Luxury language courses offer Americans chance at holiday self-improvement

Learning a language requires lots of hard work and study that many find hard to enjoy. But a tour company in Mexico is trying to change that. CGTN’s Al Baverstock shows how they make learning Spanish quite a trip.

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Ranked the eighth most popular tourist destination in the world by the United Nations, Mexico is famed for its pristine beaches and wild nightlife. But one tour company is giving people a reason to forego the ‘playa,’ offering intensive Spanish language courses during a week-long stay in a Mexico City boutique hotel.

It’s the brainchild of Sonia Gil, who established the study program inside a five-star resort in Polanco, one of the capital’s poshest neighborhoods.

Watch the original story on CGTN America

“As adults we haven’t spent that much time just learning something very difficult for extended hours of the day,” according to the Fluenz Immersion founder. “If you’re going to take a week off your life, and make the most of it, then you want to go and stay in a great place and feel good and wake up and see beauty around you.”

In addition to intense group and one-on-one Spanish classes, the long course takes guests to the city’s top restaurants and best museums, and begins each day with yoga, which the organizers say prepares the mind for an intense day of learning.

Korey Richey is a member of the electronic band LCD Soundsystem, and is taking the course following the group’s tour of Latin America.

“Every time I would go to do anything in a Spanish speaking country, I really just couldn’t communicate, so I’d had enough of that, and decided to do something about it,” Richey said. “I’m mostly based in New York now, and obviously there’s a lot of Spanish going on in New York, and I want to expand my language skills.”

Beyond its practical day-to-day uses, Carlos Lizarralde – another founding member of the luxury language course – says the program has other benefits.

“Learning a new language makes you a better human being,” he explained. “Learning a language is a process of self-enrichment, of self-knowledge, of exercising the muscle that you need to learn a language. And that enriches your life. It makes your understanding of everything around you much more subtle, and much more interesting. It opens up your mind.”

As Spanish increasingly becomes a necessity in parts of the United States, language courses like this are becoming increasingly attractive for those wanting to adapt with the times. These student tourists hope that a vacation week devoted to self-improvement will make life more fulfilling back at home.

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Alasdair Baverstock MA is an award-winning multimedia foreign correspondent based in Mexico City, with more than five years of experience covering Latin America. Originally from London, and with full NCTJ certification, he specialises in news and feature journalism for print, radio and television. His work has previously been used as set-texts in British A-Level examinations. He currently works as CGTN America's Mexico correspondent, and has formerly published work in TIME Magazine, Daily Mail, The Atlantic, Penthouse, Fox News, BBC, Daily Telegraph, TRT World, and others.

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