Our top 5 locations for winter sunshine

If you want to escape the cold, the rain and the January blues, this one’s for you…

Check out our five great places for winter sun where you can swap boots for flip flops and duffle coat for swimsuit. Just make sure you send a postcard to make your friends envious back home…they won’t believe it’s all in the name of education!

1. Buenos Aires


If there’s one place sure to lift your winter mood it’s Buenos Aires. You just can’t help but be swept up in the colour and vibrance of this thrilling capital city of Argentina. Whether it’s the food (thick, succulent steaks like you’ve never tasted), wine (rich Malbecs are Argentina’s forte), dance (from impromptu tango in the streets to extravagant evening shows), shopping (boutiques, galleries, antique shops and more), nightlife (don’t even think of going out before midnight, and be prepared for daylight when you emerge) or architecture (old-world cafes alongside magnificent colonial buildings), there is something here for everyone. Add to this the summer sunshine between December and February and the relative good value of the Argentine peso, compared to western currencies, and you’re in for a real treat at little expense. Choose a regular Spanish course or up the ante by adding some dancing, polo, horse riding or volunteering to your adventure.

Spanish courses in Buenos Aires

2. Cape Town


If you want to get away for more than the usual week or two, or are even considering a job or lifestyle change, then head to South Africa for a TEFL course. A fantastic destination from mid-October to mid-February, when it basks in temperatures in the high twenties, this is the ideal place to spend 4 weeks learning how to teach English as a foreign language. When your head isn’t buried in a textbook, the treats that await you make it all worthwhile; the fascinating cultural melting pot that is Cape Town, delicious African and international cuisine, world-class locally-produced wines, pristine coastline, magnificent countryside and diverse flora and fauna. And once this is all over you have a passport to travel the world with your prestigious CELTA qualification – no need, then, to ever winter in the cold again!

TEFL courses in South Africa

3. Martinique


Our latest must-visit location is the Caribbean island of Martinique. Ok, we’re kind of biased as two of our team have recently taken a French course in Martinique, and come back with infectious enthusiasm for this palm-fringed island just north of St Lucia. They were overwhelmed by the friendliness and hospitality of the locals, the delicious local food, the clear turquoise waters, the beautiful climate, the excellent French tuition, beautiful accommodation, and activities such as diving and dancing. As a place to learn French in the winter, it doesn’t get much better than this – we’re hooked!

French course in Martinique – a first-hand review

Sun, sea, sand and French…in exotic Martinique

French courses in Martinique

4. Galapagos


New year, new you – change your life with a 4-week CELTA course in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. You can obtain the most prestigious English language teaching qualification whilst interacting with the unique flora and fauna of these beautiful islands and participating in sustainable development and environmental protection projects. The aim of this course is for you to of course gain your teaching qualification, but also to educate the local community and make a difference. It’s a once in a lifetime experience! Next start dates 11th January, 8th February, 21st March 2016.

CELTA course in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

5. Rio de Janeiro


With verdant rainforests on one side, stunning mountains on the other and endless stretches of white sand beaches, Rio boasts one of the most spectacular urban settings in the world. There’s more to this spectacular city than Carnival, although if you can catch this week-long haze of samba, fiesta and hedonism it’s probably quite an appropriate introduction. And if you visit in winter this is exactly what you can do, as Carnival takes place February 5th-10th 2016 – the perfect antidote to winter back home and a great excuse to let your hair down. Solve the problem of finding accommodation at this popular time by staying with a local family whilst taking a language course – you don’t get better immersion in the language and culture than this!

Portuguese courses in Rio de Janeiro

Cactus offers language courses in more than 20 languages and 120 destinations worldwide. We also run adult evening and junior afternoon courses in the UK, which are the ideal way to learn the basics or brush up on existing language knowledge in advance of a holiday or business trip abroad.

How to say “Happy Thanksgiving” in 10 different languages

Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated mainly in the USA and Canada to give thanks for the blessing of the harvest.

It possibly dates back to 1565, though the first Thanksgiving meal is generally thought to have taken place in 1621 in the Plymouth colony between the colonists and the Wampanoag tribe. It became a symbol of cooperation and interaction between colonists and Native Americans.

