Don’t Forget the SPF: 10 Hot Summer Language Immersion Programs

by Published

Every year, thousands of high school students, college students, and adults trade in a summer of lounging at the pool for an international adventure spent traveling foreign cities, learning local languages, and enjoying local cuisine.

We aren’t saying sitting poolside is bad, but walking through Barcelona’s cobblestone streets while sipping wine and learning a valuable professional skill seems...let’s say...more productive. 

Lady sitting beside the pool reading a book

You can still enjoy your poolside summer vacations… just in another country….learning a new language. 😉📚

People of all ages sign up for intensive summer language programs that take them all over the globe to study languages and cultures in a way that is structured and, for high school and college students, can even earn you college credits.  

It isn’t all fun and games either. There are some real personal and professional benefits to taking part in a summer language program. 

Read on to learn the benefits, how to maximize your ability to become fluent in a short amount of time, and then our top summer language immersion program picks for adults, high schoolers, AND college students. ¡Vamos!

What are the benefits of summer language immersion programs?

Science doesn’t lie: if you are going to learn a language, the quickest path to fluency is learning in a full immersion environment. Full immersion programs force you to immediately apply what you learn in the classroom to your everyday life as you run errands around town, connect with locals at the bar, and interact with new friends who don’t speak your native language.  

This is what makes summer language immersion programs so awesome. They combine the summer traveling you likely want to do anyway with the added bonus of coming home with an incredibly valuable professional skill under your belt. Language acquisition FTW! 

Let’s recap: living abroad, traveling, and learning a foreign language all in one. I can’t think of many better ways to spend a summer! The only real question is: What language should you study at language immersion summer camps?

5 most popular languages to study during summer immersion programs

Most fluency-bound language learners like to lean on these tongues for their summer courses:

  • Spanish. When it comes to languages to study, you have a few fantastic options to choose from. In terms of utility, Spanish is tough to beat. With over 437 million native speakers worldwide and 20  countries designating Spanish as their official language, Spanish is an incredibly powerful language to learn. 
  • French. Equal to Spanish in terms of romance, French summer immersion camps and French summer school for adults are also popular. For some reason, people find the idea of eating world famous pastries while practicing French under the Eiffel Tower enticing!
  • German. German is also popular, especially with Berlin becoming a hip hotbed of startup in recent years and Berlin’s relative affordability in comparison with the rest of Europe. It’s particularly popular for teens. There are tons of German immersion programs for high school students to choose from. 
  • Chinese. With 1.2 million native speakers and China’s emergence as a political and economic superpower, the ability to speak Chinese has gained in its social and professional value. The ability to speak Chinese is a coveted skill for employers with operations in Asia. 
  • Japanese. And finally, Japanese. Whether for the incredible traditional and pop culture, the bustling chaos of Tokyo or for the world renowned food scene, Japan is a popular choice for summer language programs. What better place to learn Japanese than by an intensive japanese language program in Japan!

But don’t get too distracted from your studies. If you are going to take the summer to learn a language, you should make sure you get the absolute most out of it.

Bridge in Paris, France

Ordering croissants in French? Full immersion programs benefit your soul AND your stomach. 🇫🇷

Summer language immersion programs for high school students

Our years in high school are incredibly formative, making them an ideal time in our life for learning about other cultures. Below are a few fantastic summer language immersion programs for high school students:

1. Master Your Tones with Chinese Internship Placements

Get to know China in a whole new way through Chinese Internships Placements. This program includes intensive language studies, traveling to famous sites in China, as well as learning about various industries to get you to start thinking about your career. CIP is a phenomenal chinese immersion summer programs high school students.

2. Study Spanish in Spain with CIEE Summer Language and Culture

Spend your summer walking the stunning cobblestone streets of Seville, Spain while learning Spanish in CIEE’s intensive Spanish language program. Through language courses as well as general culture studies, the CIEE program offers a true European adventure with awesome learning opportunities through their Spanish immersion summer programs. 

3. Pretzels Included! Check out EIL's German Program

Germany: International Relations & The E.U. is a German immersion program for high school students Learn the German language as you travel between Berlin, Niederalteich, Brussels, Cologne, Bonn, Munich, and Maastricht. Throughout your travels, you will study German language, history, and politics while also making stops in the Netherlands. For those interested in European history, this German immersion program for high school students is a great choice. 

4. Study French in France with Experience Provence 

Experience Provence, France like a local. This is one of the best summer french immersion programs for high school students. It really allows students to take a deep dive into French language and culture—from colorful open-air markets, to experiences at France’s fantastic summer festivals. And all the while you will be learning the French language, using what you learn through your studies as you navigate everyday life like a local. 

Summer language immersion programs for college students

Street of Validimossa, Spain

Embrace the warmth of the Spanish heat and people—your body is ready. 👍🏽

Spending time abroad has been known to totally change people’s minds about their professional dreams and the life they envision for themselves after college. Below are some incredible, eye-opening summer language programs for college students that might just change how you see the world.

