Language courses abroad – how to choose your accommodation

Linguistic considerations

As with anything, the key to learning as much as possible when you’re doing a course is to practise as much as you can. For this reason, staying with a host family whilst you study is generally considered to be of most benefit linguistically. Eating and socialising with your local hosts will mean not only that you have to speak the language, but also that you will pick up more vocabulary from them.

Living in an authentic local environment also means that you are likely to learn more about the cultural norms and traditions of the country that you are studying in. You will probably be introduced to the host family’s friends and acquaintances, and taken along to any local events or festivals that take place whilst you’re there.

People who take students in to their houses are usually very friendly and hospitable, and as a result, many students end up staying in contact long-term with their hosts. These days it’s easy to stay in touch via email, telephone, Skype and continued contact gives you a great way to keep your language skills up to scratch as well.

Some schools offer residence accommodation, especially throughout the summer, and this too can be a good option for anyone keen to make the optimum progress during their stay. Normally there will be other foreign students studying at the school staying there too, and any communication will usually be conducted in the language you’re studying.

Social factors

When it comes to choosing what type of accommodation you’d like, there are some ‘social’ type factors, largely relating to the kind of person you are, that you should consider.

If you are a very independent person, for example, you might perhaps be better suited to staying in a private apartment or a residence so that you can come and go as you please and can eat wherever and whenever you like.

Similarly, if you value your privacy and don’t always feel like being sociable you may be better off in private, self-catering accommodation. That said, host families are used to accommodating lots of students and are usually very willing to give you space and to respect your privacy if it’s obvious that’s what you prefer.

Normally schools will do their best to match you to a host family that they think will suit you well, and it’s always wise to specify at the outset if you have any specific requirements or wishes.

Language schools attract students from all countries and ages, and it’s worth also bearing in mind that (during the summer especially), specific school residences can sometimes be lively! Students are always asked to respect their surroundings and fellow students, but residences with lots of young students in particular can sometimes be a little noisy during the busy periods. For this reason, we don’t tend to recommend student residence accommodation for anyone older than late-twenties, although obviously the option is open to everyone.

Financial considerations

There’s not really any hard and fast rule in terms of how host family accommodation compares to self-catering accommodation options. It can depend on the popularity of the place you have gone to, the time of year, and whether you’re willing to share a room, to name but a few factors.

Staying with a host family often gives you good value for money given that your meals are usually included in the price, but equally, if you’re willing to live frugally and cook cheap meals for yourself there are also some very cheap residence options available.

Generally speaking, private apartments tend to be the most expensive accommodation type, but do have the benefit of ultimate privacy if this is something that is very important to you.

Other points to remember

When you come to choose the type of accommodation you’d like, there are a couple of other points that it might be useful to remember.

Firstly, availability with all accommodation options is better the earlier you can book. Leaving your booking to the last minute, especially in peak season, can sometimes mean that you have to take whatever type of accommodation is left, which might not have been your initial choice. 

Secondly, you should make sure that the people at the school are fully aware of any special requirements that you might have when you make your booking. If they know about these from the outset they can normally organize your accommodation accordingly.

Whilst schools will always do their best to house you as close to the school as possible, it’s worth remembering with host family accommodation that you may be placed somewhere that is a bus or metro ride away from the school. Your host family will give you detailed instructions on how to get to school, and may even take you on your first day, though.

Although most host families will be very accommodating towards your needs and your culture, it’s important nevertheless that you respect their way of life, including their house rules and their routine for mealtimes. For example, if you can’t make dinner one night because you want to meet up with classmates it’s important that you remember to let them know so that they don’t cater for you when they’re preparing the meal. It’s true that the family will be ‘hosting’ you, but it’s important to build a good relationship with them, and of course this is a two-way thing. You should make sure that you’re polite and respectful, and that you don’t make a mess or help yourself to food and drink without asking first – unless they tell you otherwise.

Lastly, if you’re new to the place you’re going to, it might be worth organising an airport transfer via the school for when you arrive. Normally this is included as part of the ‘host family’ package (except with English courses), but you might have to pay extra if you’re staying in a residence or apartment.

Cactus offers language courses all over the world at a variety of levels, and for varying lengths of time. Please visit the Cactus Language website for further information on locations, prices and how to book.

