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India has no national language. Although Hindi and English are commonly regarded as the official languages for work and other formal settings, there are over twenty other languages which are officially recognised in India. Many expatriates may naturally assume that Hindi will be the main language in India, and it is indeed spoken in most parts of the country. While this is true for the north and some parts of central India which feature many regional variations of Hindi and other languages, in the South there is a greater diversity and it may be difficult to get around by speaking Hindi. Before you decide to learn an Indian language, you should check which languages are actually spoken in the region you intend to stay. There are many official language schools which are specifically established to cater to students who want to learn an Indian Language or English.
In selecting a language school either for yourself or your family, there are several key factors which you should consider including:
In additional to these, you should be sure to ask about their teaching quality standards e.g. are the teachers natives who are qualified with a recognized body? Language schools are not easily ranked since most of their students may not go on to write international examinations, but rather employ what they have learned in their daily setting. You should consider looking for reviews of your potential school if available, to gain a general idea of the school’s quality. Most language school incorporate some form of cultural aspects into their teaching programmes which allows students to get an insight into Indian culture and history. You should also enquire as to whether your prospective school offers such activities.
Most language schools also help students to find accommodation during their course of study if this is not provided by the school itself. This may vary depending on the school, though most offer shared apartments or integrated housing. Some schools may also offer you the opportunity to stay with an Indian family to further accelerate your learning and get accustomed with the culture, or on request, make reservation for you at a hotel near to the school.
If you are in India and wish to learn a foreign language (a language other than Indian languages or English) there are a number of schools which offer such tuition, as some language school offer a range of languages and not just native ones. Additionally, some universities tend to have a Department or School of Language. For example, the Jawaharlal Nehru University School of Language offers a range of wide range including French, German, Japanese and Spanish.
For a comprehensive list of language schools (not just an Indian or English language school) in India, in addition to gain some insight on their course information and reviews, the India Language School Portal may prove useful.
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