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How Do I Choose the Best Second Language School?

B. Miller
B. Miller

When choosing a second language school, there are a number of different factors to consider. One of the most important considerations is the method of instruction; for example, is it an immersion-style system, where students will learn the language by speaking it every day in conversation? Or, is it a more of a traditional educational institution in which students learn grammar and memorize vocabulary? Each of these schools can be fine, and it is largely a matter of personal preference and learning style that determines what you will choose. Considering the practical aspects of the second language school, such as the scheduling and cost of courses, is important as well.

It is important to think about the cost for each class, when selecting a second language school. If you are considering a stand-alone immersion program, independent financial aid may be available. Night courses may also be a good choice, since they tend to be more economical. Moreover, if you are working full time, or have other daytime responsibilities, this type of course can more easily fit around your schedule.

Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

Another important consideration is the location of the school. There are plenty of second language schools, or universities that offer language courses, located around the world. For people with the means to do so, studying a second language in the country in which the language is spoken can be a wonderful experience and can make learning the language much easier and more natural.

The teaching styles at the second language school are another important consideration. Immersion schools can be much more challenging at first, but will generally lead to stronger conversational abilities in the language much faster. For people who want to learn a second language for traveling purposes, for example, this can be a great idea. For people who want to learn a second language in order to eventually teach it, a more traditional method might be useful, in which students spend time learning verb conjugations, vocabulary, and grammar, among other aspects of spoken and written language. Ideally, instruction in a second language should include a mixture of both approaches.

Asking former students for recommendations, or going in to speak with existing instructors, can be a great way to choose a second language school. It is also important to consider how far you will be able to progress with the program. For instance, does the school offer advanced classes in the language, or just basic introductory ones? If you find you enjoy learning the language and want to keep going, it might be inconvenient to need to switch to a different second language school.

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