Study Spanish (Spain)
Learning Spanish in Spain is discovering a country that is made of several different cultures. Depending on the region, it offers mountain views, arid plains, beaches, many forests and volcanoes, olive and orange groves, almond tree plantations etc. The country even has two archipelagos, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
WHERE GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY MEET
The high mountain ranges that split Europe’s second most mountainous country, after Switzerland, have always made it difficult for invaders to travel. Not the Romans, nor the Muslims coming from the north of Africa in the eighth century, and not even the Christian crowns who managed to (re)conquer and politically unify Spain in the fifteenth century succeeded in imposing a dominant culture over the whole territory, because of the many geographical barriers. This is why today Spain has four official languages: Castilian or Spanish, Basque, Catalan and Galician.
After being ruled by the Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors, the Muslims, the Catholics and even going through dictatorship, the country’s rich heritage is reflected in a large diversity of architectural styles and cultures : Roman, Moorish, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, modern, and many more.
Of course nobody can study in Spain without witnessing the legendary festive character of its people. Proof that the Spanish people are a lively bunch: the country has more restaurants and bars per capita than any other in the world! Spain also features 25 000 fiestas each year. Your Spanish immersion will certainly give you the chance to see and even take part in at least one of them. Will you be among those who try to survive the running of the bulls in July? Here are some of the top festivals not to be missed:
• In late February, the most amazing carnivals in Spain take place in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Cadiz. Extravagant dances and costumes, singing, parades and the burial of a gigantic sardine symbolize the end of winter.
• At the beginning of March, Valencia holds Las Fallas, a famous local festival with marks the beginning of bullfighting season.
• In April, don’t miss the International Tennis Championship of Spain, which is held in Barcelona.
• Every three years, Cordoba is flooded by tourists who come to see the National Flamenco Competition.
• Also in mid-May, golf fans can enjoy the Spanish Open Championship, in Madrid.
• In June, go to see the International Music and Dance Festival at the Alhambra and at the Palacio de Generalife, in Granada.
• During the first week of August in Palma, don’t miss the Regatta ( even the King Juan Carlos I participates).