French language courses on the Côte d’Azur - Nice, Antibes and Monte Carlo

Nice

The largest of the cities on the Côte d’Azur, Nice enjoys a reputation as one of France’s most glamorous and up-market destinations. Due to its location next to the sea and sheltered by mountains and hills, it also has a near perfect climate, with mild winters and warm summers.

As the undisputed capital of the French Riviera, Nice is a very lively city, with festivals and cultural events running all year round. It is also home to some 19 museums and galleries and 32 classified historical monuments.

Nice is a city that has something for everyone, whether you want to wander the markets and cobbled alleyways of the old town, hit the shopping districts of the new town, lie on the beach and swim in the piercing blue sea, or sit in a cafe and watch the world go by. It can be crowded in the summer, and is less forgiving on the wallet than some of the other towns on the Riviera, but if you like the buzz of a big city this is definitely the place for you.

There are two schools in Nice, which between them offer General, Individual, Combined, Intensive, Business, Exam Preparation, Young at Heart, Juniors, Home Language and Language and Cookery French courses. Accommodation choices include host family, private apartment and residence.

Antibes

Situated to the east of Nice and the west of Cannes, Antibes is a traditional and attractive resort town. It’s famous, amongst other things, for its Provençal market, narrow shopping streets and its medieval castle.  .image

To the West, Antibes adjoins the modern town of Juan les Pins, well-known for its colourful bistros, fashionable pubs, and of course its prestigious Jazz festival – reputedly the oldest in France.

Antibes is a great study destination for anyone wanting to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and sparkling waters of the Mediterranean without the crowds. It’s smaller and less busy than Nice, and has more in the way of culture than Monte Carlo. It is home to an array of museums, including the Picasso Museum, Archaeological Museum, Peynet Museum, Napoleonic Museum and Fort Carré Museum, and offers plenty in the way of exhibitions and events too.

The school in Antibes offers General, Individual, Combined, Intensive, Business and Juniors courses at a variety of levels, and provides a range of host-family and residence accommodation options. 

Monte Carloimage

Nestled between Nice and the Italian border, Monte Carlo represents the ultimate in luxury and affluence. The principality’s most famous features include its annual motor racing Grand Prix, its high-end casinos where the millionaires of the world converge, and the Royal Family, the Grimaldis, who forever adorn the pages of Europe’s glossy magazines. 

A trip to Monte Carlo is only 20 minutes on the train from Nice, but the two places are different in terms of who they cater for and what they offer. Monte Carlo is actually a relatively small place with a limited amount of entertainment options, unless your average yearly income pushes into six figures. It does have some nice bars and cafes, but is generally quieter than the French cities along the Riviera. A great option for anyone after some peace and quiet in a nice climate, and clean, attractive surroundings.

The school in Antibes offers Individual and Mini-Group French courses, and host family accommodation options.

See full listings of our French courses in France

10 best islands to take a language course

If sun, sea and sand are your idea of heaven, then read on. Don’t forget, however, that some islands are also home to thriving cities, spectacular physical terrain, delicious cuisine and unique culture. For a holiday with a difference, why not learn a language on one of these fabulous islands.

1. Guadeloupe

There aren’t many places where you can step out of class onto a pristine Caribbean beach, but if you come to learn French in Guadeloupe this will be your reality. A little piece of paradise in the French West Indies, Guadeloupe is blessed with beautiful beaches, rivers and waterfalls, as well as a rich cultural heritage stemming from its Caribbean Creole roots. Typical after-class activities include swimming, diving and snorkeling, each of which makes the most of the warm climate and beautiful natural scenery. This sun-kissed archipelago is not your average French study destination, but it’s certainly one worthy of a postcard home.

French courses in Guadeloupe

2. Cuba

Cuba offers all that you would expect of a Caribbean island – long sandy beaches, imagehot sunshine and cocktails to hand – yet, with a history paved by revolution and its present rooted in communism, it’s not your average tourist destination. With the infectious beat of salsa on every street corner and warm cubano hearts welcoming all who visit, you’ll find it impossible not to get swept up in it all. 

NB. Please note that current sanctions prohibit US citizens and permanent residents from booking our language programmes in Cuba.

