Tips for studying Spanish in Spain

dos and donts- image by www.plancessjee.comHere at UniSpain we have compiled a list of Do’s and Don’ts to guide you when studying Spanish in Spain. Let’s take a look at some of the things you definitely shouldn’t miss out on, as well as some of the things to avoid.

 

Do:

Fully immerse yourself

You are in Spain! Watch Spanish TV, listen to Spanish music on the radio, read Spanish newspapers and magazines…Make every effort to read, write, listen to, and speak Spanish at all times. Keep a small notebook with you and jot down any new words and phrases that you hear whilst out and about, then look them up later. Make friends with Spanish people and embrace the Spanish way of life- for example, try to get used to the unusual eating hours (lunch is around 2-3pm and dinner is from 10pm onwards).

 

Study

Of course, going to Spain will be a fun experience but don’t forget the main reason for your stay: to study the language. Attend all classes and lectures, participate in them fully and complete any set homework. You have paid for this experience so make the most out of it. It may seem tedious when all you want to do is go out and explore your new surroundings, but there is plenty of time outside of class hours in which you can enjoy extra-curricular activities and spend time with your new friends.

 

Travel

Spain consists of seventeen autonomous communities, each of which has its own history, customs, and, in some cases, its own language. If spain map- image by www.venamicasa.comyou have the funds, do take the opportunity to go for day or weekend trips to other parts of Spain nearby. Spain has extensive bus and railway systems, as well as the AVE (high speed rail), and most cities are interconnected. If you are located in the North, in addition to Madrid and Barcelona, try and visit Bilbao in the Basque country, where the famous Guggenheim Museum is located, or La Rioja for its famous wineries. If you are studying in the South, head to Granada to see the famous Alhambra, or to Seville, the capital of Andalusia and home to the Alcazar palace. Other lesser-known destinations are Ronda, with its vast canyon and Cordoba, famous for its Mezquita.

 

Take part in extra-curricular activities

If you choose to study at a private Spanish school, excursions will usually be arranged. Universities do not offer so much in this respect, therefore UniSpain arranges activities independently. These range from flamenco and salsa to cookery and tapas nights. Do take full advantage of what’s on offer, as they will provide you with the opportunity to learn more about Spanish culture, as well as practise what you have learned in class (you will often be accompanied by Spanish students).

 

Don’t:

Be nervous

keep-calm-and-no-pasa-nada- image by bloghomesweetworld.wordpress.comGoing abroad alone can be nerve-wracking, especially if it is your first time doing so. But don’t panic- UniSpain will support you every step of the way: taking care of finding accommodation, sorting out paperwork and visas, and just generally ensuring that everything goes smoothly- before, during and after your stay. In case of emergency, there is a 24-hour helpline and as we are located in Spain, we are on hand to assist you should anything go wrong.

 

Fear making mistakes

Don’t be too shy to practise your Spanish language skills in public, especially if you are a complete beginner. Absolutely everyone makes mistakes when learning a language, so don’t be embarrassed! The majority of Spanish people are friendly and patient, and will appreciate that you are showing an interest in learning their language. If you do make a mistake, simply laugh it off and learn from it- you probably won’t make the same mistake again! Shed your inhibitions and you will soon see vast improvements in your language skills.

 

Make friends only with other foreigners

Make some Spanish friends! If you are going to study at a university this will be easier, however, even if you are going to study at a private Spanish school, they will usually have Spanish students to accompany you on excursions. Students that spend all their time with their fellow foreign students do not see their Spanish improving much, as chances are everyone will communicate in English. Additionally, rather than immersing themselves in the culture, they form an insular circle of tourists. Do not make this mistake! If you are spending a longer time in Spain, sign up for a language exchange (you can use websites online or attend special exchange meetings) in order to meet Spanish people with whom you can practise with.

 

So there you have it, our list of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ when studying in Spain. Make the most out of your time in Spain, enjoy every second and you will go back to your home country with hugely improved Spanish skills and memories of an experience you will remember for the rest of your life!

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