How much language can you learn in one year?

New year is a great time to learn a new language, as it not only ticks off a worthy resolution but it gives you valuable skills to take forward. But the big question is – how much language can you really learn in one year?

Whether in preparation for an overseas business trip, to secure a deal with foreign partners or to maximise your employment potential, learning a language will put you one step ahead in the global community and bring you instant respect and admiration.

By making it your goal to learn or improve a language in 2015, you can track your progress from January to December and see how much you’ve learned over the year. Be honest about the time you can commit each week to your target language and make realistic short-term goals; this is the secret to keeping focused and energised!

So how much language can you expect to learn in one year?

This depends on factors such as:

  • Your existing level
  • Your learning style
  • The amount of time you have
  • The amount of self-study you do
  • The number of participants in your group
  • If you can spend time in a country where the language is spoken

We can offer a general guideline to help you plan your language training. Let’s take the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which all Cactus courses are designed around, whereby A1 is beginner level and C2 is proficient.

If we take the most extreme case of wanting to progress from beginner level (A1) in January to proficient (C2) by December, you will need 375 hours of 1:1 class time* plus 255 hours of self-study.

That’s a one-hour class every day of the year – but of course, realistically, you’re more likely to study for a couple of hours at a time, and may put it many more hours on a holiday or business trip.

Let’s say you know the basics in a language and want to gain a bit more confidence, but there’s no rush. Transitting from beginner (A1) to elementary (A2) will require 45 hours of 1:1 classes, plus another 30 hours of self-study. If you do two-hours a week you will reach your goal in under six months!

Break it down into days, weeks and months and it’s easy to design a course that complements your learning style, suits your lifestyle and reflects your end goals. Whatever your language learning resolutions, your teacher will sit down with you at the beginning of your course to plan the content and make sure that you end the year on a linguistic high.

Bon nouvel an…feliz año nuevo…guten Rutsch…happy new year!

Cactus Language Training specialises in organising language courses for individuals and groups, having done so since 1999 for clients all over the globe and for diverse needs and budgets. Our expertise in the field of face-to-face tuition is second-to-none. With an extensive network of approved teachers and a strong in-house academic team, we are able to tailor a language course to suit your specific learning needs, anywhere in the world and whenever is convenient to you.


10 great reasons to kick-start the year with an evening language course

Whether you’re determined to start the new year with a ‘new you’, need to prepare for a holiday overseas or want to improve your job prospects, now is the ideal time to take a language course!

1. Cactus is welcoming in 2015 with fun, engaging language courses in London and cities across the UK. We offer the five mainstream languages of French, Spanish, Italian, German and Brazilian Portuguese in most centres, plus rarer languages in our main centres. New evening courses start w/c 19th January 2015.

2. Learning a language is an excellent resolution as it will give you a skill that will last way longer than the average resolution – and one that might come in handy on holiday later this year!


3. If you’ve had a hectic festive season, then it’s proven that giving your brain a workout is the perfect way to de-stress. Learning a language stimulates your mind, stretches your imagination and, ultimately, helps your brain to relax…in fact it is more effective at reducing stress than opening a bar of chocolate.


4. If you’ve decided to de-tox in January then going to an evening language class – and doing homework in the week, if you’re diligent – will take your mind off the pub (that is, until your last night when you’ll probably all end up in the local tapas bar – but by then it will be March and it won’t matter!).

couple and bar sign

5. You can be sure of a consistent teaching framework that falls in line with other internationally-recognised language level systems – meaning that what you learn on our courses will be easily recognised outside of Cactus. Unlike many other providers, with Cactus you also receive a certificate of attendance on completion of your course.


6. When times are tight employers will be looking for that little extra in job applicants. Knowledge of a foreign language is an asset in itself, but it also shows initiative and an appreciation of other cultures, which is valuable in today’s global society.


7. Language learning makes you clever! If you feel like you need a kick-start after the Christmas break, learning a language will boost cognitive development in areas such as mental flexibility, creativity, problem-solving and reasoning.


8. 2015 promises a stellar list of foreign language film nominations in the upcoming Oscars, and there’s no better way to appreciate these films than with an understanding of the language and culture. Watch out for Ida (Poland), Mommy (Canada), Leviathan (Russian), Winter Sleep (Turkey), Wild Tales (Argentina) and Saint Laurent (France).


9. With a reduced number of children learning a language at school, let’s lead by example and show that learning a language is a passport to other cultures and a huge asset when you travel. Don’t forget we have new after-school language courses for kids aged 7-15 in London starting in January too!


10. Let’s face it, January can be a bit depressing. The excitement of Christmas is over, the days are still short and the weather can be miserable. If there was ever a time to take an evening course it’s now. Having a goal such as learning a language will make the weeks pass quickly and make you feel that you’re using the dark evenings productively!


