Whether it’s learning to salsa as you speak Spanish or sussing out the perfect pizza as you sussurate in Italian, learning a new language in a breathtaking location is the latest vacation trend.
So this year why not expand your horizons beyond just the beach and try one of these holiday language courses instead?
Sumo and semantics
Where? Kudan Institute of Japanese Language, Tokyo, Japan
What? Get to grips with Japanese as you watch sumo wrestlers getting to grips with each other, on this activity-packed language course in the heart of the city that was the backdrop for Sofia Coppola’s cult film Lost In Translation.
Don’t miss: A trip out to Senso-ji, Tokyo’s oldest temple, a wander around the glorious Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens and a waterbus night trip along the lantern-lit Sumida River.
Where to stay: Luxurious Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo is the best place for learning more about the traditional Japanese lifestyle.
Details: Sukeroku hotel from Dh505 per night. A three-week course starts from around Dh2,490. Emirates has flights to Tokyo from Dh5,695.
Salsa and Spanish
Where? Simon Bolivar Spanish School, Quito, Ecuador
What? At 2,800-metres altitude, Quito is one of the globe’s highest cities, but this lofty area’s citizens are also famed for speaking some of the purest Spanish in the world. At the heart of this Unesco World heritage-classed city, you can take steamy salsa lessons at some of Ecuador’s top clubs while learning to speak Spanish like the locals.
Don’t miss: A trip to Mitad del Mundo (the centre of the earth), followed by a hike deep into the Ecuador cloud forest and a night at Mashpi Eco Lodge.
Where to stay: The city’s most stylish address, Casa Gangotena, is a plush haven at the heart of this high-flung city – and its afternoon teas are amazing.
Details: Casa Gongotena starts from Dh1,765 per night. Individual Spanish lessons Dh33 per hour; group lessons Dh20 for an hour, per person. Delta has flights via Miami from Dh8,331.
Meze and modern Greek
Where? Greek Cooking Odyssey, Poros, Greece
What? Get to grips with the Mediterranean diet while tackling Greek on a cookery holiday on this pretty island floating in the Saronic Gulf. During your week’s stay you’ll cook everything from octopus and calamari to kid and kippers, while learning how to describe your offerings in Greek, from whose roots so many modern words sprung.
Don’t miss: A visit to the 520BC Sanctuary of Poseidon, a tour of the quirky exhibits on display at the Poros Shell Museum, lounging on the island’s beaches or trying your hand at watersports on Askeli Beach.
Where to stay: Cooking courses include seven nights’ accommodation and meals, starting from a total of Dh8,570 at the Odyssey Centre or Dh11,140 at Sirene Blue Hotel.
Details: Emirates has a direct flight to Athens from Dh3,171. From Athens, Flying Dolphin hydrofoils regularly make the 90-minute journey to Poros.
Cool Britannia: Discovering the best of Britain
Jungle, beaches and elephants in Sri Lanka
Searching for São Paulo
Football and friendly locals
Where? Mix Up Exchange, Buenos Aires, Argentina
What? A fun and friendly way to get to grips with Argentine Spanish, Mix Up Exchange organises encounters between foreign visitors and locals, combined with outings to experience the local culture.
Whether it is tango lessons in Bohemian San Telmo, a thrilling football match at the legendary Bombanera stadium, or sampling a traditional steak Asado barbecue, you’ll soak up a mega-dose of the local culture while learning plenty of new vocabulary.
Don’t miss: A tour with GrayLine to see the sights of this city dubbed ‘Paris of the south’, a ToursByLocals adventure-packed Gaucho day trip with an Argentinian guide and seeking out Evita’s tomb at the spookily stunning Recoleta cemetery.
Where to stay: Feel like a movie star as you stay in one of seven rooms at film mogul Francis Ford Coppola’s hotel, El Jardin Escondido – and you never know, you might even get to meet the movie maker’s daughter, whose film inspired this article’s title.
Details: El Jardin Escondido from Dh735 per night. Dh245 for tickets to a football match including a drink and a guide. Emirates has flights via Rio de Janeiro from Dh6,975.
Swedish and Spettekaka
Where? NRCSA Swedish Language Study Programme, Stockholm, Sweden
What? Pile on the warm clothes and head for Sweden’s capital where you’ll live with locals for a week or more and learn to chatter in Swedish between mouthfuls of smoked salmon Varmrökt Lax, spit-baked batter cake Spettekaka and other home-cooked traditional delights.
