Hola amigos! I’m in Spain :)
If you remember from my list of goals for this year, learning Spanish is up near the top. So just before my birthday I started making plans to attend a language course in Spain. I felt a bit funny sitting in my apartment in Berlin and planning a solid month away on the other side of Europe. To learn Spanish. (When I very obviously should have been spending my time learning German…but hey, the heart wants what the heart wants.)
But really…I’ve lost a bit of my motivation for learning German. Maybe it was the onset of winter (even if the weather had been mild, the skies have been dark). Maybe it was my stagnant learning (thanks to way too many travels around Europe in the fall). Maybe I just needed a break from Berlin. And so, to reinvigorate myself, to get back into the habit of learning a language, and frankly, to just escape the Berlin winter, I booked myself a flight from Berlin to Seville. And then…here I am!
When I decided to learn Spanish (more than just the occasional Duolingo session), I had a few options for Spanish cities good for studying. Madrid, my favorite city in Spain (and one of my top 3 favorite cities in all of Europe) would’ve been my first choice….but Madrid in winter? No thanks! Valencia is another city that I’ve considered for studying abroad, but if I’m going to be on the beach, I want to make sure it’s proper beach weather. Seville—a city I visited early on my RTW trip—seemed like a nice option. It’s in the south so it’s warm. It’s not so far or inconvenient from Berlin. And it’s a popular city for foreigners studying in Spain…whether it’s flamenco dancing, guitar or learning Spanish.
Why Clic International School?
This is a bit of an easier question. Once I’d decided to study Spanish in Spain, I went straight to my friend Jeanette who publishes a work & study abroad website. Jeanette came back with a recommendation for the Clic Language School. Then some bells went off – this was the very same school that my sister Kiera had studied at back in 2001! She had spent several months traveling solo through Europe before booking a study abroad course at Clic where she stayed for a few months.
I was always pretty jealous of the fact that my sister got to live briefly in Spain. Of course this was before I found myself studying abroad in London, in Sydney and eventually doing internships in Tel Aviv and Berlin. But just to make sure I still come out ahead of my sister, I decided to book myself in a 4-week course at CLIC :-P
HOW TO FIND A LANGUAGE SCHOOL: Latitude International Education provides professional work and study abroad advice to young adults planning to study abroad or work abroad in Canada or Europe. Their selection of programs include professional internships in Canada, au pair in Europe, study Business English in Canada and language study abroad in France, Germany and Spain. Latitude also offers social media consulting services to private language schools wanting to expand their global reach through new media. Learn more at latitudetravel.ca
The Goal? Learn Some Spanish
For the next few weeks I plan to actually hunker down and learn some Spanish. Unlike with my German language studies, this time around I’m actually learning the language because I want to. There’s not really a pressing need to know or understand Spanish; it’s just something I’m interested in. Well, that…and there’s a boy. But that’s another story!
To help myself practice Spanish everyday, in addition to daily classes from 9:15am to 1:00pm:
- I’m using some apps on my phone (bet you can’t guess which one – Apple only called it the best app of the year, haha)
- I’m tumblin’ with a new Tumblr blog I set up all about learning Spanish in Seville
- I’m keeping a journal to write down new words
- And I’m making sure to use as much Spanish as possible when exploring and hanging out in Seville. Thankfully this is pretty easy because I’ve discovered that quite a few Sevillanos actually don’t speak much English.
This is a new challenge for me and it’s been fun so far (I’ve been here since Sunday). It’s a complete personal challenge and a new way of traveling. Traveling with a purpose and a goal beyond discovering and exploring a new place, this way of travel is more about personal growth than anything else.
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To learn more about my adventures learning Spanish in Seville, including what my first day of classes was like, check out some recent posts on the new blog:
I am trying to learn Spanish too. I wish I was one of those people who really enjoys the process of learning a new language but I hate it :( And Spanish is so hard :(
Awww, I think (I hope) that you eventually reach a place in language-learning where you start to enjoy it. There was a time when I really loved learning German, but after a while I hit a wall. And so far everything’s going well with the Spanish-learning so I’m optimistic. Hope you reach a point where you start to enjoy it!