Thanksgiving became a national holiday in the USA in 1941 and is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November (November 26th in 2015), while in Canada it falls on the second Monday of October. Thanksgiving is not celebrated in other countries, except by expatriate Americans and Canadians. Thanksgiving celebrations involve a large family meal which traditionally includes turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, and also big parades.

‘Happy Thanksgiving’ in other languages:

French-speaking people in North America might wish one another ‘Bonne Action de grâce’ or ‘Joyeux Thanksgiving’. The Canadian French version of Thanksgiving Day is ‘Jour de l’Action de grâce’, and in France it is known as ‘le Jour de Merci Donnant’.

– In Spanish Thanksgiving Day is known as ‘el Día de Acción de Gracias’ and Happy Thanksgiving is ‘¡Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias!’. The festival is also known as ‘Día del Pavo’ (Turkey Day) by Spanish speakers from Latin America living in the USA.

– The Portuguese equivalent for Thanksgiving Day is ‘O Dia de Acção de Graças’, and for Happy Thanksgiving, ‘Feliz (dia de) acção de graças’.

– The German version of Happy Thanksgiving is ‘Herzliche Danksagung’ or ‘Fröhliche Danksagung’ and the day itself is ‘Danksagung’.

– In Danish Thanksgiving Day is ‘Helligdag’ and Happy Thanksgiving is ‘Glædelig Helligdag’.

– In Dutch Thanksgiving Day is ‘Gedenkdagen’ and Happy Thanksgiving is ‘Vrolijke gedenkdagen’.

– In Swedish Thanksgiving Day is ‘Helgdag’ and Happy Thanksgiving is ‘God Helgdag’.

– In Polish Thanksgiving Day is ‘Dzień Dziękczynienia’ or ‘Święto Dziękczynienia’ and Happy Thanksgiving is ‘Święto dziękczynienia’ or ‘Wszystkiego najlepszego z ozkazji Święta Dziękczynienia’.

– In Mandarin Chinese Thanksgiving Day is 感恩節日 [感恩节日] (gănēnjiérì) and Happy Thanksgiving is 感恩節快樂 [感恩节快乐] (gănēnjié kuàilè).

– In Japanese Thanksgiving day is 感謝祭 (kanshasai) and Happy Thanksgiving is感謝祭おめでとう (kanshasai omedetō) or ハッピー感謝祭 (happī kanshasai).

 Cactus helps over 10,000 people to learn over 3o languages in over 200 destinations each year.

If you have a language learning query that you can’t find the answer to, please get in contact with us either by Facebook or Twitter or contact us here.

tour de france 2016 route map

Experience Le Tour de France 2016

The Tour de France 2016 Route has been Announced

So why not take a French language course in one of the Tour stops, experience the amazing race and cheer on your favourite rider at the same time? Choose from mountains, lakes or city centres and study French in one of many beautiful locations.

Running from Saturday 2nd July to Sunday 24th July 2016, the 103th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,519 kilometres. There will be 9 flat stages, 1 hilly stage, 9 mountain stages and 2 rest days.

Starting off in Mont-St-Michel the tour will go through Montauban on the 7th July, which is on the edge of Toulouse, known as ‘la ville rose’ due to its distinctive pink buildings. Toulouse is a historic city with some beautiful and unique architecture. The tour will then continue to capital of France’s Languedoc region Montpellier on the 13th and 14th July. Montpellier is a popular and thriving university city and the old city centre consists of a maze of attractive, winding streets, open-air terraces and luxurious houses. On the 23rd July the tour reaches the French Alps and the charming Alpine town of Morzine where a wide variety of summer Alpine activities is available. And from there the tour finishes on the 24th July in the city of love, fashion and elegance; Paris. In all of these locations you have the opportunity to take French lessons, take part in the fanfare that surrounds the tour and have an amazing holiday.

Studying a language in the country it is spoken is one the best ways to improve your language skills in a short period of time. By immersing yourself in the French language, chatting with the locals, and following “Le maillot jaune” (the yellow jersey) you can give yourself an experience of a life-time.

To browse all of the language holidays, including French language courses, available with Cactus Language please visit our website or contact us by email, Facebook or Twitter.

a woman learning a language online

Why Learn a Language Online?