Spanish courses in Cuba

3. Crete

Sitting in the southern Aegean Sea and basking in warm Mediterranean sunshine year-round, Crete is an island of surprises. image

Not just a place to lay down your towel – although its beaches are undeniably tempting – it boasts a fascinating history, being the first civilization in Europe and the centre of the Minoan civilisation. It also maintains its own culture unique to mainland Greece, in the form of traditional folk music, Cretan dialect and ‘mantinada’ poetry, and superb physical geography in the form of mountain ranges, valleys, fertile plateaus, gorges, rivers and lakes. Add to this the charming coastal town of Chania and you have the perfect setting for a Greek language course.

Greek courses in Chania, Crete

4. Hawaii image

The allure of some of the world’s best beaches is what brings many people to Hawaii to learn English. Famous in the surfing world, these volcanic Pacific islands offer sun, sea and sand in abundance. Come to Honolulu, however, and when not beach-side you’ll be treated to a buzzing entertainments scene and a plethora of museums and cultural attractions, including the only royal palace in the USA. Make the most of the waves or immerse yourself in the local culture by combining your course with surfing or hula dance. This is certainly an island with a difference.

English courses in Honolulu, Hawaii

5. Island of Elba image

Just 28km long and 19km at its widest point, the Island of Elba is a heavenly green garden set in a sparkling blue sea. Located just off Italy’s west coast, this beautiful island was home to an exiled Napoleon, and you can really only wonder at his luck in ending up here. Today, people flock here willingly and probably wish they too could stay an entire year – whether it’s to relax on the pristine beaches, swim in the clear blue waters, hike the spectacular yet challenging inland terrain, or simply indulge in the tasty Italian food and wine. It gets busy in the summer, unsurprisingly, but many would say it’s entirely worth it.

Italian courses on the Island of Elba

6. Sicilyimage

Lying just south-west of mainland Italy, Sicily is the ball being kicked by the boot of Italy, as it were. It is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and boasts a rich and unique culture of which its people are extremely proud. The Sicilian language, or lingua siciliana, is spoken by the majority of its inhabitants yet it is not an official language – Italian is spoken and understood everywhere – and other areas such as art, literature, cuisine and music are very specific to the island too. A former cradle of ancient civilizations, and a crossroads of cultures between East and West, Sicily now attracts visitors who come to savour the warm Mediterranean climate and take in the island’s fascinating history, culture and sumptuous food. Or maybe they’ve heard that Sicilians have one of the longest life expectancies and are simply hoping to be let in on the secret…

Italian courses in Palermo, Sicily

Italian courses in Taormina, Sicily

7. Mallorca image

The Balearic island of Mallorca is a popular tourist destination in Europe, yet little known as a place to learn Spanish. Palma, however, its capital, is a wonderful city in which to learn the language – yes, the beaches are close, but it’s also home to a spectacular Gothic cathedral, a bustling Old Town and authentic local bars. Venture inland and you’ll be treated to beautiful mountain scenery, olive groves, pine forests and traditional villages – a world away from the crowded resorts on the coast.

Italian courses in Palma, Mallorca

8. Dominican Republic image

Tourism is the Dominican Republic’s dominant industry, although those in the know come here for more than the beaches, stunning though they are: the island is also home to a rich and fertile interior, cool mountain retreats, history in abundance, fine colonial architecture and delicious Caribbean food. Bring your swimsuit, yes, and your surfboard if you’re heading for Cabarete, but this is one place where it’s worth dragging yourself away from the beach.

Spanish courses in the Dominican Republic

9. Puerto Rico image

A blend of Caribbean insouciance and American efficiency, Puerto Rico is a multi-faceted and colourful island in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, just east of the Dominican Republic. It is also a great place to soak up Latin history, its capital, San Juan, being one of the oldest and best preserved colonial cities of the Americas. Away from the bustle of its cities, it is a true island paradise of rugged mountains, unexplored coastline, traditional hill towns and warm turquoise waters. Immerse yourself or get away from it all – or, best of all, do both.

Spanish courses in Puerto Rico

10. Hong Kong image

Best known for its role as a bustling multi-cultural city, Hong Kong is more than neon signs, crowded streets and noisy street food kiosks. Although all these things make it the vibrant and energetic place that is, you only have to venture outside the city to breathe fresh mountain air or walk barefoot along a sandy beach. One of the joys of being a small island is that all this is within easy reach of the busy centre, so you can indulge in the madness of Hong Kong city safe in the knowledge that a peaceful weekend escape is right on your doorstep. Aah.

Chinese Mandarin courses in Hong Kong

Cactus offers language courses in more than 30 languages, in 60 countries and 500 destinations worldwide.

