome, Florence and Capo Vaticano?
If you enroll in the Language Traveller program, you stay with host families. Between the families and school, you partake in numerous cultural activities specific to the cities.
The Language Holiday program takes this to another level by putting more emphasis on cultural immersion and local events.
On these trips, you can travel to several European countries, as well as Mexico, Brazil, China or United Arab Emirates.
You can focus on Spanish and dancing in Havana. Or French and cooking in Paris. Or Mandarin and Chinese painting in Beijing!
Prices are tailored individually and vary widely depending on location.
There are fees required at the time of booking that include a 200 USD registration fee, an additional 200 USD for accommodation placement and a 400 USD deposit toward your courses.
When it comes to fees and paperwork, most are taken on by the student while the agency functions in an advisory role. You can pay extra if you need airport transfers or other convenience costs.
This agency has programs to accommodate any language learner, and language trippers are no exception. StudyTravel offers a wide variety of options for virtually all age groups, including career professionals, retirees and students of all levels.
The agency organizes a variety of classes with more than 130 schools worldwide. Language courses are organized into two categories, one for adults and another for teens and younger students.
The courses focus on eight global languages. The emphasis is on conversational skills and cultural immersion instead of regular classroom work.
Courses for adults lean more toward the holiday side of language learning. Programs are typically integrated with workshops on cooking, music or dance, depending on your destination.
For example, courses in Chile include salsa and merengue dance classes. Enjoy French film nights in Nice, France. Or maybe you’d like to spend your weekends skiing and snowboarding in Austria!
You can calculate a price quote on the website with or without accommodation. Students are responsible for transportation and visa costs.
The cost of a two-week language course hovers around 600 USD if you don’t need to use the agency’s accommodation resources. A 400 USD deposit is required at the time of booking.
Studytravel provides students with information about airport transfers and public transit if needed. If you’re traveling to a location that requires you have a special type of visa, the head office recommends you start your booking procedures at least three months in advance.
The irony of my grandmother’s view of the ancient Romans is apparent every Italian summer, when hordes of eager travelers crowd the ancient streets of Italy armed with little more than pocket translators and electronic textbooks.
Latin might be a thing of the past, but the languages that came from it can now be found in some of the world’s most compelling holiday destinations.
My grandmother would double over laughing in her rocking chair if she knew I wanted to take a language trip just for fun!
Kristy Ambrose has been writing professionally since 2010. She dabbles in various genres, including everything from short blog posts to serialized novels. Her inspiration comes from gamers, beachcombers, foodies and fellow travelers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Victoria.
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