Education tends to be resilient to economic crisis and most students and their supporting parents continue to invest into education as a way to improve the career prospects and possibilities to find a job especially in times of economic decline.
However education abroad which involves additional costs of transportation and accommodation can challenge the limited budget of students and their families.
Nevertheless language learning abroad can still be considerably more effective and cheaper than traditional learning methods at home.
The following are some simple guidelines to reduce the cost of a language immersion course abroad.
1. Travel outside the summer or high seasons
In many language travel destinations the summer brings additional price increases with it. Tuition and especially accommodation are much more demanded during school and university vacations and this can result in price hikes of up to 25% in some locations.
We therefore recommend to travel between September and May when tuition rates are lower and classroom sizes are smaller. Not only will you save some cash, but also the academic impact of smaller classes and less crowded accommodation options will improve your overall learning experience. The price-to-value ratio is much higher in the off-season.
Needless to say that airline tickets also are significantly cheaper during the off-season.
2. Travel to less crowded destination
Many popular language course destinations such as London, Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge, New York City, Malta etc. are overbooked in the summer and many language schools are charging premium prices in the summer months. Traveling to less frequented destinations can save you money and also bring rewarding experiences in terms of cultural integration with the local people and also more ‘authentic experiences’ which may well mean making local friends easier and discover ‘off the beaten path’ attractions.
Some of these destinations are listed here:
Learn English in the UK:
– English courses in Beckenham
– English courses in Edinburgh
Learn in English in the USA:
– English courses in Santa Monica
– English courses in Fort Lauderdale
– English courses in Denver
Learn English in Australia:
– English language courses in Perth
– English language courses in Darwin
3. Look out for special language course offers
In the current times of economic downturn companies are more than ever offering special deals and promotions. This includes especially the travel business and also the educational travel. Some destinations are suffering more than others due to exchange rate conditions or less demand for shifts in trends or preferences. So look out for special offers! 3 weeks of tuition at the price of 2 weeks, registration fee off, free activities offered, discounts in accommodation etc.
Some examples of special offers in language courses abroad:
– Learn Spanish in Costa Ricca
– Learn French in Paris
– Learn Italian in Milan
– Learn German in Munich and Berlin
4. Book your language course early
Last minute bookings in the language travel sector don’t follow the same trend as in the tourism sector. Schools must plan in advance to provide quality teaching and reserve accommodation. Small and medium sized language schools do not operate like a large tour operator and so planning ahead is key. Many language course agents offer special discounts such as an ‘early bird special’ for bookings more than 12 weeks before departure date. Many times these discounts are offered in the pre-season between February and March. Keep your eyes open for these promotions.
Booking early can also positively influence the quality of your accommodation option especially for host families. Many of the most popular families that are located close to the school and have years of experience are booked out well before the summer.
5. Watch your currency’s exchange rate vs. USD / GBP etc.
The crisis as such resulted from a financial crisis which had significant impact on financial markets and exchange rates. Many currencies in language travel destinations dropped against the EUR and YEN. Famous examples are the drop of the British sterling and US Dollar against the EUR between 2008 and 2009. Some destinations have become 30% cheaper for some students?.it all depends on your currency and travel destination. Looking around and comparing can bring you huge benefits. Language travel agents offering prices in the original currency offer typically the best prices.
6. Bring a friend
Some language travel agents offer discounts for bringing another friend or making a reference to a previous client. Please be aware while you might save some money bringing your friend along should not be an excuse to speak your mother tongue during your trip abroad.
Mention it to your language travel consultant and special arrangements can be made (eg. separate accommodation and classes).
5% discount on language courses for returning clients or references
7. Cheap tickets / closer destinations
Needless to say that one of your major expenses will be the transportation when travelling to overseas destinations. Rather than simply suggesting destinations closer to your home country, which can save on the flights (low cost airlines), but won?t always be the best language learning experience considering other factors. However saving on tickets booking flights well in advance and combining trips through cheaper airfare destinations might definitely help you to save on the airfare.
8. Book through a language travel agent
Savings of up to 40% following some of the guidelines above are nothing unusual, however the best advise is to speak with your language travel agent to consult you about all the above. Language travel agents that are accredited and ethical will properly advise you what is the best choice for you; your needs and your budget.
Too many factors can influence your decision making to make the difficult choice by yourself.
Consider the following example with respect to where to find a good deal for a 16-weeks language course program :
A European student planning to learn English abroad paying from his EUR savings and traveling for the ‘winter months’ of 2008 / 2009 will find a long term program of over 16 weeks in Perth, Australia most likely cheaper than in Dublin, Ireland even after including the airfare. On top of this she will find the winter in Perth probably much more comfortable than in Dublin. However what are the purposes of her course ? Are the reasons for academic preparation to university ?
Or are there professional reasons ? Or is the student looking for work experience and considering a work and travel extension ? What is the best decision for the student and her budget ?
It all depends on the destination, duration, purpose, preferences, special rates, exchange rate situation, seasons, airfares and many others etc.
The best advise is to speak to your language travel agent to help you prepare your trip with the maximum of transparency and professional help from people that know best how to make your experience once in a lifetime.