Focus on Travel News - 6 April 2011

In the same way that authors such as Colin Thurbron, Peter Mayle and Elizabeth Gilbert have won legions of fans by capturing the true spirit of culturally authentic travel experiences, the most passionate travelers long to immerse themselves fully in their chosen destinations.

This is the core of Cactus Language Training’s philosophy. One of the world’s leading language training companies, Cactus teaches more than 30 languages in 60 countries at 500 destinations worldwide, each year adding new destinations, immersive cultural opportunities and enticing incentives that enhance the process of learning a new language through culturally enriching vacation experiences.  With an emphasis on affordability and authenticity, Cactus’s new vacation programs in 2011 include learning Spanish and Latin Dance in Leticia, Colombia at a school on the banks of the Amazon; studying German in the low-key, less touristy Bavarian town of Lindau overlooking the Swiss Alps; and mastering Russian in culturally diverse Kiev, Ukraine near Belarus.

The new Colombia location is one of 70 destinations in which Cactus offers Spanish language instruction; others include Argentina, Costa Rica, and two in Spain. Likewise, those who seek to speak French fluently can choose among 26 destinations, including coastal Biarritz, Bordeaux, and Monaco in France; or Montreal, Canada. If ease with Italian is the goal, Cactus offers 22 locations across Italy. Thai, Turkish and Brazilian Portuguese (the current passion of Cactus founder Rich Ambler) are among the 30 languages offered by Cactus.

Incentives and Special Offers – all prices for all Cactus programs are guaranteed in US dollars.

A variety of appealing incentives are available for aspiring linguists, including:

A free week with the purchase of a two-week French language program in Nice (for programs through May 30), starting at $682 for a 3-week course;

Five free cultural lessons with the purchase of a Spanish language program in Madrid (plus a discounted rate for programs over 12 weeks in length), starting at $284 for a course-only.

A free excursion to the glass-blowing island of Murano with the purchase of an Italian language program in Venice, starting at $312 for a course-only. Available throughout the year.

Cactus believes that “one size does not fit all” and tailors its broad range of programs to fit the individual needs of the learner.  Adding a further dimension to its in situ programs, Cactus incorporates cultural experiences, ranging from wine tasting and cooking to dance and diving, to strengthen and reinforce the day’s language lessons.  Cactus also offers courses for children, teenagers, families and mature travelers, as well as executives.

Why use Cactus to book your language holiday abroad?

Here’s a run-down of the factors that make booking with Cactus the best way to ensure both value for money, and a great learning experience abroad.

1. First-hand experience of our courses

Here at Cactus, we all speak foreign languages and have attended courses abroad and in the UK. Every year we are encouraged to take a week-long language course at one of our partner schools, which gives us first-hand experience of what it’s like to take the courses that we sell, and an understanding of the questions and concerns that you might have.

2. Useful insight into our schools

Aside from the language course that we take each year, we also visit our partner schools on familiarisation, or ‘fam’ trips. This ensures that we have direct experience of the schools that we work with, meaning we can give you informed and impartial advice on which would be most suitable for your requirements, tastes and budget.

3. Help with foreign language communication

If you’re a beginner and don’t speak any of the language that you’re hoping to study, booking through Cactus avoids any communication difficulties that you might experience if booking directly with a foreign school. All course advisers at Cactus speak foreign languages, and can organise your booking in the language that you’re hoping to learn on your behalf.

4. Financial security through ATOL and TOPP

We’re ATOL bonded and TOPP protected, so your money is safe in the unlikely event of financial failure.

5. Careful school selection to ensure quality

It’s worth pointing out that all of the schools we work with have been carefully selected – in other words, we don’t just work with anyone who approaches us. We only maintain partnerships with schools that we consider to be high-quality, fully compliant with laws and regulations, and that we think will provide you with a great learning experience.

6. Lower costs relating to currency and domestic call rates

If you live in the UK, for example, you can pay for a course taking place in Europe or South America in Pounds, which may avoid currency/bank transfer fees that you might incur when booking direct. Equally, our US customers can pay for their courses in Dollars. Although it may seem like a small point, talking to our advisers in Brighton/New York also means that you avoid paying international call rates when you book and pay for the course, which, in some cases can prove costly.

7. Flexibility with payment options

We recognise that paying for a course and accommodation abroad can be a significant financial commitment, especially in these difficult financial times, and as such are able to offer certain bookings the option to pay in instalments.

