Learning a foreign language is a lot of fun, but can be very difficult to practice without being able to speak to native speakers.  Also learning a new language in a classroom environment for a couple of hours every week might help with your basic knowledge, but there’s a limit to what you can learn language-wise when you never use the language in everyday situations. This is why language courses abroad are so popular and effective. I myself have followed a language course in Manchester before I officially moved here. It improved my language skills incredibly fast and prepared me for the Cambridge exam I took after the course. If you’re thinking about doing a language course yourself, here are some things you need to keep in mind while picking your course.

1. Know why you want to do a language course and what you want to achieve with it

After you decide that you want to follow a language course abroad, you’ll need to think about why you want to do this and what you want to achieve with it. There’s so many different kinds of courses available and picking the course that is right for you is very important. I, for example, did a special course that prepared me for the Cambridge exam. This certificate was necessary to show my future university that my English was good enough. If you’re only looking to improve your skills without needing the certificate, there’s always options to do a normal language course.  Employers, universities and other institutes usually need some kind of proof of your language skills. Taking a language course to get a certificate is always a good idea if you want to use your skills as part of your career or getting into a university/college.

2. Before you decide on the course, go to an open day of the company that regulates the courses.

Before you want to give a company your money for the course, I’d advice to visit an open day of the company that provides the courses. When I booked my own language course I travelled down to a city in the Netherlands to hear more about the language courses they offered and I had time to ask all the questions I needed to have answers to. If they don’t have any open days, make sure to give them a phone call or email them your questions so you are absolutely sure this is the right decision for you. It’s always a good idea to speak to someone who’s done the same language course at the same language school in the past to hear about their experience.

3. What city do you want to study in?

For most common languages there are multiple cities and places to go to when you do a language course. When you decide in what city you want to study, need to check how much it would cost to

live there. Some language schools provide housing, others don’t. I rented an apartment separately from my language school, which is something I would definitely recommend. You will have a wider variety of options and you won’t be stuck in a small student dorm. Not sure where to start looking? A great place to start is Student Abroad Apartments (click!), they have lovely apartments in the most popular language cities.
Check what is special about the cities, are there any events going on while you are there? What cities are nearby to visit during weekends? How good are the courses in that city, are there any reviews from former students?
The choice was fairly easy for me, Manchester was going to be the city I was planning to move to. It was a perfect opportunity for me to see what life would be like in Manchester and if I really wanted to commit all those years to living in a city that I might not like. (I absolutely adore Manchester, don’t worry!)

4. What extra’s does the language school have to offer?

Most language schools have extra activities you can participate in. These are extremely useful to practice English outside the classroom with qualified teachers. It’s also a great place to meet new people from all over the world who have the same goal as you. Before committing to a language course it’s a good idea to check what their extra activities are. Do they have planned trips to other cities? Is there a way to join a conversation club after classes? Do they have activities you’d be interested in?

If you have any questions about my experience booking and following a language course abroad don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or send me a message via the contact page!

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