Choose Barcelona for Spanish
Dave Jones chose Barcelona in Spain to study Spanish.
Read his comments about finding a language school and learning to
Why choose Barcelona to study Spanish?
I had already been to Barcelona on a few weekend
trip and just had the most fantastic time in the city. It was quite
obvious that there was so much more to see and do than I could pack
into more weekends, so the only course of action was to come
back for a few month to study Spanish and explore Barcelona and the
Spanish culture to the max.
For once in my life I really felt that I had made the right decision!
Barcelona is everything I wanted it to be and more. Truly a fantastic
city with a superb vibe. There is so much to do! The climate is perfect!
Miles of beaches and clear water in the summer and snow covered mountains
only 2-3 hours away in the winter. Mad nightlife, great food and I
have met wonderful people not just from Spain but from all the corners
of the earth. I can't think of many other cities that have so much
on offer at reasonable prices. It's a bargain! And it gets even better
when you learn to speak Spanish!
I found one of the best
Spanish schools in Barcelona offering intensive courses at budget
have another language is to possess a second
soul! " Did I say that? No. Charlemagne said that.
But he was right. Not only do you get a second
soul, but you don't get ripped off half as much when
you live in Spain. But I would recommend that you
learn spanish in a school if you really want to get it
Finding a school however takes a bit of time. There are many,
many, many language schools in Barcelona, believe me . So it is a
good idea to make a list of what you are looking for. I was looking
for a school that was not too big, central, affordable and with a
bit of personal attention. I visited many schools and the one I finally
chose was Speakeasy Language School. I have included links to the
revelant website pages in the text and at the bottom of this article
you can find some useful links to websites in Barcelona.
- School location in Barcelona
I chose Speakeasy Spanish School because it is very central. The
school is only 2 minutes from the central square which is Plaza
Catalunya and 2 minutes from Las Ramblas, which is the central walking
street in town. And in the middle of 3 of the busiest Metros and
45 bus lines.
- Size of the Spanish school matters
I found through talking to people that I met in Barcelona and from
visiting Spanish schools, that the big schools like Don Quijote,
Enforex and International House are very good schools, but they
seem to attract very young students almost in their teens.
The general opinion of people I spoke to about finding a good school,
is that a lot of the young students at the big schools are being
subsidised by parents or governments, which means that they are
not too worried about how much Spanish they learn. To attract young
students these schools also have a very full programme of extra-curricular
student activities, like cooking, dancing and excursions.
Speakeasy language school is smaller and more local. The only thing
on the menu is Spanish. They don't teach you how to make paellas,
dance Flamenco or fight bulls! This seems to attract slightly older
and more independant students. The average age is early 20'ies and
and upward. This suited me much better. There are still plenty of
opportunities to meet people and have fun outside the school, but
the students organise this themselves.
- The price is right
Many big schools are more expensive because they work with travel
agents. This means that the prices are almost double the prices
of local spanish schools in Barcelona. Speakeasy Language School
is simply one of the cheapest schools in Barcelona, yet they still
manage to have qualified and motivated teachers, good facilities
and a well structured syllabus. And good service.
How to get the most out
of your Spanish course in Barcelona.
- Clear your head and your calendar!
Distraction 1. It is very easy to be distracted
from studying Spanish. You will easily meet
people in your class, at the Sapnish school,
in the bars of Barclelona, on the beaches of
the costa dorada, well everywhere.
I met wonderful people from all over the world
and of course from Barcelona and other parts
of Spain. But it can also mean that you are
going out more than you expected which is
not good for Spanish studies.
Distraction 2. Your friends will want to come
and visit you. This really means 3 days crashing
on the floor of your room and partying non-stop. Serious fun. But
bad for spanish studies.
Distraction 3.Then you might want to take some shorter trips
yourself to see more of Spain. There are a million fantastic weekends
trips that you can fill your weekends with.
All this is fine and good, but it makes it very difficult to study
Spanish. My advice is to clear your calendar and your head for at
least the first month of Spanish classes. No visits and limited
nightlife. This will enable you to attend most of the classes and
get your homework done. The difference is enormous and you will
be speaking much better Spanish after a month on intensive study.
Speaking Spanish - Find an "intergambio"
I found it quite difficult to practise speaking Spanish in the
beginning. I was sharing a flat with other foreigners. Luckily
after the first 2 weeks a Mexican moved in, which improved my
knowledge of Mexican tequila brands and also my Spanish. If you
are having trouble practising Spanish then you can usually take
extra conversation classes or you can find an "intergambio."
This is a spanish person, who wants to practise English or German
on you and in return you get to practise your Spanish on them.
Great fun and a great way of meeting locals.
- Don't give up!
They say that learning Spanish is easy. Maybe it is. It is easy
to learn to say "Me llamo Dave!" My Name is
Dave or "Dos cervesas por favor!" 2 beers please!
But to tell the landlord. "Is it ok if my sister comes and
stays with me for a few days in my room and do I have to pay extra?"
is not what I would call easy after 1 week of Spanish no matter
how intensive it is. It takes a bit longer than you think to be
able to communicate and you quickly realise that learning Spanish
is going to be one of your hobbies for the rest of your life. So
don't give up just because the first month is hard. Believe
me. Suddenly it all comes together and after 1-2 months of hard
effort I started feeling that I was communicating well in reasonable
Spanish. I was also able to understand most of what people were
saying in Spanish.
To sum it up, choose Barcelona because:
- The city is wonderful mixture of old
and new cultures
It's easy & cheap to get there by EasyJet,
Ryanair, Virgin etc etc
Still pretty cheap and
many good deals on food, trips etc.
Beaches beaches beaches. Great beaches!
Every kind of sport
you can think of in the water or mountains
Great infrastructure. Cheap reliable trains,
Great climate. Mild
in winter, perfect in summer.
- Close to Pyrenees for great skiing in winter
Plenty of nice people
to party with and good food.
Choose Speakeasy Language School because:
- Location in the very center of Barcelona
Great teachers, who are native Spanish and
6 different levels from
beginner to advanced
Free level test and excellent advice from
the front desk
is a huge bonus in the summer
Communicative immersion classes
Small groups of max.
Friendly & helpful English speaking desk
Free coffee all day
and fast internet access
Watch this space for upcoming features about
finding accommodation in Barcelona and working
Top recommendation for a great spanish school
Speakeasy Language School Barcelona.
Other good schools in Barcelona but a bit more
Don Quijote Spanish
Other useful links:
The best website I found for online maps
in Barcelona is http://www.bcn.es/guia
Websites to get information, meet people and
place free classified ads.
Official Barcelona city website:
A few comments from my fellow students at Speakeasy
Language School in Barcelona.