Your language stay: How to avoid difficulties and make the most of it
Going on a language trip is a unique adventure that does not happen every day. So to prevent this from turning to drama, it is important to be well prepared. Some small traps are easily avoided and Holingo's team is there to help you succeed in this project in peace.
Learning or strengthening a foreign language is the heart of a linguistic stay. But we must pay attention to the choice of the latter. Mastering a foreign language both orally and in writing opens many doors. English, Chinese or Spanish are the most popular (and most useful) languages in an experience like this.
Some programs offer to learn an exotic dialect, with rare languages such as Romanian as an example. This is a very qualitative personal enrichment but unfortunately it will not help you much for the future. Because yes the choice of the language is still determining.
You go on a language stay to have fun but also to add a little more to your CV. Recruiters are looking for personalities who have tried language studies or any other significant experience in the field of foreign languages. So, choose one that will help you get your career off the ground!
THE DESTINATION There are countries that are much more dreamed than others, on this point everyone agrees. It is often said that to improve oneself in a dialect different from one's own, one must immerse oneself completely. As a result, destinations like England, the United States or Spain are much more popular than others.
Yet, depending on the schools, some candidates are doing much better in an environment they already know. That is to say in an establishment based in France where there is no need to apprehend a new way of life. This feeling of being at home can remove stress and allow the student to enjoy the best.
The price issue is also included in the destination. Leaving far is more expensive than staying in France or traveling to a border country. This is normal since the plane ticket is very often included in the offer. The life of a country can come back dear to a student who has come to study abroad. That says a lot of expenses, says shortened stay.
After, everything depends on your character and the experience you are trying to live. Adventurers, homebody, it takes everything to make a world! If you are afraid of flying, do not force yourself and find an alternative in a place accessible by train for example. It is not the destination that dictates language stay but envy.
MOTIVATION Speaking of envy, it is important not to participate in a linguistic stay out of spite. Every year, many students arrive in classes with a motivation close to zero. When asked why they came, the answer often comes from the parents' wishes. It's great to want your child to progress or do something interesting while on vacation. But it's even better when this choice comes from itself.
A motivated person will be much more receptive and will surely learn faster and easier than someone who is there against their will. Even so, even a forced person can finally enjoy studying a foreign language as part of a language course. Destinations are often full of little treasures that can only be appreciated.
If you like sports, for example, some offers offer related activities. You can go rugby in New Zealand. Are you a fan of white sand beaches and turquoise water? Come take a trip to Playa del Carmen in Mexico. Check out our catalog of destinations to find your ideal!
THE DURATION OF THE STAY: The length of the linguistic stay is a trap without being one. It is sometimes difficult to gauge the minimum (and maximum) time essential to the good practice of such a trip. We must be careful not to choose an offer too short, for lack of time to progress. But the opposite can also be synonymous with boredom. A middle ground is then to be found.
If you only want to improve your level of comprehension and oral expression, two weeks may be enough. But to go to a higher level, it takes between 4 and 5 weeks of intensive courses.
It is better to focus on duration and take time than intensity. By trying to assimilate a lot of information at once, your brain may not be able to remember much. Your language stay will therefore have less scope than expected. It's too bad !
WITH WHOM For a successful language stay, you have to find the right organization. Many organizations have decided to focus on this theme and it is not always easy to find the right one. The market is quite dense and some companies take the opportunity to try to inflate their estimate.
That's why Holingo is the first platform not to go through an agency. The cost is reduced and, in addition, there is no risk of fraud. The selected schools are selected on the advice of the students who have already made their stay. The whole team is here to listen to you, determine the best offer according to your objective, guide you and advise you.
If you really want to go through an organization, check that it is UNOSEL approved. They are identified by reference NF EN 14804. This standard ensures a qualitative level of service. Many criteria are required of structures, such as giving clear and useful information on what they offer. They must be totally transparent with respect to the price they charge.
THE PRICE Let's turn now to the delicate issue of price. A language stay, depending on its destination, can be quite expensive. But when organizations allow themselves to slip hidden costs in the quote, nothing goes! To get an idea of what the prices are, we can divide the price into two parts:
The services: the school, the teachers, the number of students, the activities, the accommodation ... The service: the selection of the destinations, the advice, the accompaniment in the steps, the assistance ... So do not tilt on the price because it is often significant quality of the offer. Obviously, the most expensive offers are not necessarily the best. However, to want at all costs (it is the case to say it) to find the cheapest offer can prove to be a trap.
Indeed, we must remain attentive on certain points. Sometimes, we offer you a great offer including a complete package ranging from transport to accommodation, through courses. But once the reservation is made, the price has changed. We announce to you then that the tickets of train or plane have increased to date.
The best exchange rate is chosen and appears on the quote. But when you pay, it's a different story. Pay attention to this detail that can quickly hurt the wallet.
All offers do not necessarily include accommodation in their pack. If you go to the other side of the world, as in Australia or Canada, it is better to check that a roof is waiting for you. It's always nice to know that everything is organized and regulated before leaving, rather than being on the spot with nothing. The time to find a place to stay, you'll see that your bank account will be gray mine.
If you are not sociable or you like loneliness, have your little cocoon, do not opt for a room to share. Even for a short stay, if you're not used to it, it can cause problems and negatively influence your adventure. When you choose your offer, think to inform you well on this point. It also works in reverse, if you want to meet new people, favor colocation.
