Thinking of studying Spanish in Spain? Why not try Barcelona!… except they speak Catalan. And Spanish. Sort of. BUT nevertheless, I followed my heart and went to Spain with Marcus (husband) to do a crash course (30 hours a week) with El Camino Spanish. We chose El Camino because of their awesome reviews on Google and because they allowed students to jump in and out of programs every Monday. This was ideal for two working adults who could only get a week and a half off of work (us).
This course combines the popular Intensive Spanish Course (20 lessons per week) with 5 Conversation lessons per week (linked in title). The course takes place in the mornings or afternoons, Monday to Friday and the prices for all of the classes are below.
What motivated us to break out our books again was – wait for it – Narcos. YES NARCOS. Marcus and I love Narcos so much that we decided to plan our 2019 Honeymoon to South America partially around visiting sites from the series.
Furthermore, my Spanish is WELL rusty as I’ve been focusing all of my language skills on Chinese and German for the last 4 years. There’s only so many conjugations and irregular verb tenses one brain can handle so I packed my bags, swallowed my pride, and dove head first into the deep.
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How we planned it
In all honesty, we took this leap of faith at 1am after watching 10 consecutive hours of Narcos. With the wedding over and my new job, we had a little extra time and funds to do something unique and inspiring. Marcus currently only speaks German, English, and Chinese fluently (lame) so he enrolled in A1.1 and I was enrolled in A2.2/B1 as my spoken Spanish is significantly better than my written Spanish. You can actually get a free quote online from El Camino regarding classes, prices, availability, and accommodation.
The whole enrollment process took less than 5 minutes and when we arrived at the school for our first day, they administered a spoken test to gauge what level would be most appropriate for you.
Complete Immersion for Better Spanish
What really surprised me was Camino’s commitment to immersion and engagement. Every day, the school put on some sort of activity or party for all the students to mingle and enjoy. But what I appreciated MOST was the fact that English was NOT the common language amongst the students, teachers, and staff so everyone HAD to speak Spanish the entire time. The school hosted a rooftop paella party where Marcus got to act as a sous chef in front of the entire party. Nevertheless, you’ll always be able to find English speakers in Barcelona in case you’re really struggling or just drained from class.
Since we were staying for 10 days, Marcus and I wanted to stay on a strict budget so we could splurge on other things like food, shopping, sites, etc. After all, we were just going to sleep at our apartment during the night and we spent the rest of the time outdoors! We used Expedia to book an apartment for 10 days but you can also use AirBnB!
Marcus and I big cooks so we managed to save LOADS of money by cooking breakfast and lunch at our house and then going out to dinner. Since food is relatively affordable in Spain (and daymn delicious) I would budget, for two people, £50 a day ($67). This includes various coffees through the day, maybe a bit of cured meat for lunch and then a BALLING dinner with food, drinks, and friends. I used Trip Advisor and Yelp to search for local hotspots.
Fun story: we actually met a FABULOUS couple from San Fran (but living in AMS) whilst trying to find a restaurant that was closed – but no one could be bothered to update Yelp with that information. We ended up spending the next 48 hours with these cool cats and we intend on seeing them again when we’re in town!
Whatever your motivations are for going to Barcelona, studying Spanish is absolutely the BEST WAY to dive into the amazing things that the culture and country have to offer. Do you have any other tips?? Comment below and let me know!