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Find your inspiration
Caribbean beaches, Andes mountains and colonial cities ‐ we have a host of inspiring places to learn Spanish and a variety of courses to make learning fun. Choose from long term courses, short holiday courses, business courses and activity courses combining tango, salsa, cooking, surfing, and tennis.
|Spain||South America||Central America|
France is one of the world's favourite destinations and our clients come from far and wide to learn French in one of 16 wonderful locations here. We also offer French courses inMontreal & Québec, Canada.
Some of the most exciting cities in the world are English speaking, making an English course a great excuse to travel and discover new cultures ‐ from historic London to iconic New York and traditional Dublin.
|Brighton||Bath||Nottingham||San Francisco, CA|
The thing we love about Italian is that most people learn it for sheer pleasure. Whatever it is about Italy you love ‐ the climate, lifestyle, architecture, food or landscape ‐ you'll find a course that lets you live your Italian dreams.
Learning German gives you access to some wonderful locations across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Chic cities, stunning landscapes, hearty food and fascinating culture are just a few great reasons to visit.
People learn languages for all different reasons, which we love to hear! From Turkish and Russian, to Arabic and Mandarin, we have fantastic courses worldwide to help you reach your language goals, whatever they may be.
Why book with Cactus Worldwide?
Here at Cactus, we have four core values which run through everything we do - and we know that these are the reasons our students choose to book their language training with us, at home and abroad.
Since 1998, Cactus Worldwide has been a leading agency for language courses worldwide, and we are always working hard to ensure that the global network of schools we work with and the courses we offer are of the highest academic quality and best value for money. Your academic progress is our highest priority, and all of our course advisors are language teachers or learners who understand the process of learning a language and are here to offer assistance and support from the beginning.
We are not just an agency - we also provide private training worldwide with our own network of qualified teachers, all overseen by our own experienced academic team here in our offices. They are also here to support you and offer advice throughout your language-learning experience, and help provide you with guidance towards the most appropriate solution for your specific circumstances. Many students in our community combine 1:1 training and evening courses with Cactus teachers in the U.K. and U.S. with a few weeks abroad every year at our partner schools, meeting many interesting people along the way.
When you contact us or book online, you will then be taken care of by an experienced personal course advisor who will guide you through the entire process from your first contact with us until your arrival in your chosen destination - offering additional advice on location, school, course type, and visa application (if applicable) as necessary. The course prices on our website are identical to our partner schools' prices, so the prices are the same as if you booked directly. For students looking to book a package of a course plus accommodation and airport transfers, a one-off service fee of £50 is applicable, and this service fee provides you with additional support from our team so we make sure that the accommodation provided is the best option available for you, we make sure that your arrival is smooth, and most importantly we can act on your behalf if anything goes wrong.
At Cactus, we aim to provide a personalised service where you can contact your course advisor directly at any time, by e-mail, over the phone, or via any of our social networks. We have a dedicated team of people keeping our students up to date with what's new via Facebook, Twitter and our blog page here just to name a few. We also always request your feedback because we like to make sure that you have enjoyed your course - plus all returning students automatically qualify for a 5% discount on course fees.
What to do if you need to get a visa to take a course abroad:
We would usually recommend booking your course at least 2 months in advance, as the application process can take time to complete in some countries. Please contact your local relevant consulate if you are unsure of the current waiting time.
If language courses abroad are new to you, it's normal to have a few questions! We hope the following Frequently Asked Questions will help you out and, if you have more questions, please feel free to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and ask:
Why is a language holiday so beneficial?
When we consider how our own mother-tongue language was learnt, it was very much about complete immersion. If you have been involved in bringing up young children, you'll have witnessed how children acquire language through constant contact and interaction with fluent speakers.
When it comes to learning a second language later in life, this ability to apparently absorb new languages is not so strong, given that our neural pathways are already developed. New language will therefore get processed according to however our brains have been 'configured'.
It is widely held that the best way to learn a language is to visit the country, but this is not categorically so.
Even if we did have the time to live abroad indefinitely and be surrounded only by native language speakers, this would not necessarily be effective, as many expatriates can sadly testify.
In order to learn new language in an optimal way, our mature brains need to operate in an environment where the language can be fed to us in a more controlled way, where we can develop some confidence, get to know the rules of the language, have some explanations and go at our own speed.
This opens the way to the myriad language learning methods available that do just that - from online courses, to self-study course books and magazines, and the latest language podcasts.
But we shouldn't aim to break the language down so much that we lose all sight of our goals, that we forget what hearing fluent language sounds like, that we stop soaking up the sensory excitement that living 'inside' the language can bring.
The best hope then is to get as close as possible to the original childhood experience, by being in the country - but this time, combine it with structured lessons provided by qualified and experienced teaching professionals and delivered in ways which correspond to the learning preferences we have developed over the years.
The advantages of language holidays also go beyond pure language acquisition. True you learn language in the morning, and then, in free time or optional excursions and appropriate activities, you get to go out and about and have a go at using what you've learnt. But you also get an uplifting, culturally stimulating experience from which you'll return informed, awake, enlightened and invigorated. You'll also be much more fluent and confident to speak than when you arrived.
Do the teachers speak English during foreign language (non-English) lessons?
