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If your interests tend to be cerebral, Europe offers courses on anything from alternative medicine to zoology. Language learning is particularly popular, given you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. Courses are available to foreigners through universities or private schools.

Otherwise, major language teaching institutes include the following:

Alliance Française (www.alliancefr.org) The Parisian school’s website has details of all Alliances and locations worldwide.

Cactus Education (www.cactusworldwide.com) European courses in French, German, Italian or Spanish.

Goethe Institut (www.goethe.de) Learn Deutsch all across Europe, including in Germany itself.

Instituto Cervantes (www.cervantes.es) Click on your own language for a PDF guide or click on ‘IC en el Mundo’, then choose a country and city on the map.

Società Dante Alighieri (www.dantealighieri.com) This Siena-based Italian school specialises in Italian courses, though you can also take Italian cookery courses.

The best sources of information are the cultural institutes maintained by many European countries around the world or national tourist offices, embassies or student organisations.

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