Katarina: 11 week course in Seville
Before I begin this lengthy review, let me say, I cannot recommend the Spanish language school in Sevilla highly enough. The school, the people who work there, the quality of teaching, the city – it is all amazing and far surpassed my expectations. If you want to learn Spanish, it is a great place to go.
I went into my three months in Spain having studied Spanish for a year at an eighth grade level, plus a few weeks of Duolingo. I was hoping to pick enough of it up to have a basic conversation. I expected to begin near the basics, in classes translating from English to Spanish and vice versa.
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One week in, I knew I was wrong. Although the administration and most professors can speak English if needed, they use Spanish for everything. From the little cafe in the school to tours to classes, everything is conducted in Spanish. Yet I never felt overwhelmed because the staff knows how to speak at a level suited to each student, making it possible to understand and learn while being fully immersed in Spanish. Even if you are not living with a Spanish host family, you will get plenty of chances to hear it spoken at the school. I started in an A1 level and by the end of my 11 week stay I was only a week away from B2.
This was accomplished by my skilled professors. I had more teachers than most students, because I moved up a class and had substitutes, but I found each one to be knowledgeable, engaged, and fun to learn with. They work hard to improve our level and to make us comfortable enough to make mistakes. In a couple short weeks, my class felt like a second family. I thoroughly enjoyed coming to class each day, even in my 11th week.
The school was more than its classes though. The students were diverse and engaged as well, ranging in ages from 17 to over 60, and hailing from all over the world. I have made friends I will remember for a long time.
Some of these memories were made at the school itself. The main school is centrally located, minutes away from the cathedral, a Sevici (bike share) station, as well as countless cafes and restaurants. It’s other buildings are all within a block. They are all colorful and well lit, with someone to help you find classes as needed. The main building is built around a central courtyard area where students gather during breaks to chat and grab a coffee or a bite to eat from the cafe. It is always a fun place to hang out, especially during the busier months. There is also free wifi, computers, and a media lab for the students to use.
The school also has a FANTASTIC cultural programme. Every week, their cultural director plans a list of activities. Most weeks there is a movie showing, a orientation tour for new students, a guided tour of a Sevilla landmark, as well as a longer weekend. These often cost a little extra as to cover the cost of admission and any accommodation, but they are well worth it. I got to visit the best sites in Sevilla learning a lot from a knowledgeable guide while improving my Spanish. Weekends trips included Lisbon, Salamanca, Cadiz, Morocco, Granada, and more. These trips were amazing because they gave me a chance to meet more students while exploring the city from an expert point of view. A prime example was the Granada trip – I had been told countless times that the Alhambra had a complicated ticket procedure and that it was always busy. But because the school has done this trip many times and you count as a tour group, they have mastered the visit. We visited parts of the Alhambra that were completely empty except for us. You can’t beat that.
But, lastly, the crowning factor of this school is the city itself. Every Spanish city has its own character, but Sevilla was my far my favorite. Small enough to get around (although you will get lost on its winding streets) but with enough to do and visit to keep you entertained. I was packing in tourist attractions even into my last days there. Whether you like to relax in the many parks or by the river, indulge in the tapas, admire the architecture, or enjoy the nightlife – there is something for you to do. Best of all, it was all affordable.
I know many students who were returning. They loved their first time so much they came back again. One of my friends was actually there because her father had attended the school in Sevilla when he was younger. I know that I also hope to return at some point.
So whether you want to improve your Spanish in their intensive courses for a week, or get to know Sevilla over a few months, I guarantee the school in Sevilla will not disappoint.