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Immersion Spanish Schools in Spain

2020 Camino Guides

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
Has anyone any experience good or bad with any of the immersion language courses in the various schools in Spain? I am planning on returning to Spain in early spring 2020 to complete the Via de la Plata starting from Merida where I left off in 2017. The plan is to go over early for 3 to 4 weeks language study. The number of choices is overwhelming and rather than buy a pig in a poke, I am hoping for some first hand accounts of what to embrace and/or what to avoid.
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte, Primitivo, Frances,Via de la Plata

Camino Portuguese november 2019
On my side i did a spanish immersion in Bolivia. I was going at school 4 hours per day and living in a familly for 3 weeks. Each day it was a different teacher, very good to learn. Concerning the school i would suggest you to have a plan from them to underdtand what you will learn. Also if they are following a book wich one. Sometime the school have a special document they are following.

In south america anyone that speak spanish can be a teacher. Make sure that you check their background and references in wich Spain university?
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
On my side i did a spanish immersion in Bolivia. I was going at school 4 hours per day and living in a familly for 3 weeks. Each day it was a different teacher, very good to learn. Concerning the school i would suggest you to have a plan from them to underdtand what you will learn. Also if they are following a book wich one. Sometime the school have a special document they are following.

In south america anyone that speak spanish can be a teacher. Make sure that you check their background and references in wich Spain university?
Thank you. You have given me some guidelines for researching. Will need to know: 1) Teaching/Learning goals; 2) Text info; 3) Staff Credentials.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
There is an organisation in Spain called the Cervantes Institute or similar, which I believe is government-sponsored, in much the same way as the Goethe Institute and Alliance Francaise. I don't know if they have their own schools or endorse particular private ones but I anticipate they could efficiently and helpfully answer some of your questions.
 
Last edited:

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
There is an organisation in Spain called the Cervantes Institute or similar, which I believe it government-sponsored, in much the same way as the Goethe Institute and Alliance Francaise. I don't know if they have their own schools or endorse particular private ones but I anticipate they could efficiently and helpfully answer some of your questions.
Thank you. I have noticed that some schools are “endorsed by..”. I will check further into what that endorsement means.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Thank you. I have noticed that some schools are “endorsed by..”. I will check further into what that endorsement means.
First, nice to see you again, and second: I have a friend who was employed by Instituto Cervantes. She is a trained teacher, as well as being a teacher of Spanish. I think you will find that all teachers in their institutes are accredited teachers. Whatever that means in practice! Buena suerte.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@cher99840 I'd start out by deciding where I wanted to be in Spain. Seville is certainly a great city and choice, but you may have a yearning to be elsewhere. At least if you decide on location, you eliminate a few choices. And yes, I'd go with the Instituto Cervantes recognised schools.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
LePuy, Frances, Aragones, Ingles, Vezelay, Toulosana, Muxia, Fisterra, Portugues, Sanabres
Less than a plane ticket to Spain:


Spend a few hundred dollars on a tutor, and he/she could have some input on entering an immersion program.

Like buying an albergue, it may be worth being a volunteer first (simile ?...).
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
First, nice to see you again, and second: I have a friend who was employed by Instituto Cervantes. She is a trained teacher, as well as being a teacher of Spanish. I think you will find that all teachers in their institutes are accredited teachers. Whatever that means in practice! Buena suerte.
Thank you. Following up with Cervantes.
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
@cher99840 I'd start out by deciding where I wanted to be in Spain. Seville is certainly a great city and choice, but you may have a yearning to be elsewhere. At least if you decide on location, you eliminate a few choices. And yes, I'd go with the Instituto Cervantes recognised schools.
Yes I’m comparing costs in various cities and that will be factored into the choice. Thanks.
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
Less than a plane ticket to Spain:


Spend a few hundred dollars on a tutor, and he/she could have some input on entering an immersion program.

Like buying an albergue, it may be worth being a volunteer first (simile ?...).
That’s thinking outside the box!! Thanks for your input. I did actually try to find a tutor this past summer and unfortunately there were strings attached. Seems she had a soft spot for a Mission in Guatemala and I wasn’t interested in joining her cause.

I want to stick to the Immersion in Spain plan. One plane ticket to walk the VdlP and will just time it so that I get my instruction just before hitting the trail at Merida.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances to Fisterra/Muxia 2013, twice in 2014, 2015, twice in 2016, 2017, a week on the VdlP
Hello @cher99840

I need to point out that I have had no experience with this school and as such, I can not vouch or recommend it. However, it sounds very interesting to me and I am planning on going out early next year. I heard about it via a Spanish language school here in London, El Camino Espanol, which arranges trips for their students.

