Picking a language course is like picking a life partner, you might have to kiss a few frogs before you find the one. Taking some time to think this through is important because if you pick wrong, you might end up wasting money and the most precious thing you have… time.
We have put together, 8 questions to ask yourself before you say "I do".
1. What is your goal? (more on language goal setting in the future)
Are you going on a trip?
Do you need to take and pass a language exam?
Do you need it for your job?
When is your deadline?
Having a clear idea of what you want will make it easier to pick the type of school and program. Plus, you will be able to tell your teacher what you need, so that’s even better.
2. What are your constraints?
How much time can you dedicate to your learning each week?
Where will the class take place?
How flexible is your schedule?
How much money do you have for this?
If you’re going on a trip in 3 weeks but the language course is 10 weeks long, taking that particular course might not be feasible.
Think of your schedule, will you be going there after work? How long does it take you to get there? Is it realistic?
3. What is your budget?
Learning a language isn’t something that happens in a month or two. You might be able to get a crash course or a refresher course for a week or two, but depending on your level, that might not be enough. There are lots of variables that come into play: your effort, learning style, and commitment, the instructor’s methodology, how quickly things move along, etc, etc. Look at your bank account and think, how much money can you realistically pay over X period of time.
4. No, look again. What is really your budget?
Education is an investment. Consider it as such. Speaking German or English with confidence might be the difference between you getting the job or not. Look at your spending and bank account and see where you can save some money and put it towards your language education. See what makes sense to you. Can you maybe make your coffee 3 times a week and just stop by your favorite café once a week? How much money does that represent?
5. Should you take a morning or evening course?
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Can you wake up on time to be in class at 9 am? 10 am?
Will you be able to pay attention after being out and about all day?
Do you prefer to have breakfast or dinner with your loved ones?
If you have the flexibility, morning courses allow you to arrive well-rested and with a fresh mind. However, they require you to be there at 9 or 10 am. That might be too early for some.
Evening courses are great for those with busy days but it does mean that you need to be there at 6:30pm or so and end around 8 or 9 pm, are you ok with those super long days? Can you be energized and concentrate for 2 hrs after a long day at work, home, school? Think about it.
6. Should you take an intensive or a regular course?
Can you imagine 4 hrs of your day, every single day to of German or English class?
During an intensive course, you will cover a lot of material over a short period of time. It requires you to physically be there, but you also need to be actively learning. This also means that you will be getting non-stop input for four hours and that your brain needs to keep up, process it and internalize it. If it sounds like a nightmare, then maybe an intensive course is not for you.
For some, meeting twice or three times a week is ideal because it provides enough opportunities to learn in class, but it allows enough downtime to either continue learning on your own or just live life. Think about it. More might not necessarily mean better for your particular goals and personality.
7. Should you take a private or a group class?
Do you need total time flexibility?
Do you like to work on your own objectives?
Are you looking to meet new-possible-friends?
Would you prefer having the class in your favorite café or even in your office?
Do you like to be surrounded by people?
1-1 (private) sessions might be for you if you want to move at your own rhythm and have control of the learning pace. They allow for total personalization and you can cover everything and anything you need. Your teacher works with you exclusively, so anything you need will be done. However, you need to be prepared to pay for it. On a 1-1, you carry all the cost of the class, so be ready for that.
Group classes keep the costs down but don’t allow for flexibility in terms of scheduling or location. While group classes still have some wiggle room regarding the course’s content, in the end, there are other people that have needs, wishes, interests, and goals, and all of those need to be taken into account.
8. What's the best school for you?
This is a tricky one because there are again, a lot of variables.
Consider their methodology and how they envision language learning. Does it fit with yours?
What types of courses do they offer?
What are the textbooks they use?
How many learners are there per course?
Can you meet with them to talk about your needs?
Can you have a trial class?
Do their style and personality fit with yours?
Spend some time on their website, you can get a lot of information from just that. Then take their information and contrast it to yours, is it a match? Yay! If not, keep looking. And don’t forget us!
Check out our linguistic experiences! We're starting soon! :)