To learn Spanish in Spain is a rewarding experience. This page will guide you through the options available to you in terms of courses, and explain more about the types of schools on offer, as well as giving you an idea of what it is like to study in Spain. You can also see here the costs of studying Spanish in Spain to give you a rough idea of how to budget.
If you want to practice your new Spanish with the locals, bear in mind that not all cities in Spain speak the same Spanish that you will be learning in class. Spain is divided into autonomous regions, and although everyone speaks Spanish as we know it (Castilian Spanish), each region has its own language as well.
However, if you start to speak to someone in Castilian, they will reply in Castilian, so it's not a problem. But look out for signs and menus that may be written in an unfamiliar Spanish.
Catalonia - Catalan
Valencia - Valenciano
Pamplona - Basque (in some areas)
Andalusia - Castilian with strong accent. S's not pronounced
Living in Spain is an exciting experience. I have lived in many places across Spain and I have always felt welcome. Spanish people are chatty and friendly, so you will get to practise your new skills. They are amazingly patient too, and don't mind at all if you keep saying things wrong.
Most Spanish cities are full of students, and full of different nationalities so it's easy to meet new people. Neither is the cost of living in Spain too expensive, and I think the quality of life here for students is excellent because food is cheap, so is nightlife and everything happens later in the evenings, so you'll have plenty of time to get the studying done before painting the town red. Of course, the summers are full of guaranteed sunshine, but be careful this doesn't distract you from your studies.
When considering a Spanish language school you should take into account the following points:
1) How many study group levels does the school offer?
2) What size are the groups?
3) Whereabouts is the school?
4) How many study hours per day?
5) How much do the study materials cost?
6) What additional amenities does the school have?
To learn Spanish in Spain effectively, you must make sure that you are placed in the correct level class. A good school will offer you a free entry text to assess your level. Many offer this online. Also consider the group sizes, as over 10 people can mean that sometimes you don't get a word in edgeways.
Try to find out a little bit about the area the school is in. Ideally, it should be near a metro or bus stop.
The study hours per day vary, and you'll find that most schools have flexible programs. I found that to learn Spanish most effectively, you need to balance your time between the classroom and the outdoor world. So consider studying 2 - 4 hours a day and then getting out and about and experiencing the city. Don't forget that there will also be almost as much time spent on homework as there is in class.
In terms of facilities, just bear in mind that the summers in Spain are hot and the winters can get quite cold, so you may prefer to elect a school with air-conditioning and heating.
New books cost money. Ask the school to put you in contact with previous students who may wish to sell their old books. All look at the notice boards in the schools which advertise second-hand books from previous students you will typically save around 50% of the price of the books. With most books costing around €15.00 and typically you required two books for each course, this can be quite a saving.
There is no right answer to this question. As long as you take into consideration the above points, they will help you find the school and area that's suited to you. Bear in mind also that Barcelona, for example also has beaches, whereas in Madrid you will be 4.5 hours drive from the coast, but immersed in culture, and the language is Castilian. Andalusia is vibrant and full of gypsy culture and Flamenco music, and northern Spain has stunning green mountain scenery.
Generally you will have to pay a deposit. The school should give you a guide as to what further expenses to expect. You can choose a week's intensive course of 20 hours. Or you can choose 7.5 hours per week or 3 hours a week. If you want personal tuition, most schools offer this.
Spanish Courses Fees
One week (20 hr): €180.00
One week (7.5 hr): €100.00
One week(3 hr): €45.00
Personal tuition (1 hr): €30.00
This page has provided you with points to bear in mind if you are coming to learn Spanish in Spain. There is information about the different dialects and types of Spanish spoken, across the country and a guide as to how much you can expect to pay to join a school. If you want to know more about how to learn Spanish in Madrid, see our page on Spanish courses in Madrid
If you need help looking for student accommodation, see our guide to student accommodation in Madrid