If there’s something that transforms someone from being a tourist to a traveler, it’s learning the local language. But what you really want to do is skip the text book based lessons and get yourself into a conversational program.
In France, a program called WICE was founded by English speakers of Paris. There’s an annual fee, but that gets you access to a conversational group every Tuesday and Friday.
Or you can exchange language tips with a program called “Parlez Parlour.” where classes are 45 minutes of English and 45 minutes of French.
Then there’s something called Spanish abroad. They have fun immersion programs like a language a surf camp in Costa Rica, but my advice is to pick a more culturally intensive program in a place like Madrid.
The groups are small and you are encouraged to practice your conversational skills with staff outside the classes as well. You never want school to interfere with your education. You have to speak outside of class.
Get more ideas for learning foreign languages in our etiquette section.
And check out the rest of our Daily Travel Tips here.