Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most frequent questions asked by thousands of our students. If you can't find the answer to your question here, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 800.552.2051. We're patient and very good at answering all your questions, no matter how many!
Q: Why study Spanish?
A: Spanish skills are vital in today's interconnected world. Choose a complete immersion program of Language Link to help you develop these skills quickly and enjoyably. Studying Spanish will be one of the smartest and most interesting investments you will ever make. In addition, you'll have a wonderful time! We offer carefully chosen programs of professionalism and personal attention and visit every one on an ongoing basis. Did we say we're "picky"? Yes, most definitely!
Q: Why take an immersion course?
A: An immersion program is the most efficient manner in which to learn Spanish. Knowing grammar rules is just not enough for you to confidently interact. In large classes there's not enough time to really communicate. Effective communication requires repeated practice in actual, purposeful conversation with other people, so learning a language in a country where it's spoken is very effective. It's an amazing feeling when you use what you have just learned in school at a local shop or with your host family, and it's highly motivating.
Q: Why use Language Link?
A: No added fees are paid when registering through us. Why pay more? We are nationally recognized, for example, we've been mentioned in National Geographic Traveler. We make your process easy and fast, and we provide knowledgeable communication with lots of personal attention. You can feel confident in dealing with a U.S. based company with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. We are committed to seeing that you have an amazing and productive experience and serve as a liaison between you and the school to solve any problems which may arise when you are at the school.
Q: How do I choose a location?
A: All our programs are located in fascinating places. Each location differs in size and personality. Much of the choice depends on your own interests. Do you like large cities or small villages? Do you enjoy the natural beauty of a rain forest or do you prefer archaeological sites? Do you like the mountains or the beach? In all locations you will learn a standard type of Spanish which will take you anyplace. Your choice of location depends a great deal on your own personality.
Q: How do I choose a program?
A: All the schools are individually owned with different programs and fees. Some have all private instruction while others offer small groups. You may profit from one on one classes, or you may like the stimulation you get from a small group. Both options will give you a great deal of spoken practice, and you will see rapid progress. All teachers are native speakers and all specially trained in teaching Spanish. All programs have a structural base, but everything is emphasized through speaking, with conversational fluency as the final goal. Programs differ in the number of hours of per day. All levels (including absolute zero) of Spanish are accommodated. You will be given a placement test to evaluate your level. The programs offer stays of from one to 24 weeks. Some have specific start dates, but most have open dates for any week year round. If you have a specific need or interest look in our Special Categories section.
Q: How much notice do you need for me to enroll?
A: A four week notice is helpful, but we can sometimes do last minute registrations. The busiest times are December, January, May, June and July. If these are your study times and you have special requests, then the more time we have for these, the better. At times we have wait lists in the summer months, so do get registrations in early for summer dates.
Q: When can I start classes?
A: Many schools allow starts on any Monday year round, with stays from one to 24 weeks. There are some programs and schools with special start dates. You need to note these in the program descriptions.
Q: If I know no Spanish at all, how will I survive?
A: All the programs are quite used to having complete beginners. The school orientation can be in English by request, and all the school staffs have at least one English speaker. Many host families have at least one family member who speaks English, although they are discouraged from speaking English to you except in an emergency or misunderstanding. In the classes the teachers are used to helping English speakers adjust to Spanish only classrooms.
Q: When is the best time of year to study?
A: This depends on your choice of location. The schools are less crowded in the fall and February through April, but keep on the alert for Semana Santa (Holy Week) vacation times. There will be rainy seasons in some countries, but these rarely interfere with any activities.
Q: Who are the students?
A: Don't think typical "student" age. Although the majority are from the U.S., we have participants from up to 30 different countries. Ages of students vary, and most schools have a minimum age. Some have specialized programs for teens and younger children, as well as mature adults. The majority of our students are adults, and some schools have more college students during certain periods. Most schools year round have a wide span of ages, and since our oldest participant was 89 years old, age is no excuse not to study! Most participants travel alone, but we also have couples, families, unaccompanied spouses, and organized groups. It’s a very comfortable social setting in which to easily meet new friends.
Q: How do I select lodging?
A: This depends on how much independence you want and how easy you want your daily life to be. For the most Spanish practice and cultural knowledge, we recommend a local host family, and this is offered by all schools. All ages do this, and you will be treated with respect for your privacy. In most cases you are given a key to the house, and you set your own hours. Late nights are never a problem. Meals with the family are an opportunity for valuable Spanish practice, and you also are participating in the culture, not just observing it. If you must have a private bath, we can usually accomplish that with an early request. Other requests for special diets such as vegetarian or for medical situations and allergies are easy. If you want more independence, some schools offer residence halls with meals or shared apartments. These offer private and shared rooms, although shared rooms must usually be booked together. Many schools have families who only accept one or two students together. At very busy times of the year we can’t guarantee that there will not be other students in the home. We can make this request of your being the only student, but this is sometimes difficult to get.
Q: Can I get academic credit?
A: At all schools you can request documentation of your study with a certificate of attendance. For some students this is all you need to move you up on a pay-scale, get reimbursement, or receive credit through your own school. However, if you need transferable academic credit through an accredited U.S. university, you can obtain it at additional cost in most of our programs. See the section on Academic Credit/College Students under Special Categories for full details.
Q: How will I get there?
A: Students arrange their own airfare to their chosen location. In our Travel Resources section you will find our suggestions. Some programs include complimentary airport pickups, while others charge reasonable fees for the service. If you choose this option, you will get instructions on your pick up or how to arrive at your lodging. Most schools request Sunday arrival. If you need to arrive a day or so earlier and stay a day or so later, we can arrange that. These are considered extra nights.
Q: Do you offer refunds?
