The idea of travelling abroad always brings numerous questions, whether it's you who's leaving or you're sending away your child.
It's easy to get lost amongst the myriad of organisations offering programmes abroad. To help you, we came up with a list of the most frequently asked questions and the answers that we typically give.
We encourage you, in any case, to ask these kinds of questions to any similar organisation you contact.
If you cannot find what you are looking for, do not hesitate to contact us.
A. About us and our programmes
A.1. Who are our programmes for?
- a young person with little or no language experience who wants to have a head start in a suitable environment
- a motivated young person with academic skills wanting to put them into practice
- a young sportsperson wishing to improve their language skills while practising their sport (tennis, hockey, golf, horse-riding, football...)
- a student having particular difficulties in school: changing subject, falling behind, considering dropping out...
- a language, economics, engineering, or law student (and many others) who wants to improve their CV by participating in a fun and useful course
- a professional adult who wants the best result in a short period of time
- an adult with free time who travels for fun or personal fulfilment
- a young person wishing to spend a term or year abroad
- a young person wanting to finish their English studies (such as the international baccalaureate) in the best conditions possible, with or without linguistic preparation
- a young person wishing to prepare for university studies abroad
- a young adolescent wanting to go abroad for the first time but in a safe environment with suitable supervision
A.2. Why an internship abroad? Is it more effective?
Lessons taken locally often suits young people best, but it's something else that makes it so effective.
You will get the para-linguistic experience (i.e. teachers speaking in their native language, students of different native languages forced to speak in the target language, daily vocabulary and expressions, the global cultural environment such as newspapers, television, food, local currency, folklore, songs...) which is one of the most important factors in total immersion programmes. It's what makes linguistic exchanges so effective (especially compared to traditional language lessons at school).
A.3. What's the best age to start learning? What's the ideal length of time abroad?
It's obviously never too late to start learning, but linguistic instincts are often more firmly learned when obtained at a young age. Around the age of 10-15 seems to be the ideal age of a first trip, lasting from around 1 to 3 weeks, with a well-supervised programme. From there, an additional two to four weeks are recommended to repeat and practice the language. Four weeks abroad is the rough equivalent to a year of study at a school at a rate of 4 hours per week.
For longer programmes, a motivated student might return truly bilingual (for example after 6 to 9 months), even if they leave at a relatively low level. A student wishing to improve their English, for example, or start learning Spanish, or just polish off their German, could easily take part in consecutive programmes studying different languages. Our flexible dates allow all sorts of combinations. However for efficient and effective studies, we advise any potential participant to limit themselves to two, if not just one, language. Speed of learning and rate of retention increase gradually by a longer stay. A minimum of one semester is needed for fluency in a foreign language.
We believe that 6 to 10 months (an academic year) are necessary if your goal is to attain a permanently active level of communication and with a goal of being bilingual.
A.4. Do you have a license and a security guarantee to protect consumers?
Conforming to law, we abide by the "Commission de Litiges Voyages" (Travel Disputes Commission) and to the terms and conditions laid out by the law of 16/02/94. All of our programmes are covered by the "Fonds Garantie Voyages" (Travel Guarantee Fund) which protects clients in case of the company going bankrupt or into insolvency.
B. Our Programmes
B.1. What types of programmes do you offer?
In order to respond to a particularly varied range of requests, our selection of programmes has expanded considerably the last few years.
Our programmes are now fully adapted to any desire: we offer standard language courses (general, intensive, etc...), but also official language exam preparation (TOEFL, TOEIC, Cambridge, DELE, TestDaf, etc), total immersion exchanges, academic courses, internships, volunteering or jobs abroad.
B.2. Which destination should I choose?
All partner schools we have offer courses that strictly fulfill all the criteria. All teachers are native speakers of the language and are graduates of local universities. You can therefore choose a destination based on the environment and accent used.
For example, many people ask if it's better to learn British English over American English. The answer is NO! Neither option is "better" than the other. This is the same answer for Spanish. The most important thing is to choose a destination based on what attracts you most about a particular country.
B.3. What linguistic programme would you recommend for me?
That depends on what you're looking for. The terms and intensity of the classes vary according to the programme, but the format of lessons offered is as follows:
- Standard courses (15-20 lessons in the morning, Monday to Friday): for those who wish to both develop their language skills and take time to explore the area.