Cactus runs adult evening language courses and junior afternoon language courses in schools across London and in cities nationwide. Courses are available at many levels and on regular start dates throughout the year, starting in January.

Cactus Worldwide Monthly Blog: January 2014


Hello, and welcome to the first 2014 edition of the Cactus Worldwide blog! My name is Ollie, and I am the Product Manager for our agency – Cactus Worldwide. Our team of experienced course advisors are here every day to discuss options with you and help set up a varied range of unique language-learning experiences, all over the globe, throughout the year, for all of our wonderful students.

This month’s blog is aimed at letting you know about some of the best special offers and early bird discounts that are available to you this January, including some big birthdays and the birthday deals available to help celebrate them! If you have any questions about anything you read here, please feel free to contact me directly via and I’d be happy to help.

1.       Thinking about taking a German course in beautiful Vienna this summer? Call or e-mail us to book any adult course for between June 1st and August 31st this year, and we’ll give you a discount of £100! Valid until the end of January.

German Courses in Vienna with Actilingua and Cactus Language


For anybody out there thinking about taking some time out to learn German abroad this summer, this is a deal well worth checking out! Our partners in Vienna, Actilingua, are offering a discount of £100 off any adult course booked during January for the summer months of June, July and August – and all you have to do is call or e-mail Cactus quoting ‘Early Bird’ and we can apply the discount to your enrolment straight away.


The must-visit city of Vienna has a historic cultural tradition and the Actilingua Academy can help you learn not only the local language, but also find out much more about Viennese literature, famous Austrian painters, the local film scene, and the fascinating architecture of what is perhaps also the safest and cleanest city in Europe.


To make things easier, the school also own and operate their very own clean and modern student residence, which consists of 20 tidy en-suite apartments in a renovated Art Nouveau building just 10 minutes away from the school on foot (photo above and below). The residence fills up quickly, so it’s worth book early to avoid disappointment. Click here for more info.


2.       Happy 25th Birthday to IH Lacunza in San Sebastian, Spain! Call or e-mail us and say ‘Happy Birthday Lacunza!’ before booking, and we’ll discount £30 off the total price – on all bookings until the end of April.

Spanish in San Sebastian, Spain, with IH Lacunza and Cactus Language


Perhaps one of the most significant birthdays being celebrated amongst our colleagues in Europe this year is that of IH Lacunza in San Sebastian on the northern coast of Spain, who are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their inception in 1989! To celebrate, they themselves are giving away the presents, by offering Cactus students an immediate discount of £30 off the course price just for wishing them a ‘Happy Birthday’ – and then a further surprise birthday present on arrival at the school, which could be a free dinner, tour, excursion, or ticket for a local activity! The offer is valid on all courses starting in 2014, and is valid on all bookings until the end of April – so plenty of time to get organised.


Lacunza is just 5 minutes’ walk from the centre of San Sebastian, a town less well-known than some of its bigger counterparts, but growing in popularity for its sandy beaches, surf, nightlife and a generally cool, laid-back and authentically Spanish atmosphere. The school itself offers everything expected of a large and successful language school, including 10 bright air-conditioned classrooms and an excellent range of study facilities. All Spanish teachers are native speakers and work alongside school staff to help students get the most out of their stay in San Sebastian via the social programme, and encouraging students to join their intercambio programme, to meet other students and local people! Lacunza’s success is in their experience, and they are well worth joining for a party this year if you find a spare week or two. More info here!

3.       And finally, Happy 20th Birthday to Intercultura in Heredia, Costa Rica! To celebrate, we can offer our students a discount of $50USD per week – again, just call or e-mail us to say ‘Happy Birthday Intercultura!’ and we can discount your booking for you (Heredia only, not valid for courses on Samara Beach).

Spanish in Heredia, Costa Rica, with Intercultura and Cactus Language


Throughout 2014, our partners in Costa Rica are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of their school in Heredia, in the capital area, close to San Jose. To share the celebrations with their students, they are offering a discount on all adult group courses of $50USD (approx. £32/37EUR) per week regardless of how long you stay in the town. Better still, this offer is valid all year long! You can call or e-mail us anytime, and as long as your course starts in 2014, the discount is all yours.


Why visit Intercultura in Heredia? From the second floor roof terrace of the school you can see the mountains to the north and the valley to the south; from the balcony you can see the colonial church spires and the palm trees of the central park, 4 blocks away, where bright green parakeets gather at sunset, singing so loud you can sometimes hear them all the way from the school! Nearby you also have Barva volcano, the Ojo de Agua natural spring pools, and the La Paz waterfall gardens, where you can hike down a path right next to 6 giant waterfalls. Enough said? Click here for more info.

We hope this selection has been of interest, and may have given you some ideas for some bargain study options for the year ahead. Any Qs at all, please feel free to contact me directly and I’d be happy to help.

Happy planning 😉

Best Wishes,



Oliver Donovan

Agency Product Manager