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HoW TO CHOOSE AN EDUVACATIONS TRIP

Need Some Help?

Finding the trip that's right for you is simply a matter of focusing on where to go and what to do. Follow these steps below and you'll be almost there!

How to Find eduVacation's That are Right for You.

  1. You're ready for step 2 unless you're not sure about what to do, where to go, never done a language study trip, or you just want to get a better understanding of the intricacies of language, arts, sports, and culinary eduVacations. Look below at "Understanding & Choosing…". Then return to step 2 and start exploring ideas.
  2. Ready to Browse? Browse by Region or a Traveler Type; take a look at the special interest icons in the Browse entries to help target a trip that matches your interests.
  3. View the Program Details for the destinations you want to learn more about.
  4. If you have questions, use the Instant email, in the Trip Planning Information section of your selected destination.
  5. To learn more about a particular city or region, use the list of Tourism Offices in our "Insiders" section; "Join" our Community to have access to this and other useful information, and to receive periodic updates on new eduVacations and specials.
  6. To give you the best prices, eduVacations are priced in our affiliate's currency and charged on your credit card in US dollars at the current exchange rate at the time of the charge. In each destination's Trip Planning Information section you'll find prices or links to prices for courses and accommodation. Look carefully at the price information; in addition to the course and accommodation, there may be other small fees such as a program registration fee, airport transfer, and study materials.
  7. If you'd like to see a conversion into US dollars we provide a link to travelex.com.
  8. Once you've found something(s) you like, go to Book an eduVacation, submit the completed form, AND get ready for a great trip!

 

Understanding & Choosing Language & Cultural Immersion eduVacations

  1. Decide what you want to do and where you want to do it, and when.
  2. Decide what type of program and course is best for you.
  3. Decide how you will live there: with a host family, in a hotel, apartment or residence.
  4. Decide when to start planning.
  5. Decide if you want to coordinate it or if you'd like us to do it.

Understanding & Choosing Cooking & Wines eduVacations

Understanding & Choosing Arts eduVacations

Understanding & Choosing Sports eduVacations

Understanding & Choosing Combination eduVacations


UNDERSTANDING & CHOOSING LANGUAGE & CULTURAL IMMERSION EDUVACATIONS

1. Decide what you want to do and where you want to do it.

To lead us to selecting the right destination, or 2 or 3, when we coordinate a client’s trip (Custom eduVacations), we ask many questions about language level, goals, special interests, travel time, preferred setting, age and more. Here are the things to think about, the questions to ask yourself, to help narrow it down, decide where to go, and easily personalize your own trip on-line.

Which language do you want to study and in which country?

Once you know which language you want to study, the next part is where should you do it? If you choose French, you can go not only to France, but also, Switzerland, a Caribbean island, or Canada. And for Spanish, you have many options, including Spain, Mexico, and other Central & South American countries. For English choose from England, the U.S., or Canada; for Portuguese go to Brazil or Portugal; for German try Germany or Austria.

Do you have any special interests, like cooking and wines, arts, or any particular sports?

Sometimes deciding where to go depends on your interests that you’d like to combine with language study; we call this a "Combination eduVacation". For example, if you or your teenaged son or daughter would like to learn to surf while studying French, then you’d be looking at Biarritz in France. Do you like the idea of scuba diving and studying French, then go to the Caribbean; golf and Spanish, go to Malaga, Spain. To make finding the right match easier our Browse section uses icons to identify destinations by major special interest categories: language, cooking, arts, dance, sports. This should help you target appropriate destinations. Look closely at the Course list and at the Cultural & Recreational Activities for specific program options.

Do you prefer a large or small city, the countryside, a lakeside mountain setting, seaside, an island?

Sometimes this alone is the easiest way to choose. You may like to split your time doing 2 or 3 destinations: large city (Madrid), seaside (Malaga), large city (Barcelona). The destination descriptions will inform you if it's seaside, mountain, country, or urban setting.

What kind of climate do you prefer and when will you be traveling?

During July and August, if you aren’t comfortable in really hot climates, avoid some of the European cities that are not coastal, or not in the countryside. The seaside or mountain towns and cities should be more comfortable. But again, most schools will have air-conditioned classes, and you should be able to find a hotel with air conditioning in major downtown cities, if for example you really want to be in Seville or Paris in the middle of the summer. If you have special seasonal sports interests, such as skiing or boarding, travel in the winter to a mountain destination where you can combine language study with your sport. Or if you want to get away from the cold during the winter pick a warm destination: southern Italy, the Caribbean for French, Argentina, etc.

