Expand Your Mind: The Top Cultural Learning Vacations

Rise to the Challenge
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No one will argue with the recuperative benefits of relaxing on a Caribbean beach, even swigging some frothy beverages. But return from your next vacation with more than a deep tan: come home a better person with a learning vacation. The options are vast, from studying Italian,penning the great American novel, or serving up an exquisite French meal.

Creative and Artistic Retreats
With the daily world forever grinding along, it's easy to let that sudden burst of creativity slip away. On your next vacation, find the time you need to indulge in artistic inspiration in a calm, nurturing environment. You can hole yourself away and dive into your work without interruption, or enroll in a group workshop, where you submit your work for in-depth feedback. Gain insight from fellow artists and forge lasting mentor relationships with seasoned professionals. Write, paint, draw, sculpt, create intricate designs in mosaic tiles or stained glass, even handcraft a musical instrument led by skilled luthiers—the medium is limited only by your muse.

Cooking Schools
Cooking schools come in as many shapes and sizes as a home-grown aubergine. Decide first where you want to go—Italy and France are natural choices, but don't overlook Japan, Vietnam, or Thailand—and then consider how you want to learn. Are you the sort who is happiest when you're choppin' chilis and sinking your hands into the dough? Or are you the great observer, ready to absorb all as a world-renowned chef shows you the way around her kitchen? A whole menu of options are out there, and in just about every cuisine that tickles your palette, so pick up a whisk and away you go.

Published: 2 Aug 2001 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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