Want to learn a new language on the beach? Want to work on phonemes and grammar while getting sandy and slightly tanner? Then Go Overseas has you covered like sun screen, pal.
Dive into some of the world's most popular languages to learn, and the hottest beach destinations to learn them! Vamos! Lets look at where you can learn a language -- be it Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, or Arabic -- on the beach!
Where to Learn French à la Plage
Whether you want to learn French in France or somewhere outside of France, there are tons of French-speaking beach destinations with French language schools abroad. From Dakar to Reunion to Montpellier, you've got quite a few options, Mon ami francophone.
- Why's life there a beach? Live your movie star dream while learning French!
- Off the beach: Enjoy lively nightlife and French cuisine.
Many people dream of living out their movie star fantasies on the French Mediterranean coast, lying out on smooth pebble beaches by day and rubbing elbows with the European glitterati by night. Well dream no more, because Nice is not just a great place to learn French, but it's where Paris heads to get a tan.
Nice is one of the five largest cities in France, and as a result, there are lots of language schools and courses in Nice for language learners to choose from. Options in programs, prices, and professors is always a good thing, but this alone wouldn't help Nice make this list. What does is that darn beach.
Seriously, look at that beach. What Miami and Los Angeles rolled up into one are to America, Nice is to France. Boutique shops, breathtaking beaches, and the general lifestyles of the rich and famous are what Nice is about. So for French learners who want to live out their French sun-soaked dream while learning the language in top-notch schools, Nice is perfectly nice (come on, you knew I was gonna say it).
- Why's life there a beach? It's a budget destination close to home (well, for Americans).
- Off the beach: Bite in to tropical fruit and listen to Zouk.
Some French learners want it all: to get a righteous tan, study French, stay close to home, and immersed in a totally different culture. Guadeloupe shouts to those French learners: "Venez ici!"
Located in the Caribbean just hours from the U.S. mainland, this tiny island (and official region of France) is the birthplace of Zouk music and has some of the best beaches anywhere on Earth. Much less expensive than continental France, and located so close to home, Guadeloupe is perfect for language learners on a budget, who might find an overseas flight and cost of living to be prohibitive.
But this island is no compromise: home to language schools and universities, along with impossibly perfect beaches, you'd be happy to choose Guadeloupe for your language study. Not to mention, it's also one of our choices as a top budget destination for learning French abroad.
Where to Learn Spanish en la Playa
What with much of Latin America and Spain bordering oceans, beach-loving Spanish learners also have a wide variety of destinations to choose from -- so where do you start? We have a few recommendations for places to learn Spanish on the beach in Costa Rica and Spain.
- Why's life there a beach? Budget friendly, adventurous, and great waves to surf!
- Off the beach: Hike, zip-line, and explore cloud forests.
Costa Rica is for Spanish learners who want to get in touch with their wild side. Unique-to-this-hemisphere rainforests and biodiversity make this central American nation a worldwide hotspot not just for language learners, but for scientists, conservationists, and outdoor adventurers alike!
This influx of tourism dollars means that Spanish learners have lots of choices, not just of language schools catering to foreigners (of which there are now plenty, lucky you!) but of pristine, sun-soaked beaches. Being so close to the equator, most days in Costa Rica are warm, and while rain is frequent, so is sunshine, so you'll have plenty of chances to balance your days with class and tanning.
Be sure to choose a city near the beach, though! The cities of Limon and Puntarenas are great coastal choices, whereas the capital of San Jose, for example, is inland and landlocked!
Costa Rica also rules for language learners who want to study other subjects along with Spanish. Many zoology, biology, ecology, and other world-class programs exist in-country, so pick this paradise if you want to say, "por que no los dos?" Find a language school in Costa Rica now.
- Why's life there a budget It's the perfect little Spanish beach town!
- Off the beach Explore Spain or chill out with a glass of sangria.
Love the vibe of Spain (plus that sexy Iberian accent)? Cities like Madrid and Barcelona are muy bonita but are packed to the gills with people, both residents and tourists alike. Spain has a great selection for language learners -- both in terms of how to learn (great language schools and university partners) and where to learn (so many gosh darn great cities in Spain).
Your best choice is the seaside town of Cadiz! Beautiful, thriving, timeless, and tiny, Cadiz is the perfect language learning city for Spanish students who love that salty sea air. Well, actually it's salty ocean air, and it's plenty warm, just miles from Africa. But John Cobb, College of William and Mary '13 can tell you why Cadiz should be your top destination in Spain:
"It's almost entirely walkable, the whole city, from anywhere. When you're done with class, just walk to the beach. And the beach, oh my gosh. Unreal beautiful. And the whole town is so small, chill, it was perfect."
