Gap Year, Types of courses
Gap Year

Types of courses

Long term study in immersion: Types of courses

With the considerable boost that language knowledge can give your career and the soft skills that you’ll develop, these programmes are a superb investment in your future. They have been specially developed in partnership with first-class language schools and colleges. Whatever your individual needs and goals, we have a course for you.

Standard or intensive general courses

Develop well-rounded skills by studying a structured language course over a number of months. These popular programmes offer you the chance to make rapid progress towards fluency, while enjoying total cultural immersion. You will progress upwards through multiple levels and gain a broad general and working vocabulary, enabling you to accurately discuss a wide range of topics with ease. With the ability to speak, listen, read and write in the language, you will have lifelong assets that will open the world to you, both personally and professionally.

Elective courses

These programmes combine language training with specialised sessions on topics relevant to you. Studying in small groups, alongside others who share an interest in your field of study, you will make fast progress towards your goals. Participants in these programmes are often, but not always, working towards professional objectives. Not only will you make the best possible progress with the language you’re learning, but you will also come back brimming with confidence in your specialty.

Exam preparation course

Employers, academic institutions and official authorities around the world use language certificates to make important decisions about you. Without a certificate, they have no proof of your level. If your application were compared to someone’s with a language certificate, who would you choose? The programmes are carefully designed and taught by experts who specialise in exam preparation and will help you reach your objective, with a special emphasis on the topics that are essential parts of the exam you’ll be preparing.

Global career development

Gain in-depth insight into the professional world, develop your language skills and come home with invaluable international experience. Offered in a selection of global cities, this programme will help you structure your career, while benefiting from the insights of local business leaders who are actively involved in the programme. In-context language lessons ensure rapid development of your English, while the experience of professional workshops will give you enviable and valuable soft skills. And all of this comes with the immeasurable benefits of living and studying in total cultural immersion. There’s no better way to start your career.

Academic year

Offering excellent value for money, academic year programmes take place over 6 or 9 months. They lead to a recognised certificate upon completion and are also an ideal pathway to Higher Education. The programmes are structured to give you the language skills required in the modern world but will also help you develop soft skills to let you shine in your personal and professional future. Whether you choose to spend a year on campus or living immersed in one of our thrilling destinations, don’t miss this chance to have a truly authentic year abroad that will certainly shape the rest of your life.

Multilingual academic year

Imagine coming home from your travels with incredible stories to tell and the new languages to tell them in. Dedicate a year of your life to studying more than one language, and there’s no limit to what you can achieve. Because we have schools in more than 50 countries around the world, we can offer you something to your taste, tailor-made to your preferences. Your programme will be surprisingly affordable, too, with our special offers for longer stays.

Diplomas and vocational training

From specific fields of study like business or health and beauty, you can achieve a certificate or diploma through exciting vocational training. It’s the perfect way to study in English after studying English during your time abroad! We’ll help you navigate the prerequisites for these programmes and give you our personalised advice to make sure you choose the course of study that’s right for you, and at the end of your stay, you’ll have a distinguished diploma as a testament to your hard work!

Course + Internships

Getting an internship in a foreign country is an incredible asset to add to your CV, and doing it abroad is even more impressive. We’ll work with you to find an internship placement that’s perfect for you, where you’ll get hands-on experience and learn the ropes at an international company. You’ll become increasingly proficient in the language as well, as you’ll complete a language course prior to starting your internship to boost your confidence and gain the skills you need to make it a success.

Course + Paid jobs

Working during your time abroad is a great way to put your language skills to the test in a real-world situation, make some extra cash and extend your stay while living in full immersion. Getting practical work experience in your field of study is priceless, and you’ll be amazed at how much your fluency improves as a result! It’s also a nice way to get to know locals and become further immersed in your host country’s culture. 

Course + Volunteering

Giving back to the community is a priceless experience that you can enjoy during your long-term language programme. Volunteering can be an incredible capstone to your course and will really consolidate the language skills you’ve learned along the way. Enjoy total immersion in the culture in an experience where the language will become your vehicle to providing support where it’s most needed.


  1. Star Agency Europe

    ESL – Language studies abroad won Star Agency Western Europe for the fifth time at the 2016 ST Star Awards. 


    If you find our programmes cheaper with another language travel agency, you will be refunded 100% of the price difference.


