Learn Spanish: Immerse Yourself
So you want to learn Spanish? Well, take it from me; it’s not easy to pick-up another language (if you don’t already know a couple). I recently enrolled for 3 months in an Intensive Spanish Course here in Madrid; winter seemed a good time to take a break from travelling and call Madrid home for a while.
I took the opportunity, once I found myself an apartment, to tour several language schools in Madrid. I settled on a small school in the centre (Sol) called Babylon-Idiomas. I’ve been studying there for the past 3 weeks, and boy is it “muy difícil” (very hard) learning a new language from the beginning (A1 level).
I’m using parts of my brain I haven’t had to use since I was a small child. Learning how to listen and talk all over again. The first few weeks have been very frustrating, and I find myself using English in classes and when I can’t find the words to express what I want in Spanish.
In general, I am very pleased with the school. The classes are small, with a maximum of 6-8 students. The teachers and staff are all very friendly, they know all the students by name, and enjoy conversations daily as we pass in the halls. Babylon also holds cultural immersion classes as well, so if you’re new to the city, you can take 5 hours of cultural classes a week to get the full Spanish experience. I haven’t signed up for these, since it’s my 4th time in Madrid, but classes include such things as Flamenco lessons. If you want a Super Intensive course (or Cultural Immersion Course), right now they are offering a 20% discount.
|I’m taking the 20 hour per week Intensive Course, which is the core of the academic program.Adding the Cultural Classes, or additional Conversation Classes is easy, and can be tailored as you progress.If you want an official Spanish diploma, you can consider taking the DELE Preparation which prepares you for the A2, B2, or C2 DELE Exam.The school holds a social event every Wednesday evening called “Happy Miércoles” (Happy Wednesday). It’s an opportunity for students to engage with other students from the school at different levels in conversation.Babylon-Idiomas doesn’t just teach Spanish, they also teach English; so you get the opportunity to mix with native Spanish speakers, and native English speakers. Every week a different teacher hosts the event, and they take the students to a different restaurant or bar for some drinks and conversation.I’ve been going every week, and really enjoying it. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed it a little too much, and ended up getting home around 5am and missing Thursday’s classes.
The school can also help you out with borrowing English/Spanish DVDs and books to help fast-track your learning progress, they offer accommodation packages too, if you want to just fly in and start straight away (frequent readers will know about the trouble I had finding an apartment).
Spanish for Beginners
If you are a beginner to Spanish, like I was, Babylon-Idiomas is the school for you:
- Approximately 50% of students start at the absolute beginner level on their first course day.
- The program allows you to learn Spanish in a natural, practical, and fast way; concentrating on interactive and verbal classes.
- All teachers are Spanish natives with degrees specialising in teaching Spanish to foreign students.
- Group sizes are limited to a maximum of 10 (and average of 5) so you get that extra attention you need.
You will speak Spanish from your first day at school. Thousands of students of all ages and nationalities have done the same with Babylon-Idiomas in the past, so there is no reason to believe it will be any different with you.
You can expect it to take 4-5 weeks to master a level in the Intensive Course. If you are an absolute beginner or have some elementary Spanish knowledge, you can expect to have (durations are examples, and may not apply to every student):
- An upper-intermediate level after 12 weeks
- An advanced level after 24 weeks
- A near proficiency level after 36+ weeks
If you are serious about learning Spanish, I can recommend the courses at Babylon-Idiomas; they have programs all over Spain (as well as Costa Rica and Buenos Aires), and the price is very good value compared to other schools I have seen.
* header image credit (cc)