Many students often ask me where can they find a school that offers Spanish courses in Spain or other Spanish speaking countries. This is what it is called learning a language through immersion: you go to the country where the language is spoken, visit a language school everyday in the morning, do cultural activities in the afternoon, live with a family (other accommodation options are of course possible) and practice everyday with the locals. We could call it language holidays, where you improve significantly your language skills in a particular period (usually, at least for a week) through language and cultural immersion. For example, I did it this summer with Chinese, during six weeks, thanks to the scholarship I received from Shanghai Municipality.
So, let’s say that you have a week off or more. And you want to use this time to improve your Spanish (or start with it). What can you do? Where to start looking? How to find a good school? How to choose the city? In this post I am going to provide you with some useful information about schools that offer this language and culture programms in Spain and Latin America. Please note that all schools offer always all levels (from absolute beginners to experienced) and that usually you can join the school every Monday of the year. All the information I am going to share with you was collected by myself in Expolingua Berlin 2018, the must-attend anual event about languages in Berlin (Germany), with more than 150 exhibitors from more than 30 countries.
Located in Castilla y León, one hour train-trip away from Madrid, the Spanish of Valladolid represents Castilian Spanish, sharing this pure accent with other cities like Salamanca, Guadalajara or Soria. The population is around 300.000, the perfect size to get in contact with locals and get to know the city pretty well in a relatively short period. On the website www.spanishvalladolid.com you can find all the information about institutes and educational centres in the city, but I would like to recommend you one of them: El Camino del Español.
El Camino del Español school (Valladolid)
It is a private school that offers courses of Spanish and manages the accommodation wishes of the students: living with a Spanish family, in a student residence or in private apartments. For example, if you are an individual traveller you can do a 20 hours per week course (all levels available, from absolute beginners to experienced speakers) for 230€ a week and live with a family for 135€ a week (half board). Anything is possible with El Camino del Español ! The school is also specialized in organizing Spanish for groups, taylor-made programs for groups of all ages (schools, high-school, universities, friends, families, etc.) that combine classes of Spanish and cultural activities such as workshops, excursions, guided tours, nature and all you can imagine. The school offers the possibility of obtaining a scholarship which covers the accommodation cost.
If you want to learn Spanish in the North of Spain, you can choose Bilbao (Basque Country) as your destination (there is where I come from and I can guarantee it is an amazing place!), where you will be able to enjoy culture, surf, amazing gastronomy and beautiful landscapes recently chosen, for example, as filming locations for Game of Thrones. Bilbao has an international airport and it is located 1 hour away from the south of France. At the same time, in Bilbao you can also get in touch with Basque language, which is the oldest living language in Europe. Even if both languages are official in Bilbao (Spanish and Basque) you will experience that daily life in the city is mainly in Spanish, so do not worry at all about difficulties practicing with locals what you have learnt during your classes. Moreover, the accent is one of the clearest in Spain and Basque people are good communicators.
Instituto Hemingway (Bilbao)
Since 1999, Instituto Hemingway is a private school that offers courses of Spanish in the centre of Bilbao, as well as can organize your accommodation and cultural activities. Their website provides all the information you need in many different languages. Take a look and plan your language holidays in Bilbao. For germans, please note that they have the Bildungsurlaub Annerkenung. Instituto Hemingway is an Cervantes Institute-accredited school and can prepare you for the official exams of Spanish language, too.
Quest is a travel agency that organizes tailor made programs with Spanish or Basque classes and accommodation. If you decide to learn Basque, it will be an amazing cultural journey. You can visit their Facebook page here.
Castellón de la Plana city
If you prefer to learn Spanish on the Mediterranean coast with fabulous weather, you can choose Castellón de la Plana (also known as Castellón) for your next stop. The city has a population of 170.000, which makes it very handy and authentic.
Ágil Spanish Institute (Castellón)
Since 1995 Ágil Spanish Institute organizes immersion programs where you can learn Spanish and participate in many cultural activities on the Mediterranean city of Castellón. Ágil Spanish Institute is also a Cervantes Institute-accredited institute and offers DELE and SIELE exams preparations. Arriving to Castellón will be easy from any of the main airports of the area (Valencia, Alicante, Barcelona, Reus or Madrid) and if you don’t feel like doing it by your own the school can organize a transfer for you. Here you can consult all prices and you can see the brochure I got about it in Expolingua Berlin 2018.
Learning Spanish in the Canary Islands is a great way to enjoy the pleasure of improving your language skills while staying in a well-known holidays destination. The Canary Islands in Spain guarantee 99% great weather all year long because of its eternal springtime weather. The Spanish accent in the Canary Islands is something in between Spanish peninsula accent and Latin American accent.
La Casita de Laura (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria)
Laura is a passionate teacher of Spanish as a second language who offers personalized, practical and flexible Spanish courses combined with a mentoring in cultural activities which will make you immerse into Spanish culture in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The courses are private (1 student) or semi-private (3 to 6 people) and allow you to speak Spanish from the very first day. Laura will help you also to find an accommodation according to your preferences and budget. Take a look at her website at www.lacasitadelaura.com and meet Laura thanks to her presentation video.
Cantabria is located in the North of Spain, a beautiful green area with more than 200 km. of coastline and beaches, beautiful and authentic villages, elegant cities like Santander (its capital) and an incomparable gate to the Art of the Upper Paleolithic, with 9 of its more than 6.500 caves declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Wow.
The Spanish accent in Cantabria is also very neutral Spanish from Spain which includes a nice gentle melody that you will love. You can fly to Santander airport (in Cantabria) or alternatively to Bilbao (1,5 hour drive) or Madrid (4,5 hours drive).
CIESE (Comillas, Cantabria)
CIESE-Comillas (International Center for Higher Spanish Studies) offers courses of Spanish taught in a context of immersion and it is also accredited by Cervantes Institute. The institute is located in Comillas, a village in Cantabria of about 2500 inhabitants, considered to be a step forward for Catalan Modernisme (Art Nouveau) as well as offering medieval and baroque buildings.
CIESE offers also courses aimed at professionals working in Business, with courses of 30 hours per week (minimum, two weeks) of Spanish for Business Management and Administration, Finance and Banking, Marketing, Economics, Law, etc. Other courses of Spanish are also offered for students and professionals working in health care (nurses, medical practitioners, researchers, hospital administrators).
IUMP (Santander, Cantabria)
If you prefer to study in the capital city of Cantabria, Santander, you can check the language and culture courses at the IUMP (Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo).
Other in Spain
Since 1986, donQuijote teaches Spanish at all educative levels in many cities of Spain an Latin America. Check donQuijote website to discover its Spanish language and culture courses in Alicante, Granada, Málaga, Marbella, Sevilla, Barcelona, Madrid, Salamanca, Tenerife or Valencia.
The lovely country of Argentina offers you a diversity of landscapes and activities, as well as qualified language centers in every region of the country. You can study there one week or more with flexible programs and accredited certificates. Check all the information in the pictures below:
Founded in 2000, Mundo Spanish school in Guatemala offers Spanish courses of language and culture in Antigua Guatemala, 45 km. away from the capital city of the country. You can check all the information on their website. Their programs include language courses, weekend trips, accommodation with local families, guest house or hotels (you can also live with your teacher!) and the opportunity of volunteering in local projects. Check the brochures below:
Other in Latin America
You can check all Spanish language and culture courses that donQuijote school offers in 20 destinations in the following 12 different countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, México, Perú and Uruguay. donQuijote is specialized in Spanish courses and cultural immersion since 1986.
I hope this post helps you to choose your next Spanish language course in a Spanish speaking country. ¡Hasta pronto!