Choosing a Spanish language course in Spain by age

When planning your language learning trip to Spain, you’ll probably want to work on your Spanish with others of your own or similar age.

It’s important for most students to have classroom time with their age peers and the same goes for activities outside the classroom, as well as sharing accommodation. Teenagers or students in their twenties probably prefer to hang out and study with others their own age… and people in their thirties, forties, fifties and over, most likely feel the same!

Choosing a Spanish language course in Spain by age can be confusing. That’s why we’ve been crunching numbers and statistics for you and analyzing the data from some 35 Spanish language schools in Spain that UniSpain currently works with.

This article should give you some practical tips for successfully selecting a Spanish language school in Spain, based on age. We’ve also highlighted a few specific language institutions, which seem to lean more towards one age group than another.


Summer and winter

School and university holidays dictate young people’s lives. That’s why most Spanish language courses in the summer time are filled with people in the younger age groups. So if you are in the 25+ age category, you might prefer to look into courses between October and May for this reason. Mind you, if your heart is set on summer time studying, there are many schools that offer a higher average age throughout the year, so you’ll be more likely to find a few students in your peer group on their courses. Read on, because we’ll now look at all of these in detail.


The over-18 age limit for some universities

Many Spanish universities that offer Spanish language courses for foreign students have strict age restrictions: the students must be 18 and above to join. A tiny number of universities may be a little more lenient on this rule for students who are just about to turn 18, but in most Spanish higher learning institutions the rule is so strict that even if you are about to become 18 within the first month of the course, they still won’t accept you until the following year. The 18-year limit will always be stated in universities’ student application requirements and obviously this will also come up in UniSpain’s booking system.


Courses for children and teenagers

There are some Spanish language courses in Spain specifically destined for young children between the ages of 6 and 12, and for teenagers from 13 to 16, or even up to 18 years old. These schools will usually take all ages between 6 and 16 (or 6 and 18). Obviously once the students are assigned into classes, they will be further divided so that children and teens can study with students closest to their own age. There are several destinations available for youngsters, so check the section Spanish Teenage Summer Camps if you have a specific location in mind.


Some schools should be specially noted here, because of a slightly higher number of courses offered specifically for children and teens. Most of these courses will of course be concentrated in the months during school summer holidays:

  • The Proyecto Español in Alicante is worth a mention for the 13-16 age group, since a quarter of their course attendees belong in this bracket.
  • The International House San Sebastian states that 10% of their students are children or teens under 16 years of age.
  • 12% of the very popular Camino Barcelona’s courses are for teens between 16 and 18.
  • The CLIC academies in Seville and Cadiz, the Don Quijote schools in Barcelona and Madrid also offer a 5-6% segment of courses for under 16’s.


The 18-25 age category

If you are past your teens or in your early twenties, you’re in luck! This age group is by far the most catered for by Spanish language schools in Spain, without any exceptions.

Of course this is the case simply because there is more demand for courses for people in this age group. Usually this is the time in people’s lives that coincides with language studies taken at University level or maybe a gap year. So it’s a great time to travel, improve your language skills, get to know a new culture… and have loads of fun with other students your own age. However, there are some schools where the student concentration for these ages is quite a lot higher than in others.

  • Again, the Proyecto Español in Alicante is on the list. HALF of their student population is in the 17 – 25 age group.
  • Nearly all of Madrid Nebrija University’s students belong in the 17 – 25 age group.
  • The Malaca Instituto’s summer courses in Malaga cater entirely for the average age of 23.
  • The Sampere schools in Salamanca, Madrid and Alicante are in the 60-70 % region for students 17-25 years of age, as is Alicante University.

NOTE: If you are older than 25, this does not mean that all these schools are necessarily unsuitable for you. Many schools have a very even distribution and you will just need to be watchful of the summer time.


Students specifically in their twenties

Not all Spanish schools supply data for the specific twenties category. Some, however, state that about a third of their students are precisely in the 21 – 29 age group. These are Alicante University, Barcelona University, The CLIC Academies in Seville and Cadiz, Gran Canaria School and Malaga University. Again, summer holiday period will pull in the bottom half of that age bracket.


Ages 25-35

The schools that jump out for the 25 – 35 age group are the Don Quijote schools both in Salamanca and Barcelona, the Escuela de Idiomas in Nerja (but only outside the summer holiday season) and the Iria Flavia in Santiago. The Malaca Instituto’s average all year student age is 28 (their average winter student age is 35 and the average summer age is 23) – so older students might be better off applying for winter courses if they wish to avoid the younger summer crowd.


Ages 35-40… and over

Two schools jump out specifically for these older age groups:

  • The Instituto Ibiza sports an impressive 30% of their students within the 35+ category. Another 30% are 29 – 35 years old, making the average age 40. So it’s pretty safe to say that a winter curriculum will safely offer you classmates in these older age groups.
  • The International House Mallorca boasts 30% of students in the 40+ category. The rest are fairly equally divided. So again, definitely count on the older crow to be there in the winter and the younger students to attend during schools or university holidays, especially in the summer.


A brief word on accommodation

If you are a mature student, you might not want to share a student residence or accommodation with people in their teens or twenties. In UniSpain’s experience people in the 35+ age group usually prefer to rent a private apartment.


What about after-school activities?

The language schools are used to providing activities for students. If a class is fundamentally in their 40’s, a school will perhaps suggest things like sightseeing, flamenco or cooking classes, rather than a wild night on the tiles. (Although over 35’s or over 50’s groups might get wild too!)

The schools will use their good judgement when offering activities and most extra-curricular events are in fact suitable for all ages – such as excursions, dance classes or concerts, to name a few. Once you make your choice, the likelihood is that there will be lots to do outside the classroom, although some schools are more activity-oriented than others. Check the course descriptions in UniSpain’s Course Finder to discover more about schools and their out-of-class programs.


Some encouragement

The above is a good guideline for selecting a Spanish school in Spain based on age. But you don’t need to feel disheartened if you had your heart set on a specific school in one city! Remember, many schools will cater for all ages and picking summer or winter will have a big impact. In the end, it also depends on whether age is very important for you or not.

If you in fact decide that a particular school’s curriculum or location weighs more in the scale than the age of your classmates, we can only encourage you to go for it. Either way, your trip will be worth it for the Spanish language and culture you’ll absorb during your time in Spain.

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