If learning a language were easy and fast then we would all be multilingual.

The truth is, learning a language and speaking it well takes time, dedication and determination. Face-to-face tuition and language immersion are generally regarded as the best ways to learn a language. Even Donavan Whyte, the Vice President of EMEA for Rosetta Stone admits,

“I think it is possible to learn a language on your own via some tech-based platform, but I think it would take you a long, long time and you would need to be very disciplined.”

However, there are lots of reasons you should be using technology and online courses to support your language learning and speed-up your progression. Here are some reasons to learn a language online:

1. The Blended Approach
Online options give you a chance to practise and consolidate what you have learnt in the classroom. Language acquisition is all about revision and recycling – to really fix those words and grammar structures in your mind to the point where producing them becomes second nature.

2. Online Courses put you in Control
Online courses and apps allow you to study when you want and where you want. Essentially they give you the opportunity to take responsibility for your own education, in any setting, at any time of the day (or night).

3. Personalisation
By varying the arsenal of tools you have at your disposal for learning a language you increase your chances of being successful. How you learn is individual to you, therefore by multiplying the channels and mediums through which you learn you can find the combination that suits you best.

4. Bit by Bit
Option A: 4 hours of face-to-face tuition one day a week. Plus 30 mins of written homework a week.
Option B: 2 hours of face-to-face tuition one day a week. Plus 30 mins of online practice 4 days a week on your way to work.
Which of these do you think will be more effective in terms of language acquisition and target language retention? Which of these is more cost effective?

If you are interested in finding out more about how to learn a language online and how online courses can support your language learning in English and French take our free 7 day trial for English and for French. You can start today!

A Level Revision Courses in October Half Term

An A Level revision course during half term is a great boost to confidence and grades

For British students taking French, Spanish or German at A Level, there are huge benefits to be gained by spending time in a country where that language is spoken. A 1-week A Level revision course during the October half term is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the language and culture, whilst taking lessons that specifically focus on the skills and topic areas you will need to succeed at A Level.

The Benefits of an A Level Revision Course:

  • Practise the language in a native-speaking environment
  • Enjoy the culture of the target language through the food, people and lifestyle
  • Receive high quality language tuition in small group classes
  • Focus on specific examination tasks, grammar revision and vocabulary
  • Socialise with A Level students from other schools
  • Gain important skills and confidence prior to exams

French A Level Revision Courses – 26th October 2015:

a level revision courses computerMontpellier: French AS / A Level Revision Course (26 lessons per week) = from £291

Paris: French Mini-Group AS and A2 Revision Course (15 lessons per week) = from £366

Rouen: French A-Level Revision Course (15 group + 5 individual + 5 self-study lessons per week) = from £440

Spanish A Level Revision Courses:

Students studying Spanish or German at A Level can take a Combined Course which includes group and private lessons. The private lessons can then concentrate on A Level skills and content (please request this when booking). Alternatively, a General Course in one of our preferred partner schools offers excellent motivation and revision.

Barcelona: Spanish Combined Course (20 group + 5 individual lessons per week) = from £325

Salamanca: Spanish General Course (20 group lessons per week) = from £134

San Sebastian: Spanish Combined Course (15 group lessons + 5 individual lessons per week) = from £179

German A Level Revision Courses:

Berlin: German General Course (20 group lessons per week) = from £149

Cologne: German Combined Course (20 group + 5 individual lessons per week) = from £168

Hamburg: German Combined Course (25 group + 5 individual lessons per week) = from £235

Safety & Welfare of Students:

The schools that offer A Level revision courses are very aware of the extra responsibilities and requirements that come with offering Under 18 programmes, and as such are very careful to ensure their students’ safety, well-being and happiness at all times. Host families are thoroughly checked, as are staff that meet and return students to the airport, and every effort is made to ensure that students feel as safe and comfortable as possible.

The above prices are for the language course only. Accommodation in a carefully selected host families can be booked in addition to each course, with all meals included.

