We all have that one bilingual friend who sounds so cool when they switch from one language to another. You might speak un poco de español, but you’re nowhere close to ton ami. Monolingualism can be cured—you don’t have to “be born with it,” and it’s never too late to immerse yourself in another language. There is no faster and better way to learn a language than by being immersed in an environment that forces you to speak it. With gap year language programs, you will sound and think like a native in any language you choose, within a year. Pack your suitcase and dictionary, let’s go become wunderbar!
Buenos dias! Bonjour! Konnichiwa! There are a lot of things to consider before choosing your location, starting with the foreign language you want to learn, and the kind of experience you’d like to have. Take a look at some of the most popular locations we’ve put together to help ease your decision making process.
Costa Rica. Being the world’s second most spoken language in the world, Spanish immersion programs on your gap year offer endless locations to chose from. Costa Rica is one exotic place you do NOT want to miss for your Spanish immersion adventure. By the time you’re done taking trips to the famous Celeste River, whose light blue water color seems to be artificial, or spending your days on amazing tropical beaches with perfect weather for surfing and diving, or walking through one of the most beautiful forests in the world, the Monteverde Cloud Forest, you’ll basically be a Spanish native speaker.
France. French immersion has become very popular in the last few years. When people think of France, they envision the Eiffel Tower and they wish for a romance like Morticia and Gomez Adams have ( Mon cher! *kiss* *kiss*...*kiss*).
Don’t limit yourself. France is more than Paris. There are a lot of other great smaller regions with their own amazing bakeries (they are everywhere!!!), which will give you insight on how to become more of a local and make the French immersion process successful. Places like Marseilles, Nice, Lyon will teach you how to appreciate the simple joys of fine wine and champagne served with grapes and cheese, fresh bread, world class art and architecture, and say Merci instead of Thanks. With gap year language programs, you will be speaking French from the moment you step on French land, from ordering coffee, to planning your next trips to Mont St-Michel and Loire Valley Châteaux. Remember, you’re here to travel while you learn!
Chinese is the number one most spoken language in the world, by over 1.2 billion people, and with lots of gap year language programs opportunities. Traveling to China, and immersing in the language and culture will not only improve your language skills, but you will also gain invaluable insight into the world’s most ancient civilisation, eat the best food, visit the best sights and wonders of the world, like the Great Wall of China, and having the time of your life.
Everything else you need to know about gap year teaching programs
Costs. The beauty of language immersion programs is that there’s one for every age (yes, there are language immersion gap year programs for adults) and every intensity level (A1 to C2). This, combined with the duration of the program and the country of your choosing, will give you different price variations. For basic classes going Monday through Friday, the prices start at $150 per week. If you’re aiming for private or adult immersion programs, you could be paying more than $500 weekly.
Planning to gap year courses in language for the entire year? We highly recommend that you try our FundMyTravel to fundraise enough money with the help of friends and family. Oh, and keep an eyes out for discounts like long-term, tuition, or early pay. There are enough options to make this happen.
Accommodations. Living with and amongst the locals is an integral part of gap year language programs experience. With accommodation included in the price, you will be placed either with homestay families or live on campus. If your fundraiser campaign goes well, you might be able to afford a hotel room, or share the rent price of an apartment with a friend.
Visas. Depending on the country you want to go (we’re hoping it’s somewhere exciting, YAY!), you will most likely only need a tourist visa. Yes, you’re going there to study the language, but not in the traditional “I need a student visa” kind of way. If there’s anything you’re not clear about, check our embassy directory before you start packing !.
Safety. The security and well-being of the students is of paramount concern to all programs running gap year courses. And, we don’t want to sound like your mom, but, be safe! All programs offer security guidelines with emergency phone numbers, so keep your phone charged and always on. Group trips are supervised, but when you’re out on your own, abide to the country’s safety best practices and avoid getting into trouble.
GoAbroad's Inside Scoop
Living in a foreign country for a whole year can become overwhelming and we get that. However, make an effort to find the good in everything and make it all an adventure. You don’t want to completely break off from your family and friends back home, but don’t let homesickness keep you from making new friends.
Outside your normal gap year courses, make an effort to interact with as many locals as possible and use as little to no English on a daily basis. Make the most out of your trip in this new world because you never know when you might come back. Or, if you fall in love with it, like so many of us do, this experience will look so great on your CV/resume, that you might be able to find yourself a job there, like teaching English to the local kids.
You can always try to learn a new language on your own, but we all know how hard it is to find self motivation and sit through hour long videos on Youtube. Language immersion programs and gap year courses will take you to the mother country of the language you want to learn, and fluency is *basically* guaranteed. What are you waiting for? Lass uns gehen!