Learning a new language is a fulfilling activity and provides a valuable skill set. I always recommend learning the local language when in a new country, even if you’re going to be there for just a few short weeks. Just imagine striking up a conversation with a local and effortlessly uttering the local language. You will surely dazzle them!
But learning a language isn’t easy. Don’t buy into the “Language hacking” nonsense or the guides that promise fluency “IN JUST 90 DAYS OR LESS!”
I don’t think so…
Learning a foreign language, particularly harder ones like Russian and Arabic, will take a lot of devotion. One thing that leaves people frustrated is knowing where to start.
Why You Should Attend a Language School
I am no fan of boring grammar books when learning a language, but oftentimes a formalized language class can really improve your language skills. Moreover, it is a great way to meet and socialize with other expats, travelers, students and even locals.
Most major cities, and even smaller ‘Tier-2’ cities, will likely have foreign language schools. They usually attract people to that city for the sole reason of learning the language, but many people sign on once they’ve been in the country for a bit.
One issue that may come up is trying to find a quality, reputable school. You want to make sure that you are not only going to get a quality education, but will not be scammed out of your money.
If you’re in a big city like Paris, Moscow or Seoul, chances are you’ll have many different schools to choose from. Here are several factors to take into consideration:
Certifications are a two way street: You want to be assured that a.) The school you would like to attend is accredited and has all the right certifications and b.) That they can offer you proper certifications for your study.
I realize that some people could care less about these certifications. However, if you plan on shelling out decent money for language classes, you might as well get your money’s worth.
Speaking of money…
Price may be a factor in your decision to attend a language school. If you’re looking for quality, the cheapest will rarely be the best. However, if you’re just looking to meet some people and pick up a bit of a foreign language, then go for the cheapest.
As an expat or nomad, you left your office job in the West so that you could enjoy the benefits of working from home. So why on Earth would you travel across the city to attend a language class?
Do your research before hand and choose a location within walking distance! That is emphasized because if you have to commute by bus or train, you’re more likely to give up. Plus it’s another added cost.
What is the school’s reputation? A cursory search on Google should yield some helpful results.
Again, you have to weigh the various factors above to make a proper choice, but if the reviews are awful then look elsewhere.
Schedule (Make sure they offer course hours and structure that fit your desired schedule and duration of your trip)
If you need to work in the evening to communicate with clients, then make sure courses are offered during the day. These language schools should have their shcedules marked quite clearly, including the times of day the classes are and their duration. If not, call or e-mail the school. If you don’t get a response, move on.
Making the Right Choice
Well, there you have it! I hope these pointers have provided you valuable insight as to how to choose a language school and will help you succeed in your language journey.
Remember: You don’t have to attend a language school. There are plenty of other ways to learn a language.
Plus, there are some things that language schools won’t teach you–like how to pickup girls in the native language. If you find yourself in Latin America and want to say all the right things to make the beautiful Latina women fall in love, then check out Pickup Spanish!