Spanish Immersion Courses and Spanish Language Schools in Spain
Spanish Immersion Courses and Spanish Language Schools in Spain
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About Spanish Immersion Courses and Spanish Language Schools in Spain
Because of the vast number of language immersion courses in Spain, it’s necessary to think about what your ideal program would be like. Before seeking out a specific program, consider two important questions: where in the country would you like to be? And how long can you afford to stay? The first question can be very tough. Spain has a tremendous diversity of cities and rural areas including the bustling capital city of Madrid; the unique cultural and political hotspot of Barcelona; the vacation island of Mallorca; and countless other towns, cities, and rural areas. Natural environments in Spain range from the sunny Mediterranean coast to the windy slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains.
The question of the duration of your stay will also make a significant difference. Obviously, the longer you can stay in the country, the better your language skills will become. If you are at an intermediate to advanced level, consider finding a part-time job or volunteer program that will reduce your living expenses so that you can stay in the country as long as possible. Language experts generally agree that the best (maybe the only) way to make the jump from advanced to fluent is to spend a significant amount of time in a country where the target language is spoken.
Many of the major cities will also have Spanish-as-a-second-language courses for working adults. If you’ve come to Spain as an adult or even for retirement, there are likely to be courses specifically designed for people in your situation. Look for listings in your city. If you are in one of the rural areas of Spain, it might be more difficult to find organized programs, but you can still probably find an English-speaking local who would be happy to tutor you one-on-one. Such “language-exchange” arrangements are becoming increasingly common as global demand for English increases.
If you’re a high school or college student learning the Spanish language or an adult looking for an adventure, there are few destinations in the world more appealing than Spain. Not only is this an ideal place to learn one of the world’s fastest-growing languages; it is also home to a warm climate and a friendly culture. It is little wonder, then, that Spain is one of the world’s most popular destinations for language immersion and study abroad.
There are all sorts of ways to learn Spanish while in Spain. Just the experience of being in the country, interacting with others and going about the business of everyday life will most likely improve your Spanish language skills considerably. Still, it’s often wise to enroll in language classes at a Spanish Language School in order to ensure that your learning is as fast, efficient, and accurate as possible.
Many of the people who come to learn Spanish in Spain are college and high school students, and these groups typically find that study abroad programs or university classes are the most suitable learning venues. However, for those who do not fall into this category–such as working adults, recent graduates, and young people not affiliated with a college or university–it can be somewhat harder to find classes. Fortunately, there are numerous dedicated Spanish language schools in Spain that focus exclusively on teaching Spanish as a 2nd language. These Spanish Language Schools are typically less expensive than university classes, and allow students to skip the hassle of complex application processes. In addition, their course schedules and academic calendars are geared toward the needs of nontraditional students and full-time employees.
As in any country, Spanish language schools in Spain have various teaching styles, goals, and target demographics. Some offer vacation-study packages which combine courses with excursions and outings in various Spanish cities. These Spanish language programs, which can be as short as a couple of weeks, are a great way to incorporate both fun and learning into a single trip.
Other Spanish language schools hold evening and weekend classes who geared toward working people who expect to be in the country for a more extended stay. Foreign business people and their families, for example, can take advantage of such courses as a way to improve their fluency without interrupting their work schedules. These programs are also a great way to get in touch with the expatriate community in a given area, which can help you feel connected to home no matter how long your stay is.
Naturally, Spanish language schools are more common in places where the density of foreign residents is greater–namely large cities, particularly Madrid, Granada, and Salamanca. However, at least one Spanish language Academy can be found in almost any city in the country, as well as small towns. Non-Spanish-speaking areas in Spain also have courses in Spanish as a 2nd language, although they are typically not geared toward foreigners. Rather, such Spanish language schools are designed to provide advanced language skills to Spanish citizens whose 1st language is Basque, Catalan, or another minority language. If you’re an English speaker living in one of these areas (particularly in northern Spain), make sure that your Spanish language school in Spain is designed for foreigners and not Spanish linguistic minorities.
Due to its enormous popularity as a study abroad destination, Spain is home to countless language and cultural immersion programs. The majority are concentrated in major cities such as Madrid and Seville, although there are opportunities in smaller towns and rural areas as well. Spanish language and culture programs in Spain vary in terms of their size, duration, and target audience–many, but by no means all, are geared toward college students.
When choosing a language and culture program in Spain, there are 3 important questions to take into consideration: location, setting, and duration. Because these programs are so numerous, the 1st question to ask is where in Spain you would like to be located. Perhaps the thriving urban landscapes of Madrid are your ideal place to live; or perhaps it is a small town along the beautiful Mediterranean coast. Whatever your dream, it is worthwhile to consider what specific parts of Spain will be most pleasant and conducive to your learning. This will help you narrow down the list of options.
Don’t forget to consider the non-Spanish-speaking regions of Spain as well. Places like Barcelona and the Basque Country are beautiful places to live and study, and Spanish-language programs can be found here as well. Although the experience will be somewhat less immersive than it would be in, say, Madrid, these programs are often excellent nonetheless.
Once you have settled on a location, the next question to ask is what sort of setting you would like your learning to be in. Many language and cultural immersion programs are attached to major universities–this is generally the best option for full-time students, since it is often possible to attain transfer credits from your studies in Spain. For working adults and other nontraditional students, university programs are often unsuitable because they hold classes at inconvenient times. If your plan is to learn Spanish while working or volunteering in the country, it’s best to find a language program that is specifically designed for people in your situation.
Finally, consider the duration of your stay. Most programs have a specific calendar, often on a seasonal or semester basis, that includes predefined start and end dates. Finding the right program will involve looking at calendars to decide which program is most compatible with your needs. In general, it’s best to extend your stay for as long as possible–language experts agree that the longer you spend in an immersion experience, the more you get out of it. If you can afford to stay in the country for at least several months to a year, you will find that you were linguistic and cultural learning are maximized.