When you begin your search for the best Spanish school in Spain for your particular needs and wants, your immediate questions will concern the Spanish courses offered, the location of the Spanish school, and the prices of both Spanish classes and housing.
You have the best chance of finding the best Spanish school for you if you take the time to contact the Spanish schools and speak with the school register or secretary. Ask them all the questions you need to make yourself feel comfortable with your choice to attend.
Here are some additional factors to consider in your choice of a Spanish school, wherever in Spain you decide to learn Spanish:
1. What are your goals?
Consider your goals and determine whether the Spanish school you are considering can help you to meet them. Are you going for a quick introduction to Spanish? Or do you need an in-depth course to prepare for exams or professional requirements? Do you want to study abroad independently and immerse yourself in Spanish culture, or are you looking for a vacation study program?
2. Big City or Small City or Town?
Smaller cities in Spain are easier to get around in. You can get to know them quickly, feel comfortable in your new surroundings, and more quickly become a familiar face among locals. This may help to make you feel more welcome and give rise to more conversational opportunities and a sense of belonging and integration in your host city in Spain.
Larger cities offer plenty to see and do, especially Barcelona and Madrid. In larger cities, however, you classmates are more dispersed throughout the city and integrating into and feeling part of the group is a little more difficult. Nonetheless, attending a Spanish school in a large city still gives you a sense of community (your fellow students) and a sense of structure during your stay in Spain.
3. School Location
Spanish schools located in the city center, near cafés, bars, restaurants, and museums offer a different cultural experience than Spanish schools situated further from the heart of the city. On the other hand, schools situated outside of the city center may offer more tranquil, relaxing environments.
4. Large Spanish School or Small Spanish school?
Smaller, independent Spanish schools are often owned by their teachers and staff. They offer more friendly, family-like atmospheres and offer smaller class sizes, which allow them to offer students more personal attention. Smaller class sizes make it easier to meet, socialize, and integrate with your classmates.
Larger schools have larger classes and more students. Because of the large number of students they may provide more class options.
5. Class schedules
Some Spanish schools offer only morning classes. Others offer classes during the mornings and afternoons and let you choose, while others offer morning and afternoon classes but do not give students the option of choosing morning or afternoon. Still others mix morning and afternoon classes, meaning you will have some Spanish classes in the mornings and others in the afternoons.
6. Class duration
How long will each of your Spanish classes last? Some Spanish schools offer 45-minute classes with between every two Spanish classes. Others may offer 50 minute classes with breaks after each class. It is helpful to know how much class time you will have each day.
7. Structure of Classes
Most Spanish schools offer similar courses and methodologies – classes are divided into grammar explanations and exercises, vocabulary, reading comprehension and speaking. For example, in an intensive Spanish course the first two Spanish classes might be dedicated to Spanish grammar, the third to Spanish conversation, and the fourth to vocabulary.
Most Spanish schools describe their Spanish courses in detail. Be sure to read the description and understand what the school offers. If you have questions, contact the school. Get as much information as possible so that you can select the best Spanish school and the best Spanish course for your needs.
8. Class Sizes
Smaller classes offer more personal attention and more effective learning environments. You get more time and attention from your Spanish teacher. Make sure you know the maximum class sizes at your school and in your Spanish classes.
9. Class Nationality mix
It is one thing to study Spanish in Spain with international students from all over the world – Spanish is used as the common language of communication. It is another thing to study Spanish in Spain with groups of English speaking students. The more international the student body, the more likely you will speak and practice Spanish outside of class with your classmates.
Some schools publish the breakdown of their student body by country on a per cent basis. If they don’t, call and ask. The nationality mix at a school has a direct effect on how much Spanish you will learn.
10. School Facilities
Most Spanish schools offer a computer area with free internet access and a student lounge that allow you to communicate with friends and family at home and to socialize and practice Spanish with your friends and classmates outside of class.
11. School Activities and Excursions
Most Spanish schools offer occasional social activities, such as welcome parties, school dinners, in-school parties, city tours, and visits to local sites of interest. School activities are generally free and are a great way of having fun with your friends and meeting new ones. Excursions give you the chance to delve a bit deeper in Spanish culture and get to know your host city in Spain. Often, local excursions are free while others must be paid for.