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Studying abroad is more than just an excuse for a holiday. It’s a real opportunity to get to the heart of how a language is used. By placing the language in its proper cultural context, students are able to learn more quickly and effectively. A stint on a study abroad course also looks good on the CV, showing that the student is able to operate out of their comfort zone.

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No-one will dispute that the ability to speak English is useful – especially for those hoping to enter the business world. It is the official language in 83 countries and regions, and spoken in 105 other countries.

According to Professor Jacques Mélitz of Heriot-Watt’s School of Management and Languages, ‘English is indeed the language that is most often used in international contacts and trade worldwide’.

The widespread use of English means that students hoping to attend an immersion course have a number of options open to them. For example, offer intensive English language courses in countries such as England, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia and Malta.



The so-called language of love, French is the official language in 40 countries, and is spoken in 54 countries. It is one of the six official working languages at the United Nations, one of three working languages of the EU, and one of the two official languages at NATO.

Pockets of French-speakers are well-established in many countries such as Switzerland, Belgium, Monaco and Canada – and these are most often where immersion courses take place.

French speakers in these countries are proud of their language and keen to help students who show an interest in learning. Mistakes are quickly remedied as the student receives correction from locals and teachers, and listens to the language being spoken naturally.



Italian is spoken by more than 80 million people in Italy and in countries such as Malta, San Marino. It is also spoken in parts of Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia and France.

Italian immersion courses typically take place in Italy or nearby Switzerland – find out more by pressing here. Those with Italian as a second language are well-prepared to work in fashion and for one of the many successful Italian companies manufacturing everything from cars to food.



German is the official language in five countries, and is spoken in 40 other countries. Immersion courses typically take place in Germany, Switzerland or Austria, and prepare students for real-world encounters with German speakers.

The language is especially useful for those entering a career based around computers – German is the second most widely used language on the internet. Scientists, too, will benefit from learning German – the language is second only to English in the field of scientific publications.




Spanish is the world’s second-most widely spoken language. Its global spread is due to the once mighty Spanish Empire. Nowadays, Spanish is the official language in 21 countries, and spoken in 44 countries.

Most immersion courses typically take place in the language’s spiritual home – Spain. Here students will spend all of their time absorbing and practicing Spanish in a warm climate and fun-loving atmosphere. Once proficient, students with Spanish as a second language will more easily be able to find employment in Lain America.