Learning a foreign language in its native surroundings is the best possible way
People who spend an extended time abroad pick up the new language almost without trying. Bearing in mind learning the language of the host country is a condition for an au pair getting a visa, and that all au pairs when they return home go on to take a recognized language exam, enrolling on a language course is highly recommended.
In the larger towns there will be a number of different opportunities to study the language, so it is always advisable to look around at what is on offer before you enrol. Ask your host family for their advice, and approach the local au pair agency; speak to some au pairs who are already settled in the same locality. You will probably find there is quite a difference in both prices and quality of teaching. The school with the highest number of pupils is not necessarily the best, since the majority of their students are only on student visas, and have to choose the cheapest school because of their limited means. Serious students should seek classes with no more than eight pupils in them. Schools offering this sort of teaching tend to be far better equipped; they also have their own library and offer a wide variety of teaching material. The social side of language school is also important, just like at home. There will be a wide range of social events, get-togethers, trips and so forth. Some language schools allow people considering whether to enrol to sit in on a class. Au pairs fund their language course themselves.
Please note that in some cases we are able to offer au pair positions that include free language learning. In the Netherlands, Denmark and Holland the host family meets the cost of language school in full; in Austria and Germany the host family gives a grant towards the cost.
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