How do you choose a trip for a Group of friends, family or students?

In most of our destinations you can book your group to be integrated with other participants or book your own private dates and programs. We recommend looking for a destination that seems to cover the multiple interests and goals of your group. Send an email inquiry via the Instant Email in the Trip Planning Information section of your destination. If you want to organize a group trip, but want us to coordinate it, we'd be happy to help. Learn more by going to Browse, Groups.

Your budget, is it an issue?

There are several things that relate to the budget question: group lessons versus private lessons; the number of lessons per week, regular intensive (15-20 hours/week) versus super-intensive; the accommodations; and the destination. Take destination, for example, accommodations in the small alpine city of Annecy will be more economical than Paris accommodations; similarly Salamanca accommodations will be less than Madrid.

With regards to accommodation type, staying in a hotel or solo apartment is more costly than a shared apartment. A single-room with a host family stay with a couple of meals, or in a residence, or shared apartment can be very economical. But remember, in an apartment setting you’ll need to spend money on preparing meals or eating out; in a residence if meals aren’t included you will be eating out. One-to-one lessons will cost more than a group class. And if budget is important, take advantage of lower late fall, winter, and early spring airfares to Europe. Or depending on where you live in the US, getting to Mexico or Canada may be less expensive than other destinations.

How far do you want to travel?

If you live in the US and have just 1 week for your vacation, Montreal, the Caribbean, or Mexico might be more convenient because the time zone change either doesn’t exist or is minimal, and the travel time may be shorter.

How much time do you have?

For busy professionals who only have a week and want to maximize their time and still have an enjoyable experience, then a study in and live in your Teacher’s Home program is a great idea! For Spanish, you can do this in Barcelona (see Spanish Tailor-made) or Seville; in Italy you can do it in Viterbo (see the Siena course list); for French you can do it in Bordeaux or take a small group total immersion program in Frontenaud. You can also do group classes even if you have only 1 week; but keep in mind that some of the group class programs have a two week minimum. Under Program Basics & Courses for each destination, you'll find the "Minimum Stay".

2. Decide what type of program and course is best for you:

private tutor, total immersion, or small group lessons; for teens only, for 50+ adults only, for all ages, exam preparation, etc…

What type of program is good for your language level?

If you're a total beginner, a group course or private lessons (study in and live in your teacher's home, or one to one lessons and stay in a residence or apartment) will probably be just right; and you'll learn a lot!

How much time do you want to spend in class, and do you need a general course or one with a specialty focus, exam preparation or business language, etc?

The typical program is 3 to 4 lessons (hours)/day of class, 5 days per week. Over the years, most of our clients have elected this. You can usually add on more group class time or some private lessons after lunch tailored to your needs and goals; for example, focus on conversational skills, or business language. On the other hand, keeping afternoons open allows you to explore, take an art history or cooking lesson, join organized afternoon activities, and get some homework done.

In an Examination Prep class you will be trained to pass internationally recognized diplomas or certificates. Examinations are often necessary in order to study at a foreign university or to prove your level of linguistic expertise. Courses are offered throughout the year just prior to exam dates.

What's the fastest way to improve skills? And where can you do it?

We offer a few especially effective total immersion options in France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Your skills should progress very quickly with your private tutor/host when you Study in & Live in Your Teacher's Home. For Spanish, you can do this in Barcelona (see Spanish Tailor-made) or Seville; in Italy you can do it in Viterbo (see the Siena course list); for French you can do it in Bordeaux or take a small group total immersion program in Frontenaud. A private tutor (for you, you and your partner or family) will go at your pace and tailor the program to your needs and interests, including excursions. This can be a unique, enriching and fantastic experience. It can be scheduled at your convenience, and usually entails 3 hours per day (5 days/week), with the option to add on more lesson time. Over the years, individuals, friends and family (of all ages) have done this for one week (3 hours per day), to as long as 3 weeks. If you have a few weeks or more you might want to combine a Teacher’s Home eduVacation with one of our group courses. We suggest the Teacher’s Home experience after the group course.

And how important is it that you meet an international mix of people and have more of a multi-cultural experience?

Having language classes in small groups with foreigners, instead of private lessons, allows you to make new friends and learn a lot about other cultures and countries (and maybe even get some invitations to visit sometime). You might try both, a group program and then a Teacher's Home program, in one trip!

