Optimal intensity and language course duration

  • You are here:

  • Blog
  • Optimal course intensity

Maximize your effort to improve your knowledge

Are you planning to learn foreign language abroad and do not know how many lessons to choose? This is a common dilemma of our clients.

The optimal intensity for you is the one which will gives you maximum progress while you enjoy the time spent at the school. If it is your first trip abroad on a language course, you should consult your language stay with an experienced agent or with someone who already completed such a stay, otherwise it may happen that you do not choose correctly and it will be only waste of your time and money.

What are the options?

Your language course can be chosen as:

- group course - individual lessons - combination of group and individual course.

Minimum daily length of a language course is 3 lessons. While you are in a group class, you are with other students, individual course means that you will be alone with the teacher. The duration of lesson is usually 45 or 50 minutes. Few schools have lessons lasting for 55 to 60 minutes. More intensive daily options are 4, 5 and 6 sessions.

Group course

You have to realize, that it is important how may students are there in class. The number of students in the classroom affects the time that the lecturer can devote to you. The bigger group means less devoted time. From this perspective, it is ideal to be in a class with fewer classmates. Course with a small number of students, so called mini group, attended up to 6 students. The number of students in group is usually from 8 to 15. Some schools have classes with 20 participants or even more, which already seems too much. But it may not be a disaster. If you work in pairs or groups, you can effectively move forward despite the greater number of classmates.

Individual lessons

The best type of course depends also on your language level. Most schools do not accept complete beginners for the group course. In this case, the solution is to enroll for individual lessons. The lecturer is there just for you, you do not have to adapt to others. This course is more efficient and means faster progress. In terms of progress 3 – 4 individual lessons are comparable to 5 – 6 in the group course. In case that an absolute beginner mastered the basics, he can switch to group tuiton, where he joins other students with the same language level.

Combination of group and individual course

The combination of group and individual lessons is a very good choice in terms of speed in language skills improvement. In the morning you learn in a group and in the afternoon you have one or two hours individual lessons. Here you can focus for example on grammar, pronunciation or specific vocabulary. Usually this is the best option.

The right course intensity depends also on length of the stay

You should consider the course intensity depending on total length of your stay. Traveling hundreds of kilometers or accros the globe for a week is meaningless. The actual travel cost may be higher than the cost of a selected course with accommodation ... So, before you feel the progress you have to pack your bags and go back home. Therefore, consider at least two weeks for your stay. If you study for four weeks, you will improve your language skills. Experts say that one month of stay in an ideal environment (where the language is spoken everywhere), is equal to one year course in your home environment. Students usually experience progress on the third week of their stay, some even during this period tend to have dreams in a foreign language. Well, if you can afford to spend up to three months, your language level will improve significantly.

If you have very limited time for your language stay (one or two weeks), it is reasonable to choose the maximum intensity, 6 lessons daily. For longer stays a daily „dose“ of 4-5 lessons will be sufficient. Three lessons per day are appropriate for those who want to refresh their long learned language skills or their main reason for course is to have an attractive holiday enriched with a few language lessons.

Price vs type, intensity rate and the total length of stay

The tution fees are most expensive for individual courses, you will pay less for the combination course and the cheapest solution is to enroll for group course. Meanwhile, the more lessons a day, the more expensive the tuition is. Weekly tuition also depends on the total length of stay. If you choose a longer stay, check out the pricing policy of the schools! Many schools with increasing length of stay reduce the tuition rate. E.g. at 4 weeks the fee is 255 GBP / week, at 8 weeks, it will be 250 GBP / week and if you travel for 9 weeks or more you pay 230 GBP/week.

Sometimes less is more!

Too many hours a day can be counterproductive, so think it twice before you select the course intensity! Apart from beeing in school, you should count with additional time of one or two hours daily to do your homework and repetition. Moreover if you stay in a remote part of town as the school is, you will spend another hour or even more travelling. Well, the day has only 24 hours and one has to eat and sleep too ...


The more you are experienced in a foreign language, the less you need to choose higher intensity and vice versa. If your language skills are weak, consider to start with individual course or the possible highest daily intensity in the group. Try to choose your course with a maximum length of lessons and with a minimum number of students in class, depending on the price you are still able or willing to pay.