How do we fit everything in on a language learning holiday?
Just like any other ‘experiential’ holiday or trip, language learning holidays require some sort of schedule or routine.
I’ve had a few questions about how we manage our time and fit in classes, study, touristy things, looking after Lingo Bubba, sleeping and eating!
Here is a quick outline of our schedule on our Chinese language learning holiday in Taiwan.
I hope it gives you some ideas for your own language learning holiday.
This is our first language learning holiday with Lingo Bubba (LB is 16 months old). We have travelled with Eliza to Japan and Viet Nam but this is our first time for me to do language classes whilst we are all abroad together.
Before arriving in Taipei, I had requested morning classes at Taiwan Mandarin Institute. I hoped this might suit Lingo Dada and Lingo Bubba best for and allow time for both exploration and naps.
Lingo Dada was very excited about spending quality 1 on 1 time with his little bubba, and I was excited to temporarily return somewhat to my ‘old’ pre-bubba life of work/study and improving my Chinese.
I spent lots of time researching our ideal destination, language school and accommodation options before locking anything in. Read more about planning a language learning holiday here and you can learn more about how I chose Taiwan here. (coming soon!
Each day I had a private 1 on 1 language class from 9.00 – 11.00am. My schedule was roughly the same in the mornings for each of the week days when I attended classes. Lingo Bubba would wake sometime around 6.30/7.00am and we would do our morning feeding and breakfast routine. Some days I get in a small amount of study before she woke up. I head off to school around 8.30am ready for a 9.00am start time.
LD and LB would usually head out around 9am and each day they had picked somewhere to explore – see our post on where to go in Taipei for more on this – also coming soon! Lingo Dada has posted on his first week in Taipei – see here for his thoughts.
After class at 11.00am we would sometimes meet up and all go together for a coffee, or I would head out myself to a cafe for some study time and coffee time. Depending on LB’s naps for the day we could either eat lunch early or late or cook up something at the apartment. Our apartment had heaps of amazing small food stalls nearby so we didn’t have to go far for something great to eat.
The afternoons varied each day depending on naps and how we were all feeling. We managed to fit in visits to a bunch of different sights in the city. My what to see and do in Taipei post is coming soon – see here!
In the evenings, we would normally eat dinner early-ish (often at a night market or one of the cheap and family friendly restaurants nearby) and return to the apartment for LB’s bedtime (anytime from 6.30 – 8.00pm). We could then chill out at home – reading, studying or watching tv before having a reasonably early night ourselves. Not quite the action packed nights out we’ve had in past trips overseas..!
How language learning holidays are different to other travel
I think the main difference between a language learning holiday and ‘regular’ travel is being in one place for a set amount of time – perhaps for a week or two, or months at a time. This gives you an amazing opportunity to really feel part of the city you have chosen to study in. The other difference is the commitment you make to attending class and homework and language practice outside of class.
How much time you dedicate to this is entirely up to you. On this trip, I allowed approximately one hour per day of revision and study plus the two hours of class. In previous language study trips (pre-kids!) I have spent up to 5-6 hours per day studying in classes, in language exchanges and homework.
Would we do anything differently next time?
Hmmm… perhaps my expectations were set a little too high on how much I could achieve homework wise. I wanted to be there as much as possible with Lingo Dada and Lingo Bubba when I wasn’t at class. I didn’t want to miss out on too much of the fun! So I think finding the balance between study/class time and fun/family time could be an ongoing pull on language learning holidays with our little toddler. But perhaps this is no different to the push and pull on time demands when we are at home and not on a language learning holiday??
Also LB is pretty resilient and I think having her daily (or sometimes twice daily) naps has been great. I know though that if she misses a nap or gets to bed late, the world doesn’t end and she just bounces along!
Are you planning a getaway with your family? Where are you off to?
Will you be doing any language learning or other activity whilst you are there?
Lingo Mama xx