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Asking for time off work isn’t always an easy conversation to have with a manager.

Each office is a little different, with different rules when it comes to taking time off to study, travel abroad or another type of leave.

You know you want to take time off work to study another language, so it’s time to start preparing for a conversation with your manager asking for the time off work.

Here are a few tips to get you ready for that conversation.


First and foremost, you need to know what the company’s time-off policy is. Many organizations have a lean staffing plan, which means it will be felt when people take time off work. No one wants to leave anyone hanging in the office.

Check your contract to see what it says about time off work. Every company has its own set of rules. Some companies offer vacation (which you could use to study abroad with intensive one-on-one study plans), unlimited vacation, two weeks paid after a year working, and some companies don’t offer any paid vacation time at all.

You need to know whether you’re asking for paid or unpaid time off. Like we said above, some organizations don’t provide a vacation to their employees, which would result in unpaid time off. If you’re not sure what vacation time you have coming, check with your manager or the Human Resources department.

If your company doesn’t offer any vacation, there is the opportunity to make it into a work trip and explain the benefits of studying abroad for work. This is also a great opportunity to ask for your company to pay for the trip out of the training budget.


Plan your requests for time off when you think your manager will be most receptive, and make sure to set up a face-to-face sit-down meeting with them. Try to avoid stressful times of the day, week, or month. When you’re preparing for the meeting, make sure your work is under control and well managed at the time of your request.

You could even plan to ask for time off after the successful completion of a project or event.


When you’re asking for time off work, consider the ebbs and flows of activity in your department and in the company as a whole. Try to steer away from peak times when your supervisor needs everyone on deck or when others take vacations.

Also, think of the major projects you’re working on. If your monthly report is due Oct. 1, you wouldn’t ask for time off before that deadline.


Before you head out and start learning a new language abroad, you should plan for when you’re not in the office. Present a plan for how your responsibilities might be handled when you’re gone.

For example, you could say “Tim and Sandy will be in the department for the 3 weeks I’d like to be away and have agreed to handle anything that might come up when I’m away.”

If possible, you could also put in some extra hours leading up to your departure to make sure everything will run smoothly when you’re gone.


Requesting time off work is a request. It’s not a mandatory thing your supervisor has to approve. Avoid stating that your plans are already booked and set in place. Instead, ask for the time off work and explain why you’d like to take time off to study.

A boss told that a plane ticket has already been booked and there’s nothing they can do but deal with it will not be a happy boss.

You need approval from your higher-up before starting your travel plans.


Be sure to let the office know that you’re planning to be away from the office for a while to study. But don’t tell them until it’s been approved by your manager. Inform key co-workers, let your clients or customers that you’ll be away from your desk, and let them know that your coworkers will be looking after them in your absence.

Once approved, don’t forget to set up your out-of-office message/auto-reply for your email!


If your manager agrees to meet with you to discuss time off work, have your request in writing. Documentation is always a good thing to have, and be sure to have a copy for yourself and another one for your manager.

Some companies will be okay with a simple email, but we suggest downloading our exclusive proposal email template to hand to your boss. The proposal is to fill in a blank document explaining everything your boss needs when it comes to time off to study.

Simply add your personal information where we suggest, print it off (or save it), and send it (or email it) to your manager.

Signed, sealed and delivered!

Contact Keats School in Kunming, China, about study abroad options to download our exclusive proposal template.

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Matteo | Italy

Small Group Chinese Class

I really enjoy studying Chinese in Kunming at Keats. The teachers are great and my classmates are awesome. It is an unforgettable experience for me. I also got the chance to travel to other places in Yunnan. Those places are amazing and you definitely need to visit these places when you study Chinese in China at Keats.


Emiliano | Mexico

Small Group Chinese Class

I come to Kunming because I think the environment in Kunming is better and I heard that Keats School is better. I like the small group Chinese class because my classmates study hard and our teachers are very good. I like the teaching method of Keats because I like the activities at Keats. I think Yunnan is a particularly beautiful Chinese province.



Jade | UK & Mauritius

Small Group Chinese Class

I think the Chinese learning environment here is great. The teaching methods are also very interactive and fun. What I particularly enjoy here is the fact that my teacher does not stick to the textbook. We spend a lot of time discussing general topics, such as Chinese culture, world news, typical expressions used by local people. We also discuss social and economic topics.


Joleen | Germany

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

About studying Chinese here, I think the living condition is very convenient because the dorm is very close to the classroom. Our teachers really enjoy teaching Chinese. They are also very passionate. Compared with other cities in China, Kunming has really good weather.


Joep | Netherlands

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

I have been to Keats School to learn Chinese for 4 times now. The reason for coming back to this school is pretty much that the teachers I did work with were very good Chinese teachers. I make it a 5-year plan or even a 10-year plan to come back to this school.  All the teachers have methods of looking at what your skills are. They are aware of at what level you are. I think it is worth for everyone.


Stew | UK

Small Group Chinese Class

The place is very cool. I am with a great group of people in my class, so coming to classes is very enjoyable. It is fun, we have a lot of discussions, games, activities. Our teachers are also very good, very supportive. Learning Chinese is intimidating at the start because you have so many questions. But I would advise coming to Keats because the atmosphere for learning is great. It is very relaxing. I would recommend the school.


Hitanshu | UK

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

It doesn’t matter what level of Chinese you have, or even you can start from the zero level. Your teacher will prepare the lessons according to your requirements. The advantage of living in the school is that you will have your tutoring, you will have your private accommodation with your own bathroom and all the meals provided. I highly recommend everybody to actually take the whole package because you get to meet other students.


Aliza | USA

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

I found Keats School and I am so glad that I did. When you learn Chinese in China at Keats, you are fully being taken care of. My teacher is really great and we become lovely friends.

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