Synopsis of Spanish Language Courses in Spain

toomanychoicesIf you would like to come to Spain to study Spanish, I salute you for taking this brave and life changing step! In order to prevent you from drowning in the array of choices and simplify your quest to find a Spanish Language School that would be best suited to you, we have decided to first give you a clearer idea with a summary of the types of Spanish Language Courses available across numerous schools in Spain.

In Spain, majority of schools offer courses that follow a standard rubric and can be categorized into the list below, with slight variations according to the school’s individual repertoire.

In general, courses focus on all aspects of the Spanish language; grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, speaking, listening comprehension and are taught in a total immersion atmosphere i.e. taught in Spanish. Majority of courses take place in the mornings and afternoons on weekdays and lessons are often 45 minutes to 1 hour long and are comprised of 6-12 students per class with the average ages of students being 22-30 years old depending on the nature of the course.

Courses are set to cater to the various Spanish language levels of the students based on the A1-C2 Common European Framework of Reference for Foreign Languages. Most schools usually have a placement test before the start of the course in order to match the student according to the appropriate course level.

NB Note that the “title” of the course type varies from school to school but the main concept is often similar. 

Intensive – Some schools choose to call this course “standard.” This is the principal set course offered by the school with an average number of lessons  per week from which all the other courses are derived. The number of collective hours (could be anywhere from 15-20 hours) of lessons per week to denote the “standard intensive” would be particular to the school in question.


Super-Intensive – This would be a step up from the intensive course with a significant extra number of lessons per week. The collective hours of lessons per week could be anywhere from 20-30 hours.

Super super-Intensive – This would be a step up from the super-intensive course with a significant extra number of lessons per week. The collective hours of lessons per week could be anywhere from 25-30 hours with a combination course added in such as the DELE Preparation discussed below.

Extensive – This would be a step down from the intensive course with a significantly less number of lessons per week. Some schools choose to call this course “part-time.”

DELE Preparation – A course that aims specifically to prepare the student to successfully pass the internationally recognized exam of Spanish language, DELE; Diploma Superior de Espanol commo Langua Extranjera i.e. Diploma of Spanish as a foreign Language. This is the officially accredited qualification of Spanish language issued by the Ministry of Education in Spain. This course can be seasonal and can also be combined with the other standard-intensive courses.

Business Spanish – Lessons aimed at those who would like to learn Spanish in a professional context with work related vocabulary (some courses can be field specific e.g.  law, medicine) and exercises to prepare the student to succeed in a professional Spanish-speaking setting. Lessons schedules are less demanding to cater to the availability of the working professionals.

Hispanic Studies – The student explores any and all things associated with Spanish-speaking culture i.e literature, history, geography etc.  all the while building aptitude in the Spanish language. This course can be ingrained into or combined with the standard-intensive courses.

Group – Lessons taught to a group organized by schools, companies or by individuals already acquainted who would like to study Spanish together. Often, registration for group courses are slightly less expensive.

One to One – Lessons taught to a sole individual with magnified attention. Schedules are often more flexible and pricing is organized per hour. Depending on the frequencies of the course, it could be more or less expensive than a standard course. Ideal for someone who has specific needs in terms of content and scheduling.

Tutor – Not to be confused with One to One. This is not exactly a course, but the liberty of a student to seek extra language help to complement work done in another course.

Evening – These courses are held uniquely during evenings and cater to those who have other engagements during the
daytime. They are held from around 6 pm-9.30 pm and are semi-intensive with two lessons per week that total about 4-8 hours.

Saturday – A course available on Saturday mornings or afternoons for those who have other commitments during the week.

Internship – A combination course that enables the student to study Spanish while also being placed to work for a company in the city to put both linguistic and vocational skills to practice. It is the student who pays for the course and almost all internships found are non-remunerated.Something_for_Everybody

Culture – Specialized course that introduces Spanish culture to the language learning e.g. flamenco, cooking etc. This is aside from extra-curricular cultural activities which are usually organized by schools for their students and can be accessed for free or with a minimal fee depending on the activity.

Summer – These courses are held during the summer months and are generally less intense in terms of scheduling and freer with the age conditions of registration. There is often an introduction of more “fun” (cultural learning) activities to the syllabus.

Juniour -18 – Courses offered by certain schools for youth who are less than 18 years of age.

Club 50+ – Courses offered by certain schools for adults who are 50 and older.

Courses can be booked on a month to month basis, by semester, by school year, by season, by specific need (for the more specialized courses) and the non-standard courses often function based on demand, run for a set number of weeks and sometimes require a minimum level of Spanish (B1).

All would depend on the availability of courses and the terms and conditions of the school in question.

I hope this little summary has helped give you some clarity so that you can narrow down your search based on the type of course you would like to enrol in. Now it is on to the next step to find the Spanish Language School that would be just right for you.

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