Now you’re talking….
GoLearnTo.com features in the Guardian today. Want to speak like a native but don’t fancy spending your entire trip in a classroom? These holidays combine language lessons with activities and the chance to hang out with locals.
Surf & chat in Biarritz
If only school could have been this relaxed. At a solar-powered surf camp in a 300-year-old farmhouse close to Les Casernes beach, near Biarritz, language lessons take the form of informal two-hour chats over beers in the afternoons. Mornings are spent riding the waves with five days of surf lessons (for 1½ hours per day) included. The camp has plenty of places for practising tenses in your free time – in the garden, hydro-pool, hammam, tree hut, canoe or hammock. Suitable for beginners and improvers.
This holiday is no longer available but we do have a fantastic alternative French and surf holiday in Biarritz.
French & wine in Bordeaux
Many people’s language priority is being able to order food and drink. But imagine how impressive you’ll sound when you can not only stammer out “Un verre de vin, s’il vous plaît”, but are also capable of ordering a fine Bordeaux, commenting on its complexity of flavour and describing the time you visited the very vineyard where it was created. This seven-day French and Bordeaux wine course will set you well on the way to talking about terroir like a native, with four 45-minute sessions of French a day (there’s a test on day one to establish your level), three afternoon sessions on Bordeaux wines, including tastings at l’Ecole du Bordeaux, and excursions to Saint-Emilion and Médoc vineyards.
This course is actually listed in The Guardian as STA Travel but GoLearnTo.com offer the exact same French & Wine course in Bordeaux – maybe it’s more GoLearnTo.com than student travel….!
Spanish & tango in Buenos Aires
“Ballamos?” is Spanish for “Shall we dance?” – as those returning from this trip will know. In the historic centre of Argentina‘s capital, near the bohemian San Telmo district, pupils take a daily four-hour classroom lesson of Spanish, and Argentinian and Spanish culture, politics and history in groups of up to seven. Afterwards they don their dancing shoes to learn one of the world’s sexiest dances at a nearby milonga, or tango hall.
Find out more about learning Spanish and tango in Argentina here.
Portuguese & Capoeira in Brazil
Practise whirling your limbs to the moves of capoeira while learning to twirl your tongue around the Portuguese language on a two-week course combining the two in Salvador. Classes of eight study beginners’ Portuguese for 20 hours a week, then concentrate on the acrobatic Brazilian dance/martial art twice a week; both take place in a language centre. A samba lesson and cookery class are also included, and homestay accommodation is available so that you can practise over dinner (the language, not capoeira).
Portuguese and Capoeira Course £285 pp for 14 days, homestay accommodation from £89 per room per week.
German & watersports in Bavaria
Lindau is a beautiful town on its own island in the eastern side of Lake Constance, with a historic medieval centre and pretty harbour. It’s a great base for learning German – after classes, pupils cool off by sailing and waterskiing on the lake, cycle around it or go on excursions to Meersburg, Salem Castle and Liechtenstein.
The German language school provides 20-25 lessons per week, and has a sports hall for basketball, volleyball and football games. Social evenings with barbecues, wine tastings and the cinema are arranged too.
GoLearnTo.com also offer this beautiful school in Lindau, to learn German in Lindau from £310 for a week.
Live-in learning in China
Moving in with your teacher would have been an abhorrent notion when you were a teenager, but now it could be the best way to develop your language skills. Instead of trawling through a textbook twice a day, you can chat to your tutors from breakfast to bedtime while staying in their home on Go Learn To’s “home language courses”. These suit all levels and give the option of staying with your teachers, couples and families around Beijing as well as informal tuition. Guests get a set of keys and are free to come and go as they please, but are usually invited to join in with their teacher’s life, to meet relatives and friends, go shopping and explore the nightlife.
Please note: Beijing is no longer available but we do offer Chinese language immersion for seven nights in Nanjing.
Russian & culture in St Petersburg
Russia is one place where you’re unlikely to pick up much of the language without some serious tuition. A course that includes 20 lessons per week in St Petersburg is a good place to start. After class, it’s time to absorb the city’s rich culture at its many sites.
Bi-weekly group activities include visits to the theatre, ballet & other places such as the riverside city of Novgorod. Go in the summer and you can join in many vercherinkas – small parties with caviar, vodka and Russian folk songs. Beginners’ and advanced courses are available, but everyone is asked to learn the Cyrillic alphabet before arriving.
To read the full article, click here.
Or browse our full range of amazing language plus activity holidays.