The Latest Special Offers From don Quijote

SPECIAL OFFERS FROM don Quijote!

Get access here to the latest offers on Spanish language courses and accommodation from don Quijote.

We’ve teamed up with don Quijote, one of the best Spanish language schools in the world to offer you great Spanish courses in fabulous locations and most importantly good service. [Read more…]

DON QUIJOTE SPANISH COURSE IN CORDOBA, ARGENTINA REVIEW

An independent language advantage course review by Liz Harrisspanish-language-schools-latin-america-with-don-quijote

When I was planning my trip to Latin America, I knew I would need to spend some time refreshing my Spanish language skills. I arrived in Argentina in January 2011 and spent five weeks travelling before I embarked on my program to learn Spanish at a don Quijote partner language school in Córdoba, Argentina. don Quijote has been dedicated to teaching the Spanish language to students since 1986. Their goal is that students return home with a wider world view after having learned and experienced a new language and culture.

I’ve studied at various Spanish language schools, both in Spain and Cuba, and I’ve always stayed in student apartments in the past. This time I decided, for a change, to stay with a host family. Previously I found the idea a bit daunting, but it was such a good experience and I don’t regret it at all! My decision to stay with a host family was mainly based on the fact that typically the common language in student residences is English. I really wanted to accelerate my language learning, so I went for full immersion. I had arrived in Córdoba a few days before the start of my course and had been staying with a friend in a local hostel. On the Sunday night my friend and I went our separate ways and I took a taxi to the house of my host family or ‘new mum’, Carmen.

The house was lovely and so were Carmen and her daughter. The accommodation was a bit further out of the city than the student apartments, but this was no problem at all – there was a bus stop around the corner from the house with three bus routes that took about ten minutes to get to the centre. Carmen gave me a chance to settle in and unpack, and then not only drew me a map, but walked me to the bus stop and around the area so I got to know the place, including a map of the bus route so I knew where to get off on the way home.

On the first day Carmen accompanied me the whole way to the language school to make sure I got there! I then took a short test to assess my level of Spanish to make sure I was in the right group and I was placed in an intermediate group. I was introduced to my fellow classmates, who consisted of three Brazilians, an American and a Swiss guy. This pretty much sums up the demographic of the students – people from all over the world. It was also important to me that the class size was just right – enough people to make it fun & engaging, but not too many so that the teacher could give us all personalised attention when we needed it.

The language school itself was completely kitted out for an excellent student experience

After my first Spanish class, I attended the ‘Welcome Lunch’ which consisted of empañadas, a traditional Argentinean pasty-like snack. Here I met other students who had started that day and we were introduced to all the staff, told who did what and who we needed to talk to if we had any problems at the language school. After the lunch, we went on a tour of Córdoba with the school‘s activities officer, Victor, to get us orientated and to teach us a bit about the city.

The language school itself was completely kitted out for an excellent student experience. As well as bright, clean and air-conditioned classrooms, it had a fully equipped kitchen (where a fellow student cooked us all lunch!), three computers with free internet access (so you can stay in touch with people at home), a garden with a seating area and barbeque – and even a swimming pool!

I took the ‘Intensive Course’, which consists of twenty hours of Spanish language tuition a week. We started lessons at 9am, had a short break for coffee and biscuits and then went back to lessons until 1pm. There are other course options available: ‘Immersion’, which is twenty-five hours of lessons or ‘Super Intensive’, which is thirty. You could also take ‘Private’ which is ten hours of one-to-one lessons a week. The school even offers special courses, such as Spanish and Tango – to learn Spanish in the morning and tango in the afternoon! I really enjoyed my daily routine in Córdoba – study in the morning, then spend the afternoons lounging in the sun by the pool in the garden or sightseeing in Córdoba, absorbing the culture & practising my Spanish.

I had one tutor for my program, Silvana, who was great – the class followed a fast enough pace for us not to get bored of a subject, but there was always time for us to go back and revise the stuff that wasn’t so easy! We worked from two course books: one covering grammar and one containing activities. We also had worksheets that were provided by the school and completed listening activities by listening to recordings of typical conversations. We covered subjects that were relevant to us as students, most of whom would be travelling after we studied, such as how to book buses and useful phrases for making friends with Argentineans. And not only that, the class was fun –we had lively discussions (in Spanish of course!), listened to Argentinean songs and Silvana even brought in cakes for Friday afternoon!

