Tips on Selecting and Attending a Language School

Language institutes are useful for intensive study of a foreign language. Institutes offer small tutoring sessions to get an intensive language learning experience. Popular for graduate students and professionals, this opportunity is different from traditional study abroad programs as the level of in-country support may be minimal and classes are not always credit bearing.  

Tips for Selecting a School

  • Tuition for schools varies according to country and quality of school.
  • Tuition payment may follow a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule.
  • Pre-registration for schooling varies. Know there are thousands of language schools world-wide.
  • Do your research! Some schools are too informal to offer full language immersion.
  • To experience full immersion do not live with other English speakers. Limit socialization in English as much as possible.
  • If a school doesn't meet your needs, find a new one or just travel the countryside!

Things to Consider

  • Are the instructors university-trained?
  • How intensive is the teaching, i.e. how many hours do I spend with a teacher?
  • Is it group or private instruction?
  • Does the school have books available for loan or have a library?
  • Does the school week include guest speaker presentations, field trips, or volunteer opportunities?
  • Roughly how many English-speakers are in the area, city?
  • Will I live with another English speaker with my host family (if with a host family)?

Credible universities have teachers that are university-trained. Private instruction for several hours a day will help with language acquisition. Avoid other English speakers to get a full cultural and language immersion.

Be sure to ask what price includes

  • What is included in the tuition price? Host family, meals, field trips, etc.
  • Where does the tuition money go? (If the teachers are paid adequately, you will get a higher quality of education.)
  • Check schools’ websites for a US contact. Use this as a resource to ask questions, communicate with former students, and verify the legitimacy of the program.  

Websites for Finding a Language School

Hundreds of language schools (for credit and non-credit) exist world-wide for most languages. Suggestions from U-M foreign language departments and instructors and former language school students are often reliable ways to find out about great language schools. The following websites are good resources for exploring language school opportunities:

GoAbroad.com/Language Schools
Search possible by country, subject, or both. Listings give extensive information on education abroad options.

IIE Passport
Most comprehensive data on global study and work abroad programs. In “Advanced Search”, choose Format, then Lang Study.

Studyabroad.com
Comprehensive listing with special database for language courses (“Intensive Language”). Check out Destination Portal Pages for country-by-country travel information.

Transitions Abroad Magazine/Study Abroad
Find country-by-country listings of programs for study, work, internships, volunteering, language study, and living abroad, annotated guides to resources, and articles from a first-hand perspective.

Worldwide Classroom
Listings of intensive language programs. Search possible by country or category (broad subject categories, age, etc.). Site includes a Travel Planner section.

123 Teach Me
A comprehensive directory of independent Spanish and Portuguese language schools with over 400 listings.