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4 Unique Languages You Can Study Abroad

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Young woman with headphones on learning new languages

One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.

Frank Smith

Many of the first study abroad programs were created so that students could learn a foreign language. Today, study abroad is about more than just language immersion. But most students who go abroad take some level of language instruction. Why? For some students, it is part of their major. But many take the courses out of personal interest, maybe filling a general requirement, but mainly for fun and enrichment. You might not become fluent in Italian, but you can learn a lot in a semester and it will make your time abroad more meaningful.

But what about some of the lesser known languages? Here we make the case for taking a unique language course abroad.

You can enhance your time abroad, enhance your critical thinking, and enhance your résumé and more all in one.


Gaelic has made a resurgence in Ireland in recent years. If you are interested in literature or history, round out your Irish Studies courses with Elementary Gaelic.


In Prague all students have a little crash course in Czech during orientation so they can familiarize themselves with the language. But you can continue studying Czech during the semster along with courses in art, economics, history, politics and psychology. Understanding the language, even just a little, helps to understand the culture. And while most people in Prague speak some English, it goes a long way when interacting with locals when you can converse with them in their language instead of asking if they speak English right away. A little language knowledge will help with cultural immersion, making friends, and getting to know your city better.


Students who go to New Zealand have a full array of university courses to choose from at Victoria University. Students can take things like Spanish or Japanese, or get further into the culture and take Maori studies courses, including intro to the Maori language.

Zulu and Afrikaans

South Africa has a rich linguistic history. With eleven official languages, there is so much to learn! You can study the Dutch based Afrikaans, as many students at the university there speak English and Afrikaans. The most common language spoken as a first language in South Africa is Zulu with 23% of the population and Xhosa with 16%.  You can take either of these languages (courses on our website) and enhance your knowledge of world culture and world history.

What language did you take abroad? Which language do you wish you could study? What would you add to the list? Leave a comment or send us a tweet @aifsabroad.

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