TSE, True Spanish Experience, have two locations and they both offer immersion education. However, it is the campus in A Coruna that I find interesting as it offers a Camino journey to practice your Spanish and comes complete with social activities like bread making and fishing with the locals along the way. And of course, you can stay before or after the Camino experience to study immersion style. Check them out at True Spanish Experience. Camino aside, they have a lot to offer

This is the page about Camino study. Might be worth investigating.


Hope you find something that inspires you.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Has anyone any experience good or bad with any of the immersion language courses in the various schools in Spain? I am planning on returning to Spain in early spring 2020 to complete the Via de la Plata starting from Merida where I left off in 2017. The plan is to go over early for 3 to 4 weeks language study. The number of choices is overwhelming and rather than buy a pig in a poke, I am hoping for some first hand accounts of what to embrace and/or what to avoid.

Consider the official university language schools. I’ve been to both Madrid and Malaga for a month each. Both excellent.
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
Consider the official university language schools. I’ve been to both Madrid and Malaga for a month each. Both excellent.
Where did you stay while you were taking the courses?
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
Hello @cher99840

I need to point out that I have had no experience with this school and as such, I can not vouch or recommend it. However, it sounds very interesting to me and I am planning on going out early next year. I heard about it via a Spanish language school here in London, El Camino Espanol, which arranges trips for their students.

TSE, True Spanish Experience, have two locations and they both offer immersion education. However, it is the campus in A Coruna that I find interesting as it offers a Camino journey to practice your Spanish and comes complete with social activities like bread making and fishing with the locals along the way. And of course, you can stay before or after the Camino experience to study immersion style. Check them out at True Spanish Experience. Camino aside, they have a lot to offer

This is the page about Camino study. Might be worth investigating.


Hope you find something that inspires you.
That is certainly interesting. It’s not what I’m looking for at this time as I have my heart set on the VdlP and would just like a few weeks of good instruction before setting off. I do appreciate the link tho as it might fit into another trip one day. Do you plan on doing this next year?
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Where did you stay while you were taking the courses?
Both sent accommodation lists. Halls of residence for a couple of weeks, homestay for a week, small hotels otherwise. Cost wasn’t an overriding concern, for which I’m fortunate.

A lot of American students also use Salamanca, I believe.
 

SioCamino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Hi, I spent two weeks in Salamanca last year attending Estudio Sampere. I was very happy with the experience. Generally speaking make sure that the school is registered/approved with Instituto Cervantes and that they have sufficient levels - for example I decided against the university of Salamanca courses as they only did 3 or 4 levels. Bring in the wrong class for your level of knowledge is a waste of time and can be very frustrating. So also check that the school will definitely provide an appropriate class for you (regardless of numbers attending).

I also recommend using a home stay - most schools will arrange this. I opted for half board so had breakfast and lunch provided. But the key benefit of this is that your host will talk to you - forcing you to converse in Spanish. It’s invaluable. With half board then I was free to go out in the evenings etc.

I loved Salamanca and would recommend it in terms of the local Spanish spoken (the accent is quite clear and the general standard of colloquial Spanish there is high).

I’ve also done a course in Sevilla but it was so long ago I can’t remember which school. It was a very enjoyable place to study although the local accent is very difficult!

Buena suerte!
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Hi, I spent two weeks in Salamanca last year attending Estudio Sampere. I was very happy with the experience. Generally speaking make sure that the school is registered/approved with Instituto Cervantes and that they have sufficient levels - for example I decided against the university of Salamanca courses as they only did 3 or 4 levels. Bring in the wrong class for your level of knowledge is a waste of time and can be very frustrating. So also check that the school will definitely provide an appropriate class for you (regardless of numbers attending).

I also recommend using a home stay - most schools will arrange this. I opted for half board so had breakfast and lunch provided. But the key benefit of this is that your host will talk to you - forcing you to converse in Spanish. It’s invaluable. With half board then I was free to go out in the evenings etc.

I loved Salamanca and would recommend it in terms of the local Spanish spoken (the accent is quite clear and the general standard of colloquial Spanish there is high).

I’ve also done a course in Sevilla but it was so long ago I can’t remember which school. It was a very enjoyable place to study although the local accent is very difficult!

Buena suerte!

Most schools have an online ‘check your current level’ self-test using the CEFR basic A1/2, intermediate B1/2, advanced C1/2 system.

(I’m a strong B1, maybe B2 on a good day since you asked ...)

It’s worth doing a few tests to be fairly confident of your level if booking into a smaller school. If you go to the bigger universities which run a rolling programme at multiple levels you can move up or down as reality confronts aspiration.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances to Fisterra/Muxia 2013, twice in 2014, 2015, twice in 2016, 2017, a week on the VdlP
That is certainly interesting. It’s not what I’m looking for at this time as I have my heart set on the VdlP and would just like a few weeks of good instruction before setting off. I do appreciate the link tho as it might fit into another trip one day. Do you plan on doing this next year?


