Old Dog, New Tricks: 12 Adult Language Schools Abroad

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Great! You can speak, read, and write in English. And so does a growing percentage of the world. Many anglophones often forget that other languages exist. And that foreign languages can be import in business, among many, many other things. While language is only a piece of a cultural puzzle, it’s a huge one. 

Three older people sitting around and studying foreign languages

You’re never too old to learn—or master—a new language. Seriously!

Home, work, home. Home, work, and back home again. Home. Work. Home...maybe you’re stuck in that daily 9-5 grind five days a week. It gets old quick, doesn’t it? Do something different and stimulate that brain of yours by studying a foreign language, abroad. An adult language school allows us to shake up the routine that our lives so often become. Imagine a summer language immersion program, just for adults, to nourish your intellect in a new way. Learning a new language is more than asking for directions on your next vacation: it’s culture, cuisine, and a different style to express yourself. It’s a different way to see and express our experiences. And while you might not be able to change your environment, you can leave it for a while and return with new eyes and a fresh perspective. 

Why not do something different? Here’s our take on language immersion programs for adults—why you’re never too old to learn and the adult language schools that can help you accomplish your fluency goals.

Why your age doesn’t matter

Does my age matter? No. Am I too old to learn a new language? Non. Is it unheard of for an adult like me, well beyond 50, to study a foreign language? ¡ no ! That’s enough of this nexus of negative ideas. We’d like to let you in on a little secret here so pay attention to this one: your age doesn’t matter, you’re never too old, and research actually suggests that studying a foreign language in adulthood has positive mental health outcomes. 

Studying a foreign language in adulthood should be something you consider. Besides, who said you’re an old dog in the first place. Be a top, wise dog and do your brain a favor. And enough of that numbers game! 

Foreign language programs have a tendency to gear their marketing towards younger, college-aged students, but many of these program support and welcome adults because they too believe that age is just a number. Few adult language schools exist though most programs will cater to the needs of their students regardless of age.

Girls playing on a playground at a foreign language school

Going back to school as an adult isn’t all that bad!

12 up and coming adult language schools abroad

These adult language schools will get you on the right track towards fluency

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1. Tico Lingo 

This killer adult language school offers adult students la creme de la creme when it comes to Spanish immersion programs. Tici Lingo offers flexible programs in Costa Rica ranging from one to 16 weeks. The course includes 20 hours of group Spanish classes (that’s four hours a day, five days a week folks!) and accomodation with a local Tico family for around $500 a week. 

With your home base in Heredia, you’ll quickly learn the way to San Jose (just a half hour away). Students have the option to choose from a variety of cultural courses in addition to the school’s dynamic language classes. Each student takes a placement exam before starting the program to ensure adequate course placement. A bonus: students have conversational classes to practice their new skills with the locals. 

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2. Jakera Cuba

Experience the history of Cuba along with the lively lifestyle while studying Spanish in Old Habana. Known more internationally as Old Havana, this language program is located in one of the municipalities that make up the capital city of Havana. Along with Spanish courses, students can also opt to study dance and culture or even volunteer while there at it. For around $400 a week, students have two meals a day and accommodation along with chosen courses. The cool part: these language classes aren’t just for adults, students can expect to study alongside a wide range of generations. 

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3. Hutong School

Study Mandarin with the Hutong adult language school boasting more than 10 years of experience teaching and welcoming international students. Might we add adult students too! This adult-friendly language school offers courses in both Beijing and Shanghai allowing students the opportunity to experience life in these magnificent Chinese metropolises. Students will study four hours a day in classes with no more than 8 students max. Programs run around $500 per week which includes 24/7 assistance and support while obtaining the visa. Hutong offers language classes from one week up to one year. A plus (or two!): students can take part in cultural activities and free 1-on-1 additional tutoring sessions. 