Are you an American undergraduate or graduate student who needs credits?
Definitely a group course, about 4 lessons per day, is a great choice. And you can often get 1 credit for every 1 week (15 to 20 lessons/week); a 3 week summer program could earn 3 credits. To learn about getting credits, see our Browse section for Students. An eduVacation is different than a US-based university study abroad program: the University program prices will be higher, and you’ll be with a group of Americans. You may find this slows down the language acquisition; and it may be more interesting for you to meet and study with an international student body on an eduVacation.

Is your goal to develop better conversational skills?

Keep in mind, any type of language immersion eduVacation should help with conversational skills, as long as you’re willing to try communicating with others in class and outside of class; the whole country is your classroom! When you study in and live in your teacher’s home you can’t hide and you can’t avoid pushing your conversational skills, plus lessons are tailored to meet your goals; in a total immersion program (like French in Frontenaud) during every activity and at all meals, you are encouraged to practice your language skills.

What alternatives are there to total immersion to accelerate your language learning?

Take a standard class of 15 to 20 hours/week. To accelerate those conversational skills add-on a couple of private lessons twice a week after your morning group class; stay with a host family, or take a special interest class in your language, such as cooking, dance, art history, wines, and ask questions; or take skiing or tennis lessons in your foreign language. Participate in organized activities, like guided visits to art museums, and regional excursions. There are many ways to have fun, learn something else, and not even realize your developing your language skills!

Are you a teen, college student, adult, 50 or over adult, or a family of adults and youth?

For junior high and high school teens there are special “youth summer programs”. For eduVacations that are appropriate for teens, see our section for Students under Browse by Traveler Type. In Italy and other destinations, 16 years old is often the minimum age for adult programs. But we have had 14 year olds join these programs, too. Some destinations will allow exceptions; just ask. A teen doing any of these programs should find this type of experience will give them a competitive edge on their college applications; undergrads will improve their graduate school or job applications.

For families, we have some destinations that work very well (see our recommendations in the Family section, under Browse by Traveler Type). College-aged students and adults have the largest selection, just browse by region. But if you're in need of college credits we recommend that you look at our list of destinations where credits can be processed; see the Student section in Browse by Traveler Type.

In most destinations there will be a broad range of ages and nationalities. Most of our adult clients that are over 50 just join the all ages programs; but keep in mind there are some destinations that offer special language and culture programs for adults who are 50 and over, for those who prefer just the company of their peers. See the Seniors section under Browse by Traveler Type.

3. Decide how you will live there: with a host family, in a hotel, apartment or residence.

Basics about the choice.
We’ve had clients of all ages, 2 years old with her mom, to 80 years old, successfully stay with host families. Living with a host family is the ideal total immersion option. Meals and living arrangements are shared with a family, and you're speaking their language. Our partners will do their best to find a good match based on the information you provide on our booking form. You’ll be asked if you prefer a family with children, a non-smoking family, if you have special dietary requirements, your interests and hobbies, etc.. And by all means, if you arrive and aren’t happy with the arrangements, our partner can switch you into another family. But, this is rarely necessary!

If your independence and space are most important, then you'll be happier in an apartment, residence or hotel. The Program Details in each destination list Accommodation Choices.

We are gathering a list of "favorite host families, apartments and hotels" that is available to you once you've sent in your reservation. Some of our favorite host families have independent small apartments on-site. So you can share conversation and time with them at meals, and have more of your own space. You may find one of these "Favorites" for your destination and put in a special request with our partner after you've booked.

Is your goal to develop better conversational skills?

Staying with a host family can push you to practice your conversational skills. On the booking form ask for a family that’s interactive; and if you like being around young children, who do like to chat, ask for a family with children.

What is your language level?

This can affect the housing option you elect if you're a total beginner. For some beginners the idea of staying with a host family trying to communicate sounds frustrating; for others it sounds like a fun adventure. How does it sound to you? It can be rewarding as you experience your daily progress. If you don’t like the idea, then we suggest a residence, apartment, or hotel.

And what’s a residence anyway?

Some destinations have housing on-site or very near the school. You can stay in a single room (or shared, if you prefer) with a private bath. And in some cases breakfast is included; in others, all meals could be included. Some settings might be a country house or a restored chateau, or a converted downtown building.

What are the apartment options?

Apartments can be very comfortable, full-service aparthotels (for yourself and companion or family), or furnished apartments that language students share, or a solo furnished apartment, or a room in an apartment with a local. When you choose a single or shared room in a shared apartment or with a local, our affiliate selects an apartment-share arrangement for you. And, if you aren't happy with it, you should talk with them about it to arrange changes.

Might you prefer a hotel or pension?

