If you’re looking for ways to learn a new language or improve your existing language skills, you can find all the information you need about the various options for language learning here. Our focus is on providing information on how to learn a language abroad. This guide is a starting point for your search. The links we list here are just examples of platforms that you can use to find more information or contacts.
Most student exchanges take place after Year 10: many students choose to travel to the United States. Other common destinations are Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England and Ireland. Non-English-speaking countries like France or Spain are slightly less popular. Generally speaking, a year spent as an exchange student in a foreign country is an incomparable experience. Making new friends in another country, experiencing the culture and learning about how independent you can be – these are just some of the positive aspects of a year abroad, not to mention intensive language immersion. There are many providers of information on host families and schooling abroad, such as www.yfu.de.
Another way for young adults to explore a foreign country while learning the language is an internship abroad. Usually, this takes places immediately after the student has finished secondary school or during their university years – there is often even time for an internship relating to the requirements of their degree. When choosing an internship abroad, you should consider not only the language, but also the material covered by the internship and the work you’ll be doing.
As an alternative to an internship, you can also participate in a Work & Travel programme. Unlike an internship, this type of programme focuses less on continuing education. It usually involves unskilled remunerated labour (e.g. farming in Australia), and participants move from employer to employer while travelling across the country. This gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the experience of being in that country. Working in the host country is often also a requirement for obtaining a residence permit or visa for a longer period of time. Informational sites such as travelworks.de provide a comprehensive overview of current offers as well as other information.
For more and more university students, spending a semester abroad is a number-one priority. Since the introduction of bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes and uniform academic regulations across Europe, a semester abroad is no longer just a pleasant way to while away a few months, but rather a means of pursuing your degree while learning new study methods and the language of your destination country. Studying abroad requires a period of comprehensive, intensive preparatory work on the part of the student. DAAD counsellors are on hand at every German university to help when needed. You can find extensive information on studying abroad on the website of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service).
Another way of learning a language is by taking part in an aid project in a developing country. Working on a socially beneficial project in South America or Africa can often be combined with language courses and offers a chance to get to know the country, its culture and its people in a way few other types of study abroad can.
In addition to the unique method of improving your language skills, helping people is of course the main focus of this type of programme. Participants aren’t just learning the language – they’re also contributing to a project that helps the area and its inhabitants. For example, you could work in an orphanage, teach English in South America, help protect the environment by working in a national park, or assist in the construction of schools or other projects. Learn and improve your language skills by doing something useful in another country. You can find more information on volunteering abroad here.
For those who are bound by the responsibilities of their job and don’t have the option of spontaneously leaving the country for a long period of time, an evening course at a community education centre is a good alternative. These courses are usually concluded within a set period of time and meet one to three times per week, often in the evening. The advantage of this type of language learning is that you can continue to work and don’t have to abandon your daily life and friend group or take an extended leave of absence from your job. You can find suitable evening courses at your local community education centre. You can find a list of all community education centres (Volkshochschulen) in Germany here: www.vhs.de.
Another very effective method of learning a language is to take a language study trip. The unquestionable advantage here is that of timing. You can complete an intensive language course in a foreign country in as little as just one week – while meeting people and getting to know the culture. Immerse yourself in the language and culture of your host country in the company of like-minded people. It goes without saying that the longer you stay, the more you’ll learn. So why not take all of your annual leave to spend four weeks enjoying Australia and its culture, while learning English on the side? Language study trips go beyond the goal of just learning grammar and vocabulary – instead, they provide invigorating learning opportunities through direct contact with the country and its inhabitants.
This doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on any fun and enjoyment – this may even accelerate your language learning, in fact. In addition to the language course itself, many course providers also offer a varied programme of recreational activities. Sightseeing, sports or simply relaxing and socialising with friends are all excellent ways to enrich your time abroad. You can find plenty of ideas and inspiration at TravelWorks Sprachreisen, in particular for English language learning.
Here’s another tip for your next read: our guide to applying for a job in an English-speaking country has plenty of useful information on the application process in the US or UK. This will make applying for a job abroad a breeze, which in turn helps you achieve your goal of learning a language in another country.