8. Peace of mind in the case of emergencies or problems

Although the vast majority of people who book courses abroad with us have a fantastic time, occasionally there will be instances where people need to get home quickly, or where something occurs during their course that they need help dealing with. Our advisers are here to help throughout your whole booking, from start to end, and having an English speaking contact at the end of the phone who can offer useful language skills, or make the most of close relationships with the school staff to help sort your issue, can be priceless.

9. Useful assistance with travel ‘extras’

A point that again, is especially useful for beginner language learners, is that we are also able to help with arranging airport transfers and other travel ‘extras’ that you may require, including extra nights accommodation (availability permitting), hotel accommodation and multi-destination trips.

10. Continued learning after your trip

When booking with Cactus, we have options for you after your course abroad to help you continue your learning when you get back. We are all passionate about language learning, and we want to encourage our clients as much as possible to make the most of what they’ve learnt and to carry on building their skills. As a result, we offer discounts to anyone who wants to continue learning at one of our UK or US based language courses, which include 10-week evening courses, 5-week evening courses, 1-week intensive courses and weekend ‘crash’ courses. Tailor-made language training to cater for your individual needs can also be organised for you, at a discounted price.

Please visit the Cactus Language website for course listings, prices and to book a course.

10 good contemporary Italian films to watch

1. La Vita è Bella

Life Is Beautiful as the film title translates in English, is a 1997 Italian language film which tells the story of a Jewish Italian, Guido Orefice (played by Roberto Benigni, who also directed and co-wrote the film), who must make use of his active imagination to help his son Giosuѐ during their internment in a Nazi concentration camp. In the film, Giosuѐ is four and a half years old, but both the beginning and ending of the film are narrated by an older Giosuѐ recalling his father’s efforts and sacrifice for his family. In 1999, Benigni won the Oscar for Best Actor and the film won both the award for Best Original Dramatic Score and the Best Foreign Language Film.

2. La Sconosciuta

Made in 2006, La sconosciuta is a psychological thriller, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. It’s the hard-hitting story of Irena, a Ukranian woman living in northern Italy who is haunted by a traumatic past, and in the midst of searching for a long lost daughter.

3. Gamorrah

Gomorrah is a 2008 Italian film directed by Matteo Garrone, based on the book by Roberto Saviano. The film centres around the organised crime families in Naples (the Camorra), and offers a very different representation of the mafia to what is often portrayed in Hollywood mob films. Instead of being shown as glamorous and powerful men, we see the mafia as they really are – slave drivers, toxic-waste dealers and terrorists. Gamorrah is a realistic and hard-hitting film, but is a fascinating insight into what still goes on in this part of the world.

4. Porte Aperte

Open Doors as it’s known in English is an award-winning film directed by Gianni Amelio. Set in Palermo in the 1930s, it follows the trial of a man who has committed three murders, and the actions of a judge who is opposed to the death penalty and determined to understand the man and his motives rather than to sentence him to execution. The film is based on a 1968 novel, “Porte Aperte”, by Leonardo Sciascia.

5. Cinema Paradiso

Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is a 1988 romantic drama written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. It was internationally released as ‘Cinema Paradiso’ and achieved huge success, winning the Special Jury Prize at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival and the 1989 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. In the film a famous director returns home to a Sicilian village for the first time after almost 30 years. He reminisces about his childhood at the Cinema Paradiso where man called Alfredo, the projectionist, first brought about his love of films.

6. La Bestia nel Cuore

La bestia nel cuore is a 2005 film directed by Cristina Comencini, based on the novel that she herself also wrote. It was nominated for Golden Lion prize at the Venice International Film Festival and also in the Best Foreign Language Film category in the 78th Academy Awards. It centres around a character called Sabina, who has a stable life with a decent job and a loving partner, but who harbours traumatic secrets from her past that need to be dealt with before she can truly be happy…

7. Romanzo Criminale

Released in 2005, Romanzo Criminale is a crime drama that received international acclaim, winning 15 awards in total. It is based on a novel by Giancarlo De Cataldo, which was inspired by the real-life story of the notorious Magliana gang who dominated Rome’s criminal underworld from the early 1970s to the early 1990s. The film follows the progression of three young men from street criminals to organised crime bosses who are involved in decades of terrorism, kidnappings and corruption.

