Amy hits Madrid
12 weeks (May – July) in Madrid
on a Spanish Gap Year programme :
Before I arrived I generally expected the course to be both challenging and fun at the same time, especially considering there was going to be students from all over the world studying at the school. Linguistically I really wasn`t sure what to expect, I assumed it would be hard at first and become easier over the weeks and I hoped I would improve over the three months there. My expectations were met and definitely exceeded. The course was lots of fun and what made it so enjoyable was the fact I was learning with students from such a variety of backgrounds. Although I learnt lots of Spanish I was pleased to pick up the Russian alphabet, Korean, German, Italian and Swedish phrases too from the friends I met. Linguistically it was definitely a little harder than expected, but it did get easier and by the end of the 12 weeks I had moved up 3 levels, so I was pleased with my improvement. Overall I thought the lessons were brilliant! There was always a good balance between the speaking, listening, writing and reading element and at all times there was a good student/teacher interaction. The teachers were also flexible enough to let the students dictate the nature of classes at times, if they thought it would be beneficial to all of us – which made some classes very interesting.
Overall I really liked the school. It is in a fantastic location (I couldn`t think of a more perfect location!) and the staff were very helpful and approachable throughout my 3 months. The teachers similarly were very friendly and some of them great both as teachers and people. There are many great things that I have taken away from the course. One of the best parts of the experience was being able to learn and talk Spanish every day, and it literally was every day, which was fantastic to really get to grips with the language. The classes themselves were really fun and I have some very funny memories from some of my classes. The only ‘bad’ part of my experience was the fact that it wasn`t always easy and fun, but challenging at times and did require hard work, especially to ensure I moved up to the next level. If anything this was a good part of the experience since it ensured you were still learning and improving your Spanish as well as having a great time!
One of the best parts of the language course, and in fact my entire experience in Madrid was meeting students from all over the world – it was really such a great way to learn about other cultures. I now have friends all over the world and have the language school to thank for that. The school activities are good and I would definitely recommend that students should take part in them, not only because they are fun but also because it is a great way to meet the other students and make friends. I think the balance between the lessons and free time was perfect. I never felt I needed more free time, since the school organised the timetable very well. After spending 3 months in Madrid I have absolutely fallen in love with the city and cannot think of anything negative to say about it. It is a brilliant city to learn Spanish; there are lots of students from all over the world which makes it vibrant and cosmopolitan and therefore very fun! It is also a great place to practise your Spanish with the locals, since many of them are happy to let you talk in Spanish with them. There are an abundance of things to do in the city both in the day and night; but what makes Madrid so special is the nightlife, it has a fantastic nightlife which never ends and is something which must be experienced!
I lived in a flat on Calle de Fernan Gonzalez and my landlady was called Petra. The flat itself was in a great location, very safe and also pretty big. Overall I am very happy with the accommodation I received and have very few complaints. My only complaint was that Petra at times was a little intrusive; she would regularly come and inspect our flat. One time she came during dinner and made my friend leave. She thought I was having a party…I was clearly not, we were eating dinner at the time and therefore decided to remove my friend from the flat. However after that incident, I spoke to the school and she became less intrusive and a little nicer also!
CESA have been absolutely brilliant! I really cannot thank Katherine and the rest of the CESA staff any more for what a fantastic and professional service they provide. When I was planning my trip to Spain I had so many questions (hundreds!) and I was so impressed with how happy and willing Katherine was to answer every single one of them! Not only did she provide comprehensive answers she also gave great advice which I definitely took onboard. I have already and will continue to recommend CESA Languages to anyone considering learning a language abroad – I really can’t think of any negatives.
I really did have a fantastic time in Madrid, an experience I will never forget – overall everything exceeded my expectations – and I would like to say thank you to CESA again! I would definitely go again and hopefully returning to Madrid next year. It is such a fantastic place, somewhere that I would really love to live for a couple of years in the future! Now off to study in Granada for 10 wks!