It is difficult to choose a school where to study Spanish in Spain, yes, very difficult.
Not only that are a lot of cities, which all seem interesting and attractive, but also in each city there are many schools that offer the same thing.
Are all of them excellent ? Am I going to learn Spanish in the same way like in any school? Are all leisure activities the same?
Obviously not. There are many offers both to choose in a city like to select in a school.
Where you can learn Spanish? From our experience, we provide a few simple criterias to minimize your mistakes in selecting the best Spanish school for you (because, of course, for each of them is different and looks for different things).
Let’s start …
1.- Time and duration
Do you know how long will your Spanish course last?
It´s not the same thing an extended internship (for example, more than 3-4 weeks) than a short one (1-2 weeks).
We advise you that if you are having a long stay, select populations over 500,000 citizens. There are no more than 6 cities in Spain in order of size, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Malaga. Just because the cultural offers in small towns is poorer and perhaps what the city offers you, will seem for you boring after a few weeks..
Of course, maybe you love peace, especially if you’re used to live in a small town, but we believe that it is also good to change your habits and try new things, maybe you´ll have a pleasant surprise..
Also you must keep in mind that the cost of living in the two of the largest cities in Spain (Madrid and Barcelona) is much higher, especially in Barcelona, where transport and accommodation can be even 30-40% more expensive than in other cities.
On the contrary, with short stays, chances increase, but you should also consider that in Spain, there are very big and beautiful cities, that within a weekend, is enough to visit them (especially in Castile, center of Spain, that includes Salamanca, Toledo, Leon ..).
Therefore, in our first selecion, we choose these four cities:
Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Malaga.
2. – Dates
Do you know when you’re going to arrive? It´s not the same coming in winter than in summer. In north (Bilbao, San Sebastian, Santiago, …) and in center of Spain (Madrid, Salamanca, Valladolid ..) is much colder (and rainy in north) than in south (Seville, Cordoba, Granada ..) and then in east of Spain (Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante ..). In west of the peninsula Portuguese is spoken as Portugal J.
Let´s suppose (generally speaking) that winter in North and Central runs from late November to March, and in rest, especially in South and East of Spain, from late December to February.
It´s important to mention that we never talk about temperatures below zero, although in center, there might be usual frost and heavy snow, at least in January and February. In the north it is more difficult because they are coastal cities. It´s unlikely to see snow and ice, except in Granada, which is at the foot of an important mountain chain.
On the other hand, the summer months on the coast are mild, both in North and South like in East of Spain, but very dry and extremely hot in center and south of Spain, especially in the cities that do not have beach (Madrid, Salamanca, Cordoba, Seville, ..). In July and August, from 13 p.m. to 6 p.m., all you can do is go to a pool or sleep (of course, if work allows you).
Therefore, our recommendation is to look for Mediterranean coastal destinations (avoiding the North side in winter), where temperatures are always much milder and above all, you have the charm of the beach. We promise you that it worthy !.
According to these criterias, Valencia and Malaga would be the selected destinations in the Spanish territory.
Shall we contiue? …
3. The selection of Spanish School ..
It´s typical to say that..
I found at least 10 schools in the city where I want to go. What is the best? .. How difficult!
Shall we contiue? …
3.A. Accredited schools with official seal, which ensure a valid teaching under strict parameters and periodic supervision of quality. These are the schools accredited by the Cervantes Institute. There are almost 100 schools throughout Spain, but we have already chosen the city, we have left fewer.. Let´s continue ..
3.B. Our recommendation is that you do not apply for chains of schools that offer multi-destination in Spain. Why? It´s easy …
These chains have many ads for everyone and their marketing campaigns are great .. but usually, here is where their good management ends. Their goals are to find more and more students. The main difference is that in individual schools, the manager is also the owner of a family business, and as a responsible, will be more careful and will have more flexibility to take care of your personal interests than a principal of a school belonging to a large group with 5, 10 or 30 schools worldwide, where the management orders are given from the above and has less capacity to decide ..
Seems logical, right? .. We remind you again, we are only providing you the parameters based on our personal experience .. of course, they are subjective because it is our opinion.
3.C. Well, there are not so many options, right?
Well, here are our last recommendations:
C.1.- School pictures should appear on its website. Many times, facilities are poor, there is a third floor in an old building without elevator, etc. and schools barely put their pictures with them,they just put great pictures of the city, where are they located … Pay attention to this!
C.2. – Do they have social networks? ¿Facebook? ¿Google+? Do they have many followers?
Perhaps there are students satisfied with the school, who want to keep in touch as they had an unforgettable stay .. Have you thought that maybe you can contact and ask them directly what´s their opinion about their stay? ..
Maybe a former student of the school can help you take the right decision …
Don´t underestimate this selection, you both have many places where to learn Spanish in Spain and school where to study Spanish properly. It is just an investment for your education and you must be very careful. Over years, you will appreciate it. Good luck with your search!