Hola!

I do plan to go and spend a week or two with them if I can. I am not interested in doing the Camino experience with them but that was only one thing that they offered. There is a lot more to the school than that and I would quite like a few weeks in A Coruna. I should perhaps start with some study at the school in London first.

Having said that, I have seen quite a few in Valencia which is a city I love so I might look into that.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Most schools have an online ‘check your current level’ self-test using the CEFR basic A1/2, intermediate B1/2, advanced C1/2 system.

(I’m a strong B1, maybe B2 on a good day since you asked ...)

It’s worth doing a few tests to be fairly confident of your level if booking into a smaller school. If you go to the bigger universities which run a rolling programme at multiple levels you can move up or down as reality confronts aspiration.
Just did the test, and I see I am B2. Wow! Will that let me sleep easier??? Seriously, as well as any exposure to classes, reading whatever you can get your hands on, watching something like Euronews that is repeated every half hour or so, and finding a native speaker to have an exchange with: these will all contribute to your improvement in your ability to understand and speak. Buena suerte.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Just did the test, and I see I am B2. Wow! Will that let me sleep easier??? Seriously, as well as any exposure to classes, reading whatever you can get your hands on, watching something like Euronews that is repeated every half hour or so, and finding a native speaker to have an exchange with: these will all contribute to your improvement in your ability to understand and speak. Buena suerte.

All it will let you do is book into a class that is appropriate for your level.

I sometimes listen to ‘the news in slow Spanish’ which (obviously) deals with current news and is very accessible.
 

TatiLie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues Variante Espiritual July 2019
Finisterre next!
A friend of mine did 2 months in Salamanca as an adult exchange student in early 2000s. She loved it. She was with me in England for 3 months in Winter/Spring, and then 3 months in Spring/Summer in Spain, imagine the contrast. She had said at the time that Salamanca was a great student town and was advised to her by an exchange program agency because of the type of students (many young professionals instead of high school age student). I think this was a very valid point.
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Has anyone any experience good or bad with any of the immersion language courses in the various schools in Spain? I am planning on returning to Spain in early spring 2020 to complete the Via de la Plata starting from Merida where I left off in 2017. The plan is to go over early for 3 to 4 weeks language study. The number of choices is overwhelming and rather than buy a pig in a poke, I am hoping for some first hand accounts of what to embrace and/or what to avoid.
In the past I studied intensive 2 week courses at two schools:
1. Hispalense - in Tarifa, a beautiful surf town on most southern tip of Spain opposite Tanger in Morocco.
2. Instituto Picasso - in Málaga (Plaza de la Merced).
Here are the website links for both schools. They provide good quality teaching and while there you will be able to practise with teachers, students and local people.


 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Funniest thing out - I just scored B2 BUT I didn’t understand over half of the questions and made my answers based on grammatical endings! At the end of the test I was disappointed at how little I understood - and then felt like a fraud to get B2!!
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
Tarifa, a beautiful surf town on most southern tip of Spain opposite Tanger in Morocco.
Hi Marky, maybe slightly off-topic but it is worth clarifying the Tarifa is a top-class wind-surfing destination, as opposed to a 'surfing' destination. This beautiful town seems perpetually whipped by wind, courtesy of the Pillar of Hercules. I had even read that the suicide rate there is consequently higher than average. Hopefully this latter does not include temporary language students, who might enjoy spending their free time blissfully zipping over the waves.
 

craiger1511

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
V. Fran (2019) in progress
C. Primitivo (2019)
C. Frances - (2019) in progress
C. Finnisterre (2015)
Hola. He estudiado en tres escuelas en España - un en Madrid, un en Valencia y un en Salamanca. Me encantaba la cuidad de Salamanca y la escuela ISLA. Si quiere enviarme un mensaje y se hablaré mi razones. Buen camino.
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
Hola. He estudiado en tres escuelas en España - un en Madrid, un en Valencia y un en Salamanca. Me encantaba la cuidad de Salamanca y la escuela ISLA. Si quiere enviarme un mensaje y se hablaré mi razones. Buen camino.
Well heck, I guess if I could read this I wouldn’t need the immersion course, but thanks for trying to help.
 