Generally - no. Not all the learners are English-speaking and many teachers do not speak English. However, at the lower levels some teachers may offer some explanations in English. NB: Please note that this applies to foreign language (non-English) courses only: teachers will of course speak English in English language courses.
Do I get a certificate after the course?
Yes. Nearly all courses come with a certificate of attendance.
Can I just book a course and arrange my own flights and accommodation?
Yes. We offer optional package extras which means that you can book as little or as much as you like with Cactus, and the rest by yourself or with other companies.
How long are your courses?
Courses run throughout the year from Monday to Friday (unless otherwise stated). The duration of courses are from 1 or 2 weeks minimum up to a year.
When can I start the course?
You can choose! For all non-beginners courses generally start each Monday of every month. There are restricted start dates for beginners, so please check these on the website.
Will everyone in my class be starting on the same day?
Beginner courses will always commence on a certain day, so that all students are there from the very start. Normally though, when non-beginner students start a course, most of their classmates will already have been there for a few weeks. This is simply because most language schools have continuous enrolment, and students can choose their length of study. For this reason, courses are not designed to lead on from one week to the next, and each week will comprise a variety of skills that are taught around a few topics. This is common practice amongst schools, and teachers and the administrative staff will be used to integrating new students into existing classes.
Can I choose when I have the lessons?
With our group courses classes are either scheduled in the mornings or afternoons depending on your level and the season. In high season during the summer periods some schools alternate lessons; having mornings one week and afternoons the following week. The school will determine when the lessons are held. For individual courses we can accommodate your needs and requirements in terms of timetables, providing we have the teachers available. Please indicate your preferences at the time of booking.
What are the size of the classes?
Group classes can range in size from 4 to up to 20 students per class, depending on the location. Please check the course pages on the website.
Is there a deadline for booking courses?
We recommend booking at least one month in advance in order to secure your course and accommodation preferences. We can organise courses last minute, up to a week beforehand but cannot in this case guarantee all courses/accommodation options will be available.
Do you offer courses for children?
Yes. We offer a range of Junior Programmes that are specifically designed for younger students. These are available in a range of destinations and formats, and in a variety of languages. Additionally, Cactus can offer specialist trips for groups who want to go abroad to improve their foreign language skills. We liaise with our private language school partners to prepare a trip that is perfectly tailored to your needs and provide on-going support throughout the process.
How do I know my language level?
Please check our Language Levels guide. But please don't worry if you are unsure! All non-beginners will take a placement (level) test on the first day of their course to assess their exact level, except for one or two schools which test students in advance. In this instance we will send you the placement test by email for you to complete.
Can I change my level once I have started my course?
This only occurs occasionally as the placement tests give the school a clear indication of which level/class is appropriate for each student. If you would like to change classes please discuss this directly with the Director of Studies and your teacher, the school will then do their best to accommodate your level.
Do host families live close to the school?
This depends on your chosen destination. In our smaller locations families can be within walking distance, 5-20 minutes. In larger cities (such as Paris, London and Moscow) students may need to take public transport for up to 45-60 minutes. Please indicate at the time of booking if you have a preference on this and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
Do the families speak English as well as their native tongue?
The majority of families speak little or no English. They are used to hosting foreign students and speaking slowly and clearly. We recommend taking a bi-lingual dictionary just in case! But don't be afraid of making mistakes - try to keep the conversation flowing and thinking in the target language.
What does a typical host family comprise of?
Schools offer a range of families, single parents, retired couples, professional couples, all of which are carefully selected and vetted by the school.
If I am over 30 can I still stay with a host family?
There is no age limit for host families. They welcome students of all ages and nationalities.
Do I need to bring my own towels etc?
We always recommend that you bring your own towels, especially when visiting a beach location. Many of the families will provide these in European locations but generally, students staying in shared apartments/student residences must bring their own.
Will the accommodation have a laundry service?
For long stays host families may provide this on request. If you are staying in a residence or apartment there may be a shared washing machine. Please check this with your language course advisor before departing.
Can I use the kitchen in the host family?
Generally it is not possible to use the host family's kitchen to prepare your own meals. However in some European locations we can organise this. Please check this first before making your booking.
Do you offer discounts for repeat clients?
Yes - we are more than happy to do this. Our booking system recognises repeat clients by their email address and will automatically apply a discount.
Do you offer discounts for groups?
Yes. For groups of 10 or more people learning in the same location at the same time, we offer a discount on the course fees for the teacher or group leader if there is one. Please contact us via email@example.com for a quote.
How do I pay?
You can pay by credit card (Visa/Mastercard), for which there is a standard 2.75% booking fee, by UK debit card, cheque or bank transfer.
When is full payment due?
Full payment of the booking balance should be paid 4 weeks prior to departure, unless it is a late booking or if we are waiting for a decision on a visa from a consulate.
Can I just pay a deposit at this stage?
If you would like to reserve your course and accommodation (more than 4 weeks before the course), you can pay us a deposit - this is £200 for all bookings. You will then need to pay us the balance 4 weeks before the course starts. If you pay a deposit and then cancel your course, we reserve the right to keep the deposit (since we usually have to pay this to the school).
What credit cards do you accept?