The guide to help you choose your language school abroad !
This week we have prepared a short guide that will allow you to choose the language school best adapted to your profile and which will best meet your language needs. Faced with the multitude of more or less serious schools, it is important to make your choice by respecting a certain number of criteria. We offer some recommendations to choose a language school that suits you.
How do you know if a language school is recognized?
Before choosing a language school, it is important to learn about school recognition from official bodies.
The list of accrediting bodies is important and differs according to the different languages. The best known are the British Council for English language courses, the Cervantes Institute for Spanish courses and the Goethe Institute for German courses.
In France, it is the FLE quality label. It is the result of a quality assurance process initiated by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. The label aims to identify, recognize and promote the centers of French as a foreign language. More importantly, the label ensures that the language offer and the services of these centers offer quality guarantees. This is why schools are regularly monitored, which encourages them to ensure the quality of their offer.
Preparation for official exams
Preparing for official exams is another sign of the school’s ability to meet the needs of its students. For French-language schools, the most well-known official exams are DELF, DALF and TCF.
This is an official document published by the Council of Europe. The latter consists of a scale of assessment of the mastery of a foreign language. Framework for language teaching in Europe, it is gradually spreading to other foreign languages outside Europe. It is therefore important to check whether the school offers programs that are consistent with the European reference framework. For this, the levels must be defined as A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. Also, most schools will test your level by an entry and exit test.
Who are the other students of this language school?
The age and nationality of other students in the school are essential. Indeed, it can have a big impact on your language learning experience. Too many students of the same nationality are likely to communicate in their own language. In the same way, too great cultural differences between students could be a barrier to good group integration. The age of the students can, in the same way, influence your experience. Some schools welcome teenagers and adults. Others only students in an age range. If you need to study the language for professional reasons, go to an adult school. The important thing is to create an emulation between the students and that the moments of sharing are done in the language of the host country.
Do I have to choose a particular class or group course program and for how long?
There are usually several language course formulas:
- Group Language Classes in School: This is the most classic formula. These courses will cover your most common language needs: speaking and listening, writing, reading and grammar. Generally these courses take place from 4 to 15 people and their intensity is flexible from 15 to 30 hours per week.
- One-to-one tuition in a school or teacher’s home: This type of formula is a significant benefit to your language learning as classes and informal discussions will be entirely focused on your needs.
- Language courses (group or individual) + daily activities: This program is divided into a series of morning classes and cultural, sports or other activities in the afternoon or evening. The accommodation is the choice of the participant: residential in the school, host family, apartment or hotel. This type of stay is open to anyone wishing to explore a new cultural environment while improving their language level.
Warning ! The number of students per class is very important. More students means less time in the foreign language so less attention and teacher corrections! For active classes with good teacher follow-up, prefer classes in small groups or even individual classes. Likewise if you think you have specific needs in the foreign language.
For the stay abroad is the most effective possible, it is better to leave at least 2 weeks. In addition, it is best to stay with language speakers (with the family, with teachers, etc.).
How to know if the courses are of good quality?
Google is your friend! Check on the school website that the school is certified and respects the different frames and labels. This is a first important point. Then, see if the information presented on the website and social networks are regularly updated. You can also find out about the teaching team by logging into LinkedIn or by simply searching the search engines. Teachers must be graduates in language teaching. A stable and experienced team is a sign of quality. Finally, get informed by looking at the reviews and reviews of the school.
Is it better to choose a school in a big city?
In the city or in the country, it’s up to you to choose the place where you will feel most comfortable!
The city seems to offer more activities and activities. Access to “urban” schools or in tourist areas is undoubtedly simplified by the many means of transport. However, do not look at all costs to go to a megalopolis because the school can be very out of the way and the travel time lengthened.
Conversely, schools in the countryside or far from megacities may be less well served but located in quieter areas and more conducive to the study of language.
Which accommodation to choose?
For the most part, schools offer accommodation solutions close to the site or even inside the school. Similarly, some schools offer “all inclusive” solutions including classes, accommodation and meals. You will then only have to concentrate on studying the language. In general, the cost of housing in schools located in the city is higher than those more remote. In some tourist areas, for example, you may have to share a room to split costs.
And as for the price of the language stay?
Several elements will determine the total price: the hourly volume of the courses, the different activities, the mode of transport, the supervision, the type of accommodation, the meals and the other services proposed. Keep in mind that individual classes are more expensive than group classes. Pay attention to the syllabus that needs to be defined precisely to leave no room for doubt. This way you will know where your money is going! Some schools offer all-inclusive packages where you pay for classes, accommodation, meals and other services. This is a great way to spend a language immersion stay in your host country.