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Language Schools Abroad...

I'm looking to perhaps do something a bit different for vacation next year and I've been tossing around the idea of attending a language immersion program abroad (while still having some free time for sightseeing of course). I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has a attended a program like this and was curious what your impressions were. So far I've been doing mostly self study (no formal classes at all).

Do these programs offer advantages over equivalent type programs at home?

Do you feel immersion programs (either at home or abroad) are worth the cost etc? Or can one learn a sufficent amount of any language through self study alone.

etc, etc.

Posted by
2779 posts

In 1995 I went to Mexico for my very first time. I didn't speak a single word of Spanish (though my French and English both were pretty fluent back then) and attended language classes (very small groups, 3 at mex) for two weeks. In the AMs there were classes and in the PMs we had spare time and did lots of exploring of the area (I was in Curenavaca, Morelos), went to Acapulco for the weekend and afterwards I spend a few more days in Mexico, D.F. After those two weeks my standard conversations in Spanish went pretty well, I understood pretty much everything I was told or asked and was able to at least give a basic answer. I even understood most of the Spanish translations of The Simpsons on TV. So - yes - it does work and being able to communicate with locals and other foreigners in Spanish maxes it much, much easier than studying at home alone. Every afternoon I could apply what I had learned in the mornings... very reaffirming!

Posted by
506 posts

Steve -

Alliance Francaise offers some really interesting options for an immersion situation.

You should look them up locally in NJ too - given there are centers worldwide.

With any language - it is the key to a culture and its history. Learning in such a setting brings a value to the language that transforms it.

Posted by
203 posts

I can't imagine that there's a better way to learn a language than going to an immersion program abroad. The farther you can get away from English speakers, the better. Last year I attended 2 weeks of Spanish school in Quezaltenango, Guatemala. It cost $180 a week for room, board and tuition. I had one-on-one language instruction for 4 hours a day. Unfortunately, such inexpensive programs for French or German probably do not exist.

Posted by
22 posts

Not sure what language you are interested in, but I attended a Spanish immersion course with don Quijote ( I spent five weeks in Madrid and three weeks in Barcelona. It was fabulous--perfect way to learn a language and pack a vacation into the mix. You have a choice to sign up for either 4 or 6 hours of class time per day. I did the 4-hour course, as it gave me plenty of time for sight-seeing and nightlife. You can rent a flat through the school or stay with a host family. There are sister schools in Italy in France if you are more interested in learning Italian or French. don Quijote also offers these courses in Latin America and other parts of Spain as well. They teach all levels of Spanish. It is a great value when you consider the length of time in the country, lodging, eating in, etc versus paying the high cost of a hotel and doing the traditional tourist venue.

Posted by
3112 posts

Steve - Philadelphia has Alliance Francaise, America-Italy Society and German Society in center city. If one of those represents a language of interest, give them a call and ask for suggestions. I'll be interested in watching responses here too, as language study is a vacation option I've considered.