If you have a language learning or language teaching query, please visit our blog or get in contact with us either by Facebook or by Twitter. Alternatively, feel free to contact us here or call to speak to one of our advisors on 00 44 (0) 1273 830 960.

teacher training language courses

Teacher Training Courses: European Languages

Cactus offers Teacher Training Courses in London for fluent speakers of French, Spanish & Italian, and Teacher Refresher Courses abroad for non-native teachers

Teacher Training Courses in London

As the population of countries within Europe and around the world continues to diversify, and as globalisation makes it normal for us to mix with people of all languages and cultures (in schools, universities and the workplace), the demand for foreign language teachers is at an all-time high. People want to learn languages and we need qualified teachers to teach them.

In response to this demand, Cactus now offers teacher training courses for fluent speakers of French, Spanish and Italian who want to teach the language as a second language to adults. No prior teaching experience is required; the only stipulation is native or near-native speaker level in the language.  These courses are a great way to turn your language skills into a career in teaching whilst filling a widening hole in the market.

Teacher Training Courses – Advantages

  • Following a similar format to the CELTA course for English, these courses will prepare you for teaching your chosen language at different levels
  • You will observe qualified language teachers, learn how to plan a lesson and manage a class, and attend feedback and discussion sessions to help you progress
  • The combination of practical classroom experience combined with teaching methodology will give you valuable skills and confidence
  • You will meet like-minded people with similar goals
  • You can take a full-time course (4 weeks) or a part-time course (12 weeks)
  • Courses take place in London’s popular Covent Garden
  • You should find it easy to obtain paid work upon completion of your course (depending on location)

For a complete list of teacher training courses in French, Spanish and Italian, including prices and start dates, please visit the Cactus TEFL website page.

Teacher Refresher Courses Abroad

montpellier_squareIn addition to our Teacher Training Courses, Cactus also offers Teacher Training Refresher Courses for non-native teachers of French, Spanish and German.

These courses take place in France, Spain and Germany, and provide a unique immersive environment where foreign language teachers can advance their teaching skills, learn the latest approaches and network with other MFL teachers. They are a valuable way for teachers to develop professionally and remain at the forefront of their profession.

Teacher Refresher Courses – Advantages:

  • Develop your language teaching skills
  • Learn the latest techniques
  • Immerse yourself in the language and culture at the same time
  • Great environment in which to brainstorm ideas, create activities and discuss challenges specific to teaching languages in the UK education system
  • Opportunity to suggest language-related themes to include in course content
  • Leave feeling inspired and informed, and ready to share everything you have learned on your return to the classroom.

Please visit the Cactus Language website for full details of our teacher training refresher courses in Europe.

If you have a language learning or language teaching query that you can’t find the answer to, please get in contact with us either by Facebook or by Twitter, or contact us here.


Combien de temps faut-il pour apprendre l’anglais

Combien de temps faut-il pour apprendre l’anglais ?

Des milliers de personnes souhaitent parler anglais à travers le monde. Savoir combien de temps est nécessaire pour apprendre l’anglais est donc un sujet populaire et pertinent.

De nombreux facteurs influencent le temps qui vous est nécessaire pour apprendre l’anglais, parmi lesquels :

1. Votre exposition quotidienne à l’anglais

Vous apprendrez l’anglais rapidement si vous y êtes exposé quotidiennement, toute la journée, en vivant, travaillant, étudiant ou voyageant dans un pays anglophone par exemple. Suivre un cours d’anglais dans un pays anglophone est la meilleure façon d’apprendre l’anglais rapidement, puisque vous recevrez un enseignement dans cette langue et serez immergé dans la langue et la culture locale tous les jours en dehors de la salle de classe.

Si vous ne pouvez pas suivre un cours d’anglais à l’étranger, essayez de vous immerger chez vous le plus possible dans la langue. Si vous pouvez dédier une heure ou deux chaque jour à l’étude de l’anglais, votre niveau s’améliorera beaucoup plus rapidement que si vous n’y consacrez qu’une heure ou deux chaque semaine. Suivre un cours du soir d’anglais un jour par semaine et compléter cela par un auto-apprentissage chez vous avec des journaux, des films, la radio ou la télévision en anglais est une bonne idée.