A: Each school has a refund policy that once your course has started, there are no refunds given for classes or lodging.. Language Link's policy is that if you have to cancel before study, we will keep $100 of your registration deposit or fee and return the rest. We will apply that $100 toward future study if you can reschedule any time within the next year. It's a generous policy, but we understand unforeseen circumstances and schedule changes. You don't pay any penalty if you simply want to change your dates.
Q: How do I pay?
A: Each program has a specific deposit required at the time of registration. We can take this deposit by any major credit card or by check. In most cases you pay your remaining fees on your first day of class. Each school is different in the form of payment it accepts, and this is clearly laid out in your confirmation. Some students prefer to prepay everything before arrival. Language Link can do this for you, but it adds extra cost to cover international wire transfer cost and processing fees.
Q: Do I need a passport?
A: Yes. US citizens need a passport to enter all countries of our programs. If you are a citizen of another country, most can enter without any special visa, but it is your responsibility to check this with the embassy or consulate of the country you will be visiting to learn of their entry requirements. If you do not yet have a US passport, plan on several months to process and receive it.
Q: What do I need to bring?
A: Not too much -- please! Bring one suitcase that you can handle yourself and a small carry-on or day pack. Size and weight limits plus costs on international flights can be very restrictive. When you receive confirmation for your flight they will give you the latest baggage information from the airline.
You need casual clothes for school and only one nicer outfit for special occasions. Inexpensive laundry service is available at all schools and sometimes included in your homestay. Bring a good pair of walking shoes. The streets in all locations are often uneven and paved with large cobblestones. You will be doing a lot of walking. Your confirmation will talk about climate, and please pay attention to it. In most locations a light jacket or sweater for cool evenings and early mornings will do. A light travel umbrella and / or a rain coat are recommended for everywhere. These are not trips to wear expensive clothes or jewelry. You’re blending in with the locals, not making yourself a tourist target.
Q: What about money?
A: Most students use an ATM card to get their spending money which is needed for transportation, excursions, eating out and pocket money. In all locations ATM machines are now reliable and safe to use, with some basic caution. It is wise to alert your bank that you will be traveling in another country with your card, as sometimes bank security will cut you off if taking out money in a different location. It is not a bad idea either to have two different ATM cards and to know the pin number for each, just as a backup. The schools will be very helpful in showing you ATM locations and advising you.
Q: Do I need a textbook?
A: Some schools include materials in their course cost, while others provide materials for reasonable fees. There are a few schools who provide books on a loan basis with a deposit required.
Q: Are the food and water safe?
A: All host families prepare meals with purified water. Drinking water available in the houses is either purified or safe. This varies from country to country. If not safe, then you can be confident that it is purified in a reliable way. When you are out on an excursion, you can buy bottled water everywhere. When eating out, please stay with restaurants recommended by the school. If you buy food from street vendors, you may be taking chances that the food will not be sanitary.
Q: Can I get vegetarian meals?
A: If you let us know ahead of time, we can arrange to accommodate your special dietary needs. There is only one school which charges an additional fee for special meals.
Q: What if I get sick?
A: There are fine doctors and good medical care in all the countries. The most common illness is sunburn and traveler’s diarrhea from the change in diet, water, and altitude. These are easily solved with prevention and readily available medications. If you need to see a doctor, the school has connections to get you to the appropriate one. In most cases you will need to pay this out of pocket, and some clinics take charge cards. If you a health travel policy, in most cases you will keep all your receipts for anything paid medically and then be reimbursed when you submit a claim after you return home. In Travel Resources see our recommendations for a good company for health insurance when traveling.
Q: What is the weather like?
A: In most places it is wonderful year round. However, this does depend on location, so carefully read about climate in the confirmation information we send.
Q: Is there night life?
A: This depends on your location. A large city such as Madrid will just become alive at midnight. But even the smaller locations all offer things to do in the evening. There is a great social atmosphere in all the schools, and the schools often arrange social evenings out to visit well known bars and clubs.
Q: Is it safe?
A: In your confirmation there will be safety guidelines. Mostly they are common sense and a good dose of caution. Each school will carefully advise you on places and things to avoid. If you follow all this advice, chances are very low that you will encounter any problem. Some areas even have special tourist police to ensure that you have a safe and trouble free trip.
Q: How do I call home?
A: There are several ways to communicate. If planning a large volume of calls, you may want to buy a cheap cell phone and simply buy time on it. There are also usually calling cards offered by the schools, or they can direct you to buy them. You can receive calls in a homestay, but you should plan on making calls out from another place. Another option is to use Skype or a telephone service offered in the internet cafes.
Q: Can I use the internet?
A: Most of our schools have available computers for student use, as well as wi fi service. You should not plan on this in a homestay, although a few do offer this service in the home. For after hours there are usually many Internet cafes in town with reasonable hourly rates. You can bring your laptop and connect wirelessly if you prefer having your own computer.
Q: Can I bring my child?
A: We have several family friendly programs. We can either arrange a nanny or childcare with a host mother while you are in classes. Some schools have age appropriate classes for younger children. See our Families section in Special Categories to find programs which are best for children.
Q: How do I get to and from school?
A: Many schools are within walking distance of homestays. One school (Cuernavaca) has the host family bring you to and from school by their own car. Conversa in Costa Rica has a school van which picks up all students for transport to the school campus. If your homestay is a little too far to walk, in all programs there is readily available, inexpensive public transport on metros, trolleys or by public bus. Also, taxis are often cheaper and not out of the question for daily trips. The school will help you with any transportation assistance.
Q: For any question not covered here –
A: We’re great at patiently answering any question you may have. The odds are good that we have heard your question before, but we’re sometimes surprised. We really value this personal contact with our students, so please do email us at email@example.com or call us at 800.552.2051.