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4. Beijing International Chinese College (BICC)

The BICC has been offering Mandarin and Chinese culture courses since 2005 in...you guessed it, Beijing! There are three campuses located across the city making this school a convenient choice. Although not strictly an adult language school, this program has a history of welcoming adult learners from beginner to advanced language levels. A wide range of courses are offered - from regular Chineses, to intense classes or more niche courses like HSK prep or business Chinese. These courses can be taken by the week, semester or for an entire year starting at around $250 a week. A perk: If you happen to already be situated in Beijing, the school can come to you at our home or place of employment and you can forget any commute.

  • Where? Beijing, China 
  • Language? Mandarin
  • Average cost? $250/week 
  • More info:  Read reviews of BICC 
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5. Actilange

Live out your dream of experiencing the south of France living along the French Riviera while studying French. Actilange offers language classes geared towards adults at their school located in the beautiful mediterranean city of Nice. Adults are placed in level-appropriate courses based on a written test to assess grammar along with a personal interview. The school offers both general and intensive French classes along with DELF diplomas. Courses range from two to 24 weeks with the option of 20, 25, or 30 lessons a week. Two week courses start from 360 euros with discounted rates for longer-term sessions. 

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6. Babilonia Italian Language School

Experience Italy. And more than just the great food and beverage. Study the Italian language and culture with the Babilonia Italian Language School on the largest Mediterranean island in Sicily. Babilonia offers language courses in tandem with a bunch of other cultural courses like Italian literature and history with an emphasis on Sicilian writers, cooking programs, ceramics, or even golf. Courses are offered in an intimate setting with no more than 12 students though one-on-one lessons are also available. Be sure to check out their summer language immersion programs for adults, too. The bonus: accomodation is provided with a local host family where breakfast and dinner are served daily. 

Guys sitting on laptops studying languages

Technology can only take you so far—living in a country where the language is spoken is key.

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7. A Door To Italy

Learn Italian while experiencing life along the romantic northwestern coast of Italy in the heart of Genoa. Former students often speak of the quality of instruction provided by highly-skilled certified language professors but also the abundance of attractions and sites nearby. Small group courses run for 12 weeks which include 36 hours of instruction for a handsome price of 295 euros. A pro: scholarships are available to help offset the price of tuition!

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8. The Excellence Center in Palestine

Study Modern Standard Arabic or the Palestinian dialect in the city of Hebron. This program combines language with culture and history lessons for a dynamic group of foreigners from around the world. Arabic courses are taught for all levels and are offered all year round.  The price of the program depends on the hours of instructions ranging from 10 to 50 hours with prices starting at 150 euros. A perk: cultural tours of the Old City are included with language courses! 

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9. Hindi Hour

Explore the capital city of Rajasthan while enrolled in an intensive Hindi language program. Students will have the opportunity to speak, read, and write with a copious amount of practical speaking lessons. Oh, this program includes instruction on the script too. This immersion program, which is completely customizable, includes a three to four-week homestay with a local family. Now, there’s more than just language classes for adults!The bonus: students can choose between courses taught in Hindi or Roman script (and here’s a guide to learning Hindi in India!)

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10. Language Vacation

Adults have the opportunity to learn Portuguese in the economic center of Brazil - São Paulo. This school is located in the posh neighborhood of Jardin where students can choose between a 20 or 30 hour weekly curriculum. That’s four or six 50-minute lessons are offered on the daily Monday through Friday. Language Vacation understands the importance of the practical application when learning a language which is why they offer the cultural and social activities to prove it. Students are lent learning support materials and have the opportunity to stay with Brazilian families. 

  • Where? São Paulo, Brazil 
  • Language? Portuguese
  • Average cost? $610/week 
  • More details: General info 
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11. Arabeya Language School

This Arabic school gives adult students the chance to study steps away from the Nile. Students can choose from short or long-term courses but also classes geared towards business and professional Arabic. Arabeya has over 15 years of experience providing students with stellar Modern Standard Arabic and also the more regional Egyptian Colloquial Arabic instruction. Accommodation can be provided and for 50 hours of instruction students can expect to pay around 500 euros. A cool perk: calligraphy classes are offered for those interested.

