Learn a New Language on Your Next Vacation

Article excerpt

Byline: Jackie Runice Daily Herald Correspondent

Last year, when one of my kids announced I was "bad and fat," I lunged for the parenting books. I wanted to see where I went wrong before I threw them at him. He meant I was "baaad," which is really good, and "phat," which is even better. Currently, I'm a "suitcase" (a boring person who can't keep up with trends) because I lack an updated "wordrobe" (lingo).

Don't laugh. Remember, the phrases "far out," "outta sight" and "groovy" once spilled out of your mouth. Perhaps it's time to learn a whole new language together on a language vacation for families.

"Parents are choosing language vacations for the same reason they take their children to Washington, D.C. - to learn something in an entertaining way," explained Karena O'Riordan of AmeriSpan Unlimited, a language travel company (call (800) 879-6640). "More people realize that exposing children at a young age to a different language and culture is of great benefit. Parents who need overseas language training for their jobs are bringing the family along. The number of children traveling on our language-study programs has doubled in the last year, so we've worked with our partner schools to add additional programs for kids and for child care."

AmeriSpan specializes in Spanish immersion programs that help you learn the language through instruction, cultural immersion and pleasure. You choose among different countries, lifestyles and methods of instruction. The company retains partnerships with more than 40 schools in 15 countries and program descriptions are honestly reviewed to help you choose the best match for your family. Would you prefer a big city or a small colonial town? Would the kids like to be close to the beach or swathed in nature? "We can match your family's ages and interests with the Latin-American host family. The children can be baby-sat by the host family, go to bi-lingual school or go to the same Spanish school as the parents. At locations with one-on-one instruction the parents and children can have their own teacher," said O'Riordan. …