Spanish language course in Cuenca, Ecuador
Toby Roberts : 8 weeks Spanish course in Cuenca, Ecuador
Before I went on the course I felt I had realistic expectations, I didn’t expect to become fluent in Spanish (no matter how good the tutors that wasn’t, sadly, going to happen in just eight weeks) but I did hope I’d reach a standard where I could have a decent conversation with native Spanish speakers. Furthermore I was hoping, rather than expecting, to be be placed with a friendly and supportive family so that I’d be able to learn Spanish in a friendly and relaxed environment.
My hopes were realised! The teaching staff at the Spanish language school in Cuenca and the host family I was placed with were amazingly friendly and supportive. I was very pleased with the standard I finally attained in Spanish, after just 8 weeks as I was indeed able to have decent conversation with native Spanish speakers.
I thought the lessons were great. The teachers interacted really well with us Spanish language students, everyone turned up on time for class and the lessons were very well structured. I felt comfortable in the school as well – both the Spanish school staff and the Spanish teachers were approachable and ready to answer any questions that arise, from suggesting something to do, through to a tricky grammar question that I hadn’t quite mastered. The school is very well situated, central and with a fabulous view overlooking the Barranco river. I particularly enjoyed the social activities offered by the Spanish language school in Cuenca. The museum visits were really informative and not in anyway dull, but it was the cookery class that I really enjoyed everyone had a good laugh and it was a great social occasion.
All the Spanish students at the college were very friendly whichever of the Spanish language courses they were following, and it was great to be able to met up with so many people from different countries who all shared the same thing in common – the desire to improve their Spanish! Whilst I was there, there was never more than four students in my class, which meant that the pace of class work was fast and challenging, but everyone still had plenty of teacher input and could keep up with the work load. The lessons are given in blocks of two 45 minute sessions and I found that I really needed the break before the third lesson, to give my brain a rest before we were back in the classroom. I wouldn’t have believed that a 4 Spanish lessons a day programme would be so demanding, but also so rewarding at the same time. After a couple of weeks I was totally into the swing of the school system, but you do need to give yourself time.
Cuenca is a beautiful city. The centre is very compact and laid out in a grid pattern, the rest of the city is a maze of old colonial, narrow streets which it takes time to get to know but lovely to explore. The city centre certainly deserves its status as a World Heritage Centre – there are some incredible old buildings. It is also home to several Universities which means a good student population and a night life to support them! It is also – importantly – a relatively cheap place for students to study and live and there are a range of good cheap restaurants to eat out in. Safety certainly didn’t appear to be a problem, none of the students male or female mentioned any difficulties. In fact we always found the local people to be really friendly and it was easy to converse with them out of class. Cuenca is a great place for students socially, we would regularly met up in the evenings to go to a bar or watch a football match together. The locals speak Spanish quite slowly which is really good news for the average language student!
I booked host accommodation as I wanted to be able to practise my Spanish out of class and I was really pleased that I did so. The house I stayed in was spacious and comfortable. The room I was given was simply furnished but comfortable and quiet, so I could get on with my home work each afternoon without being disturbed. My hosts were really easy to talk to and happy to be patient with my efforts in speaking Spanish, until my improving skills made the experience less trying (trying for me that is, they never made me feel that they felt that way, though I’m sure sometimes it must have been so!).
I had to make several phone calls to CESA before I was ready to commit to booking a course and I was really impressed. The staff were always happy to answer my questions, no matter what they were. They were always polite and answered my questions fully. I definitely hope to do another language course in the future and would definitely use CESA again to ensure everything went as smoothly as it did with my Spanish course in Cuenca!