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Thinking about learning a new language or brushing up on skills you have already, how about studying it overseas. Whether you're just beginning a language, or have been studying one for some time, there is no greater catalyst for learning than going on location. With increasing international awareness, language courses in the country where that language is spoken help you become immersed in the culture and lifestyle of your chosen country. Even those who have no previous knowledge of a language can expect to have mastered the basics after as little as two weeks, allowing you to communicate with the locals and put into practice the skills you have learnt in the classroom.

With specialised language schools all over Europe and even farther afield, there are plenty of choices for those who want to combine an educational course with a trip overseas. Courses start at regular intervals and experienced native-speaker teachers ensure that there is something for everyone. Robert Williams spent four weeks at a language school in France and says, "Studying in Paris was an ideal way to improve my French whilst experiencing life in a great city. Being immersed in French life meant I was able to practise my conversational skills outside the classroom and enabled me to make fast progress in just one month!"

One of the most important benefits of language immersion is having access to native speakers. While taking part in overseas language courses you'll often have the opportunity to live with local families in homestay accommodation, experiencing first-hand real family life. Alternatively, you could be sharing living arrangements with fellow students from all around the world. Either way there is time to make new friends, explore your surroundings and really put your new found skills to the test on a daily basis.

When you're learning a language on location, the whole country becomes your classroom. The teachers, native speakers who like to keep their students challenged, use current political, social and cultural materials to aid the learning process. This not only increases knowledge of the target language, but also allows you to learn about the country and more of its culture.

Once classes have finished for the day, there is plenty of time to discover new surroundings and take advantage of cultural and social activities organised by the school's staff. These optional activities include sightseeing trips, visits to the theatre and parties with your fellow students, making sure that you don't miss out on the fun and enjoyment of discovering a new country.

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