Has anyone ever done one of those 16-24 week intensive courses and came out of it pretty fluent?

I’m just curious what the curriculum is like. Is it like a military bootcamp where you essentially give up all other pursuits and devote yourself full time to the learning process?. How is the time divided between listening\reading, grammar lessons and conversing with other people?

The ones I’ve seen advertised in my target country promise 20 hours of instruction a week, but that doesn’t seem realistic to me. If you work a full time job making widgets at the widget factory, and get a good 8 hours of sleep a night, you still have 72 hours of “free time” a week. 20 hours doesn’t seem intensive to me.

A 40 hour week can get you to 1000 hours in 24 weeks, so that seems more realistic for the Category I languages.


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I’m guessing most people are here because they learn languages on their own, and would be less likely to attend a course like this. But 20 hours on instruction a week is a TON of instruction for something that one could learn with no instruction. That’s 4 hrs in a classroom a day Mon-Fri. and unless they lock you in an isolation chamber as part of the program, you would still have and additional 12 hrs a day to learn on your own. Plus the weekend. But my guess is, after 4 hrs in a classroom dedicated to a language, you may be able to 2 hrs max on you own before your brain turns to jelly. Learning a new language can be very exhausting, mentally and physically.


I was part of a religious group that sent out missionaries world wide. They had a training center where they hammered in as much language as possible from zero before being sent out.

All conversations should take place in target language
Several language courses
Several religious courses in target language

Basically it was 24-7 language immersion (with a lot of other students as well which we all know is not the best way to learn) that would last anywhere from 1 month to 9(I think?) months depending on the language. They usually come out with an intermediate level of speaking and a great grasp of grammar. The additional time spent as missionaries in a location that uses their target language usually results in a business level grasp of their language by the time they return home.

Everything is paid out of pockets by the missionaries and their lives are effectively on hold for a 2 year period. I imagine if you were to study 24-7 and live within your target language without all of the classes and religious gumbo you could go much farther.