Victor, the activities officer for the school, ensured that there was a packed programme of activities for the students. There was always some sort of social activity planned for the evening, such as bowling or a trip to the cinema, as well as suggestions of when to visit museums and where to go sightseeing. Every week there is also a traditional asado. An asado is basically a barbeque, but boy do the Argentineans know how to do a barbeque! For thirty Argentinean pesos or about five British pounds we got all-you-can-eat steak (best in the world!) and chorizo, as well as salad, bread and drinks. There was also plenty of opportunity to check out the nightlife which Cordoba is renowned for as the city has a total of seven universities, so an active student scene!

You won’t regret it!

Córdoba is a great place to stay for a couple of weeks, as there is something there for everyone! It is Argentina’s second city so there is plenty to see and do – lots of parks and gardens, museums, bars, cinemas, shopping, a zoo and even a small theme park. If city living isn’t really your thing, the countryside around Córdoba is beautiful and easily accessible by public transport. The city is situated in the foothills of the Sierra Chica, a mountain range within a couple of hours of the city centre where you can horse-ride, trek or just enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery. I went on a day trip to the town of Alta Gracia, about an hour away from Córdoba, where the infamous Che Guevara grew up. His childhood home is now a museum dedicated to his life where you can see the motorbike on which he toured South America, made famous by the film ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’. There is also a Jesuit museum and a beautiful park with a lake.

On my last day I completed an optional test and received a certificate stating my attendance and level of Spanish – which I was very happy to see had improved! When the time came to move on, the school couldn’t have been more helpful. I had teamed up with three fellow students to go on a trip to Iguazu Falls (a must see if you are in Argentina!), and we were able to book our bus tickets through the school. The good thing about the school is that they are flexible – if you have paid for four weeks of studies for example, you can take a week off in the middle to go and see other places in Argentina, then come back to resume your classes or even have a two-centre city study time.

Originally, I only had a week booked as I was on a bit of a tight time scale – aiming to reach Salvador in Brazil by Carnival. However, I had such a good experience in Córdoba and made such good friends in my first week at the school, that I rearranged my plans and stayed for another week! I left the school to continue my travels through South America with lots of memories and lots of new friends.

Having studied at five or six other Spanish language schools around the world, I can genuinely say that this was the best, and certainly an opportunity worth taking up if you have the chance to learn Spanish in Latin America. You won’t regret it!

For more information about Spanish language courses in South America>>

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For more information on how to learn to speak Spanish and get the Spanish language advantage>>

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language advantage has selected the best and most innovative language courses abroad so you can learn to speak another language in the country where it is spoken.   How have we done this?   We’ve spent the past few years working with language schools and we’re now recommending the ones that offer a great service. We’ve spent our time searching, so you can spend your time learning.


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01 Learn to speak Spanish in Spain with don Quijote>>

02 Learn to speak Spanish in Latin America with don Quijote>>


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Learn Spanish in Spain with don Quijote

Learn Spanish and Flamenco in Seville, Spain with don QuijoteWe are pleased to announce that we have teamed up with don Quijote, one of the best Spanish language schools in the world.

In association with don Quijote Spanish language schools, we can now offer you great Spanish language courses in some of the best locations, offering world class service. Going to Spain or Latin America will always be the best way to study Spanish and learn about the Spanish or Latin American culture. [Read more…]

DON QUIJOTE SPANISH COURSE IN SALAMANCA, SPAIN REVIEW

An independent language course review by Lisa Zealey

My stay with don Quijote was much more that just a two-week Spanish course. Under the hot Spanish sun there’s something for everyone … flamenco classes, day trips, Spanish singing lessons and not to mention the Latino nightlife!

I will always remember my two weeks with don Quijote in July 2001 as a most amazing and eye-opening summer break. I chose to go to their school in Salamanca and really would recommend it to anyone! I was fortunate enough to win a place through a competition arranged by don Quijote at the annual London Language and Cultural Learning Show in Hammersmith, London. Having entered the competition I had almost forgotten about it as I never expected to win!

I was delighted to hear I had won an all-expenses paid place and was asked to choose my destination. To choose between two weeks in Barcelona, Madrid, Salamanca, Malaga, Seville or Granada … was a difficult one! Although I had barely heard of it before, I chose Salamanca based on the fact that the brochure said it was big enough for plenty of socialising but not a huge city; the fact that it is said to be a place where the most pure Spanish is spoken and also because of the flamenco and singing classes which I knew I would love!

 

I had the choice of staying in a host family or a student flat. I chose a student flat because I was more keen on being around other students and I decided by being in a flat I would be with other young people. Both options have their advantages though because with a family you have to speak Spanish all the time – in our flat (as often happens) – the common language was English.

