In today’s world, just knowing English alone isn’t going to cut it. If want to explore the great beyond outside your home country, you should learn a second language or two. Foreign language proficiency also makes you more employable. Without it, your resume might as well be at the bottom of the pile. Not only that, knowing a second language significantly changes your worldview, makes international travel much easier, and causes you to feel more connected to this great, big world.
If you’re interested in learning classical and modern Western languages, the place to be is the European continent. Learn a language in Europe, whether it’s Swedish in Sweden, French in France, or Spanish in Spain. European language schools are a dime a dozen in Western Europe so how do you know which one to choose?
First of all, you need to decide which language you want to study. If you’re thinking Italian, then the obvious choice is Italy. On the other hand, if you’re gaga for German, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Switzerland are some of the top countries for language courses in Europe. Dip your toe in the water with beginner courses or go full monty with advanced language immersion programs and language exchanges.
Ready to learn a different tongue or two? Maybe three? Our community is here cheering for you. That’s why we’re bringing you the 10 top destinations for language courses in Europe in 2018!
The land of milk and honey is also the best place for polyglots. Located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland ticks all the boxes with four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. This, as well as its political neutrality, makes it the perfect base for international NGOs like the UN and the Red Cross. Learn German in Zurich, French in Geneva, and Italian in Lugano.
Recommended program: Study French in Switzerland with ELFI
If a Norwegian asks you what you think about the Northern Lights and you get all Trolltunga-tied, you need to learn the language of modern Vikings. Immerse yourself in Bokmål, Nynorsk, and Sami at the best schools for language education in Europe in Oslo, Bergen, and Tromso. Once you’ve mastered those unusual languages, why not pick up another Scandinavian one while you’re there? We dare you!
Recommended program: Learn Norwegian in Oslo with Languages Abroad
For Italian fanaticos, there’s no better place to perfect the language than The Boot. When in Rome, learn the language of love over spaghetti and meatballs Lady and the Tramp style. Sign up for a cooking class in Italian or go full immersion with a local homestay. Get out of the city and travel the country to learn the different nuances and slangs of each region, whether it’s Sicily, Siena, or Napoli. Aside from Italian, you can also study other languages in Italy like Spanish and Albanian so go crazy!
Recommended program: Study Italian in Italy with Babilonia
Why should you learn French in Europe? First of all, France is the tongue’s motherland so it makes perfect sense to learn straight from the source. Not only that, more than 220 million people speak it so you’ll definitely be investing time learning the language of international relations. Learning French in France also opens you to an iconic culture of food, fashion, and film. After a couple of classes, you’ll never mix up your bain-marie and bouillabaisse ever again!
Recommended program: Study French in France with Passeport Pour Les Langues
Ready to learn the native language in the land of H&M and Ikea? Swedish is considered one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn so head on up to Sweden to get started! Like its Scandinavian neighbor, Norway, Sweden is sparsely populated and naturally breathtaking. Kayak along its jeweled coast, explore the beauty of Uppsala, or chillax in Stockholm’s uber cool cafes, museums, and restaurants.
Recommended program: Study Swedish in Uppsala with UISS
Don’t be basic—learn some of the more unique languages in Europe. Learn Ukrainian and other Slavic tongues in Ukraine, one of the top countries for language courses in Europe. If you’re intimidated by the sheer size of Russia or its red tape visa application nightmares, try learning the Russian language outside the country in Lviv, Odessa, or Kiev. Practice your new language skills with the locals while climbing the Carpathian mountains or swimming in the Black Sea.
Recommended program: Study Ukrainian in Ukraine with NovaMova
If you want to learn a language in Europe, but think you can only go to Germany to learn German... think again! Though small in size, the land of Mozart and sachertorte is also home to some of the best German language schools on the continent. Learn the difference between Austrian German and Austro-Bavarian German in Vienna, the city of music, Salzburg, the home of the von Trapps, and Innsbruck, located in the heart of the Alps.
Recommended program: Study German in Austria with International Programs
8. The Netherlands
Sandwiched between Germany and Belgium, the Netherlands is one of the top countries for language courses in Europe. Language schools and universities abound in this tiny European country, making it a cinch to learn Dutch, its native tongue, and other languages. Base yourself in Amsterdam (so much more than its red light district and pot cafes) and explore the rest of the country by bike, boat, or train. If you’re feeling particularly bold, try to learn its other lesser known official language, Frisian, in the north of the country.
Recommended program: Study Dutch in the Netherlands with Language Vacation
Spain remains a popular destination to learn a language in Europe. Even if you may know Latin American Spanish, European Spanish is a whole other kettle of fish. That said, there are 17 regions across Spain to learn the language, so how do you choose? If you’d like to learn Castilian Spanish, head to the city of Salamanca, also the country’s biggest university town. If Catalan more floats your boat, head to Barcelona. Adventurous linguists can also try learning Basque in Basque country or Galician in Vigo.
Recommended program: Study Spanish in Valencia with Euroace
Still looking for the top countries for language courses in Europe? Look no further than Belgium, home of world-class chocolate, waffles, and beer. Belgium is a true language paradise in Europe with Dutch, English, French, German, Walloon, Flemish, and other languages spoken by locals. Study in Brussels, La Louviere, and Spa. Belgium is also a traveler’s delight, nestled between Germany, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, making that Eurotrip more than just a pipe dream.
Recommended program: Study languages in Belgium with CSA
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 Language Classes in the Americas for 2018
- Best Destinations to Learn an African Language in 2018
- Best Destinations for Language Courses in the South Pacific & Asia for 2018
- See ALL top destinations for ALL travel