- Intensive courses (25-30 lessons in the morning and afternoon, Monday to Friday): for a deeper language learning experience
- Business courses and other specialisations: for a focus on a particular domain, plus learning a specific vocabulary.
- Language exam preparation courses: for an intensive teaching of the skills necessary to succeed in official language exams.
- Private courses: private lessons with your teacher in order to target specific areas of the course according to your needs.
B.4. Is there a minimum/maximum level for signing up to certain programmes?
The majority of language schools accepts students of all levels, from complete beginner to near-fluent speakers. Some schools have specific starting dates for each session, while others do not accept complete beginners at all. Please refer to the details of each individual programme for more information. It may be that you'll be required to take intensive classes before you are allowed to follow a preparatory course for a language exam.
Academic programmes always require a minimum language level, because you need to be capable to following classes in the target language alongside native speakers. In general, an official language test will be required (TOEFL, IELTS, ...), equivalent to B1 (intermediate).
B.5. How do I work out my language level?
When you enrol, we'll ask you to specify your level in the chosen language. We'll send this information to the school once your enrolment has been confirmed.
In some cases (particularly for Dutch), a language test must be taken before departure (online or on paper). For most schools, this test takes place on your first day. It will be a diagnostic test whose results will place you in the appropriate group for your level.
To determine your level, click here .
C. The Schools
C.1. What qualifications do the teachers in the school have?
All of the teachers we work with are highly qualified. They have all been trained to teach foreign students, according to the national standards of the country in which they're teaching.
We work exclusively with local language schools, where the teachers are qualified and native speakers. This guarantees quality teaching.
C.2. Are the language schools reliable?
Our partner schools have helped hundreds of international students achieve their linguistic goals.
They have all acquired an excellent reputation in the world of teaching thanks to their dynamic and fun environments, for rapid student progress. The majority of them are accredited or certified by national or international official organisations.
C.3. What nationalities do the students have at these schools?
We choose our partner schools partly based on the diversity of nationalities attending their courses. For the most part, students come from over 50 different countries, speaking just as many different languages.
For us, the mix of language and culture is an additional bonus for a successful trip, which allows students to grow accustomed to different accents and learn to express themselves more informally in the target language.
C.4. Is there a supplement to be paid for academic materials?
Most of our courses include the use of pedagogical materials, unless stated otherwise. There are no additional costs for textbooks (although a deposit, which you will get back at the end of the programme, is often requested).
A supplement is expected for specific classes (business English, exam preparation, etc...) and for academic programmes. The exact supplement can vary depending on the chosen subject.
C.5. How long does a lesson last?
At Easy Languages, lessons last between 45 and 55 minutes. The exact duration of each lesson is clearly specified in each programme's description.
C.6. Do any of your schools offer evening or weekend classes?
Some programmes do offer language courses on weekday evenings. Please refer to the details and dates of each programme for more information. We do not offer weekend courses.
C.7. How many students are there per class?
The maximum number of students in any class is 16 students (during the summer), but this is rarely the case. The average in our partner schools tends to be around 10 students per class, but it can vary from 4 up to 16 depending on the programme and the time of year. Classes are generally busier in peak season (June to September).
C.8. Do schools also offer activities, tourist visits, and assistance with local travel?
Our partner schools all organise activities every week, so that students can immerse themselves in local culture and meet new people. Activities are organised according to the interests of participants and upon request. Some schools offer free activities, some ask for a supplement .
C.9. Will I receive a diploma at the end of my exchange?
All students receive a certificate of participation when they finish their programme, saying the length of their exchange, and their language level. This certificate has no official significance and is not a valid replacement for an international language diploma like TOEFL or IELTS.
Some academic programmes allow you to obtain a diploma at the end of secondary studies, or acquire credits for American universities.
D.1. What kind of accommodation do you recommend?
We offer a wide range of accommodation options to meet nearly any preference.
The accommodation types vary according to programme: the general rule is that you'll have the choice between living with a host family and staying in a student residence, depending on availability. If we had to recommend one, we would say living with a host family. It's an excellent opportunity to practice the language, immerse yourself in the country's culture, and get inside tips and advice on all the local and tourist attractions in the area. The host family option normally includes half-board, i.e. breakfast and an evening meal, or sometimes full board (lunch included).