    We offer you free and personal advice before, during and after your language course abroad.


    In 2017, 96% of our students would recommend ESL – Language studies abroad to their friends and relatives. 


    ESL – Language studies abroad is accredited by quality control bodies in the tourism and education industries.  


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After spending 3 months of pure happiness, it’s sad that I have to leave this incredible place with the head full of good memories and magical experiences like Niagara Falls, basketball game, visits in downtown, ice skating and celebrations far from our families like Christmas organized by the school. In addition to that I enjoyed participating in the after school clubs allowing me to learn even more and have a great time. Thanks to this experience I met incredible people (Brazilians, Asians, Russians, Mexicans, etc.) from all over the world that I want and will visit. The supervisors are excellent and always listen to my requests. I definitely recommend to everybody to live the same experience as me but all good things have an end and now it’s my time.

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Sirine Tounsi

In October 2017, I decided to go to Toronto for 2 months. I had just finished my studies, and I had always dreamt about going to Canada. I wanted to improve my English, so I decided to take an 8-week intensive course at OHC – a school I highly recommend. I became friend with students from all over the world and with very nice teachers. I was surprised to see how fast I improved; I passed 2 levels in 8 weeks! In order to be in total immersion, I chose to live with a host family. If you don’t like rules, I suggest staying in a student residence – you’ll have more freedom. I loved the style of the city (I’m Parisian, so everything looked very different). Toronto has the advantage of being close to French-speaking Québec and to the US – you should visit New York, as I did! If I could do it all over again, I would! Thank you ESL for making my dream come true in a few days only.

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Sara Mateos Arévalo

My name is Sara and I decided to take a course in Lyon to improve my level of French. I had started to take French classes again in Barcelona and I thought it would be a good idea to give them a boost.

I wasn’t very clear on my destination, but I finally chose Lyon because it’s a city that has everything but it’s not as big as Paris. And, as the language travel advisor that I am, and knowing the academic quality of the Alpadia school, I thought it would be a good option.

After having been there, I can say that Lyon is an ideal destination for linguistic immersion. As a city, it has everything: shops, good public transport, restaurants, bars, tourism, parks, etc. What’s more, you’re constantly surrounded by events, culture and French cuisine, and it’s a city where a lot of French natives live. That’s why you can also learn about its customs and lifestyle in addition to the language.

The first day when I arrived to my host family’s home, it was a little difficult for me to speak even though I understood Sylvie (the woman who was hosting me) very well. In the mornings, she was already working, but I enjoyed waking up and having a leisurely breakfast. In the afternoons after the activities, I went home and she was preparing dinner. I sat in the kitchen with her while she taught me French recipes. Every night we cooked a different dish, and she even taught me how to make French crêpes! I stayed in her daughter’s room who was studying in Toulouse. To this day, we still write to each other.

With regard to the school, the first day they had me arrive half an hour early to show us new students the school, city, etc. and introduce us to each other. We had 4 and a half hours of class, but the time flew by, as the teaching method that they use is very dynamic and you have two different teachers. My morning teacher made the classes very exciting and helped us improve our weaknesses. The afternoon teacher, on the other hand, gave us a topic to debate and she made us talk a lot while she provided us with useful, daily vocabulary.

There were only 6 students in class, perfect for learning more easily. At school there was a great atmosphere with a good group of students open to meeting new people and making plans after class. I felt like a part of the group from day one. The mix of nationalities was very good with few Spanish-speaking students. In the whole school, there were only two Spanish and two Mexican students, although we weren’t in the same class. Almost all of them were Swiss (from different regions), and there were students of all ages (18-22, 25-28 and 40+).

Every afternoon, the school offered an activity for whoever wanted to participate (movie, visits around Lyon, wine tasting, etc.). At the beginning of the week, they posted a schedule of the week’s activities on the bulletin board. You just needed to sign up and show up at the meeting point at the time specified (even though almost all of us went there together directly from school). The activity I liked the most was wine tasting because we went to a really authentic wine cellar where they gave us different wines and cheeses. For me, this was a very French experience!

To sum up, I’d like to say that for me, it was a great decision to take an intensive course and stay with a host family, since I learned a ton and at the end of my stay, I noticed that I really improved my fluency when speaking French. The truth is that I had a great experience and I would have liked to be able to stay for another week.

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