I love this post. I’ve been trying to look for a relatively short program like this (4-6 weeks) to take a course in Spain for fun. I actually already know Spanish but I’m not fluent and I wanted to do an Immersion program. Is this something similar? I’m wondering how long your month long adventure is going to cost.
Hey Brittany – awesome to hear! My program isn’t an immersion one, but I think among Clic’s schools they offer that. The basic 4-week course at Clic costs 660€ (accommodation is separate) but they offer a lot of other options, from business classes & internship placements and immersion, expat & flamenco studies in conjunction with the language lessons. Here’s there full list of Spanish courses in Seville: http://www.clic.es/en/dates-and-prices/seville.
I think I’ll try to track my expenses for the month as well. I don’t think Seville is the cheapest city in Spain to study Spanish, but I’m hoping it’ll turn out being cheaper than places like Madrid or Barcelona which have many more distractions :)
Thanks for the link Adam I’ll look into it. I thought about doing a program in Barcelona because it’s a beautiful city, I’m actually going to visit in June, but with the Catalan that they speak there and how expensive it is in that city, I wasn’t so sure Barcelona woud be the best option.
Brittany, you could check out Sevilla Habla as well, they have great prices, though I don’t think housing is included.
Oh thank you for the tip Cat! I just looked up the school – seems friendly and pretty small. Thanks for sharing!
Olé! Are you around next week for a beer and tapa after 1pm? I can stick around for an hour or so, but I’ll be here this weekend, too. Looking forward to meeting up!
si, claro!! Let’s do it! After 1pm would be great for me as my classes end right around then in the city center, near Plaza Nueva.
It’s funny, I feel much the same about Spanish and German as you, Adam. I studied both at A-level (exams many British people do at age 18) and used to be similarly enthusiastic for both, but even after spending a lot of time teaching English in Austria, I was just happy to get by, and wasn’t that interested in improving. When people would correct me on the use of articles, I’m just like “whatever”. When I travelled to South America with my partner, though, one of my main aims was to improve my Spanish, which I have, and I really enjoyed the process. Also, when I lived in Spain (Merida, just a few hours north of Seville actually) in 2012 for 3 months teaching English, I was much more enthusiastic about it then too. Seville is a super cool city, and definitely a good choice for this time of year (I was in Madrid a few months ago and it was COLDER THAN LONDON!) and the fact that many people don’t speak English as you said. It’s definitely high on my list of cities to live for a month or two. Have fun!
Wow, thank you Sam! I don’t think it’s so common to meet people who’ve learned both Spanish and German in the span of a few years so it’s nice to get your perspective. Spanish is such a beautiful language! Hopefully when we meet up we even try to speak in some Spanish :)
What is Merida like, by the way? Is it a nice enough town or city worth visiting?
what FUN!! i love this how-to guide – definitely will share it. thanks!
I’m really enjoying reading about your studies in Spain, but know that you will NEVER exceed your wonderful sister! ;) Ha ha! In all seriousness, I found that outside of class I formed a group that we would go to lunch and speak Spanish the entire time, even that first week! It was tough but we could help each other as we all had different strengths and weaknesses in learning. This carried over into the house I lived in (with a private room but shared kitchen etc) and when we would go out for dinner and to the clubs. Honestly after 4 weeks I could have full conversations in Spanish and loved it! There was a french woman in my house that did not speak English and even after two weeks it was amazing that we could become friends b/c I could finally speak Spanish! CLIC is an awesome school and Sevilla is a true gem in Spain, and definitely cheaper than most other cities in Spain. It’s on my bucket list to figure out a way to spend every summer (or every other) in Sevilla… one day!