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12. Red Tree Study

Improve your Spanish in beautiful Colombia with Red Tree, an organization providing language classes for adults. Isn’t that a fun country name to say? Anyway, the Colombian accent is known for its rather neutral accent in the Hispanophone world. Located in the mountainous city of Medellin or the mountainous capital of Bogatá, students have a variety of courses to choose from. Red Tree works with students individually to ensure placements are a perfect match. Or, and they offer more than just placements in the mountains. Let them you know that you want to be close to the sea and they will see to it!

[Browse more schools / foreign language classes for adults]

Girls using laptop

Don’t learn a new language alone. Grab your friends, too!

Bonus: Summer language immersion programs for adults

Maybe you have extra time off in the summer because you might otherwise not be able take an extended period off from work. We’ve got you covered. With heaps of summer language immersion programs for adults you will be sure to find one that’s right up your alley. Summer programs are usually flexible and less expensive!

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1. International Studies Abroad (ISA) 

Students of all ages will be captivated by the "City of Arts and Sciences," a masterpiece of modern-day construction from the Planetarium to the Museum of Science and the Palace of the Arts. ISA students can study at the University of Valencia, Universidad Catolica de Valencia (UCV), Universidad Politecnica de Valencia (UPV) or the Florida State University Study Center. No matter where they choose to study, the backdrop of this amazing city, country, and culture, will help you soak up Spanish in all parts of your day-to-day life. 

  • Where? Valencia, Spain
  • Language? Spanish
  • Average cost? Contact provider for $$$ details 
  • More info: Read reviews for ISA 
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2. Spanish Studies Abroad 

This summer, live as a true part of sevillano culture while gaining a profound understanding of your surroundings and the Spanish language. All Spanish Studies Abroad courses are designed to fit your personal and academic needs—homestays, language exchanges, cultural resources, workshops, and activities allow you to more fully integrate into life in Seville. With classes held in a historic Spanish mansion in the heart of downtown Seville, you’re going to easily soak in all its winding Moorish streets, Renaissance gardens, flower-strewn patios, grand architecture, flamenco dancing, and music.

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3. Lankey

French? Arabic? Can’t quite decide??? Then this intensive summer language program might be for you. Lankey is an all-inclusive language immersion program in Rabat, Morocco. If you’ve only got a few weeks, opt into their shorter three week program. If you’ve got a little more time to really be immersed, try their eight week program on for size. Tuition includes wonderfully planned excursions and day trips around the country. It’s a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and learn a new language. 

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4. Go Abroad China

Go Abroad China’s unique Chinese Language Programs are designed to immerse participants in Mandarin Chinese through instruction, one-to-one tutoring, language exchange with native Mandarin Chinese speakers, and wonderful electives, tours, networking events, and parties. With smaller class sizes, you get much more exposure and practice with the language. This program is perfect for anyone who has the time to dedicate to learning a language abroad and exploring a new culture and corner of the world.

  • Where? Beijing, Chengdu, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Nanjing, Ningbo, Shaanxi, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Tianjin, Xi'an, Yangzhou, Yantai, Zhengzhou
  • Language? Chinese
  • Average cost? Contact Provider for $$$ Details
  • More info: Read reviews of Go Abroad China

You’re never too old to learn a new language

Explore flag

The time is now.

You can always reinvent yourself. Or at least the idea that your age shouldn’t limit and decide what you can and cannot due in this life. Let go of those age-related ideals that you have and entertain the idea of learning a foreign language while immersing yourself in a new culture. You’re not being asked to reinvent the wheel here! Adult language classes might just be your next cup of tea.

Going abroad is the best way to learn a foreign language. We aren’t called what we are (GoAbroad, that is) by chance. There is nothing that compares to a total language immersion experience. Speaking of experience, the entire experience becomes your classroom. 

Use MyGoAbroad to compare language schools for adults