Which are the favorite destinations among our students? Which are the ones we recommend? You may think that the answers to these two questions are the same but in many cases they are not, actually. We first need to pay attention to the period of time where students decide to go abroad. The high season, which is the summer months in the European continent, is the one of high turnout. Many students wish to learn English, French or German – as the most famous second languages – They book their language courses and accommodation and they are ready to go. Which is their criterion when choosing destinations?
Most of the time they are guided by the things they have heard of among their communities and these lead them to the big cities, touristic places and relaxing beaches: London, Dublin, Paris, Rome, Miami and St Julian’s in Malta. We could say that these are the top metropolises to learn languages according to statistics. However, are they the ones that we, as student advisors, recommend?
When a new student turns to us for a piece of advice on where to go abroad to learn a new language, we always want this person to succeed and maximize their time in the foreign land. Our recommendations begin with semi-intensive courses in the case of the upper-intermediate and advance students; and intensive courses when talking about beginners. Regarding accommodation, we recommend to stay with host families since it is the best way to make sure they can practice the language at all times, listening to the native accent, and also experiencing the culture – learning a new language does not only mean learning the linguistic but also the socio-cultural one being this one the most important aspect to reach a successful conversation in many occasions. And finally, when recommending destination, we go for smaller cities or even villages. Why? The answer is very simple: to avoid running into people who share the same language of the student and to ensure being surrounded by native speakers most of the time. Also, these territories are much cheaper in terms of accommodation than bigger cities; this fact allows investing more money on language courses that will pay off the students’ future in the end.
To sum up, no matter which destination they choose, we always say: think that every minute that passes never comes back, so enjoy it the best way possible.
By Diana Martinez Herrero