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(2015 - Fall/Winter Issue)


It takes focus to acquire new skills and achieve a satisfying level of proficiency.

So why not get away to an inspiring location where the lessons might be easier, the exercises more fun, and the environment is likely to leave you with lifelong memories? Tour and travel companies have long offered educational aspects in their vacation programs, such as instruction for sports, general fitness and recreation, as well as day-trip excursions to learn more about local lifestyles. Today, some travellers volunteer their time and skills to experience residency in developing countries. Another popular trend is to spend all day, over a short- or long-term period, immersed in studying a special interest. There are so many educational opportunities abroad. Let’s take a look at what programs are available: 

French in Martinique

While on the Caribbean “island of flowers,” the language school France Langue invites you to learn “French+Kitesurfing” or “French+Diving,” with the combined instructions ranging from one week for beginners to a four-month intensive program. Private lessons and conversation courses are also available in Martinique. Or study French in any one of several locations throughout France. france-lange.com 

Mountaineering the Canadian Rockies

In Canmore, Alberta, sign up for a week-long comprehensive course covering all of the basic skills required for winter mountaineering, including skiing under various conditions ranging from hard-packed snow to the deepest fresh powder. Instructors at popular Yamnuska Mountain Adventures advise the intensity is geared toward strong intermediate downhill skiers who can maintain control in all conditions, who are comfortable with touring gear, and who can make parallel turns on hard-packed snow. yamnuska.com

Scuba the Great Barrier Reef

You might say obtaining your PADI five-day certification in Australia—and on the world’s most celebrated reef—is a lifetime dream. Pro Dive Cairns’ programs include two days of classroom and pool lessons plus three days of deep-sea excursions, which include nine dives at 16 exclusive sites on the outer reef. Once you are certified, additional dives are also included in the program price. prodivecairns.com

Christmas in London

In December, join the activity of spontaneous Londoners in umpteen shops and studios as they create the spirit of an English Christmas. Places like Smug (ifeelsmug.com) teach participants how to create handmade decorations. Workshops by Turpentine (theturpentine.com) teach festive wreath making. Homemade London (homemadelondon.com) is known as the Christmas card king. And Sew Over It (sewoverit.co.uk) offers such a variety of gift-making classes, you may be making flamboyant bowties one day and frilly knickers the next. visitlondon.com

Photography Workshops

Arches National Park in southeastern Utah has the largest concentration of naturally-carved stone arches in the world. Nearby, Canyonlands National Park is also an eye-popping experience of sculptured red-rock landscapes in which the cliff dwellings of ancient Pueblo Indians are still preserved. Add the clearest desert light and you have a photographer’s dream. Outdoor workshops by Aperture Academy, aimed at beginners to advanced photographers, teach precision techniques with personalized instruction geared to meet any objective. Basic equipment is required as well as a specific fitness level. apertureacademy.com

Sheep Farming in New Zealand

Okay, so learning to herd sheep may not be a must-do on your bucket list, however this skill might take on new meaning after a farm stay in New Zealand. On the South Island, the Wilderness Lodge at Arthur’s Pass places you on a 2,428-hectare farm with a lot of livestock including 3,000 sheep. Not only does this immersion guide you in feeding, shearing and herding of sheep over several days of the week, the lodge also features resort-class meals, comfort and unmatched New Zealand hospitality. wildernesslodge.co.nz

Art lessons in Amsterdam

Popular art lessons, such as Paint Like Van Gogh and Paint Like Vermeer, are offered by Amsterdam Canal Painting. A team of professional Dutch artists welcomes and encourages participants to get inspired by the very waterscapes that attracted their most celebrated masters.   amsterdamcanalpainting.nl

Study Wine in France

In the storied vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon on the sunny south coast bordering Provence, France, engage a true expert in the field of wine to teach you this fine art. It takes only a day or two to learn the basics, or, if you prefer, select the in-depth course to acquire professional qualifications. The Vinécole school is well known as the centre for wine education in “le Languedoc” and the course-of-study is led by a certified Master of Wine, the highest qualification achieved by very few instructors in the world. vinecole.com

Music in California

Interested in learning about song writing or music production, recording and composing for film and television? A good proficiency in music usually requires more than vacation time however, a long-stay in California puts you right in the epicentre of this exciting industry. The faculty at the Los Angeles College of Music (LACM) includes Grammy award-winning musicians and producers as well as seasoned educators known for dedicating their skills to student development. lacm.edu

Speak German in Munich

Surrounded by Bavarian cuckoo clocks, lederhosen and fairytale chalets, learn to speak German at the Goethe Institute where courses are offered year-round for every level, from beginner to advanced fine-tuning. Munich joins other cities in Germany to offer the combination of language training with leisure time for the purpose of lifelong enrichment. goethe.de

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