Mandarin and various activities, China
Fours hours of lessons a day plus the benefit of one-to-one tutorials is the deal at the Hutong School’s intensive Mandarin courses in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. A two-week course also includes up to four activities a week – tai chi, cooking, visits to hot springs, even skiing – and there are excursions at the weekends to explore more of China.
• From £658 for two weeks or £1,216 with accommodation (a flatshare), hutong-school.com
French and horseriding, Provence
CESA, a company with language schools all over the world, has great courses based at a mansion in Aix-en-Provence. Two weeks of French lessons can be combined with horse-riding (20 group lessons per week), painting, hiking, cooking or oenology (studying wine). Accommodation options include staying with a host family. The school arranges activities such as town tours and petanque contests.
• Two weeks French and horse-riding from €1,025, cesalanguages.com
Spanish and DJing, Ibiza
This course is about as far from the image of the typical language classroom as it’s possible to get – learning to DJ in Ibiza and learning to speak Spanish. Language lessons can be tailored for all levels and there are two DJ courses, for beginners and advanced students. These one- or two-week courses are aimed at people who want to learn Ableton Live + Traktor for electronic music production, and are taught by Pacha DJs. In summer, the school organises weekend trips to neighbouring Mallorca.
• From €455 a week excluding accommodation (home stays and apartments available), ii-ibiza.com
Greek and culture, Lefkada
Omilo runs Greek courses in Athens and Nafplion, and on the islands of Syros and Lefkada. The latter is perhaps the most appealing: classes take place 200 metres from the beach in the village of Agios Nikitas on the west coast. A week’s course includes 24 hours of lessons over six days (no classes on Wednesdays), at least four activities (such as a Greek dance lesson, a traditional music talk and a guided hike) and a welcome meal at a village taverna. Weirdly, students must be 26 or over.
• From €845 a week including B&B at Hotel Agatha, omilo.com
Arabic and Moroccan cooking, Tétouan, Morocco
GoLearnTo.com has language courses everywhere from Scandinavia to South America. One of the most unusual is an Arabic and Moroccan cooking course in Tétouan, northern Morocco. The week-long course includes four 55-minute Arabic lessons a day, plus two 90-minute cooking classes learning to make tagine, couscous, harira and pastilla. Tétouan, a Hispano-Moorish town with a world heritage-listed medina, is at the foot of the Rif Mountains, not far from the sea.
• From £198 a week B&B, golearnto.com
Japanese and pop culture, Fukuoka
Tempted by learning Japanese combined with a pop culture-themed course? Cactus Language has courses in 120 destinations, including this heady mixture, which is held in Fukuoka – the biggest city on Kyushu, the most southerly of Japan’s four main islands. Lessons are from 9.30am-2.30pm, Monday to Friday, and as well as the Japanese language cover movies, music, manga, TV and books. Alternatively, there is a course in traditional Japanese culture, studying kimonos, ceramics, tea ceremonies, calligraphy, Japanese food and other customs.
• From £295 a week, flights and accommodation extra, cactuslanguage.com
Hindi homestay, Jaipur
Hindihour.com runs three-, four- and eight-week Hindi immersion programmes in Jaipur, Rajasthan (pictured). On the three-week beginner’s course (an intermediate course is also available), students benefit from 40 classroom hours and live with local families. Optional extras include yoga, music and dance classes, and a cooking course.
• From £439 for three weeks including food and accommodation, hindihour.com
German and skiing, Austria
DIT is a language school in the resort of Kitzbühel in the Tyrolean Alps, home of the world championship downhill ski race. It has one-week intensive German courses with morning-only lessons, leaving the afternoons free for skiing. The ski season runs from November to April – in the summer, afternoon activities include hiking and tennis.
From €460 a week, excluding ski costs and accommodation, deutschinstitut.com
Spanish and tango, Buenos Aires
Caledonia runs culture, language and adventure trips – such as learning to tango and speak Spanish in Buenos Aires. The school is in the smart neighbourhood of Recoleta, and a one-week course includes 20 group Spanish lessons, two group tango classes and a private tango session. Selected dates are suitable for beginners, and accommodation can be added (from £270 in a self-catered shared apartment).
• £485 for a week, £845 for two, £1,200 for three, £1,565 for four, caledoniaworldwide.com
Italian and art, Orvieto
The I Love It language school is in one of the oldest buildings in Orvieto (pictured), Umbria, close to the Torre del Moro and the Piazza del Popolo. It runs classes for adults and children, including a six-hour Italian survival course, which can be spread over a week (from €75pp). It also offers family packages, where two adults and two children can learn together: the one-week language and art course has four hours of tuition a day for five days.