For students who want to be a little more independent, and meet other people outside, the residential accommodation option (in student houses or shared apartments) would probably be the better option. You'll have access to an equipped kitchen for preparing your meals, and you'll be able to share in the daily lives of other international participants. You'll definitely appreciate this type of accommodation if you take on a programme of several months.
D.2. What should I expect at my host family's home?
Our host families particularly appreciate meeting overseas participants and taking them in as part of the family. The "family" can be anything from a single professional, a single person, a young family with children, a busy couple, or a retired couple.
Our agents take care in choosing families and inspect them regularly. Moreover students give feedback to ensure that this remains a quality accommodation option.
D.3. Will I have access to the internet?
Most host families and residences have internet access. Moreover, free access (wifi) is available at the school.
D.4 Are there laundry facilities?
Your washing will be done at the host family, and there are laundrettes available at the residences. If there are not, we will give you information regarding the closest laundrette.
D.5. What's it like in the residence/student house/apartment?
Our residences are generally not far from the school, sometimes even on the campus itself. In each of our programmes, we give a description of the facilities available. Some residences have a washing machine or a laundrette, others offer weekly cleaning, others include meals. Bedlinen is provided, but you normally have to bring your own towels.
D.6. If I want to stay longer, is it possible to keep the same accommodation?
Yes, you can stay longer and extend your stay. However, we ask that you warn us as much in advance as possible so that we can guarantee the accommodation. Especially in summer time it can be quite busy, and accommodation is sometimes already full.
E. Practical Info
E.1. Are your programme dates fixed?
For the grand majority of our programmes (excluding the trips to Bournemouth with accompanied travel, or private lessons at a teacher's home), arrivals are on a Sunday, and departures are on a Saturday. If you intend to arrive earlier or leave later, supplements for additional nights are required, according to availability at the selected accommodation.
E.2. How do I get around once I'm there?
Our schools and housing are either situated in the centre of town or are easy access from the centre via public transport. Thus you will easily be able to get the most out of your time abroad and explore the local area without wasting too much time getting there. You will have to pay for public transport and journeys from your accommodation to the school.
E.3. Is the town environment where programmes are based safe?
Our schools are always situated in safe and modern locations. They are generally situated in the centre of town and the accommodation options are selected because of their ideal location. What's more, if you're aged under 17, most of our junior programmes offer constant supervision.
For the trips to Bournemouth, we provide accompanied travel both during Easter and the summer. And thanks to our strong links with the local schools and organisations, we have a thorough knowledge of the location.
E.4. Do you offer a transfer from the airport?
For nearly every destination, we can arrange a transfer from the airport or train station to your accommodation. This service is often much appreciated, especially after a long journey, or if your language skills are currently limited, or if you're not used to travelling.
The prices for transfers are always included in the price tables. Certain programmes (particularly junior programmes) include transfers already, depending on the destination.
E.5. Do I need a visa? How do I get one?
For some destinations, a tourist or student visa (depending on the length of visit) will be required. Once your enrolment has been confirmed, we will provide you with all the documents and information necessary for its application. However, the procedure itself (meeting at the Embassy, etc...) and the application fees are your responsibility.
Visiting a European country never requires a visa for EU citizens. For the majority of other countries (apart from the USA), a tourist visa allows 12 weeks of study, and is sometimes renewable. The language programmes in the USA are subject to particular conditions which change regularly. Contact us for more information.
E.6. When do I have to pay?
Once enrolled on one of our programmes, we'll send you all the necessary documentation for proceeding to payment. A advance sum will need to be paid before the booking can be confirmed, and the total fee will need to be paid before the start of the course.
E.7. Is it possible to work once I'm there?
This will depend on local law. The student visa for the US does not allow you to work. In Australia, there are visa programmes which expressly allow the combination of studies and work.
For European destinations, it is generally possible to find a small student job. The type of job you're likely to find is generally determined by your language ability. Look it up before you go, and ask at the school once you're there. Don't forget, of course, that attendance at your classes is obligatory - any job you get cannot take priority over your lessons.
E.8. How much pocket money should I bring?
The "pocket money" budget for your particular exchange will depend entirely on: your personal needs, the cost of living on location, the type of accommodation chosen (self-catered/half-board/full-board), and the kind of activities/excursions you'd like to take part in. In general, we advise our students to anticipate a budget of 100 to 200 Euros per week.