Remember: the Spanish accent is different there than in Latin America. But the experience will be one of a kind! Did we convince you? Then start browsing language schools in Spain.
Where to Learn Chinese zài shātān shàng
Although French and Spanish may have some obvious destinations for language learning in a beachy destinations, people don't always associate Chinese learning with fun in the sun. Be prepared to ditch your assumptions though, because there are certainly places where you can learn Chinese on the beach.
- Why's life there a beach? A friendly and unpolluted place to learn Chinese? Yes, please!
- Off the beach Explore national park and a slow, relaxed pace of life.
Chinese is one of the most useful languages to learn to today, and language schools catering to foreigners are opening up all over China like hotcakes. If you want to learn the ancient language of the Middle Kingdom, however, many choices confine you to cities choked with smog and busy gritty life.
But the explosion of language schools has included the island of Taiwan! In the south of the island lies Pingtung County, home to the largest national park on the island. This pristine rural oasis offers a glimpse of China unpolluted, complete with glorious sandy beaches. Not to mention, Taiwan is an excellent budget destination for studying Chinese.
Life is much slower in Pingtung, and so locals are more unfamiliar with, but much more curious and open to, foreigners who are trying to learn their language. As Xiaoyu Guo, University of Nebraska '11 says, it makes learning Mandarin less intimidating:
"The people there live simpler lives compared to Beijing. They want to connect with people on a more personal level. They like to help you learn their language."
So go explore Chinese language schools abroad, choose Pingtung, and pack your sunscreen!
- Why's life there a beach? Business students can study AND relax!
- Off the beach: Explore China
Located on the northeast coast of China, Qinhuangdao may not ring any bells for name recognition, but if you're a business student or professional who wants to get a jump on one of the most important and fascinating case-studies in China -- all while soaking up the sun -- look in to this seaside city!
Qinhuangdao offers beautiful, sandy beaches -- enough alone to make it a rarity and a gem in China. But as the largest coal-shipping port in the entire country, the city is ideal for business students and professionals who want to learn Chinese as a way to give them a leg up in an already competitive market.
By observing how the world's fastest-growing economy deals with the infrastructure questions of tomorrow, Chinese learners have a chance to gain valuable real-world, on-the-ground experience and insight.
Like most large cities in China today, Qinhuangdao is home to multiple language schools and universities, and like we said -- you can't beat these beaches on the mainland!
Where to Learn Arabic on the Beach
Seaside Arabic speaking destinations have some stunning views and enchanting cultures to immerse yourself. Though you may have to cover up more than you're used to, here are some suggestions for destinations to learn Arabic near a beach.
- Why's life there a beach? Wide selection of language schools
- Off the beach Brunching with the best of them, and smoking shisha on the sidewalks.
Doha, the capital and largest city of Qatar, is a specialized education hub! Literally: there's a large section of the city called "Education City" that is home to dozens of universities, language schools, and specialized, focused schools for the city's massive expatriate population.
Doha may well be one of the best places to learn anything in the Arabic-speaking world, let alone to speak the language.
Not to mention, Doha's large expat population lends to a unique familiar-yet-different vibe to this Middle Eastern city.
Plus, the city's location on the Persian Gulf means sun-swallowed beaches and hot summer tans are readily available, right after class! Just, you know, be prepared for some intense heat...
- Why's life there a beach? If you want to taste a lot of cultures at once, you can try them in Tunis!
- Off the beach: Explore winding medinas, taste vibrant spices, and sip coffee in old colonial streets.
Some students want to squeeze the most world-seeing out of their study abroad as possible. For many, that means choosing a city with as many varied cultures contained in it as possible. If Arabic is the language you want to learn, then Tunis in northern Africa is your sunny city!
Yes, if your ideal language study involves strolling through old colonial streets admiring different architectural, culinary, and linguistic influences on a place, Tunis is going to be your heaven.
Controlled at different times by the French, Spanish, and Ottoman Empires, this port on the Mediterranean Sea offers students the chance to get a taste as it were of a few different cultures at once, as easily as changing neighborhoods. This is fantastic for students who won't have the chance to travel extensively while studying.
But let's not bury the lede: located on the Gulf of Tunis, the beaches surrounding the city are the stuff of postcard envy-inducing dreams.
