Saving money when participating in a language program abroad
Education tends to be resilient to economic crisis and most students and their supporting parents continue to invest into education as a way to improve the career prospects especially in times of economic decline.
However, education abroad which involves additional costs of transportation and accommodation can challenge the limited budget of students and their families.
Nevertheless, language learning abroad can still be considerably more effective and cheaper than traditional learning methods at home.
Given this, below are some simple guidelines to help you reduce the cost of a language immersion travels and find a cheap language course.
1. Travel outside the summer or high seasons
In many language travel destinations, the summer brings additional price increases with it. Tuition and especially accommodation are much more demanded during school and university vacations. This can result in price hikes of up to 25% in some locations.
We therefore recommend to travel between September and May when tuition rates are lower and classroom sizes are smaller. Not only will you save some cash, but also the academic impact of smaller classes and less crowded accommodation options will improve your overall learning experience. The price-to-value ratio is much higher in the off-season.
Needless to say that airline tickets also are significantly cheaper during the off-season.
2. Travel to less crowded destination
Many popular language course destinations such as Central London, Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge, New York City, Malta etc. are overbooked in the summer and many language schools are charging premium prices in the summer months. Traveling to less frequented destinations can save you money and also bring rewarding experiences in terms of cultural integration with the local people. Moreover, you will profit from more ‘authentic experiences’ which may well mean making local friends easier and discover ‘off the beaten path’ attractions.
Some of these destinations are listed here:
Learn English in the UK :
- English courses in London / Beckenham
- English courses in Edinburgh
Learn in English in the USA:
- English courses in Santa Monica
- English courses in Fort Lauderdale
Learn English in Australia :
- English language courses in Perth
- English language courses in Darwin
3. Look out for special language programs offers
In the current times of economic downturn companies offer special deals and promotions on language courses more frequently than even before. This includes especially the travel business and also the educational travel. Some destinations are suffering more than others due to exchange rate conditions or less demand for shifts in trends or preferences. So look out for special offers! 3 weeks of tuition at the price of 2 weeks, registration fee off, free activities offered, discounts in accommodation etc.
Some examples of special offers in language courses abroad:
- Learn Spanish in Costa Rica
- Learn French in Montpellier
- Learn Italian in Milan
- Learn German in Munich and Berlin
4. Book your language course well in advance
Last minute bookings in the language travel sector do not follow the same trend as in the tourism sector. Language Schools must plan in advance to provide quality teaching and reserve accommodation. Small and medium sized language schools do not operate like a large tour operator and so planning ahead is the key. Many language course agents offer special discounts such as an ‘early bird special’ for bookings of more than 12 weeks before departure date. There discounts are often offered in the pre-season between February and March. Keep your eyes open for such promotions. Booking early can also positively influence the quality of your accommodation option, espacially if you stay with a host family. Many of the most popular families that are located close to the school and have years of experience are booked out well before the summer.
5. Watch your currency’s exchange rate vs. USD / GBP etc.
The crisis as such resulted from a financial crisis which had significant impact on financial markets and exchange rates. Many currencies used in language travel destinations dropped against the EUR and YEN. Famous examples are the drop of the British sterling and US Dollar against the EUR between 2008 and 2009. Some destinations have become 30% cheaper for students from cesrtain countries. The key factor is the currency you use and the travel destination you would like to visit. Looking around and comparing can bring you huge benefits. Typically, the best prices are offered by language travel agents who use the original currency ofthe language school.
6. Bring a friend
Some language travel agents offer discounts for bringing another friend or making a reference to a previous client. Please be aware that while you might save some money, bringing your friend along should not be an excuse to speak your mother tongue during your trip abroad! :) Mention to your language travel consultant that you are travelling with a friend as special arrangements can be made to avoid this (eg. separate accommodation and classes). StudyGlobal offers 5% discount on language courses for returning clients or references.
7. Cheap tickets / closer destinations
When travelling to overseas destination, it is needless to say that transportation is one of your major expenses. Obviously, you can choose a destinations closer to your home country, which can save on the flights (low cost airlines), but we understand that this is not always the best solution. However, saving on tickets by booking flights well in advance and combining trips through cheaper airfare destinations might definitely help you to save on the airfare.
8. Book through a language travel agent
Savings of up to 40% following some of the guidelines above is nothing unusual, however the best advice is to speak to your language travel agent to consult you about all of the above. Language travel agents that are accredited and ethical will properly advise you what is the best choice for you, your needs and your budget.
There are so many factors which can influence your decision and it may be very difficult for you to make a choice by yourself.
Consider the following example with respect to where to find a good deal for a 16-weeks language course program:
A European student who is planning to learn English abroad and to finance it with his savings (EUR) will most likely spend less money on a long term program of 16 weeks in Perth (Australia) than in Dublin (Ireland); even when travel costs are taken in account, too. On top of this the winter in Perth is probably much more pleasant than in Dublin. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind the original goals.
What is the purpose of the course? Does it have academic reasons, like ensuring the enrollment at a particular university? Or is it because of the job? Is the student looking for some work experience and interested in the Work & Travel program? What is the best choice for the student and his/her budget?
It all depends on the destination, duration, purpose, preferences, special offers, exchange rates, seasons, airfares and much more.
The best advise is to speak to your language travel agent to help you prepare your trip with the maximum of transparency and professional help from people that know best how to make your experience once in a lifetime.