5. Studying German with AIFS will Make You Heisse Scheisse

Thanks to its affordability, startup scene, and history you can still see to this day, Berlin, Germany has become a hot international destination. AIFS offers a summer language immersion programs for college students where students can learn German no matter their current language ability while experiencing local culture and activities. Your studies can even include earning up to 12 college credits!

6. Parler Français with the Best of 'Em in Grenoble with Boston University

You could spend the summer on lifeguard duty, or you could spend it learning French in Grenoble, France. This Boston University course offers intensive language courses as well as general studies courses conducted in French.This is a fantastic french immersion summer programs college students.

7. Learn Spanish in the Mother Country with Sol Education Abroad

Learn Spanish in the vibrant city of Granada! There are few places in Spain more romantic than Granada’s historical cobblestone streets and stunning public squares. Learning Spanish with the Alhambra Palace in the background is a summer language immersion programs for college students that you won’t soon forget!

Summer language immersion programs for adults 

German flag

Pretty soon you’ll be saying ich liebe dich to the food, the views, and the beer. 🍻🇩🇪

Learning is a lifelong process and we applaud those adults who are excited to learn new skills and experience new cultures. Below are a few summer language immersion programs for adults we think would make anyone’s summertime sweet as cherry pie. 

8. Master German with USAC

Germany may be known for its delicious chocolates and sausages, but this program from USAC offer adults the opportunity to study German Language, European Studies, and Sustainability in Lüneburg, Germany through the program offered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium. For adults who are looking for both a fun adventure and a chance to acquire a new language, this program is fantastic. 

9. *Finally* Get Fluent in Mandarin with XJTLU

China is a powerhouse on the international stage which has caused the value of knowing Chinese and understanding Chinese to skyrocket as a skill on the job market.  XJTLU short courses offer summer language immersion programs for adults to learn Chinese, delve into Chinese culture, and learn more about what life is like in China. Experience China in the summer, or master the Chinese language one semester at a time. 

10. Say Konnichiwa to CISabroad's Summer Program in Japan

This is one of the top japanese language immersion programs for adults, and gives you the opportunity to explore a unique, refreshing, and incredibly exciting side of the world. You’ll live in influential Tokyo and study with the close-knit community at Seisen University. Experience the country’s natural beauty, taste delicious food, and see some wild style in the world’s most populous greater metropolitan area. Between your studies and discovering the hidden gems in this city, your time in Tokyo will zip by as fast as Japan’s high-speed bullet trains! This is an ideal Japanese language immersion programs for adults.

BONUS: How to increase fluency during summer language immersion programs

Photo of Kyoto, Japan

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto? Learn far beyond that phrase with an immersion program in Japan. 🇯🇵

In a full immersion summer language program, much of your learning occurs outside the classroom as you navigate everyday life in your host country. This means that if you are proactive in immersing yourself in the local culture, you can make big strides in your language acquisition over the summer. Below are five tips to help you make the most of your experience:

Tip #1: Use Media to Your Advantage—Music, TV, Movies, etc.

Listening to the local music is a great way to practice your auditory language skills. As you listen, make a conscious effort to understand the words and meaning of the music. The more exposure you have to a language, the more quickly your brain will begin to pick up on the local language. Televisions shows can be a great way to get introduced to the local pop culture as well as improve your language skills.

Idea: Go to the movies! Is a movie you really want to see hitting your local theatre? Go see it in the local language! Movies abroad usually have English subtitles, so you can practice your skills while catching the latest flick!

Tip #2: Hit the Local Watering Hole / Date Locals

As an international student, you will likely be an interesting curiosity to the local people. Make sure to get outside your usually friend group and make connections with locals, forcing you to practice the language skills you are learning in the classroom.

What better practice for language skills is there than a date!  A night on the town is a great way to experience the culture, practice the language and also experience all the best local spots. 

Tip #3: Get Involved with Local Groups and Activities or Volunteer

Learning to Flamingo in Spain, hitting the hot springs in Japan, and hitting the Chinese karaoke bar are not only great ways to make local connections, they will force you to use your language skills in unique and unfamiliar environments.

Adding some volunteer work to your language study program is not just a way to give back to your host city. It is also a great way to interact with local people with a similar passion as you and provides a chance to use your new language skills in practical ways.

Tip #4: Have No-English Days with Your Fellow Foreign Students

Just because you are with your fellow foreign students doesn’t mean that your language practice needs to be put on hold! Schedule no English days with your fellow students so that everyone is forced to practice what they have learned.

Idea: Take a tour of your local city that is conducted in the local language! This is a great way to practice your speaking and listening skills while also getting to know about your new home. 

Tip #5: Fake it Til You Make It

Local people will know that you are learning the language and they will really appreciate you making the effort to  speak their language. Give it your best shot, share a laugh, and keep at it. You will be chatting away in no time!

Your summer can be the thing that dreams are made of!

Stop sign in Spanish

Stop! No English days help you out immensely.

Make your summer everything that it can be by taking on the exciting challenge of summer language immersion programs. It is a special opportunity that combines the excitement and re-energizing effects of travel with the professional and personal development of learning a new language. So get out there and start chatting your way to a valuable new skill!

Find more summer language programs abroad now

Topics:  Culture, Travel Tips