Should You Learn Spanish in the North or South of Spain?

northmeetssouthSpain is a beautiful country in the Southern-Western region of the European continent. Known for flamenco, sangria, football and paella, the country is not lacking in a richness in culture.
This fact could prove tricky for the average potential student who plans on coming to study Spanish in Spain. With a country so dreadfully charming, the question begs,
“Should I learn Spanish in the North or South of Spain?”
And the answer is not exactly a no-brainer.

Why don’t you read on in order to get better insight and help you make a decision on whether the Northern or Southern region of Spain would be the ideal setting for you while you tackle your Spanish language course.

There are often debates about this. Spain sees a diversity of languages with four being the officially recognized languages of the country – one of these languages of course being Spanish, otherwise known as Castellano. This is the language that retains the dominant position within (and outside) the country, and the nature of its expression is often up for contestation depending on whom you ask.
There are those that would deem “Pure Castellano” Spanish-clear and unadulterated, to reside in Madrid and the Northern region of Spain. This paradigm dictates that the way the language is spoken in the Southern regions of Spain (in Andalusia in particular) finds an influence of the regional dialects manifesting in a difficult, hard sounding and not easy to understand accents or dialects.
There are others who may argue that the North has a stronger presence of other minority languages (such as Basque, Catalan, Valencian and Galician) and that one who learns Spanish in the southern Andalusian region is able to understand Spanish that is spoken anywhere in the world. There is a whole lot of cultural politics riddled into this debate which we are not here to dabble in. Moving on…

The whole of Spain in general has relatively fine weather. Nothing too extreme or utterly awful as can be the case in certain other European countries that shall remain nameless. There is, however, a significant difference between the North and South of Spain with the North generally being a whole lot colder than the South particularly in the Winter time. If you love winter fashion and the charm that comes with the air of cold weather – then the North is for you. If you are a sun-loving type, who loves beaches and hates to have to get bundled up and sit by the radiator all day, I would propose the Southern region. The weather is tempered even during the winter months and the beaches in the Summer are absolutely to die for.

Every inch of Spain offers something remarkable to see, and see as much of it as you can-you should! Many Northern cities that see frequent foreign business travellers as well as tourism (such as Madrid and Barcelona in particular). And the constant movement makes it easier to travel outside of Spain with easier access to other European countries like France, Switzerland and Italy for example due to several low cost airlines that cater to the region. The Southern cities have a magical “untouched” air about them with lots of Zen inspiring scenery that can be accessed by car(hire) and it is often easy and inexpensive to hop through one city to another as the buses and trains are all so well structured and finely connected. What’s more, If you have your eye on making a trip over to North African countries (Like Morocco), it is a lot easier to do so from the South with less time and money.

Standard of Living
Despite what you hear about the economic crisis in Spain, the country still generally sees a relatively good standard of living in terms of food, housing and overall quality of life. The North seems to see more business oriented expatriates with a whole lot of industry coming out of Barcelona in Catalonia and of course, a healthy amount from Madrid – the capital city. This can often-times make these cities more expensive to live in with a faster pace of life i.e more stressful. The pace is generally much slower in the South where people are not so uptight about time and like to enjoy life and “smell the roses.” Prices are often generally lower than in the North. However, there are exceptions, with Salamanca in the North being one of the cheapest cities in Spain and a great student city at that. Granada (in the South) falls into the same category. And Marbella in the South being a rather expensive city.

The general perception is that the people in the South of Spain are warmer (like the climate) and have a more welcoming disposition while the people in the North are colder (also like the climate) and less forthcoming. The North sees more international investors and therefore has a significant presence of expatiates living and working in various cities which results in locals in that region having a little bit more exposure and being a little more cultured. And with the presence of international investors comes a more “driven” attitude with a thriving work culture.
The South has a reputation of having a more provincial outlook and “small town” mentalities.  Although, it attracts a high number of tourists and retirees each year, it does not get the same cultural exposure as the North as those who come often do so for vacation and frequent the tourist sections away from the actual locals. And with the presence of tourists who come to have a great time, the South gets its “Fiesta Fiesta” reputation and a laid-back way of being can be felt all across the coast.

Both the Northern and Southern regions of Spain can boast numerous Spanish language School of amazing quality- certified Native Speaking teachers, great facilities and experience in Spanish language teaching.


Here are only a few of the schools with whom we have partnerships at UniSpain.
Click on the school of your choice to know more information, get a glimpse into the city, browse other schools in the same location and register for special offers and great discounts!

Madrid Complutense – Madrid
Academia Iria Flavia – Santiago
Salamanca University – Salamanca

Malaga University – Malaga
CLIC Sevilla – Seville
Canarias Cultural – Tenerife; autonomous Spanish island off the South Coast of Spain
Gran Canaria School – Les Palmas de Gran Canaria; autonomous Spanish island off the South Coast of Spain

Hispania Valencia
 – Valencia
Instituto de Idiomas Ibiza – Ibiza; autonomous Spanish island off the East Coast of Spain
International House Mallorca – Palma de Mallorca autonomous Spanish island off the East Coast of Spain

In closing, both regions have their quirks and charms. All would depend upon what you are looking for to have as he setting to your Spanish language course in Spain. No matter where you choose to go, you will be sure to be able to immerse yourself in the beautiful Spanish culture and get into the heart and soul of the remarkable country that is Spain.



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