Hahaha, thank you Kiera for all that :)
I took 2 Spanish classes when I was in college, but one of my goals has always been going to Spain to experience the real culture and meet up with the people there. Reading your plan and looking at the picture of the beautiful city where you’re staying to learn Spanish motivate me to go on my own trip. Good luck with everything and keep us posted on your journey, Adam.
Have you ever been to Spain yet? It sounds like you could make a holiday out of visiting Spain (for the first time?) and getting the chance to learn first-hand about the culture. But be careful!! This country can be infectious :) Ever since my first visit I haven’t been able to stay away!
Yay! As you know, we’re happy to see that you’re in Seville. Love seeing all the pictures on Instagram.
Regarding language and your comments about “wanting” to learn it…no one should ever bother unless they can bring themselves to want it. Not doing so just makes it that much more of a pain in the ass, as you know.
Now, should I say viel Glück or buena suerte? =P
Thanks Ryan :-)
I’m trying to stay strictly to Spanish here! At the recent CouchSurfing meetup, I met a Spanish girl who wanted to talk in German but I refused! Yo necesito practicar mi español!
The milder weather down there compared to Germany can’t hurt … and neither can the fact that you have a new love interest (good luck with that!) :)
Hehe thanks Selma – yes, the weather is certainly an improvement here! Though it’s not warm per say, it’s certainly sunnier – and sun is so important in the winter! I can’t believe how much I’d forgotten about sunshine!
I want to learn Spanish too, but I’m traveling in Thailand now, not in Spain. You’re so lucky :)
Umm, okay Aleah. Well, luckily Spain is only a plane-ride away!
The best way to learn a language is to make it fun — and live in a native-speaking country. Sounds like you’ve hit it right on both counts!
Thanks Terry – you’re right that you have to make sure you’re having fun to really be inspired to learn a language.
I’m so jealous! Seville is such a gorgeous city – I’m positive you’ll have a fantastic time.
Thanks Micki! I’ve been here 2 weeks now and can definitely agree that it’s gorgeous here!
So exciting! Can’t wait to hear your updates on all this.
The hardest part of going local on Gran Canaria’s the lingo. Mr Gran Canaria Local was in a language school. Now he picks up new words playing football. Although the language does tend to be of an industrial variety.
Haha, funny about that. But I think that’s a good tip – new words are often picked up in more fun settings (for me, that’s the bars or clubs).
Hi! Thanks for the inspirational blog. The pix make me wish I was right now. Thanks for sharing.
I loved Seville — spending a few weeks there to learn Spanish sounds like a dream! Seemed like such a fun, friendly place for expats too. Have fun and enjoy the tapas!
Glad to hear so many people saying how much they loved Seville. I enjoyed it on my first visit (just as a tourist) but have really come to love it this time around. I can see why it’s such an appealing city for expats, immigrants, tourists and…well everyone! The food here is truly incredible too. So many great tapas restaurants!
Wow, moving to Seville to learn Spanish- now, that’s a great way to learn a language! Have a fantastic time!
Thanks Mary! It’s what I’ve found to be one of the best ways to learn a language – surround yourself with it!
I’m loving your photos of Sevilla Adam! Hope the classes are going well. I should be focusing on studying Spanish so much more than I am right now. It’s hard when you are so busy though! If you make it back to Madrid anytime soon and want to meet up let me know! :)
Thanks for the inspirational blog. The pix make me wish I was right now. Thanks for sharing.
I would love to see you in Nepal to learn Nepali Language.
Hmmm… interesting. No plans to do that but I’ve heard Nepal is beautiful :) What’s the language like?
Although, you’re done with Sevilla now, I’m going to go back and read about your time there as this type of program seems like something I’d be interested in!
This is the best way to learn spanish. I spent two years on the ground in Peru, having moved there only knowing how to count to ten. Living on the outskirts of the city, and interacting with everybody around me in very, very broken spanish, I quickly became fluent in speaking, reading and writing. Learning on the streets is the way to go!!
I have to learn some basic Spanish for my business. Your article helped me very much to learn Spanish and feeling happy. Thanks for sharing the cool ideas.