Mas o menos: Salamanca
Lie: Spanish Languages for Life course
I could have easily gone to another city or picked another school, but I happened to end up in Salamanca, something I have never regretted.
I am trying to think about what exactly it is that made me come back for the third year in row now. First of all there is of course Salamanca itself: the city centre is absolutely gorgeous, its night-life is no less than legendary and in summer the swimming pools are absolutely irresistible. More importantly however, I think it is the school’s atmosphere that I keep coming back to. All my life I hated studying languages more than anything, whereas at the Spanish school in Salamanca I discovered that learning a foreign language doesn’t need to be a complete bore.
I believe the difference between studying Spanish at a regular school at home and studying Spanish at a language school in Salamanca, lies for a great deal with the teachers. I don’t really know how they do it, but I have never really had the feeling that I was studying Spanish. I remember for example how José María, my first teacher, made maximum use of his imagination to help us telling things we didn’t have the vocabulary for yet, and how every time we had no other option than to assent, slightly giggling, with something like “si, mas o menos”.
Later, when my Spanish had significantly improved, I really enjoyed the discussions we had in class, as well as the fact that I was now able to poke fun at the teachers myself. The thing I like so much about studying in Salamanca is that everybody is welcomed to study at their own pace. Whereas some like to pursue an in-depth study about Salamanca’s night-life, while grabbing some Spanish along the way, others consider studying Spanish more like something that enables them to learn more about the Spanish culture, and some way or another all this mixes pretty well together. I don’t know. What started as a bit of a haphazard project has turned out to be a nice and interesting chapter in my life.
I had a lot of fun learning Spanish – which is something that has never occurred to me with any language I have studied before – and I attribute a great deal of this to the school staff.
I like to compare it with a little child who is discovering the world. In the beginning you need a lot of confidence from the teacher to take your first steps, but the more you are gaining confidence, the better life gets, and the more you want more and more and more. Already after a couple of weeks I found myself able to hang out with some of my Spanish Couch-surfing friends, which was an experience that gave me such a boost that ‘studying’ Spanish never really felt like studying.
So here I am – there you are.
If you are about to make a random choice just like I did, then I hope that my experience may inspire you.