While you might believe in osmosis or think you can best learn a language with a lessons-on-tape approach, nothing beats total immersion. Since 1968, the National Registration Center for Study Abroad (tel. 414/278-0631; www.nrcsa.com) has been bringing into a wide array of in-country language programs. Programs are geared toward budget travelers, executives and even teenagers, and the courses can run for as short as a week to several months. The NRCSA sent over 25,000 student travelers to programs all over the world last year alone. Pick your tongue, pick your destination and go.
Starting at the budget level, the NRCSA has two-week French programs in Paris starting at $1,222, or an eight-week program starts at $3,953. Head south to stay in Nice instead for courses that start from $1,160 for two weeks. Lessons start on most Mondays throughout 2006 with a few black-out dates surrounding holidays. The intensive 20-hour-a-week coursework is limited to 12 students per class. The emphasis is on oral communication with a basic comprehension of written language included. One lesson per week is devoted to French culture. Lessons are 45 minute in length each, and these particular classes are given through the French Language Institute in Paris with a media library open to all students.
If you select a home-stay arrangement, you'll reside with other students in a French household, and two meals a day can be had for an additional fee. Apartment and hotel stays are also available for additional fees. Program costs include include tuition, accommodations, insurance, daily breakfast and exams.
If you're looking to brush up on your Spanish, check out the programs in Argentina, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Peru or Spain -- just a few of the many destinations for learning the language. A 20-hour three-week program at the CAS Language School in La Ceiba, Honduras costs approximately $819. Located on the Caribbean coast, La Ceiba is the third largest city in Honduras. Local ruins make for an interesting learning experience with one-on-one student/ teacher conversation a major part of the program. Home-stays are available and recommended here as well. Traditionally, a home-stay starts the Sunday before the first class and ends the Saturday after the last course. Program costs include tuition, medical insurance, classroom materials, entry level and exit placement exams, and arrival transfers if arriving in La Ceiba. Free Internet access is available at the school.
The Argentina program costs approximately $1,165 for two weeks of study at Cordoba. Two weeks of classes, however, must first be completed in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. These intense immersion classes are for 30 hours per week with 20 hours of class time and 10 hours of one-on-one tutorial instruction. Located at the base of the Sierra Chica Mountains, Cordoba is an ancient Argentinean gem founded in 1622. Home-stays here can be situated 20 minutes from the language school. In these cases, the language school provides round-trip ground transportation. The price of the course gets you lodging with an Argentinean family, two meals daily, an international student card, orientation, and airport transfers from Cordoba.
To catch the wave that is China's economic success, the NRCSA has Chinese language courses for executives and business persons To study in the cultural and commercial city of Shanghai, two-week to 24-week programs are available. The two-week programs cost $1,454 with a 12-week program starting from $5,549. All academic levels start on Mondays throughout 2006 with beginner courses again being dispersed through the year. Coursework is divided up into four 45-minute lessons each morning, leaving the afternoons free to discover China or devote to professional responsibilities. The NRCSA school in China is located in the old French Quarter of Shanghai. A visa is necessary to study in China so sign up six-weeks early to allow for approval or administrative processing. This executive-geared program includes course materials, student-type apartments with single rooms, visits to local attractions, culture programs with natives, arrival airport transfers, insurance, emergency medical care and free Internet access.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers about these language programs on our Cultural Immersion Message Boards today.