“There´s only so much you can learn in a classroom in Wales…Learning Spanish in Alicante is everything I have ever dreamed of”
At Proyecto Español, university students travel far and wide to learn new languages like English, