Best Reason not to Study A Language Abroad – “It’s Too Cheap!

Best Reason not to Study a Language Abroad – “It’s too cheap!”

by Staff on 08-19-2012 in Study Abroad Related

Yes, learning a foreign language abroad can be too cheap, it seems. Not too cheap for French or British or Italian or Korean or Japanese students, or any other international students, but it’s too cheap for US students.


Weird but true.


We here at BudgetStudyAbroad spend a lot of time with our feet on the ground visiting and speaking with administrators and teachers at language schools abroad because language schools abroad represent one of the most affordable and effective study abroad possibilities.


Often, we speak to the on-site directors and teachers about their experiences with US students: How well do US students learn compared to other international students? How do American students abroad find the overall study abroad experience? What surprised them about the experience? What did they learn?


In one of our conversations with an established Spain-based language school that specializes in teaching Spanish to foreigners, the on-site director at the school mentioned that one US student who contacted the Spanish language school declined to enroll in the school “because it was too cheap”.


In reality, the Spanish school charged tuition and housing fees only slightly below the average costs for Spanish schools for foreigners in that city in Spain.


Why then the distrust? It turns out that we, as consumers, are sometimes suspicious of lower prices from “brand weak” organizations. By “brand weak” we really mean “not familiar.” The US student had found the school online, but because the Spanish language school´s name was not familiar to the student, he was suspicious of the low price, a form of “price sensitivity.”


Thus, the US student declined to enroll in a reputable and effective language school (costing approximately $3,600 for a 4-month semester, housing + tution) and, we must assume, paid a great deal more to learn Spanish abroad. It happens all the time. 


Nonetheless, international students from all over the world routinely learn languages at in-country language schools. Perhaps they are regulars at foreign languages schools because they have been learning languages at language schools for decades already, or perhaps it’s because they are generally less apt to pay more – because they feel they don’t have to.

Next time we make our rounds at foreign universities and language schools, we’ll ask.