Did you know if you’re posted abroad, there’s a range of language training available to Army spouses? Esther Thomas, AFF’s Regional Manager Overseas, finds out more…

THE Defence Centre for Languages and Culture (DCLC) and the European Joint Support Unit (EJSU) Language Survival Training both fund opportunities to learn any language spoken in the country you’re posted to – whether it be Italian or Swahili. It’s designed to help you manage everyday life, setting up home, organising local services and simple business transactions.

Army spouse Penny Ball, who’s currently based in Italy, has benefited from both pots: “I fell pregnant with our first child, who was born in an Italian hospital. The funding has meant that I have been able to have one-to-one lessons at home throughout my pregnancy and beyond. Lessons are tailored to my needs, which have built up my confidence when meeting Italian mums as well as helping with day-to-day living.

“I also accessed the EJSU funding for small group classes twice a week. This was a great opportunity for social learning. It has made a daunting prospect of two years in Italy into a really positive experience.”

The level of financial allowance and support available through the DCLC Spouse Language Training depends on a number of factors such as where the training is conducted and the difficulty of the language. Training should either be conducted before a posting or within the first six months of arrival in country and be complete within 12 months. Training can be face-to-face, real-time learning over the web; or a combination of both.


EJSU’s fund, which is smaller at €100 per-person, per-year, can be used for in-location language training delivered through a recognised provider.

Flt Lt David Robinson, from the EJSU Language Survival Training programme, explained: “The uptake varies year to year, but it’s very popular.

“The fund is allocated on a first-come-first-served basis and the budget is assessed yearly, so [you] are strongly encouraged to complete the application as soon as you know you’ll need it.”

Rosetta Stone

EJSU HQ also holds ten different Rosetta Stone language CDs for all locations to hire for a maximum of six months once in location and there are many other free resources such as clubs and online language courses within the SHAPE international library.

If you believe you’re entitled to language training, search ‘overseas language training’ at aff.org.uk or contact Esther with any questions by emailing rmoverseas@aff.org.uk

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