If you're trip is short and you do prefer your independence this is a good alternative; breakfast can be included. Our affiliate can make the arrangements or you can do it yourself. Our "favorites" list includes some hotels, and our hotel resources will be expanding. Or you can use our autoeurope service to book a hotel.

4. Decide when to start planning.

We advise you book as far out as possible. You don’t have to have your flights figured out at the time of booking. Give yourself and our partners enough time to coordinate everything, 6 weeks at a minimum. But last minute bookings can be done if there is availability. Booking far in advance gives our partners more to choose from when trying to meet your special accommodation requests, and assures availability especially where space is limited.

5. Decide if you want to coordinate it or if you'd like us to do it.

By planning the trip yourself via our site you’ll find the best prices available. And our site will give you guidance. Once you've booked, you'll receive access to a trip planning section on our site, to direct you through the planning process toward a rewarding, fun adventure.

If you are just too busy to make all of the arrangements and appreciate someone taking care of it for you, see Book a Custom eduVacation. There will be a service fee for us to coordinate your classes and additional activities, take care of your payments to the hosts; arrange accommodation, meals, and airport transfer, and produce a complete pre-trip package for you. It will save you lots of time and you can rest assured that an experienced specialist is at work on your travel plans.


UNDERSTANDING & CHOOSING COOKING & WINES EDUVACATIONS

You’ll find many fun, personalized, small group cooking and wine courses offered throughout Italy and France for all levels. Stay in a restored chateau in France, a restored farmhouse or villa in Italy, or in a small hotel in Florence. Take regional excursions, visits to markets, wineries and chateaux; learn about wines, prepare and enjoy delicious meals! For wine aficionados, we offer a complete 3 or 6 day course in Bordeaux taught in English, French or German.

All culinary courses are taught by talented professionals of assorted nationalities. Most destinations are one week in length. The exceptions are Siena and Florence, where you can immerse yourself in cooking for as long as you like!

You'll arrive on your own and meet up with other participants when the program begins. In some destinations you stay together with the host and participants in one location. You may be based out of a restored villa or farmhouse, chalet, or chateau. In a couple of destinations, like Florence and Siena, you may choose from several accommodation options. In Siena, the courses may be taught in Italian. The Program Details for each destination will tell you if it's taught in Italian, what the accommodation arrangements are or what your choices are (if any), and the duration of the course. You'll also get a feel for the setting, small city, large city, countryside, etc.

As you browse through the Italy and France lists look for the icon that indicates cooking & wines at a given destination. Then you can look at the Program Detail for more background about the structure of the program and accommodation. In some destinations where language is the primary activity, cooking and wines is offered as a secondary course; in this case the cooking lessons will be less frequent and be taught in the language you're studying. Some destinations have immersion in culinary arts only, and others have language immersion as well as culinary immersion. And you can combine the two into one vacation.

Prices will vary, and there is something for all budgets, levels and ages. In addition to amateur courses in Siena, you'll also find culinary courses for credit and for professionals. We've had participants as young as 16 participate in the program in Florence. In general, all ages, from 16 on up, are welcome in the culinary courses. Usually you plan to arrive on a Sunday and classes start on Monday and run through Friday, and you depart on a Saturday.

We advise you book as far out as possible. Booking far in advance gives our partners more to choose from when trying to meet your special accommodation requests, and assures availability especially where space is limited. You don’t have to have your flights figured out at the time of booking. Last minute bookings can be done if there is availability.

By planning the trip yourself via our site you’ll find the best prices available. And our site will give you guidance. Once you've booked, you'll receive access to a trip planning section on our site, to direct you through the planning process toward a rewarding, fun adventure.

If you are just too busy to make all of the arrangements and appreciate someone taking care of it for you, see Book a Custom eduVacation. There will be a service fee for us to coordinate your classes and additional activities, take care of your payments to the hosts; arrange accommodation, meals, and airport transfer, and produce a complete pre-trip package for you. It will save you lots of time and you can rest assured that an experienced specialist is at work on your travel plans.


UNDERSTANDING & CHOOSING ARTS EDUVACATIONS

Across the globe from the US to Europe (France, Italy, Spain), Latin America, and Asia, you'll find an assortment of fine arts eduVacations. Painting, drawing, watercolor, photography, ceramics, jewelry-making, are among the many arts to choose from. All arts courses are taught by talented professional artists of assorted nationalities.

Arts courses vary from one week in length to one month (see Florence), and are suitable for all levels. If you need college credits, Florence would be the best destination for you.

