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International education in Spain, universities, Spanish language schools, USA study-abroad programs, professional development and other information for international students, families and educators

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Why should I study abroad?
There are two reasons. 1) You want to learn about another country and want to be comfortable speaking and understanding the Spanish language. 2) You want to master a foreign language. Cultural and language immersion is considered an excellent way of learning and retaining a living language.

What is a Spanish language school?

There are many schools in Spain that not only teach foreigners the Spanish language but they provide an immersion experience as well. Some are run in conjunction with a university. Others are less formal. Reservations can be made ahead of time or at the door. Note that some countries and cities have more schools than others. For example, Spanish language schools play a great role in cities such as Granada, Madrid, Málaga, Barcelona and Salamanca.

Where should I study?

Since there are so many schools, the decision of where to go may seem overwhelming. Choose the country first where you'd like to learn. Then choose by the city and school. How to find the best school? Ask! Get recommendations from friends, write or call the school directly for details and best of all, visit.

What are some characteristics of a good Spanish language school?

Personal attention. You don't want to be treated like a number. The better schools offer cultural outings as well as a library or book exchange and bulletin board. In other words, they offer immersion into the local environs as well as the language.
Some of my favorite schools donate a percentage of their income to social projects and offer the students an opportunity to volunteer or link up with projects in the host country. Another good sign are original study materials, which the student can use to learn as well as brush up on the language after returning home.

What should I expect to learn?
This depends on your commitment and eagerness to learn the language. At least, you'll be a better prepared for your travels. If you want to devote more time, you'll have a greater command of the Spanish language. As with other things in life, you'll get out of the experience what you invest.

What do I need to take with me?

If you are combining education with travel, make sure you cover the bases. Bring the appropriate clothes, travel necessities (camera, guidebooks, medicine) and a bilingual dictionary.

Where do I live?

Many schools offer home stays with local families. You can also arrange your own lodging or choose to live in an apartment or hotel. Consult a guidebook to get a good idea of what lodging typically costs.

How do I know if a school is right for me?

The best bet is to select a school on prior recommendations. A school's word of mouth reputation is worth more than all of the advertising in the world. If you have any doubts, don't commit yourself to more than a week of classes. If you can, visit the school and talk with the teachers and students. The best advice is to let the director of the school and your teacher know what you'd like to accomplish - whether it's survival Spanish or if you have more specific goals. They will be happy to accommodate your needs if you let them know what your needs are.

How do I know if a school is legitimate? I've been researching Language Schools in Granada, and while all the school's promotional materials seem to sound valid, I don't want to end up getting ripped off.

I have yet to find a school advertising its services on LSH that is not legit. (And if I should receive a complaint about a school, I would investigate and if the case merited, refund the school and remove the listing.) You can also check forums and take a look at users' opinions about schools.

I am interested in attending the language school in Granada, Enforex. It sounds great. Can I talk to someone who has been a student there?

If you want additional feedback, ask the school to provide you with the names - and contact info - of former students who can tell you about the program. My suggestion - you might want to post a query to http://www.free-languages.com/en/foros.asp

Can I get university credit for classes taken abroad?

Many schools offer credit transfers. Ask your college first.

What are the pros and cons of using an agency instead of arranging schooling with an individual school?

On the plus side, an agency can handle international payments - many accept credit cards, offers an international point of contact, and has checked several schools. On the downside, many of these agencies require your to prepay before starting a program and some charge a registration fee.

How long are typical language courses?

Courses can last from one day to several months. Most schools encourage students to take at least one week of classes and preferably two or three weeks for maximum benefit. As always, it does depend on your abilities and needs.


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