Travelling can be stressful at the best of times. Inevitably, a problem arises which requires the help of the people around us. Although getting by with only English is certainly feasible in many parts of Europe, Spain and France are generally not known as homes to perfect speakers of English. Both countries ranked number 33 and 35 respectively in the 2018 English Proficiency Index, some of the lowest in Europe (EF English Proficiency Index, 2018).


If you have ever travelled in Spain and France, you have probably witnessed this on a micro level. You are lost or are unsure about which bus/tram/train to catch and you ask for help. Cue hand signals and broken French or Spanish, if you even have that much. To further complicate things, if you are really in the remote parts of the Basque region you might even have people respond to you in Euskara (the local Basque language). This might come as a shock to English-speaking travellers who are used to dealing with the Dutch or Germans, or people from any of the Nordic countries, who more often than not speak the ‘world language’ almost perfectly.


It is for this reason that learning or re-awakening your Spanish or French during your stay in this cross-border region may be of great help. Not only may it save you time and unnecessary headaches during travelling, the feeling of satisfaction when getting those little wins when learning a language I find, personally, extremely rewarding.


The Inspire Academy offers French and Spanish lessons in a relaxed environment with teachers who are committed to helping you achieve your language goals, whatever they may be. Our methods seek to differ from those used traditionally in language instruction. Most of us can remember taking a year of this or a semester of that, but how much of it really helps us get by when we are right in the thick of it? For this reason, we believe in presenting an alternative approach in helping you improve your foreign language skills.


So don’t get frustrated, get learning!



Dylan Todhunter



The Inspire Academy is a private training academy in Biarritz which offers language courses, ambition and career coaching. It also offers services in Hendaye, St Jean de Luz, Bayonne, Capbreton, Hossegor and Seignosse. 



EF English Proficeincy Index. (2018). Europe. Retrieved from