You'll arrive on your own and meet up with other participants when the program begins. In some destinations you stay together with the host and participants in one location. You may be based out of a restored villa or farmhouse, chalet, or chateau. In other destinations, like Florence, you may choose from several accommodation options. The Program Details for each destination will tell you what the accommodation arrangements are or what your choices are (if any). You'll also get a feel for the setting, small city, large city, countryside, etc. In drawing, painting, watercolor and photography programs you'll spend a lot of time outdoors in picturesque places.

As you browse through the regional lists, look for the icon that indicates arts at a given destination. Then you can look at the Program Detail for more background about the structure of the program and accommodation. In some destinations where language is the primary activity, arts courses are offered as a secondary course; in this case, the arts course will be taught in the language you are studying. Some destinations have immersion in arts only, and others have language immersion as well as arts immersion (Florence, for example). And you can combine the two into one vacation.

Prices will vary, and there is something for all budgets. We've had participants as young as 16 participate in the program in Calvisson in Southern France; we've had younger teens attend this program with a parent. Usually you plan to arrive on a Sunday and classes start on Monday and run through Friday, and you depart on a Saturday.

We advise you book as far out as possible. Booking far in advance gives our partners more to choose from when trying to meet your special accommodation requests, and assures availability especially where space is limited. You don’t have to have your flights figured out at the time of booking. Last minute bookings can be done if there is availability.

By planning the trip yourself via our site you’ll find the best prices available. And our site will give you guidance. Once you've booked, you'll receive access to a trip planning section on our site, to direct you through the planning process toward a rewarding, fun adventure.

If you are just too busy to make all of the arrangements and appreciate someone taking care of it for you, see Book a Custom eduVacation. There will be a service fee for us to coordinate your classes and additional activities, take care of your payments to the hosts; arrange accommodation, meals, and airport transfer, and produce a complete pre-trip package for you. It will save you lots of time and you can rest assured that an experienced specialist is at work on your travel plans.


UNDERSTANDING & CHOOSING SPORTS EDUVACATIONS

Join our outstanding tour operators; they'll share their expertise and enthusiasm as they immerse you in their sport and destination. At this point we offer biking and hiking tours, and motorcycle training tours for experienced riders. The variety of sports and destinations will be expanding.

Biking and hiking tours are for all levels. Search through the listings to pinpoint the tour that's right for you based on your skill level; the Program Details for the cycling and hiking trips will indicate what level the tour route is suitable for.

By booking the trip via our site you’ll find the best prices available. And our site will give you guidance. Once you've booked, you'll receive access to a trip planning section to direct you through the planning process toward a rewarding, fun adventure.


UNDERSTANDING & CHOOSING COMBINATION EDUVACATIONS

Consider combining sports, arts, and language programs in one place or different destinations. With the diversity on our site the options are endless!

To boost your language skills combine sports, or culinary or fine arts with language lessons. Entries in the Browse section feature icons that indicate activity categories: language, sports, arts, cooking, and dance. Use these icons to identify the locations that combine your interests in one destination. You’ll find that each site has something unique to offer. For instance, in the Alps combine skiing with French; on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe combine French instruction with sailing or scuba diving. Work on your Spanish while learning to dance the flamenco or play classical guitar or golf in southern Spain. Horseback riding, tennis, yoga, opera, cooking and wines, painting, mountain biking, golf; salsa, flamenco or tango; plus theater, film and music festivals; bicycling and walking tours in Italy, Spain, and Portugal; and many more activities can be added to language. In the Program Details for each destination, the Course lists and the Recreational Activities sections will give you for the possibilities.

Use the same icons to help you create a Combination eduVacations in different cities or countries. For example, in Spain spend a couple of weeks in the south and a couple of weeks in Madrid to experience the uniqueness of the two regions and their highlights. Or explore different countries and activities. For instance, take a cooking course in France, go to Austria for German and skiing, then to Italy for Italian. Mix-n-match as you wish!

By planning the trip yourself via our site you’ll find the best prices available. And our site will give you guidance. Once you've booked, you'll receive access to a trip planning section on our site, to direct you through the planning process toward a rewarding, fun adventure.

If you are just too busy to make all of the arrangements and appreciate someone taking care of it for you, see Book a Custom eduVacation. There will be a service fee for us to coordinate your classes and additional activities, take care of your payments to the hosts; arrange accommodation, meals, and airport transfer, and produce a complete pre-trip package for you. It will save you lots of time and you can rest assured that an experienced specialist is at work on your travel plans.


 
 
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