Category Archives: Language travel

Explore Europe – language travel

While winter outside it’s right time to think about summer. Summer means vacation. Vacation means travel. Traveling to some European country seems an option. But Europe is big, diverse place. What are the cities you always wanted to visit? London, Paris, Milan, Barcelona… just to name a few.

What are the things you want to do during vacation? Probably relax, have fun & do something good for yourself. I have found language travel as a great experience to combine option of improving language skills & exploring destination a little bit from locals perspective. Language schools are offering wide variety of courses. Traditional offer varies  from Super-Intensive (30 lessons per week) for rapid progress to semi-intensive (15 lessons) for people who would like to take things a bit easier.

What comes to Europe, there is wide variety of choices. Most common languages spoken in European countries are English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. I would add Russian as well. I’m not really fan of French (sorry for that) but French & Surfing, French & Cooking (French Cuisine) or Bordeaux Wine Course sounds tempting 🙂

Same applies to learning any other language. To learn German you can travel to Germany or pick  Austria as a destinationWith its great natural splendor, elegant cities and rich history, Austria is an extraordinary setting for a German course. Discover spectacular scenery, a wealth of culture and plenty to see and do once your German lessons are finished for the day. Combine language classes with skiing in winter / spring time or explore this lovely country during the summer by hiking, mountain biking or swimming activities.

St.Julians Bay

St. Julians Bay, Malta

I think that this is one of the best ways to learn / improve foreign language skills. Go to the place where language is around you & then pick up the experience as it comes along. Doesnt matter are you a complete beginner, or already have some advance level when language is around you on daily basis, it  greatly speeds up the learning process. I have one example from my experience. I did learn quite a lot of Italian while living in Malta.

For learning English, many people think of Great Britain, but Malta is perfect summer destination for it. Actually, Malta is great place for learning Italian as well. Beginning of June, mid July is time when there are many young & active language students from all over Europe. Classes during the day, beach & summer-fun later on.

What comes to me, than Malta was the place where I learned most of my Italian. I didn’t go to language school ( I was working in Malta for 4 month) but during my stay I improved my very basic Italian to the level that I could understand around 90% of spoken language and could speak Italian  about 70% myself.

Malta

Exploring Malta. Boat trip to Comino.

Yes, I was willing to learn but that wasnt my goal. I was using the situation I was in  – shops, beach, gym and even TV at evenings to learn language that was around me. Even more, August is the month of vacation in Italy, and many Italians are going for a vacation to Malta. So I had many Italian children in my classes and it was an  additional motivation for me to learn even more. Yes, I was spending some time with books, but I had fun as well 🙂

But I agree that for learning Italian language, timeless city of Rome, Venice or Milan are great destinations. If Malta is more summer fun, then language courses in Italy offer other kind of experience as well. By picking 1 or 2 week Italian course there are options to combined language lessons with cooking courses, wine tastings and guided tours to vineyards.
Does this sound like a great way of spending a vacation in location of your dreams? 

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Get ready for your vacation

I know it’s winter outside, but it’s right time to start planning for summer activities. If you’ve been wondering about discovering new destinations in your continent or even overseas then now its last time to start preparations. What is the best vacation destination that comes on your mind? What are the things you want to do during vacation – explore new destinations, learn foreign  language or improve your cooking skills?

In creating a dream vacation you can rely on Internet for sure – check on ‘hot’ or popular destinations, book hotels, arrange transportation, make a ticket reservation for some special event, ect. At first we choose destination – a city, a country or even the region. Then we need to decide how much time we’d like to spend there. And of course, important question is finances – how much money‘ we’ would like to spend.

Finding an activity that is perfect for your vacation is just the beginning of the fun. Then comes actual travel planning process – transportation, hotels, attractions to visit, places to see. If going overseas – booking airline tickets 5-6 months ahead is the one of the steps to find best prices for the trip. I know many people rely on ‘last minute’ deals as an opportunity to get good price, but it is not always so. Sometimes you might be lucky to find great ‘last minute’ deal, but often that price is very close to booking price, if made good time in advance. What comes to hotels, many hotels offer special discount for advance bookings.

Dont forget about visas and vaccinations.  Check the terms and regulation for each country you want to go. What comes to the European countries ( or Schengen Area) as long as you are staying less that 3 month in particular country – no special visa is required. In some countries you can buy visa right before entering in some, you need to get it in advance. If your choice is some exotic destination, there might be visa application process by mail.

And then there is one more thing I’d like to mention – a language.  In Europe almost every country has a local language. In big cities there are a lot of people who speak English. In smaller towns it is more difficult to find someone who speaks any foreign language. Some basic words and sentences  from phrase book will be very useful. Invest in good guide-book – besides maps, description of the destination and best attraction, they often have a chapter with essential phrases.

If you wish visiting foreign country for longer period of time some basic local language skills are essential. In this case now it’s right time to take some language course. Spanish, French or German are most popular foreign languages people learn. But if you are interested in visiting eastern Europe – knowledge of Russian language will be more useful. Have you heard about language travel? Think about doing two things at same time – learn foreign language and spend two weeks or even whole summer in destination of your dreams. This is one of the best ways to have quality vacation – learn something new & exploring destination a little bit like locals do.

As I said before – winter soon will be over. Take a moment to think about summer. What are the best things you wanna do during the vacation? Go ahead & see the options!