About the Language Schools

Most language schools abroad offer intensive courses consisting of 20 class-hours per week

About the language schools

Most of the language schools listed on our site offer "intensive" classes for foreigners: 4 hours of class a day, Monday to Friday. Classes usually start at 8am or 9am and go until 12pm or 1pm in the afternoon, with a break or two in between classes. This is a "standard intensive" course. In one month you complete 80 class hours of class (4 credits on a US semester system). In two months you complete 160 class hours of class (8 credits), and in three months 240 class hours (12 credits). (Noter, however, that only your home university can award you credit for study abroad, no matter where you study abroad or what program you participate in.)

The language courses consist of grammar classes, vocabulary classes, conversation classes, and writing classes. The language classes are taught entirely in the language of the country you are in, but in such a way that you will quickly learn. and you end up learning tons.

Depending on the school or teacher, you may find yourself reading and commenting about articles on the history, art, culture, current affairs, or a myriad of other topics pertaining to the culture of the country where you are taking the language course. It's more than just learning a language!

In addition to the core language classes mentioned above, most language schools give you the option of taking electives. For example, you might have your regular 4 hours of class a day, Monday through Friday, but also sign up for an elective class " Art History," which meets for 1 hour several times per week in the afternoon. This combination might be referred to as "Standard + 5," (or something similar). This means you will take the standard intensive language class, which consists of 20 class hours per week, and then have an addtional class hour everyday in the afternoon. The additional class will cost something extra, but the cost will be reasonable.

What electives can you take at a language school abroad? Here are some examples:

  • Art History
  • Literature
  • History
  • Business writing, terminology
  • Prep courses for university entrance exams
  • Contemporary Issues
  • Culture & Traditions
  • The Economic and Political landscape
  • Culinary/Cooking classes

The core courses at many of the language schools are usually similar. Different language schools, however, may offer different electives or other activities, so if you have a particular type of foreign language class in mind, research all of the language schools in the destination that interests you. Detailed descriptions of the language courses offered by language schools can be found on the language school websites.

A typical language school program (daily, Monday - Friday)

  • 08:00 - 10:00am - Grammar classes
  • 10:00am - 11:00pm - Reading comprehension/voacabulary
  • 11:00pm - 12:00pm - Conversation class
  • 12:00pm - 2:00pm - Lunch
  • 2:00 - 3:00pm - Elective class 1 (for those who chose it)
  • 3:00 - 4:00pm - Elective class 2 (for those who chose it)

Consult each language school’s website for exact hours. Some language schools will start classes later in the morning and end later in the afternoon, some will longer luch breaks than other language schools, and some will have longer or shorter breaks during the classes.

Before you get there

After you apply to a school and before you arrive, the your language school will contact you with your housing information. If you wanted a homestay, the school will provide you with the name, phone number and address of your host family. If you selected a student apartment, the school will provide you with the address of the apartment and the owner's name and phone number.

In either case, you should contact your host family or the owner of the apartment where you will stay to let them know when you can be expected to arrive, so that someone is on-hand when you get there.

Note that most accommodation types allow you to "move in" on the Sunday before your class starts, and your stay continues until the Saturday following your last day of class.

Remember, if you are planning take a language course at a foreign language schools and you want to get credit for the language classes you take at the school, be sure to meet with whomever you must at your home college or university. Depending on your college or university, that may mean meeting with one of the language professors, your advisor, or a study abroad advisor. Even if you enroll directly in foreign language school abroad, your professors and other school admin staff can guide you through the pre-approval and study abroad transfer credit process. (There are several possibilities, but because only your home college can grant you credit, you have to meet your home college's requirements.)

When you get there

Most classes start on Mondays. On your first day of class you will be required to take a placement exam (unless you are an absolute beginner with no knowledge of the language whatsoever). Typically you take your placement exam, meet a some people from all over the world, and then have a coffee or cappuccino while all of the placement exams are graded. Later in the day (in some cases the next day) you will be placed into a class that fits your proficiency level and you begin your adventure!

Additional school services / features

  • Airport transfers (must be arranged / paid in advance)
  • Free internet access
  • Cultural activities (some are free, some have to be paid for)
  • Certificates of attendance / transcripts