Don’t miss: An elevator-zip to the top of the Ericsson Globe to admire fabulous views over this Swedish city nicknamed Venice of the North, followed by a stroll around the narrow alleys of old town Gamla Stan and a ferry trip to discover this charming conurbation’s island-strewn archipelago
Where to stay: After your course, head for Utter-Inn, a luxurious underwater hotel an hour’s drive from Stockholm, where you’ll slumber surrounded by colourful fish.
Details: Utter-Inn from Dh1,470 per night. Standard programme Dh10,680, including accommodation and meals. Turkish Airlines has flights via Istanbul from Dh2,159.
Pizza and Parlare
Where? Flavour of Italy, Rome, Italy
What? Shop for delicacies in Rome’s bustling markets, then find out how to cook the perfect pizza as you learn the lingo with native Italian speakers.
Don’t miss: A peek inside the Vatican, shopping in traditional boutiques between Piazza Navona and the Tiber River and exploring the ruins of ancient Rome around the Colosseum.
Where to stay: With fabulous views over the Eternal City, The Cavalieri Hilton Hotel is a luxe hideaway.
Details: The Cavalieri Hilton starts from Dh1,515 per night. Emirates has direct flights to Rome from Dh3,463. Prices for Flavour of Italy courses on request via www.flavourofitaly.net.
English lessons and adrenaline activities
Where? Unique School On The Beach, Auckland, New Zealand
What? From mountain biking and deep-sea diving, to surf trips and bird spotting, the Unique beach school overlooking Browns Bay, an Auckland suburb renowned for its cultural facilities, is an idyllic spot to get your adrenaline fix while fixing your English verbs.
Don’t miss: Any of the activities on offer, followed by plenty of R&R on the silky sandy beaches surrounding Browns Bay.
Where to stay: With 25 stylish rooms the art-deco style Hotel DeBrett is a cosy, stylish hideaway in the heart of Auckland’s Central Business District. Details: Hotel DeBrett’s boutique suite starts at Dh1,187 per night. Dh800 for morning English classes per week and Dh740 for afternoon activities per week. China Southern has flights via Guangzhou from Dh6,318.
Spa therapy and French verbs
Where? BLS Biarritz, France
What? Soak up the French language, then soak in a top-notch spa at this beautiful Basque seaside resort where you’ll spend mornings battling with French verbs followed by relaxing afternoons revelling in state-of-the-art thalassotherapy treatments.
Don’t miss: The fascinating parade of sharks, seals and other marine life at the Museum of the Sea, followed by a lazy afternoon on Grand Plage beach and dinner at Aux Alizés, one of the best addresses in town for supping on succulent Basque specialities.
Where to stay: With fabulous sea views and superb language facilities, The Sofitel Biarritz Thalassa Hotel is perfect for relaxation.
Details: The Sofitel starts from Dh937 per night. French Foundation Programme from Dh1,315 for 20 lessons per week. Air France has flights via Geneva, from Dh4,858.
Portuguese speech and samba
Where? The Language Travel Company, Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
What? Shimmy your booty along a beautiful beach as you learn Portuguese in one of South America’s oldest cities during this two-week Portuguese and samba course.
Don’t miss: Craft souvenirs and martial-arts-dance-capoeira performances at Mercado Modelo, fascinating slave-history artefacts at Museu Afro-Brasileiro and an evening at Abaeté Park, a beautiful lake surrounded by dreamy beaches lined with chic eateries.
Where to stay: For a hip and happening place with easy access to Salvador’s sultry sights stay at The Hotel Cocoon and Lounge (Dh320 per night), a cutting-edge boutique hotel with great facilities.
Details: For 20 lessons per week for two weeks Dh2,000. Capoeira and samba dance lessons are on offer as optional extras. Emirates has non-direct flights from around Dh10,500.
Thrills and Spanish spills
Where? Travelling Classroom, Venezuela
What? Get your adventure fix as you learn to handle Spanish words, with this unique award-winning South American outdoor learning trip, which combines kayak rides along the Orinoco Delta and hiking near Gran Sabana, with practical Spanish.
Don’t miss: Lapping up every second of luxury on the rare occasions that you find yourself back in civilisation.
Where to stay: Gloriously picturesque campsites, elegant bivouac spots – and the occasional luxury hotel.
Details: Three weeks from around Dh4,700. Delta has flights, via Atlanta, to Caracas from Dh8,739.