2. L’âge auquel vous commencez à apprendre l’anglais

Vous pouvez commencer à apprendre l’anglais à n’importe quel âge. Cependant, les enfants sont avantagés puisque leur cerveau se développe encore et qu’ils démontrent une capacité naturelle pour les langues. Ils apprendront l’anglais rapidement et développeront une prononciation authentique, sans l’inhibition qui nous gêne généralement en tant qu’adultes. Si vous commencez tôt, vous avez plus de chances d’apprendre l’anglais plus vite. Mais ne vous laissez pas décourager par cela si vous devez apprendre l’anglais lorsque vous êtes adulte. Avec le bon enseignement, le bon état d’esprit et en s’impliquant, vous pouvez apprendre l’anglais à tout âge !

3. Si vous parlez d’autres langues

Si vous parlez déjà une seconde ou une troisième langue, cela vous aidera à apprendre l’anglais plus rapidement. Votre cerveau sera déjà habitué au processus d’apprentissage d’une langue, et vous aurez une meilleure compréhension de la grammaire et des temps. Vous apprendrez l’anglais encore plus rapidement si cette seconde langue est une langue germanique ou romane, qui sont proches de l’anglais. La maîtrise d’une langue scandinave (suédois, norvégien, danois) or romane (français, espagnol, italien) accélèrera votre progrès en anglais.

4. Le niveau de maîtrise que vous souhaitez atteindre en anglais

Bien entendu, apprendre seulement les bases de l’anglais sera beaucoup plus rapide que de savoir parler couramment la langue. Certains étudiants ont seulement besoin d’atteindre un niveau intermédiaire (B1) pour communiquer, d’autres un niveau B2 (communication commerciale basique, études de premier cycle universitaire), ou un niveau C1 (master ou doctorat, enseignement de l’anglais, journalisme international). Plus les objectifs sont élevés, plus il vous faudra y consacrer du temps et de l’énergie.

Plus le nombre d’heures que vous consacrez à cet apprentissage est élevé, plus vite votre niveau s’améliorera. En débutant l’anglais sans aucune connaissance préalable, il vous faudra peut être 10 ans pour atteindre le niveau B2 (avancé) en anglais avec deux heures par semaine. Vous pouvez atteindre le même niveau en un an avec 25 heures par semaine.

5. La vitesse à laquelle vous apprenez

Chacun d’entre nous apprend de manière différente et à une vitesse différente. Vous connaissez probablement votre rythme d’apprentissage et votre aptitude pour les langues. Ne vous découragez pas même si vous trouvez les langues difficiles, cela ne devrait pas vous empêcher d’apprendre l’anglais, qui se révélera être gratifiant et sera une langue utile. Trouvez la méthode qui vous permet d’apprendre le plus facilement et faites en un jeu, en regardant des films en anglais, en lisant des magazines anglais, en jouant des jeux anglais, ou en notant dans un cahier les nouveaux mots anglais que vous découvrez.

Enfin, les professeurs d’anglais savent trouver des solutions pour stimuler tous les types d’étudiants dans une salle de classe, et un cours d’anglais est certainement la meilleure façon de faire des progrès, quelque soit votre type d’apprenant.

Bonne chance et prenez plaisir à apprendre l’anglais !

Si vous trouvez cet article intéressant « Combien de temps faut-il pour apprendre l’anglais », lisez notre article « Comment apprendre l’anglais plus rapidement ».

Pour davantage de renseignements et de conseils concernant les cours d’anglais, merci de contacter Cactus. Cactus dispose de quinze ans d’expérience dans l’organisation de cours d’anglais à travers le monde pour tous les âges et tous les budgets, parmi lesquels des cours d’anglais général, des cours d’anglais commercial, des cours privés d’anglais, des cours de préparation aux examens d’anglais, des cours d’anglais pour enfants et adolescents, des programmes universitaires en anglais à l’étranger, et bien plus.


Traduit par Teva Serna

Comment apprendre l’anglais plus rapidement ?

Comment apprendre l’anglais plus rapidement ?