8. Mediterraneo

Mediterraneo is an acclaimed comedy that won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1991. The film is set during World War II, and follows the story of a group of misfit Italian soldiers who are tasked with keeping a lookout for enemy ships on a small Greek island. At first the island seems abandoned, but when the Greeks realise that the Italians pose no threat, the townsfolk suddenly appear to re-commence their peaceful existence on the island. The soldiers are unnerved when the ship on the way to collect them is blown up and they realise that they are stranded, but soon they start enjoying life on the island and being left behind doesn’t seem like such a bad thing after all!

9. Johnny Stecchino

Johnny Stecchino is a 1991 Italian comedy film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni as Dante, a good-hearted but naive bus driver. A close shave with a car leads him to meet Maria, who develops an instant interest in him and soon invites him to stay at her villa in Palermo. It turns out that Dante bears an uncanny likeness to Maria’s husband, Johnny, a feared Mafioso who has recently upset a few people…needless to say, the coincidence isn’t quite as arbitrary as it first seems!

10. Eighteen Years Later

This 2010 film follows estranged brothers Genziano and Mirko as they drive to Calabria to deliver their father’s ashes to his hometown. The brothers haven’t spoken for 18 years, when their mother was killed in a mysterious accident. After the accident Genziano emigrated to England to set up a successful business and Mirko stayed in Italy working in their father’s auto shop. As they travel across Italy, accompanied at times by a pretty and enigmatic hitchhiker, the siblings revisit various family secrets.

Study Travel Magazine - April 2011

This article from Study Travel Magazine takes a look at learning Chinese.  Alex Wolfson from Cactus, comments: “With a language as complex as Mandarin, there really is no substitute for learning on location.  Our clients understand that spending time in one of the big cities like Shanghai or Xi’an offers an unrivalled insight into Chinese customers, traditions and daily life.  In the last couple of years, a large number of our students have wanted to visit Beijing and experience the hustle and bustle of the capital city.  We also find that Xi’an is popular and this is because it offers an alternative to the modern cities.”

Frommers.com - April 2011

This article, from the influential travel site by Arthur Frommer, takes a look at Cactus’ range of language holidays.  Arthur comments: “Whether you have simply a smattering of a foreign language, or are fluent in it, you will surely admit that the ability to understand or to be understood in a foreign language is often the key to extensive, profound or meaningful travel. In fact, the study of foreign languages is so associated with travel that I’m amazed I had not earlier heard of Cactus Language Training (https://www.cactuslanguagetraining.com).

It collects under one website dozens upon dozens of language-learning courses—from one-on-one lessons to groups to schools—all across the world—30 languages in 500 destinations spread over 60 countries.  While the site focuses on the five major European languages, if you will click on “Study Abroad” and dig a bit, you’ll discover you can learn Mandarin, Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, Japanese, Russian, Quechua… you name it. And the price for doing so seems entirely reasonable, although those costs vary sharply according to the language, place, and school or course you choose.  The site also has a great deal of related information: what to see and do in the destinations, how to choose accommodations, what the different kinds of courses are like, and what each offers. I’m impressed with Cactus.”

Travel Video TV - April 2011

In the same way that authors such as Colin Thurbron, Peter Mayle and Elizabeth Gilbert have won legions of fans by capturing the true spirit of culturally authentic travel experiences, the most passionate travelers long to immerse themselves fully in their chosen destinations. This is the core of Cactus Language Training’s philosophy.

One of the world’s leading language training companies, Cactus teaches more than 30 languages in 60 countries at 500 destinations worldwide, each year adding new destinations, immersive cultural opportunities and enticing incentives that enhance the process of learning a new language through culturally enriching vacation experiences.

With an emphasis on affordability and authenticity, Cactus’s new vacation programs in 2011 include learning Spanish and Latin Dance in Leticia, Colombia at a school on the banks of the Amazon; studying German in the low-key, less touristy Bavarian town of Lindau overlooking the Swiss Alps; and mastering Russian in culturally diverse Kiev, Ukraine near Belarus.

The new Colombia location is one of 70 destinations in which Cactus offers Spanish language instruction; others include Argentina, Costa Rica, and two in Spain. Likewise, those who seek to speak French fluently can choose among 26 destinations, including coastal Biarritz, Bordeaux, and Monaco in France; or Montreal, Canada. If ease with Italian is the goal, Cactus offers 22 locations across Italy. Thai, Turkish and Brazilian Portuguese (the current passion of Cactus founder Rich Ambler) are among the 30 languages offered by Cactus.