Where to Learn Italian vicino alla Spiaggia.
Italy is practically surrounded by water -- meaning, you'll have no trouble at all finding a quaint seaside town to immerse yourself in the Italian language. However, narrow your search with a couple of expert suggestions:
- Why's life there a beach? It's got everything you need for a happy long-term stay!
- Off the beach: Museums, Romagna-style pasta, and a classic Italian way of life.
Rimini may just be the most pleasant place to live in Italy that you've never heard of. That's right -- if you're making a long-term stay out of your Italian learning, take a look at Rimini for your beachy base of operations.
Rimini really does have it all, for people who are staying there: a world-famous nine mile long sandy beach on the Adriatic Sea, more parks per capita than any other city in Italy, and an extensive network of museums, libraries, and universities that make it a convenient and stimulating place to learn Italian in Italy.
Plus, you get the hipster credit of having avoided the heard-it-before choices of the tourist cities! So enjoy your authentic Romagna-style pasta and your Italian sunset, student! Rimini is waiting for you.
- Why's life there a beach? It's the perfect place to learn Italian -- a second time!
- Off the beach: Relax in seaside cafes over wine and espresso.
Often described as, "the Italy Italians love," Salento is the so-called "heel" of the "boot" of Italy. Far less populated, developed, and well-known than the more famous cities around the country, the region of Salento is perfect for Italian learners who have already been to Italy and want to see a new side.
If your Italian has already been beefed-up by a trip to Italy (Florence, Rome, or Venice, right? Lucky guess), Salento can give you a chance to not just escape the mad pace of the bigger cities, but practice the finer, more advanced points of the grammar with locals who are happy to chat at cafes and over wine. The relaxed atmosphere of Salento creates a nurturing environment to grow in the language.
And its unspoiled location on the Mediterranean sea, with pristine blue waters and white sandstone beaches, makes it a destination worth learning Italian to earn access to!
Where to Learn Portuguese junto à Praia
Whether you end up in Portugal or Brazil, both nations have some prime coastal areas and lively beach and surf cultures. Head to Portugal for a trip back in time and campervan road trips down the coast, or to Brazil to party with the best of 'em. Just, where should you expect to study Portuguese by the beach?
- Why's life there a beach? The world's most exciting city also has its greatest beaches!
- Off the beach: Nightlife, gumbo, and treks into the Amazon.
Rio is perhaps the most exciting city in the entire southern Hemisphere. Dancing, music, sports, and fierce cultural pride are the spicy ingredients that go into this Brazilian gumbo, and all you have to add are some of the world's most famous beaches to get your perfect Portuguese study spot.
Yes, Brazilian Portuguese (and with a Rio accent, especially) is a bit different than Iberian Portuguese, but with some minor changes in pronunciation, you can learn the language of the ancient explorers and navigators while soaking up the sun.
Some places get extra points because of how perfect they are for learning the language. Some make the list because of the utter, sublime perfection of their beaches. Rio is home to Copacabana and Ipanema. If you want your Portuguese lessons to punctuate the trip of a lifetime, pick Rio.
- Why's life there a beach? Mild Mediterranean summers and a robust sailing history.
- Off the beach: Long evenings chatting in sidewalk wine bars, flea markets, and fado.
Yes, Lisbon on the ocean and has some fantastic beach getaways within an hour of the city center, but Porto, Portugal's second largest city has a quaint, small town vibe perfect for language learners.
In your spare time, sip wine (or Port, the drink the city is famous for) in sidewalk cafes or explore the city's nautical history. Historically accurate recreations of the great Portuguese explorers' ships can be, well, explored, and lively drinking songs often accompany the history of their tales.
Furthermore, Porto tends to be cheaper than Lisbon (and, Portugal is generally an affordable European destination anyway), which is perfect for Portuguese learners who want to have a classically European experience, but have a lower budget.
A well kept secret, Portugal's beaches are the envy of any in Europe, so anyone looking to bone up on their Portuguese while getting a tan will be satisfied, too. So dive on in to Porto! Or should we say, come aboard?
Get a Tan and an Education!
So whether your language-learning trip abroad is really just an excuse to get a tan, or vice versa, Go Overseas has you covered like shade with these great places to start planning your journey!Photo Credits: Nice, France, Guadeloupe, Limon & Puntarenas, Cadiz, Spain, Pingtung, Taiwan, Qinhuangdao, China, Doha, Qatar, Tunis, Tunisia, Rimini, Italy, Salento, Italy, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Porto, Portugal.