La réponse est simple, plus vous consacrez du temps à l’apprentissage et à la pratique de l’anglais, plus vite vous progresserez. A titre indicatif, si vous souhaitez atteindre un niveau intermédiaire en anglais (B1) sans connaissances préalables, il vous faudra :

  • Plusieurs années si vous étudiez 2 heures par semaine
  • 6 mois si vous étudiez 15 heures par semaine
  • 12 semaines si vous étudiez 30 heures par semaine

8 conseils pour apprendre l’anglais plus rapidement :

  1. Détendez-vous et amusez-vous

Lorsque vous êtes stressé, gêné ou frustré, le cerveau produit des « hormones de stress » qui agissent comme un mécanisme de défense. Cela ralentit les processus du cerveau à l’exception de ceux nécessaires à la survie. Si vous vous prenez moins au sérieux, vous trouverez probablement l’anglais plus facile à apprendre.

  1. Pratiquez encore et encore

Concrètement, tout dépend de la pratique. Apprenez des mots et des expressions et utilisez les avec votre professeur, d’autres étudiants, votre famille d’accueil, avec tout le monde. Il n’est pas nécessaire de chercher à atteindre la perfection. Néanmoins, plus vous pratiquez, plus vous progresserez rapidement en anglais.

  1. Ralentissez

Parler couramment ne signifie pas devoir parler vite, mais savoir parler anglais sans devoir penser à comment dire les choses. Plus vous vous entraînez à parler, plus cela deviendra facile et naturel.

  1. Lisez

Lire est une excellente façon d’apprendre les expressions et l’anglais utilisé quotidiennement. De plus, c’est rapide, facile et pratique ; vous pouvez par exemple lire sur votre téléphone ou votre tablette tout en voyageant ou pendant quelques minutes lors de votre petit-déjeuner. Saisissez l’occasion d’apprendre des mots et des expressions intéressantes.

  1. Fixez-vous des objectifs

Vous fixer des objectifs vous permet de rester sur la bonne voie et contribue à votre motivation. Cela vous permet de diviser le processus d’apprentissage de la langue anglaise en parties plus faciles à gérer, et vous pouvez vous récompenser à la fin de chaque étape. Vous apprenez ainsi l’anglais plus rapidement puisque vous maintenez votre vitesse et avez un programme à suivre. Pensez à vos raisons pour apprendre l’anglais et basez vos objectifs sur celles-ci.

  1. Apprenez avec un ami

Si vous avez un ami avec le même niveau en anglais que le vôtre, fixez vous comme objectif d’apprendre l’anglais ensemble. Vous pouvez pratiquer en parlant anglais (sans être gêné), regarder un film en anglais voire visiter un pays anglophone ensemble. Refuser d’abandonner quelqu’un contribue énormément à votre motivation et à votre progrès, et vous aide à apprendre l’anglais plus rapidement.

  1. Arrêtez de vous excuser

Passez moins de temps à vous excuser pour les fautes que vous faites et davantage de temps à apprécier les étapes que vous franchissez. Chaque fois que vous commencez à dire quelque chose, vous vous améliorez. Alors croyez en vous ! Ne dites plus « Je ne parle pas beaucoup anglais » mais « J’apprends l’anglais, pourriez-vous parler un peu moins vite ? ». Être plus positif vis-à-vis de votre anglais vous encouragera à apprendre encore plus.

  1. N’abandonnez pas

Vous apprendrez l’anglais plus vite si vous acceptez dès le départ que cela requiert de la détermination et des efforts. Vous ferez probablement face à des incompréhensions, de la frustration et de la gêne occasionnelle avant d’atteindre un niveau de langue courant, tout comme un athlète s’entraînant pour la médaille d’or des Jeux Olympiques endurera la douleur, des blessures et la défaite avant d’atteindre son objectif. Vous apprenez à chaque fois que vous prononcez un mot, que celui-ci signifie exactement ce que vous souhaitez dire ou non, alors franchissez les obstacles, et vous atteindrez le niveau d’anglais que vous visez beaucoup plus rapidement.

Bonne chance !

Cactus collabore avec des écoles partenaires sélectionnées avec soin à travers le monde afin d’offrir des cours d’anglais pour tous les âges et tous les budgets. Que ce soit pour une année d’études universitaires à Londres ou un cours d’anglais intensif à New York, nos cours attirent ceux qui apprennent l’anglais pour les affaires, par plaisir, ou pour voyager.

