There’s one for each month of next year, to buoy us all up with fabulous plans for language travel. Read them all at once in a gluttonous overindulgence, or savour them one by one over the 12 days of Christmas like a really good box of liqueurs. Whichever way you do it, start to dream of where The Language Gap could take you.
- Over 50s courses: Perhaps you have started evening classes in a language you once studied at school, or you’re just trying to pick up the basics so that you can make your holidays more adventurous and meaningful. We have excellent courses for any length of time from a week to a month or longer, designed specifically with the needs of the over 50s in mind. Small group language learning is combined with afternoon and evening cultural and social activities, and you can choose to stay in apartment or host family accommodation in some of the world’s most vibrant, beautiful and fascinating locations, from Madrid to Berlin, Vienna and Nice or Seville.
- Spanish and hillwalking: If being in a classroom learning Spanish isn’t your idea of time well spent, we have the perfect antidote, and a really innovative way of practising the language; you’ll do most of your learning in the outdoors, talking with your native Spanish teacher as you walk the beautiful mountains of Northern Spain, in one of Europe’s last wild places. It’s incredibly good value, and there’s a range of different accommodation options to suit your needs. You can do this alone, as a group of friends, or even as a family with teens in tow.
- Volunteering: There is a huge variety of volunteering options out there, and The Language Gap is able to find something where your skills will really make a difference, and you can put language learning into practice at a new level. The option we recently found in Haiti is not for the faint hearted: you can help Haiti rebuild itself at some incredible projects in Cité du Soleil, one of the poorest places in the Western Hemisphere. Speaking French is a real advantage for this one, and you’ll be picking up the local version, French Creole, as you go. There are many other options similar to this one in French speaking Senegal in West Africa, and in many locations in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course overseas: This is a really popular option for the summer after you finish your A levels or High School: gaining the internationally recognised 120 hour CELTA qualification only takes a month, and it opens the door to well paid employment all over the world. The Language Gap can arrange for you to take the course in various locations in Europe and beyond, so that you can take a language course before or afterwards. You can choose between student residence, apartment, hotel or host family accommodation. The course costs around €1600, and we love the idea of taking it in Rome, Lyon, Munich, or even Mexico City.
- Cookery in Paris: France is bursting with gourmet cookery schools where you can put your French into practice and learn patisserie skills, or how to perfect your sauces. We’ve recently found a 3 hour ‘Mad on Chocolate’ workshop for €99 which sounds perfect. These courses can be added on to any French language course in locations all over the country. Many of these cookery schools also offer wine tasting courses and take huge pride in local and regional dishes, so they are a wonderful way to learn more about local customs and the particular vocabulary you’ll need to work in the food industry in France.
- Opera and Italian: We couldn’t believe this one when we found it, but this has to be one of The Language Gap’s favourite options. You can study Italian through the language of the most famous Italian Operas in private tutorials, and we can even help you combine your visit with a trip to the opera. There are also combination language and music study courses available for classical musicians of all levels in various locations in Italy. Other music and language options are just as exciting: Flamenco Guitar in Spain, Music and German in Vienna, Tango in Buenos Aires, or even Djembe drumming in Senegal.
- Palestinian Arabic in Germany: Yes, you have read that correctly! This is an innovative and rather wonderful opportunity to be part of a community integration project in Germany. In exchange for a contribution to their community work, you can stay with either a local German family, or a Syrian family, or split your stay between the two. You will help in the project, teaching English, working with after school activity clubs and take lessons in German or Palestinian Arabic from the project’s experienced teachers. It’s another radically different approach to learning languages, but the outcome is so much more than just improving your verbs, and it’s really good value for money.
- PADI Divemaster and Marine Biology with Spanish in Mexico: This is a life changing Gap Year option where you will learn all the skills to become a Scuba diving instructor, and complete an internship in Marine Biology on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. You will be immersed in the local culture and language before embarking on an intensive training internship, leaving you highly qualified and experienced in marine conservation, with a language under your belt, and an amazing CV to your name.This is definitely one to leave the desk job for!
- Working with horses in Patagonia: Niche, but so exciting! You can spend short and long term placements on a farm in Chile, Argentina, Paraguay or Uruguay. You’ll learn to ride Western Saddle, work as an equal with the locals on the ranch, and learn a lot of Spanish (and possibly some Guaraní if you’re in Paraguay). Our partners in South America take care of you from the moment you land at the airport, and you’ll never forget a stint in the wide open spaces of the pampa, with the backdrop of the Andes to take your breath away. There are also options for au pairing, general farm work and internships in these fabulous countries.
- Internship in China with cultural immersion: Breaking into the market in China is tricky, to say the least. Our fantastic partner will really make a trip to Shanghai, Beijing or Shenzhen worthwhile, with internships in the sector of your choice, intensive Mandarin language and cultural immersion experiences, and the option of a trip around this fascinating country at the end of your stay. You’ll be in high demand from employers after this option, and there are even summer dates to suit you if you can’t take a whole year out. We’ve got similar programmes in Japan, Vietnam and South Korea.
- Exclusive Summer and Winter Language Camps in the Alps: For the full ‘Chalet School’ experience (remember those books, anyone?), we’ve got some stunning residential language camp experiences in France, Germany and Switzerland, these camps are incredible. Suitable for 8-18 year olds, they include hotel class full board accommodation with gourmet meals, exclusive trips to local attractions, skiing in winter and outdoor sports in summer overseen by highly trained multilingual staff. Students can opt in to a number of internationally focused courses during their stay, and they are sure to come back with friends from all over the world.
- Become a ski instructor and learn French (Canada or France): It’s notoriously difficult to become a ski instructor in France. However, the sleuths at The Language Gap have found a way. The 20 week course doesn’t come cheap at €10,000, but you’ll be set up for life, especially if you can brush up your French first at one of our partner language schools. There is also the option of taking the internationally recognised BASI or CSIA ski instructor courses in the French Alps or French Canada, which are a similar price, and something pretty special to include on any CV.
Spanish Walking and Talking in the North of Spain
Dive in for PADI training and Marine Biology in Mexico
Saddle up and work with horses in Patagonia