The host family can be a good alternative. The members will speak to you in the local language constantly, you will discover typical dishes and you will save a little on the rent. In most cases, this way of life is completely suitable for both parties. But to avoid any misadventure, it is recommended to go through the chosen organization to find his family. At Holingo they are certified and safe.
Another aspect to take into account: additional expenses. In a language stay, it is better to plan a small "pocket money" budget for expenses. It is quite possible that no meals are taken care of by the body. Lunch in the canteen, as well as those in the evening, are the responsibility of the student. It is interesting to study the quote and ask the question upstream.
If you stay long, other expenses may appear. We think of the laundry to wash your clothes, outings during your free time if they are not included in the chosen offer. The destination influences this point a lot. Indeed, the more expensive life is, the more your budget will have to be substantial. For example, in Australia, a movie theater costs almost 20 Australian dollars (about 17 euros) in the big cities.
For "school" supplies, it's the same story. Plan to buy a notebook, pens, highlighters ... Everything you need to be comfortable during the learning time. At least you will not need to buy on the spot if the school does not provide the equipment.
NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THE CLASSES
Sometimes it happens that behind a cheap language stay is an uncomfortable explanation for the students. To progress in one language, it is better to favor small groups of about fifteen participants maximum. It's much easier to focus, to participate and of course to improve. There is less shame in going to a small committee than to a whole class whose eyes are on you.
Some agencies hide the number of people in classes to offer a low cost offer. The price of a course for 20 people is obviously not the same as for a dozen students. One thinks to have subscribed to a genialissime offer and one realizes, too late, that in truth it is not at all adapted to its profile.
Holingo plays the full transparency by indicating on its website the number of participants allowed for each session. This allows you to determine the best opportunity according to your desires. Some are better at flourishing in a large class while others prefer more intimate sessions. Once again, everything depends on the personality of each one.
DURATION OF COURSES The time spent in the classroom can also be a lie factor. Imagine, the offer offers 30 courses but they last only 40 minutes. It is surely less advantageous than a session of one hour on a smaller number of courses. These parameters must be taken into account in order to avoid falling into the trap of a proposal that is a little too enticing.
To progress, there is no need to stuff your head in intensive courses. On the contrary, you have to know how to punctuate. It is for this reason that many language courses offer offers that combine courses and activities. In general, the theory is done in the morning and in the afternoon they are occupations lighter and fun, but always in connection with the learning of a language, which are organized. By mixing fun and knowledge, we take more pleasure to live a language stay.
Some people need to be active to feel good. Sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher is not helpful for them. In this case, it is better to look into shorter courses with more activities or practice. The fun is to put forward, it is the key to a successful language stay.
THE NUMBER OF FRANCOPHONES Another aspect of the language stay that may prove to be detrimental to success: the French. No, we are not black sheep, but we have an unfortunate tendency to stay between us. But to progress, you have to mix with others and practice! Of course we can speak in English or Spanish between us but doing it with someone of another nationality is beneficial.
Why ? Simply because the accents vary according to the country. It's a good thing to confront each other's eyes. It can identify errors that we do not necessarily hear or even enrich our vocabulary with unknown expressions. You can ask the organization that organizes your language study to put you in courses and / or accommodation with as few French speakers as possible.
Staying in his corner or between French is a facility. But if you want to progress faster and feel comfortable, go ahead and go to others. You will only come out of it to change positively. If you have made the choice to go on a language course, you need to totally immerse yourself. This unique experience involves relationships you can relate to other participants. So do not try to hang on to your roots and choose diversity! In addition, it will make you nice memories and new contacts to discover new countries.
LANGUAGE LEVEL Normally, before starting a class, it is important to test your language level. Even if all levels are accepted, it is better to be associated with the right class. It is for this reason that many schools plan a test from the first class or even before starting the course. Nothing is used to cheat to get a good score, quite the contrary. The bad news would be to find yourself in a class that you could not follow. What will ruin your adventure!
The language stay was designed to achieve results, a significant progress, not to regress. So do not worry, even if you do not feel up to it, that you do not trust in yourself, you will come out the best of this adventure if you put yours in it and overcomes your fears. Be aware that the test is meant to help you and not belittle you in front of others. If, once the first course is done, you find that your place would be better in a level above or below, do not hesitate to discuss with a manager on site. This person will give you the best advice.
COMPARATORS To find an offer at the best price, comparators have become sites of choice to consult and peel. There are, of course, for the language stay. Agencies and other agencies are entered into a database and the engine calculates who has the best price. Unfortunately, the result tends, sometimes, more on the final amount than on the quality. And we can have bad surprises in some cases.
Another hidden flaw, partnerships. It is quite possible that an online comparator has been "bought" by an agency. As part of these partnerships, the site puts forward an organization indicating that its rate is the best of the market. While it may be wrong, they only made a deal. It is therefore necessary to be wary and to make, in addition, an approach of request for estimate in total autonomy.
As a general rule, take your time to find the language course that really suits you. Do not hesitate to request quotes from different organizations, contact directly by phone or email with advisers. Price is not the only parameter to take into account. A low tariff may contain hidden defects, just like a price too high.
Also take into account all the factors listed as destination, duration, accommodation ... There is no good or bad language stay, it's all fun while progressing.