Learn a language with AirBnb
This article originally appeared here on Medium on December 28, 2018.
Learn a Language with Airbnb
Airbnb is one of the most exciting developments to happen to language learners in ages. Airbnb offers the possibility to study in a new country in what feels like your own house, short or long-term. It’s cost-effective, flexible for schedules and budgets, and all over the globe.
Clearly, five weeks is not much time to learn a language. With that said, in five weeks you can make a great deal of progress on your language goals. While it’s highly unlikely that someone’s going to achieve fluency with just five weeks of study, you can make a great dent in the goal of reaching that level. Every bit of time you invest adds up. You can work on your languages on your commute, on your vacations, at your lunch break, or weekends. There are many ways to work language learning into your life.
As a language teacher, I love to work on my skills. Summer is the perfect opportunity to do just that. I spent five weeks at L’Atelier Neuf, a French language school in 9th Arrondissement. Private language schools tend to offer courses for a few hours in the morning until lunchtime. You then have the rest of the day to sightsee and use what you learned with the locals. I also supplemented my studies with 5 Steps to a 5 AP French Language and Culture. The books are easily available on Amazon, and offer authentic listening, reading, writing and speaking practice to develop a decent level of fluency in your target language. They also offer materials in Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.
The Home and Host
My Airbnb experience was one of the best experiences I’ve had studying abroad in my life. I spent five weeks in Paris at an Airbnb in the 2nd Arrondissement. While it’s certainly more effective to be completely immersed in language by living with a host family, I also love the comfort of feeling like I’m at home. I had my own entrance and own apartment. The bed was super comfortable. There’s also a pull-out couch, shower, stove and microwave. The windows make it light and airy, and it is beautifully decorated. I absolutely felt like I was at home, but learning and really improving my French at the same time.
Bruno greeted me close to his work and my train at Gare du Nord when I arrived. He had already drawn the route from the apartment to the school on a map, and had a book from the city’s tourism office of things to do in Paris. He also left delicious Italian biscotti out for me.
The apartment itself was fantastic. The comfortable bed, pull out couch, shower, stove, microwave. There are lots of windows. It’s light and airy. And it was super comfortable. The price was completely reasonable. I absolutely felt like I was at home, but learning and really improving my French at the same time.
My second day in Paris, I wasn’t feeling well. Having had pneumonia once before, I immediately recognized the symptoms. I ended up going to the hospital, getting medication and spending a couple of days in bed. Bruno, my wonderful host, came and checked on me several times to make sure I had everything I needed. He even offered to get me food and medicine.
The location of the house is central, in the second arrondissement. I don’t think I could have asked for a better location. It is close to the Marais, an amazing neighborhood with the Picasso Museum, great shops and cafes, the George Pompidou Centre and Victor Hugo’s house. It is also a 20-minute walk from The Louvre. Walk 60 minutes, and you’ll be at the Eiffel Tower. The flat is close to Les Halles, which has great restaurants and shopping. Do you want to have a picnic by the Seine? Walk 20 minutes, and you’re at Pont Neuf. If you want go a little farther, transport is not a problem. A 3-minute walk from the Metro makes trips to places like Versailles easy.
Anything is Possible
In addition to offering an apartment that feels like your own home, Airbnb offers experiences in Paris as well. Airbnb linguist/tourists can learn slang from a local, Parisian French, French cooking or perhaps enjoy a wine tasting, just to mention a few of the many exciting offerings.
Perhaps you are interested in studying French in a less urban location? There are many choices to make an Airbnb your home in a new country. Interested in another language? Check out the many possibilities all over the world that offer you the chance to learn the new language you’ve always wanted to learn, and feel like you’re at home at the same time.