Traduit par Teva Serna

Free Language Courses: 11 Courses To Win!

Cactus is giving away 11 free language courses in exciting locations across the globe!

This is a fantastic chance to learn a language for FREE! To enter, visit us at the upcoming Expat Show or Language Show Live or simply complete the entry form below by 22nd November – and you could be jetting off to learn one of seven languages in some of our best locations:

Chinese Mandarin Prize
Learn Chinese in one of China’s biggest and most exciting cities – Shanghai. Feel the buzz of its vibrant music and club scene, shop til you drop, admire the city’s beautiful architectural heritage and indulge in delectable food – this should be on everyone’s ‘to-do’ list!

Free language courses Shanghai

1 x 1 week General Mandarin Course (20 lessons) in Shanghai with Mandarin House. Prize includes 6 nights’ accommodation in a shared apartment.





French Prizes

Whether you want to enjoy the glamorous Côte d’Azur in Nice, be chic in Paris, sip wine in Bordeaux or catch some waves in Biarritz, we have a fantastic choice of prizes to learn French in France!

Free language courses Biarritz

1 x 1 week General French Course (20 lessons) in Nice, Paris, Bordeaux or Biarritz with France Langue. Prize includes 6 nights’ accommodation in a host family.

1 x 1 week French & Cooking Course (20 language + 2 cooking lessons) in Nice with France Langue. Prize includes 6 nights’ stay in a host family.



German Prize

There can be fewer exciting places than Berlin to learn German, a city of fascinating history, cutting edge architecture, first class food and nightlife like no other – and we have two courses to be won in this captivating German capital!

Free language courses Berlin

2 x 1 week General German Course (20 lessons) in Berlin with GLS. Prize includes activities but not accommodation.





Italian Prize

If your idea of heaven is a twinkling blue sea, pastel coloured buildings adorning the hillside, bougainvillea tumbling over balconies and mouthwatering food and wine, then this Italian course in Salerno should be yours!

Free language courses Salerno

1 x 1 week General Italian Course (20 lessons) in Salerno with Accademia Italiana. Prize includes 6 nights’ accommodation in a shared apartment OR host family.





Portuguese Prizes

Portugal’s colourful capital is an inspiring place to learn Portuguese, with its cobbled streets, iconic yellow tram, traditional bars and leafy plazas. Learn Portuguese on its own or take painting lessons too – we have two fantastic prizes to be won here!

Free language courses Lisbon

1 x 1 week General Portuguese Course (20 lessons) in Lisbon with Portuguese Connection. Prize includes 6 nights’ accommodation in a host family.

1 x 1 week Portuguese & Painting Course (20 language + 6 painting lessons) in Lisbon with Portuguese Connection. Prize includes 6 nights’ accommodation in a host family.



Russian Prize

If you want to learn Russian in stunning surroundings, Latvia’s capital, Riga, fits the bill perfectly. A treasure trove of art-nouveau architecture, this is a city of elaborately carved façades, funky gargoyles, winding cobbled streets and stately boulevards – as well as the most unexpectedly brilliant nightlife.

Free language courses Riga

1 x 1 week General Russian Course (20 lessons) in Riga with Durbe Latvia. Prize includes 6 nights’ accommodation in a shared apartment OR, for students under 18 years, in a host family.




Spanish Prizes

It’s impossible not to fall in love with Valencia, and we’re delighted to be able to offer two people the chance to jet off to this charming city on Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coast. Home of paella, fabulous festivals, a bustling port and excellent beaches, this is one our favourite places to learn Spanish.

Free language courses Valencia

2 x 1 week General Spanish Course (20 lesson) in Valencia with Taronja. Prize includes 6 nights’ accommodation in a shared apartment.




Evening Language Course Prize We are also offering ONE free evening course in any location in the UK! The lucky winner will be able to choose their preferred language and location for a 10-week evening course starting in January 2016. See our evening courses website for full details of courses near you.

Free language courses: please note

  • Our free language courses are available on selected dates and we ask all winners to check dates with us before confirming flights
  • Accommodation is included in the prize where stated
  • Entry is open to all visitors to the Cactus stand at the Expat Show (11th-12th September) and Language Show Live (16th-18th October) who complete an entry form, and to everyone who signs up using our entry form below
  • The deadline for entering is Sunday 22nd November
  • The lucky winners will be announced on Monday 7th December
  • Please consult our Terms and Conditions for full details of the competition and individual prizes.

