Sunday Times feature – The 10 best learning holidays

www.GoLearnTo.com featured yesterday in the Sunday Times in a double page spread about discovering a new skill while abroad whilst brushing up on your languages at the same time. You’ll also be able to read an interview from someone who took a Flamenco dance course with us in Seville who not only learnt the art of Flamenco but she also picked up some Spanish into the bargain.

Stephen Bleach says this about GoLearnTo.com and learning holidays….

Thousands of us go abroad to learn a new skill on holiday. Thousands more go to learn a language. So, here’s a simple but smart idea: why not do both at once? The more you think about it, the more sense it makes.

Obviously, it works for your pocket – pick the right course and you’ll come back with two new strings to your bow for the price of one.

And it’s great for your studies, as well. On the language side, instead of enduring stilted linguistic exercises at the hands of a teacher you’ve nothing in common with, you’ll be talking to people who share your passion.

It can help with the skills, too: receiving flamenco-guitar instruction in Spanish, or Neapolitan cookery lessons in Italian, might be tricky at first – but it makes for a far richer experience.

Interested? There’s a range of ways to go about your two-in-one learning trip. To dip a toe in the water, a short-break course in your chosen skill, with a foreign instructor, is a great way to pick up some basics. For those with a little more commitment, there’s a small but growing number of companies offering custom-designed language-plus-skill breaks.

And for brave souls, there’s the kamikaze option: total immersion. Sign up for a course conducted in the local lingo, where your fellow students are likely to be jabbering away in anything but English. You’ll need to have a smattering of the language already: when you’re there, you’ll have no choice but to muddle through, and nothing gets you fluent faster than that.

We tracked down the best courses available and spoke to the students who swear by them. In English, we might add.

LEARN MUSIC in Spanish

Take a week-long flamenco-guitar course in Seville and you won’t be totally out on a limb: the tutors are all native Spanish-speakers, but you can ask for a bilingual one if you think you might flounder. It’s one-on-one sessions, for 90 minutes a day, and you stay in a shared apartment with other students – the school is used by as many Spaniards as visitors, so there’ll be plenty of chances to improve your Castilian. With NotInTheGuideBooks(www.golearnto.com), a week starts at £305, including tuition and the apartment; fly to Seville with Ryanair (0871 246 0000, www.ryanair.com) or Clickair (00800 2542 5247, www.clickair.com).

GET COOKING in Italy

You can dip a toe in the waters of Italy’s language and brush up on your
cookery in Sorrento, on a three-day course in Neapolitan specialities (including gelati, you’ll be glad to hear). Your chef doesn’t speak much English (there’s a translator on hand if you get stuck), but with demonstrations and props to hand, the vocab should come easily. Your room is in the school’s grounds, and the owners foster a family atmosphere, so there’s plenty of chance to chat. Prices start at £406, including four nights’ B&B accommodation, with NotInTheGuideBooks(www.golearnto.com). Fly to Naples with BMI (0870 607 0555, www.flybmi.com) or EasyJet (www.easyjet.co.uk).

IT WORKED FOR ME

ALE SAYERS

Learnt Spanish and flamenco dancing in Seville

“I had a smattering of Spanish, but it improved dramatically when I went on a week’s dancing course, even though there wasn’t any formal language tuition. You learn as much outside the classroom as in it. The teacher didn’t speak a lot of English, so I picked up the names for all the movements and body parts from him, but I got a lot from the social side, too – the school told us the best flamenco clubs and bars to go to, and you always end up chatting. You learn much faster that way than in a classroom. The thing is to do a course in something you love and you’ll find learning the language comes naturally. For me, that was flamenco – it’s so passionate, sexy and warm, just like the Spanish. But it could be cooking or anything; if you feel strongly about it, you’ll want to find the words to talk about it. That’s how you learn.”

GoLearnTo.com offers not only courses where you can pick up another language but also more formal language learning courses that combine both learning to speak a new language with exciting activities such as Tango dancing in Argentina, cooking in Italy, surfing in Costa Rica, Salsa in Malaga, Horse riding in Granada and much more. To see all of our holiday activities, visit GoLearnTo.com now.

To read the full Sunday Times article, click here