Joanna's experience of a Spanish course in Madrid
Joanna recently booked an intensive Spanish course in Madrid with Estudia-España, and agreed to have a chat with us about her experience. Hopefully her answers will give you the encouragement you need to take that step on that same journey of studying Spanish where it is a native language.
What made you decide to do a Spanish course in Spain in the first place?
Joanna: I learned Spanish for two years in high-school and when I went on holiday there during that time, it was great to be able to speak a few words - especially when my parents and boyfriend couldn’t. I always enjoyed the classes at school and we had a great teacher. Later at university, someone I studied with mentioned having done a Spanish course in Valencia and it sounded amazing. I began to look online for what possibilities there were and eventually decided to go for it. I can’t really remember why I chose Madrid to be honest. I think I liked the idea of going to the capital.
How long did you go for?
Joanna: I went for 6 weeks in the summer of 2022. I wanted to give my Spanish a big boost and tried to go for as much time as I could afford and spare.
What was your Spanish level before you went to Spain?
Joanna: I would guess my level at A2 at the time. I had only really had the high school lessons before I went to Spain.
What was the class like?
Joanna: On the first day of the school, everyone had to do a kind of assessment test before we were divided into the classes. It was done in 30-40 minutes and we all seemed to have a similar level in the group I was put in. There was a slight range but all-in-all I would say we were at the same level. The people were great and the trainer and the teaching methods helped everyone to get to know each other quickly and it was always fun to be in the classroom.
Did you learn much?
Joanna: I learned a lot, yes! It was incredible. The teacher used only Spanish in the classroom from the very start. We had a mix of nationalities in the class - Belgian, Iranian, Swedish, a Portuguese couple and two Germans. And me, the only Brit. Our common language was Spanish so as we got to know each other and met more outside of the classroom, we would speak more and more Spanish with each other as time went on. I would say we learned a lot from each other, as well as from the teacher in the classroom. For me personally, I think something “clicked” after week four. I knew I was learning a lot but sometimes had days when I thought I was making slow progress. But week 5 and 6 was when I really saw and felt the progress. For example, our teacher took us to the cinema and we were all amazed how much we understood - basically the whole film!
Can you tell us more about the school and Madrid itself?
Joanna: Madrid is amazing. If you like big cities, you will be happy in Madrid. There’s so much to do. Culture, museums, entertainment. There’s also lots of students in Madrid so there’s the student ‘scene’ in some areas of the city. The nightlife is great. During the daytime, I loved the parks and the old town of Madrid.
The school was in a great place, near the Royal Palace and the Plaza Mayor. There were lots of things to see and do in that area - parks, bars and cafes and there was a really nice atmosphere in the district. I lived in an apartment in the same building as the school so this was my district for 6 weeks. It was also easy to get to other parts of Madrid from there. The staff at school were all super-friendly and helpful. Teachers were always involved in the extra activities the school organised too, and they seem to really love their jobs.
Is there anything you didn’t like?
Joanna: I didn’t like leaving Madrid! But honestly, not really. There was one week of the six where the school had to reschedule our class for one week. We had been having our lessons in the mornings, and this one week we had lessons in the afternoon. It wasn’t really a problem. Otherwise, the whole trip was really good. Everything was really well-organised. Oh, one other thing. It was hot in Madrid! I started my course there in July. The school and accommodation was fine thanks to the air-conditioning, but there were some days when it was extremely hot on the streets.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing a Spanish course in Spain?
Joanna: I would say first of all, “Don’t worry!” I had the same reservations everyone probably has. I worried that my Spanish wasn’t going to be good enough. I was worried because it was the first time I had travelled alone. I even worried that 6 weeks would be too long. I can now honestly say there was nothing to worry about. Everything went smoothly from booking the course to getting the keys to the apartment. For me, 6 weeks was perfect but I met other people who were doing shorter AND longer trips. I would definitely do it again - and probably will!