My Quest to Learn Spanish in Madrid
Who am I?
My name is Samuel and I am an 18 year old from the United Kingdom. One day last year, I made the decision to improve my Spanish language skills beyond what I had learnt at school (this consisted mainly of much forgotten grammar and an inability to communicate comfortably in the language!)
I was frustrated by the lack of success in my previous language studies, and I wondered whether there was a quicker, more efficient way to improve my Spanish. I also began to consider how I could enjoy myself while learning Spanish. Then I encountered Habla y Olé.
Looking for a Language Intensive Course in Madrid?
It is recognised that the best way to learn a language is total immersion in a foreign culture, to be in an environment where you are constantly trying to understand and make yourself understood – that is to say, always listening to and speaking Spanish.
Habla y Olé is an academy that understands the learning potential of cultural immersion. They offer trips to Madrid, where they organise both Spanish classes and a vast array of immersive activities and adventures around the incredible cosmopolitan capital city.
Their method is unique and effective, it is centred strongly on communication and understanding, so that you leave the experience with a vastly improved proficiency in understanding and speaking Spanish – the most important aspect of knowing any language!
My amazing experience with Habla y Olé
Every morning we are in classes with native Spanish teachers. These classes are in reduced groups in a learning space in the centre of the city.
The environment is relaxed, and the method of teaching is engaging and participative, focussed on communicating with the teacher and fellow learners in Spanish and discussion of how to speak the language in everyday situations.
For me, this emphasis on the practical aspect of speaking Spanish resulted in a huge boost in confidence when engaging with native speakers in:
- even simply speaking to someone on the street.
One day, I found myself holding a conversation with someone while waiting for a bus. It dawned on me that, even out-with a situation with specific vocabulary to use, such as a bar or restaurant, I was much more adept at speaking than I had been before.
This was purely because my learning process had involved the actions of listening and speaking Spanish: an intense exposure to the language which had vastly improved my proficiency.
This is what makes the methodology of Habla y Olé unique and effective: being surrounded and immersed by Spanish language and culture so that the effects on your communicative skills are noticeable.
Every day in the afternoons we engaged in a variety of different activities around the city. There were:
- guided tours of the city
- exploration of numerous tapas bars
- cooking classes
- visit to Toledo
- and many more!
By participating in these activities, I learnt a great deal about Spanish culture and history, and very importantly I was introduced to new contexts in which I could develop my already expanding Spanish vocabulary.
One activity which I enjoyed in particular was the guided tour of the Museo del Prado, an art gallery with global renown for its colossal collection of art from some of Europe’s most important painters, including Goya, Rembrandt, Caravaggio and Velazquez.
I was impressed to learn that the Museo del Prado had the largest collection of Rubens paintings in the world, holding about 90 of his works. We were given a tour around the most relevant works exhibited in the museum, and I learnt a great deal about the cultural importance of art in Spain.
Amongst my favourite works were those of Goya’s “Black paintings”, a collection of powerful and atmospheric portrayals of various strange events and subjects.
The Museo del Prado is but one example of the concentration of fascinating culture that the city of Madrid has to offer, and Habla y Olé want to include as much of it as possible in the process of learning Spanish, so as to have an exciting and immersive experience.
I returned to the UK after my adventure in Madrid satisfied with my improved Spanish and also that I had a more developed idea of Spanish culture as a whole. I live in Edinburgh, a city where there are many thousands of young Spaniards, so I am regularly able to test my improved Spanish language skills!