Why I Don't Like Overseas Language Camps

For families with the means, overseas language camps are a growing industry in children's language education. The idea is a based on a good assumption that immersion in the foreign language is best learned in the country where it's spoken. However, children living in their home country of course don't need to learn the language. It's only foreigners who don't speak it that need to.

So what happens is that you end up paying thousands of dollars to send your child overseas and have them end up in a camp with a bunch of other English speakers from similar backgrounds who also spent thousands of dollars to basically meet up with people from their own country. Then what happens is that they speak English with each other all day, completely losing the benefit of being in the country. So here are some better options:

1) Find a community near you that uses the language and send your child to a camp there. Most communities have their own camps and schools to promote heritage language and culture and all the children enrolled are much more likely to use the target language as it's probably their home and community language.

2) Have your child sign up for a normal children's camp in the target country. If they like basketball, have them sign up for a normal basketball camp. This is a large challenge depending on your child's level and they would definitely need you there for support, so they have a refuge from the culture shock that will inevitably occur, but I guarantee they'll pick up more of the language.

3) Hire a private tutor for the week. The thousand dollars spent on plane tickets could be just as easily spent on a tutor who will spend 8 hours a day with your child for the entire week. It'd be cheaper and they're again more likely to see progress. Just plan out a bunch of fun activities for them to do together and ensure the tutor speaks only in the target language. They can build some specific "language focus" sections of the day to review trouble areas, but it's best kept light and conversational.

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