Incentives and Special Offers – all prices for all Cactus programs are guaranteed in US dollars.

A variety of appealing incentives are available for aspiring linguists, including:

· A free week with the purchase of a two-week French language program in Nice (for programs through May 30), starting at $682 for a 3-week course;

· Five free cultural lessons with the purchase of a Spanish language program in Madrid (plus a discounted rate for programs over 12 weeks in length), starting at $284 for a course-only.

· A free excursion to the glass-blowing island of Murano with the purchase of an Italian language program in Venice, starting at $312 for a course-only. Available throughout the year.

Cactus believes that “one size does not fit all” and tailors its broad range of programs to fit the individual needs of the learner. Adding a further dimension to its in situ programs, Cactus incorporates cultural experiences, ranging from wine tasting and cooking to dance and diving, to strengthen and reinforce the day’s language lessons. Cactus also offers courses for children, teenagers, families and mature travelers, as well as executives.

Cactus Language Training Unveils New Season of Language and Cultural Immersion Vacations

New destinations, plus special offers ranging from free weeks in France to bonus cultural lessons in Spain, await aspiring linguists

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – (April 2011) In the same way that authors such as Colin Thurbron, Peter Mayle and Elizabeth Gilbert have won legions of fans by capturing the true spirit of culturally authentic travel experiences, the most passionate travelers long to immerse themselves fully in their chosen destinations. This is the core of Cactus Language Training’s philosophy. One of the world’s leading language training companies, Cactus teaches more than 30 languages in 60 countries at 500 destinations worldwide, each year adding new destinations, immersive cultural opportunities and enticing incentives that enhance the process of learning a new language through culturally enriching vacation experiences.  With an emphasis on affordability and authenticity, Cactus’s new vacation programs in 2011 include learning Spanish and Latin Dance in Leticia, Colombia at a school on the banks of the Amazon; studying German in the low-key, less touristy Bavarian town of Lindau overlooking the Swiss Alps; and mastering Russian in culturally diverse Kiev, Ukraine near Belarus.

The new Colombia location is one of 70 destinations in which Cactus offers Spanish language instruction; others include Argentina, Costa Rica, and two in Spain. Likewise, those who seek to speak French fluently can choose among 26 destinations, including Monaco; coastal Biarritz and Bordeaux in France; or Montreal, Canada. If ease with Italian is the goal, Cactus offers 22 locations across Italy. Thai, Turkish and Brazilian Portuguese (the current passion of Cactus founder Rich Ambler) are among the 30 languages offered by Cactus.

Incentives and Special Offers – all prices for all Cactus programs are guaranteed in US dollars.

A variety of appealing incentives are available for aspiring linguists, including:

• A free week with the purchase of a two-week French language program in Nice (for programs through May 30), starting at $682 for a 3-week course;

• Five free cultural lessons with the purchase of a Spanish language program in Madrid (plus a discounted rate for programs over 12 weeks in length), starting at $284 for a course-only.

• A free excursion to the glass-blowing island of Murano with the purchase of an Italian language program in Venice, starting at $312 for a course-only. Available throughout the year.

Cactus believes that “one size does not fit all” and tailors its broad range of programs to fit the individual needs of the learner.  Adding a further dimension to its in situ programs, Cactus incorporates cultural experiences, ranging from wine tasting and cooking to dance and diving, to strengthen and reinforce the day’s language lessons.  Cactus also offers courses for children, teenagers, families and mature travelers, as well as executives.

About Cactus Language Training and Language Vacations

Cactus is one of the world’s leading language training companies.  Founded in 1998, with headquarters in New York and the UK, Cactus’s expert team delivers quality language training to individuals and businesses.  Cactus helps over 15,000 people every year learn more than 30 languages, in 60 countries and at 500 destinations worldwide. Programs include language vacations for both adults and children, comprised of classes mixed with tours and activities (such as dance, yoga, wine tasting, cooking, music, art, diving, surfing and photography); cultural awareness training; and full-immersion language holidays.  For those unable to travel, evening and part-time group language courses are also offered.  https://www.cactuslanguagetraining.com/us 1-888-577-8451 Twitter: @cactuslanguage Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cactuslanguagetraining