We look forward to seeing you, and good luck! If you have a language learning or language teaching query that you can’t find the answer to, please get in contact with us either by Facebook or by Twitter, or contact us here.

Junior French Course Feedback: Montpellier

Cactus recently sent a 13-year-old boy on a Junior French Course in Montpellier. Here, his father gives feedback from a parent’s perspective and describes the importance of giving a child the gift of another language.

“Caspar attended the school at Montpellier when he was 13 (he will return for a fortnight this year). It is, and was, a big step for him – his first taste of semi-independence and that within an foreign culture. He had doubts before going, but thoroughly enjoyed. His words to me were ‘At home I am Caspar with the shocking blond hair, and am treated according to what people think I am. In Montpellier, I could be what I wanted to be. It was freedom’. The cultural experience was / is as important to me as the linguistic experience – there were students there from several countries and continents.

He stayed with Mme Meson, an excellent guardian who took care of Caspar. He will return to her this coming Summer. She has little English; or rather she chooses to use little English, thereby offering a semi-immersive experience in a home environment.

Junior French course MontpellierRegarding Caspar’s French, he had only a very basic knowledge before last year’s course (and his French is still elementary). However, he came away with a nascent understanding of grammar and a basic ability to understand spoken French, but lacking the confidence to communicate in the language – this bridge obviously takes some time to cross. He said that those who had spent several weeks at Montpellier had indeed succeeded in crossing into fluency – a matter of time and money.

My son is not overly gregarious. However, I hope that returning for a fortnight, to a familiar regime and place will give him further confidence to open up and attempt to communicate. On the back of this year’s course he will fly straight from Montpellier to stay with a family in Nantes. They have little English and so he will be forced to use the skills he will acquire in Montpellier.

Would you recommend a Junior French Course?

Junior French course Montpellier - Montpellier schoolYes, I would recommend the course as it offers a young adult both a personal and socio-linguistic learning curve within a regulated environment. Caspar was not the youngest student last year: there were 12 year olds at Montepellier, some more confident than others. It’s all a question of maturity. Any 12 year old will be amongst 14 / 15 year olds and there is, as you know, a huge difference in slight age differences during the teenage years. To be honest, I was more nervous of letting him go last year, than he was of going – both vigilance and homesickness were issues. The same is true this year; he is only just 14. There are always risks. But, these, we felt, were minimised last year as we always had the assurance that a family friend lived in Beziers (a short drive away). I also had some email correspondence with Mme Meson prior to his visit and she seems a good sort (which through experience, was proved and she was a delight to meet).

This year, he will fly out alone and without a family friend in close proximity. However, he will be  returning to familiar territory. We also feel more confident as we have faith both in Cactus (Laura is always helpful) and Mme Meson. Plus, he’s truly looking forward to going – which is a motivational triumph for a 14 year old boy.

Obviously being a minor poses logistic problems as only certain airlines allow children to travel unaccompanied. Air France do and they have a buddy facility (for which you pay extra) which ensures their safety, easyJet also allow children but, correct me if I’m wrong, not if under 12 and unaccompanied. Last year, Caspar travelled out with our family friend and I picked him up – an opportunity to meet Mme Meson and practice the limited French I possess.

The gift of another language

Our hope, when sending Caspar to France, is that we are giving him the gift of another language. We in Britain are bullishly monolingual which, in our opinion is not a good thing (Caspar is also studying Japanese). I’m sure this is partly why you might be considering sending your child to Montpellier. Whatever you decide, I hope they will, one way or another, realise your linguistic ambition for them.”

Thank you to Ian for taking the time to give us his valuable feedback on Caspar’s Junior French Course. We look forward to sending Caspar to France again this year.

Caspar took a Junior French Course in Montpellier with host family accommodation. There is also the option to take a Junior French Course with residential accommodation. Both courses include 20 French lessons each week, an exciting programme of activities and excursions, all meals and full supervision. Contact us or visit our website to find out more about our Junior language courses and summer camps.