My stay with don Quijote was much more that just a two-week Spanish course. Under the hot Spanish sun there’s something for everyone!

It was actually the first time I had flown by myself and I was really excited about getting on the plane and not knowing what to expect at the other end! I had received instructions of how to get to Salamanca and I felt a sense of adventure. When I arrived in Madrid I got a taxi to the coach station and then, in the days of pesetas and rusty GCSE Spanish, managed to find the coach to Salamanca. All was going to plan so far and after a relaxing (3 hour) coach ride I arrived in Salamanca where the fun would begin!

It’s hard to sum up such an influential two weeks in a short review – I learned far more than just Spanish; I reminded myself how easy it is to just go out there and do something great for myself.

Having been met by don Quijote on my arrival in Salamanca, I was taken to my flat, given all I needed for my classes and wished ‘Buena Suerte’ (good luck)!

As soon as I got to my flat, I met a couple of guys who were already there (one from Germany and one from Taiwan). They were great and took me out to show me the way to school and watch the local jazz band. I hadn’t even had time to unpack and straight away I felt like a good time was ahead! A thing that I loved about it was that almost everyone (in my flat as well as in my class) came from a different country. Such a variety of people was great and everyone got on so well together.

My first day at don Quijote was a long and very event-filled day, starting with a level test at 8.00 in the morning followed by a newcomers’ tour of the city while the staff determined which level groups we would go into. My classes were 3.00 – 7.00pm – ideal for someone like me who is not a morning person and likes to check out the nightlife! It had been a while since I spoke any Spanish and what I knew was only basic. I soon started to remember what I had previously learned at college and by the second week of the course I definitely felt like I was progressing well.

On our first night we had a newcomers’ welcome dinner hosted by don Quijote in their own café next to the school. This was a great idea and it was lovely to get chatting to people. I had been told that July was a good time to go and I could see why. There were so many people there and such lovely weather all the time! I think that going on your own is the best way to do it – not one minute did I feel like I was by myself. It’s really what you make of it. I had not imagined that it would be such a task to find another English person there! I met two guys who were English but out of the seven people in my class we had people from Poland, Germany, USA, Switzerland and Holland. This was such a great experience and made the lessons much more fun and diverse than if it was all English people.

I was 20 when I did this course and was pleased to find that the majority of students were my sort of age. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I found that most of them were on their summer break from university and filling in the time with some study abroad. I was simply taking two weeks off from my job in London. There were some older students there but most were between 20 and 26. The tutors were a mixture of ages. We had two separate teachers – one for each two-hour block. This meant we covered different topics with each teacher and it was like two separate classes. All the tutors were native Spanish and all instructions in the class were given in Spanish which was great for learning the everyday expressions. After all, with students from all over the world, not everyone would understand the explanations in English! There were never more that 7 or 8 in a group which meant that our abilities were more or less the same and we could learn far more than if we were in bigger, mixed ability groups.

don Quijote Salamanca holds Flamenco and singing classes once a week. I met a great girl from Croatia who also loved it! The songs were sung with songbooks around a big table with a Spanish teacher playing the guitar and teaching us. I really enjoyed learning them!

Salamanca is certainly a student town, so I would only recommend it to people who like to party! Almost every night of my stay the students met up in the evening and went out. People generally seemed to behave more like they were on holiday than on a language course!

Activities are arranged every weekend and for the one weekend I was there I went on a coach trip to the mountains – that was such a lot of walking (which I hadn’t prepared myself for!) It was a lovely (but very tiring) day. The views at the top of the mountains were amazing and it was really worth all the walking to reach the top.

I was very happy to have done this course for many reasons. It gave me a real incentive to do something like this again (which I’ve now done in France and Germany). It gave me the confidence to travel alone and meet new people. I met some great people on this course – several of whom, over a year later, I am still in touch with or have even visited. The Spanish classes made my Spanish very conversational even after two weeks, and this was incredibly exciting! I look back on Salamanca as a place where everyone is having fun – the atmosphere was really relaxed and I would love to go back someday.

I would definitely recommend a course with don Quijote if you want to become more confident in your Spanish and have a great holiday at the same time.

I would definitely recommend a course with don Quijote if you want to become more confident in your Spanish and have a great holiday at the same time. Here’s to the next one!

For more information about Spanish language courses in South America>>

For more information about Spanish language courses in Spain>>

For more information on how to learn to speak Spanish and get the Spanish language advantage>>

Get the Spanish language advantage!  Get your competitive advantage!

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