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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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Josh | USA

Small Group Chinese Class

I really had a wonderful experience at the school. The teachers are very very friendly. In my class, we practice speaking, listening, reading, and writing. We play games and other fun activities. We have trips around town. The staff at Keats is phenomenal. My teacher is one of the best teachers I have ever had in my educational experience. She comes in with a smile every day.


嶋田京子 | Japan

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

Kunming’s scenery is very beautiful. It is the best place to study Chinese in China. My favorite learning method at Keats School is one-on-one because it is suitable for everyone. My teacher is very good, very caring, and lovely. My life when learning Chinese in Kunming is very good and the weather is very good. The air is very good. It is good for the elderly’s body.


Claudia | Australia

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

I’ve been at Keats school and Kunming now for one month doing the one-on-one Chinese lessons with two different teachers. I really enjoy it. Both of my teachers are very friendly and patient. They really helped me to improve my Chinese, both of my reading and speaking. I really enjoy studying Chinese in Kunming as well. This city is really beautiful and the weather is nice, the air is clean. It’s one of the best cities in China to study Chinese.


Hilary | USA

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

I’ve had a really great time here. I’ve studied a lot with my teacher who was fantastic. Keats School tried very hard to match its students with really good teachers that their personality works very well together. I really enjoy studying Chinese at Keats and I will definitely come back.


Jean | USA

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

I can’t tell you how much I liked it. The thing I liked about the teachers and the teaching method is that there is so much flexibility. The other thing I liked about the teaching is the combination of classic textbook learning and going outside. I loved it! I like getting to know other students. Everybody shared the same goal and that’s making their Chinese better. Kunming is a big city, but it is very safe to live here. Another thing I liked about Keats is the idea that people here help you. I can’t recommend it enough. I think it was a valuable experience. Looking forward to coming back!


Ramji | USA

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

The best part of the school is the patience the instructors had and the time to focus on the fundamentals like pronunciation. I think it is very easy to skip over those and go to vocabulary. But by learning the pronunciation, I feel like it helped me gain a better understanding of the language.


Mike | Australia

Small Group Chinese Class

I think Kunming is a great city, the weather is really good. I really like Keats school and found it is very organized. The teachers here are very good. They have a coffee shop and new classrooms, a new lounge area here now, so you can chill out with your friends and practice your spoken Chinese with natives. If you’re considering coming to Keats to study, I would really recommend it. It’s the best place to learn Mandarin and I think it will be a great experience for you.



Judith | USA

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

Listening and speaking in the classroom every day has improved my communication skills. After three weeks, my new words and sentences became more and more natural and fluent. Now I am used to thinking in Chinese, and I understand better what other people say, to be able to have real conversations with other people.

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