Which is the Best Spanish School and Course for
Your choice of Spanish study abroad program
should be made according to your specific personal needs and
objectives. Using ABT's pages to make your choice will save
you hours of work and ensure that your final decision
will be the right one. With ABT's guidance, you'll need to keep
in mind three or four basic ideas in order to choose the most
suitable program for your particular situation:
All of the other variables (qualifications of
teachers, standard of accommodation, quality of social
activities and excursions, etc.) have already been checked out
for you by ABT. And all of the Spanish study abroad programs
recommended in these pages have passed our extremely strict
criteria. This way you can be fully confident about any
course you choose through ABT.
All you have to do is look at the following
sections for our recommendations on how to choose the location
of your Spanish study abroad program, the type of school, and
type and length of course. When you've done that, just go
to the pages corresponding to the country you've decided on and
see which schools offer exactly what you're looking for.
To choose your Spanish study abroad
program, just read on....
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Study Spanish Abroad - Which Country?
The first thing you need to decide is which
Spanish-speaking country is best for your course. In most
cases, you'll already have a preference - for whatever reason -
and our advice, in most cases, is to stick with that. You've
probably decided that you really want to visit a particular
country, rather than any other, and actually going there, and
needing to learn Spanish in order to communicate with the
people, will be your greatest motivation.
However, if you're going to study Spanish for
professional reasons, and need to master a certain type of
accent, then obviously you need to choose a country where that
accent is prevalent.
Basically, there are two types of Spanish:
Castilian Spanish, as spoken in Spain; and Latin American
Spanish, as spoken on the American continent (although within
each of these main types there are lots of different accents).
The differences are more or less the same as those between
British and American English.
If you're going to be working with people who
mainly speak Castilian Spanish, then Spain will be the obvious
choice for your Spanish course. And if you know that the people
you will be dealing with are overwhelmingly from one particular
country, then obviously that's the country to choose.
But, if you're going to be working with Spanish
speakers from many different countries, it's probably a good
idea to study Spanish in a country with a "neutral" accent. In
this case, your best bets will be Spain, Ecuador and Chile.
Once you've decided on your country, you
need to consider which city is best for you. Again, you've
perhaps already decided on the city where you want to take
your Spanish course. And, again, we would say that's fine -
feeling at home and motivated is very important in learning
your Spanish faster and better!
If you haven't yet decided, we'd simply say
choose the type of city where you feel most comfortable.
Some people feel better in large cities, with lots of
things going on, even though the traffic and noise can be
horrendous. Others prefer the relaxed lifestyle of a
colonial city. Even others prefer to be in a small town
surrounded by countryside where they can escape each
ABT gives you a description and
introduction to all the cities and towns where we recommend
Spanish language schools. Just read the different
descriptions and you can base your final decision on
What Type of Spanish School?
All of the Spanish language schools
recommended by ABT are "good" schools - indeed most of them
are excellent Spanish schools (see our Quality
Criteria to see how we chose them). So you don't have
to worry about quality when choosing between the Spanish
language schools recommended on these pages.
The only important distinction between the
Spanish schools listed here is size. Some schools will be
big, with a very large student body, while others are much
smaller and more personal. We advise you to choose a school
where you think you're going to feel more comfortable -
some people like to be amongst a whole lot of people, with
things going on all of the time, while others prefer a
cozier, more personal atmosphere. You can choose by seeing
the information on each school on these pages, where you'll
find a reference to the number of students usually enrolled
How Long Should my Spanish Course Be?
The simple answer to this question is: as
long as possible. However, we know that many people have a
limited amount of time. If that's the case, you obviously
have no choice.
However, we recommend a minimum of three
weeks for your Spanish course. This is because for most of
the first week of a course you'll be getting used to your
new surroundings, to the teacher's voice and accent, to a
new teaching method, etc. For that reason you won't be able
to concentrate wholly on learning the new language - you
have too many other distractions.
And in the last week it's also difficult to
maintain 100% concentration on your language learning -
you, the teacher and your classmates are winding down, even
if involuntarily, you're thinking about the journey back
home, perhaps you're thinking about presents to take back,
Therefore, the first and last weeks of any
course are never as useful as the middle weeks - which is
why we recommend a minimum of 3 weeks.
What Type of Spanish Course Should I
No one knows your specific needs as well as
you do, so in the final instance, you'll need to trust your
own judgment. However, we can give you some general
If you can only take a short course
(up to 3 or 4 weeks), go for an intensive course
(25+ classes per week).
If you are going for a longer
course (over 4 weeks), opt for a semi-intensive
course (15 - 20 classes per week. You'll find that
you can only take in and process a certain amount
of new language, after which you become
"saturated". More than 4 weeks of an intensive
course will have that precise effect.
If you need any kind of specific
language (Spanish for Engineers, Spanish for
Business, etc.), book either an individual course,
or at least a number of individual classes to
supplement your group course. Even if a group
course is titled something like "Spanish for
Business", beware - the language taught will be
very general Business Spanish and probably not
exactly what you're looking for.
An individual course is more useful
the higher your level - if you are a beginner you
won't find so much difference in your progress
between a group course and an individual course,
but as your level increases, your needs become more
specific and individual classes will help you much
The First Step....
Your first step will be to decide on the
country where you want to take your Spanish course (or, if
you know which country, to decide on the exact location.
Visit one or more of the following pages to take that first