Camino(s) past & future
June 2018
I learnt to speak Spanish in 4 weeks as a 15 year old in 1970. I did 5 hours a day, (maybe it was 4??) and lived with a family with 3 kids younger than me....I went in 0 and came out 10, fluent. IN 4 WEEKS! (My Dad learnt Spanish in a more interesting way.....Locked in a Cuban jail in 1958). Living with a family makes all the difference. I have since learnt Italian the same way with the same success (age 49). Spanish is a very easy language. Beware however that there are many dialects, and I learnt in Franco era Barcelona, but despite Catalan being banned, strangely to this day, I have a huge vocab of Catalan words (the grammar is Spanish, with words that can't decide if they are French or Spanish or Latin.)
I suggest you check out Apple languages, they co-ordinate courses and have lots of 'specials' and the price is clearly stated, and here's a real goody....courses for seniors.
Also, there are very good teachers who are not trained teachers, if your teacher speaks 3 or 4 or more languages, then take it from me, she or he knows how to teach you her native language. Learning from a tutor or in your own country 3 hours of an evening is not going to get you far. Language is a communal, immersive activity by it's very nature.
 

Jim Michie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015
Norte 2016
I spent a month attending classes at University of Salamanca. I found it not worth the time. The classes are not vetted well, as a novice I was in a class with students who have previously attended both high school and college classes. I asked to be reassigned and the second class was no better. The class size was twenty plus with no individual instruction. I would not attend again.

Jim Michie
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
I spent a month attending classes at University of Salamanca. I found it not worth the time. The classes are not vetted well, as a novice I was in a class with students who have previously attended both high school and college classes. I asked to be reassigned and the second class was no better. The class size was twenty plus with no individual instruction. I would not attend again.

Jim Michie
Good to know Jim, thank you for your input.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Consider a school that is not in a popular tourist destination. The less English is possible, the more you will be required to do solely in Spanish.

I've taken Spanish immersion and French immersion courses and the most productive was the one that refused to speak anything other than the focus language after the first hour, even during breaks and lunch. Find out the policy of your choices.
 

anne a

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Finisterre 2018
Camino del Norte 2019
2020 plans: Rota Vicentina + CP
I spent two weeks at Enforex studying Spanish 5 hours a day between walking the Camino Frances and the Del Norte. Enforex is a large international organization with Spanish schools in Spain and latin America. I chose Enforex because their offering matched my time frame and location preferences, and because they allowed me to split the 2 weeks into 1 week in Madrid and 1 week in Barcelona. I really enjoyed being able to discover 2 cities instead of a single one. That being said 2-3 weeks in each city would have been a better choice! They have school in a dozen Spanish cities (even the Canary Islands) - so you can really mix it up!

I chose to stay in a host family which was great in Madrid but not so much in Barcelona - so this can be hit and miss...

As a B1 student, I really benefited from the lessons and just wished I had planned on a longer immersion. Most of my instructors was very good.

The other observation I have is that I was by far the oldest student in the class (even with the ever rotating student roaster). Pretty much everyone else was under 25 and even under 20.
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
@anne a , I was just researching this school today, and their website stated that only 5% of Enforex students are 50+. I’m researching hispaniaschools now. There are so many it is really difficult to choose.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
I learnt to speak Spanish in 4 weeks as a 15 year old in 1970. I did 5 hours a day, (maybe it was 4??) and lived with a family with 3 kids younger than me....I went in 0 and came out 10, fluent. IN 4 WEEKS! (My Dad learnt Spanish in a more interesting way.....Locked in a Cuban jail in 1958). Living with a family makes all the difference. I have since learnt Italian the same way with the same success (age 49). Spanish is a very easy language. Beware however that there are many dialects, and I learnt in Franco era Barcelona, but despite Catalan being banned, strangely to this day, I have a huge vocab of Catalan words (the grammar is Spanish, with words that can't decide if they are French or Spanish or Latin.)
I suggest you check out Apple languages, they co-ordinate courses and have lots of 'specials' and the price is clearly stated, and here's a real goody....courses for seniors.
Also, there are very good teachers who are not trained teachers, if your teacher speaks 3 or 4 or more languages, then take it from me, she or he knows how to teach you her native language. Learning from a tutor or in your own country 3 hours of an evening is not going to get you far. Language is a communal, immersive activity by it's very nature.
Four weeks! Bravo, becoming fluent in that time is Herculean!
I have a perspective on teachers, in that although an individual may be polyglot and know the grammar backwards, it is no guarantee of teaching proficiency, in my own by now extended experience. Of course technical knowledge is essential, but in my opinion what makes the lessons successful is the emotional intelligence of the teacher. And, of course, the commitment of the student to the do the additional and necessary out-of-class work, as you point-out above. I personally found that easy and enjoyable as I was so enthusiastic.
Great effort with the Spanish, I might say again...
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
Decision made re school. Am in the process of enrolling in hispania schools at Malaga.to start as Absolute Beginner on 9 March and attend four weeks. After that will travel to Merida and walk toward SdC. Hopefully I’ll learn enough to be able to make some sense out of food labels and menus and be able to inquire about private rooms with baths. Thanks for sharing your experiences and all the tips. Much appreciated.
 

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