Sometimes students make the mistake of believing that learning Spanish in Spain is like learning Spanish at home – 45 or 50 long minutes of repeating verb tenses, slouching in your chair, waiting for the bell to ring…
To learn Spanish in Spain has little or nothing in common with you Spanish classes at your home university or at a local Spanish school. Certainly, you are learning Spanish. But the comparison ends there.
If you learn Spanish at a Spanish school in Spain or at a Spanish university language program (both of which are specialized Spanish programs for foreigners) your classmates will be motivated, interesting students from all over the world. Some will come from countries you are interested in, but have never visited. Others will come from less-known countries you may not even heard of.
All, however, will add to a dynamic, interesting, and fun atmosphere both in your Spanish classes and in the time spent outside of your Spanish classes. It’s a truly international atmosphere in which Spanish becomes the common language of communication – imagine yourself speaking to a Japanese, Korean, Thai or Chinese, or French student that doesn’t speak English – Spanish becomes the medium.
You speak Spanish your fellow international students because you’re all in Spain to learn Spanish and because it is a common language. In both cases the result is that you put in plenty of time practicing Spanish. You speak Spanish constantly and you hear Spanish constantly. Speaking Spanish becomes the means for finding out who all these cool people are from all over the world, what they do, why they are studying Spanish, what life is like in their home countries, etc.
Beyond the classroom doors…is Spain! The moment you walk outside you find yourself (along with your classmates) immersed in Spanish culture. You see Spanish written in ads, you here Spaniards speaking Spanish, and you speak Spanish yourself to get around, do the shopping, and get by each day.
What you learn in your Spanish class at 9am in the morning, you will probably use by 2pm in the afternoon outside of class. If you don’t use it, you will likely here it – and understand it.
Without having discussed the structure of Spanish classes in Spain (usually intensive Spanish classes or immersion Spanish classes) you should have the idea that the overall environment in Spain, from your international fellow students to the “Spain as your classroom”, creates a dynamic environment in which time flies and students really do have fun learning Spanish.
Just being in Spain is conducive to learning Spanish! (But you will learn a lot more Spanish if you take a Spanish course!)