If you’re looking to hone a new skill while on a longer trip, check out some of these comprehensive courses to take around the world.
The most epic place to learn the art of kung fu is definitely the Wudang Mountains in Central China. Wudang is the birthplace of Daoist martial arts and is considered one of the holiest mountain range in all of China.
Recommended: The Wudang Kung Fu Academy offers month-long courses (starting at about $1000 US including accommodation and two meals per day) and shorter stay lessons in a stone palace built in the 15th century. It doesn’t get much more authentic than that.
There are many breathtaking areas around the world to hone your photo skills. Some companies run vacations catered specifically to photography, but you can also search for a course wherever you happen to be traveling.
Recommended: Photography School Asia is based in Bangkok and offers travelers a multitude of courses to take, including 1 on 1 intensive courses for those serious about learning, studio courses, and photography tours around the region, including Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.
The type of course you seek out will depend on your skill and intensity level but there are a number of great yoga retreats around the world.
Recommended: What better place to learn though then India, where yoga began? The Ashiyana retreat in Goa, India offers a variety of retreats, courses and more informal yoga holidays. Week-long retreats start at 245 Euros, including room and board; month-long yoga teacher training courses are also available. Heading north of Delhi to Rishikesh will provide ample opportunities to stay at an ashram and take yoga classes.
>> Find some great yoga retreats in Latin America
The Australians are the worlds surfing champions, so head down under to learn from the experts. There are places up and down both coasts where novice surfers are welcomed and encouraged.
Recommendation: Agnes Water in Northern Queensland is famous for it’s surf schools. Try Reef to Beach Surf School, the most popular one in town. Three-hours of group instruction is $17 per day (room and board not available) with private lessons and board rentals also available.
>> Check out other excellent places to learn to surf
Recommendation: Through the Accademia Europea di Firenze you can take classes in sketching, watercolors, and oil painting. Beginner, intermediate, and individual courses include ten lessons and cost 700 Euros.
>> Discover the famous paintings every traveler should see
Popular courses include Thai, Mexican, and Italian cooking. It was hard to pick just one cuisine to recommend, but the most classic idea would be to learn the world-renowned skills of French cooking. After all, it worked for Julia Child.
Recommendation: The International Kitchen offers a variety of classes all over the world, including several week-long courses in Paris, Burgundy, and Bordeaux. A six-day Burgundy cooking classes costs $3700 and includes four classes, all meals and accommodations. If you’re not looking to spend a fortune, there are a bounty of cooking schools all over Southeast Asia and Latin America, where you can learn how to cook your favorite cuisine for a fraction of the price.
>> Read more about the benefits of taking a cooking class on your trip
The Roman Empire pioneered the technique of glassblowing, and even today artisans in Northern Italy are famous for their talents. There are courses available in England as well.
Recommendation: Vetraio Anch’io in the Dolomite Mountains offers courses on several different glassmaking techniques from glassblowing to stained glass creation. Courses range from 3-5 days with 5-6 hours of instruction each day; prices start at 300 Euros for the course only.
South East Asia and Central America are probably the most well known spots for inexpensive dive lessons and Thailand is one of the most beautiful and cheap places to get your certification. A favorite spot is the island of Ko Tao, which has very clear water and a plethora of marine life.
Recommendation: There are many dive shops on Koh Tao but Scuba Junction has won awards for it’s safety and service. A three-day open water certification starts at around $310 US. Accommodation at the onsite resort is extra, but starts at about $10 US on course nights.
>> Read Dive Your Way Around the World
There are Vipassana courses offered many places around Asia as well as in the United States. India is one of the leaders in Buddhist spirituality which makes it a perfect place to attend a Vipassana retreat.
Recommendation: The Vipassana International Academy in Igatpuri, India offers 10 day courses for men and women (separately, of course). The courses are free and run by volunteers, but students must complete an application for acceptance.
Recommendation: The DNI Tango School in Buenos Aires offers daily tango lessons as well as yoga and other dances. They are divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Private and group lessons are available, priced per class at $70AR and up (about $5 US) with discounts for every ten classes.
>> Read about more famous dances around the world
Recommendation: Everyone is curious about learning more of the mysterious Mayan civilization, and you can help at this dig site in Belize via the Archaeological Institute of America. Two week classes start at $1750 (including room, board and transport). College students pay $1500 for two weeks and may receive academic credit.
>> Explore Roman ruins outside of Italy
Learning Around the World Trip
Read more about learning while you travel:
- Budget Language Study- 5 Alternative Locations
- How to Take Your Yoga Practice on Your Travels
- Guide to Taking Classes on Your RTW Trip