Tired of studying classical foreign languages like French, Spanish, and German in boring old Europe? Get all tongue-tied in a region’s that both yin and yang. Asia is the largest world continent and home to a staggering array of over 2,000 foreign languages. Which Asian language should you learn? You could learn Hindi in India, take immersion Cantonese courses in Hong Kong, or Thai classes in Thailand. On the other hand, you could consider learning more exotic indigenous tongues like Bhutanese, Khymer, or Hakka.
What about the South Pacific? Get all up in mastering Maori, the indigenous tongue of native New Zealanders, and learn how to do a proper haka performance. Sit in Fijian language classes in balmy Fiji or learn Tongan in Tonga. Go full immersion and sign up for a homestay in Indonesia to learn any of its 300 native languages.
What kind of language program do you want to follow? Do you want to do a short-term immersive one with a language school or classes at a local university for a semester? Do you want to get a private tutor or learn the language on the fly in less formal settings? According to our users, some Asian and Oceanic destinations are highly-sought after when it comes to language programs abroad. So we’ve pooled together their preferences to bring you the best of the best in trending destinations.
Get ready to see the world in another light with the 10 best places for language courses in Asia and the South Pacific in 2018 according to our meaningful travel community web searches.
1. South Korea
Want to understand one of the world’s greatest pop cultures today? Do language courses in South Korea. Study in the heart of popular South Korean cities like Seoul and learn what Gangnam Style really means (trust us, it’s more than an earworm!). Before you know it, you’ll be singing along to the lyrics of K-pop boy bands like BTS, Got7, and EXO and maybe making up your own songs in Korean, too! Also, don’t miss out on this opportunity to understand the equally fascinating traditional culture of the peninsula.
Recommended program: Study Korean in South Korea with ISA
Want to impress all your friends by translating your favorite Japanese anime in real time without reading the English subtitles? You definitely can if you sign up for language courses in Japan! Prepare to be wowed by all of the lights in Tokyo, humbled by the zen vibes of Kyoto, and excited by the club scene in Osaka. If you’d like to take it up a notch, forget the big cities and dive straight into nihongo in small Japanese towns and cities where English is rarely spoken.
Recommended program: Study Japanese in Japan with KCP International
If you’re itching to learn a new tongue in Asia, the Red Dragon is calling you. Try learning Mandarin in Beijing, mastering your Cantonese tones in Macau, or diving into immersion Wu courses in Shanghai. All these dialects use the same writing system, but can sound completely different. These languages will definitely set you up for a career in international business and trade or diplomacy, not to mention give you some new party tricks. If you’re even more adventurous, try Hokkien classes in China or even Chinese sign language courses!
Recommended program: Study Mandarin in China with CIP
Sorry to break it to you, but no one in India speaks Indian. In fact, the tower of Babel was probably built on the subcontinent because there are so many native languages there. By learning them, you can better understand the different Indian subcultures, whether in Rajasthan or in the Himalayas. Choose from a host of language classes in India. Try learning Bengali in Kolkata, immersion Hindi courses across the country, or Telugu in South India.
Recommended program: Study languages in India with Where There Be Dragons
Learning languages in Turkey is extra-unique because the country straddles both the Asian and European continents. This basically makes it an epic place to learn languages. Sign up for a homestay in Istanbul, Ankara, or Izmir for authentic immersion Turkish courses you’ll never find in any language school or university. Also, get this. You can also take Arabic, Spanish, and Greek language classes in Turkey! Truly, when you take language courses in Turkey, you’ll better understand its past and present.
Recommended program: Learn Turkish with Language Vacation
Forget mainland China! If you’d like to try learning Mandarin (traditional-style) on a tropical island, try Taiwan on for size. This Asian nation is also a great place to learn Hokkien or the Hakka dialect, or indigenous Formosan languages like Amis. Study in Taipei for the language courses, but stay for the food. There’s enough delicious xiao long bao and oyster omelettes to do your head in!
Recommended program: Study languages in Taiwan with Languages Abroad
7. The UAE
Want to attempt learning Arabic in a super-safe Middle Eastern country? Ta da! The United Arab Emirates (or UAE for short) to the rescue! Languages classes in the UAE run the gamut of family homestays, university classes, private sessions, and intensive courses at language schools. Even if it’s not your native language, you can even learn English in the UAE! The majority of the best language schools are based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Recommended program: Learn languages in the UAE with API
Learn a REALLY cool Southeast Asian tongue—learn Vietnamese in Vietnam! When it comes to language programs, for the pick of the lot, make a beeline for Hanoi, the capital, and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) phở sure! They are also great places to soak up the local culture and bargain your heart away. On the other hand, if you’re up for a real challenge and a totally immersive experience, go off the beaten path in Hai Phong or Can Tho.
Recommended program: Learn languages in Vietnam with Projects Abroad
9. The Philippines
Want to ace a different kind of Asian tongue? Try Tagalog classes in the Philippines! Even though English is one of the country’s official languages, most people speak Filipino (the standard register of Tagalog) in Manila and other parts of the country. You can also learn Visayan which is spoken in the central region of the Philippines. While you’re there, be sure to pick up some Taglish (a mix of English and Tagalog) slang as well!
Recommended program: Learn English at KEYSTONE International Language Center
Study one of the most ancient languages in the world—sign up for Hebrew classes in Israel! Learn the national language at universities in trendy Tel Aviv or pick up some Arabic (the other official language) at language schools in Haifa and Jerusalem. Even if you aren’t super religious, you’re bound to feel something special in this holy Middle Eastern country. Practice your language skills while exploring Nazareth, Masada fortress, and the sea caves of Rosh Hanikra.
Recommended program: Study Arabic with Rothberg International School
A note from GoAbroad
We’d like to thank our community for not only inspiring us daily, but for also giving us enough insight to share accurate predictions for meaningful travel in 2018.
Learn more about our research methodology, recommended programs, and links here.
Browse more of this year's report on top destinations for language schools
- Best Destinations for Language Courses Worldwide in 2018
- Best Destinations for a European Language School in 2018
- Best Destinations for Language Classes in the Americas for 2018
- Best Destinations to Learn an African Language in 2018
- See ALL top destinations for ALL travel