12 ways to learn a language on a budget

Learn languagesTravel May 28, 2024

Travelling to learn a language on a budget is possible. We’ve put together 12 ways to boost your language skills abroad while taking care of your finances

Nothing beats an immersive course in a destination you love, but sometimes it can feel like the price tag may be a little too steep. While the upfront costs may seem high, studying abroad can be the most efficient and cost-effective way to learn a language, when you consider the return of investment. All of those classroom hours, text books, and tutors that you would be paying for in your own country aren’t cheap, and none of it can compare to the fluency you’ll get from studying abroad! When you combine this with the unforgettable experiences and soft skills you’ll gain from your trip, it starts seeming quite cheap, right?

Okay, maybe not quite…But we help thousands of students each year that learn a language on a budget and come back with their expectations exceeded. We’re hoping that this list of tips will help you do the same!

1. Special offers

The best way to make your programme cheaper is to regularly check our special offers and take advantage of them. Find out about our offers of the month and ongoing offers, discounts on courses or accommodation, free flights or excursions, and other types of discounts on language courses abroad.

2. Travel as a pair (or in a group)

ESL offers you a special discount for each participant. In order to benefit, all you have to do is enrol at the same time and ask for the discount when you make the booking. Whether you’d both like to travel to the same destination, or just book together and travel separately — it’s a lot cheaper with ESL! 

3. Low-cost destinations

Among the hundreds of destinations available, some have a much more attractive cost of living than others. For instance, you will pay a lower rent in Liverpool than in London or in Lyon than in Paris, your meals will be cheaper in Freiburg or in Berlin than in Munich, and your shopping trips will cost less in Valencia than in Madrid.  ESL offers a wide choice of destinations to suit all budgets. Our team is here to give you the latest info — contact us to find out more about learning a language on a budget in these low-cost destinations throughout the world.

4. Choose your dates

Depending on your availability, you will save money on your course, accommodation, and often your daily expenses, by studying outside of the high season. If you’re flexible with your schedule, you can search for the cheapest time to live in your destination, and you’ll often also be able to get a better deal on your flight. 

5. Book early and save

Book more than three months before you travel and take advantage of our Early bird special offer. Throughout the year, this discount is bigger for longer courses. In addition, if you book your programme before 1st of November, you’ll make a substantial saving by paying this year’s prices for a trip taking place next year. 

By booking in advance, you can also take advantage of competitive prices on your flight or train ticket. 

6. Gap Experience: long term programmes, internships and volunteer work

The longer you stay, the more favourable the prices are. The original prices of the schools are based on a “sliding scale”, which allows you to take advantage of special prices depending on the duration of your stay. Following your language course, you can also extend your studies in the field, as an intern or as a volunteer worker. ESL – organises work placements and volunteering programmes to extend your stay at the lowest cost after completion of your language course.

Join a local company or get involved in a project that will benefit the local community. Immersing yourself in a work environment is very rewarding on a personal level and will really make your résumé stand out.

7. Combine destinations/schools in the same group

You can combine two or three destinations or schools during the same language study trip for a price based on the total duration. For example, it is possible to divide a stay of 8 weeks between 2 destinations whilst paying the fees for 8 weeks, which is cheaper than paying for 2 stays of 4 weeks. This option is generally possible with schools of the same group.

8. Choose the most affordable accommodation option

ESL – Language studies abroad offers many different accommodation options. Our team can help you find your perfect option, depending on your needs and lifestyle.

For example, self-catering accommodation is the cheapest option, as you can prepare your own meals according to your budget. Staying with a host family with half board included, on the other hand, helps you to calculate your accommodation and food budget for the whole duration of your stay.

Some schools let you stay in a shared room with another student, even if you are travelling on your own – this can be another budget-friendly option. In this case, we endeavour to make sure that it is with someone of another mother tongue, to ensure you don’t miss out on valuable practice at home!

9. Making the most of your journey

Choose destinations served by low-cost airline companies to find the most competitive prices available. Don’t forget to compare prices with rail transport companies, which also have special offers throughout the year.

10. Funding support

People working for companies or administrative bodies often don’t know that funding and support for training are available to them. According to your country of residence, these may be economic or political measures, which are offered as part of a training plan for adults. Take advantage of this great opportunity to take a language training course abroad. Have you already discussed it with your employer?

11. Competitions

ESL – Language studies abroad organises numerous competitions to win language courses abroad throughout the year. You have to be in it to win it!

12. Get in touch with us

Contact us or visit an ESL drop-in office and discuss your language project with us. We have plenty of budget tips, expert advice and experience to share with you. Local support can make a big difference!

At the centre of it all, our consultants are there to assist you and they will be happy to talk you through the destinations and schools available for a low-cost language course abroad. Contact us to get the most direct budget tips for your trip.

By Christopher Robinson

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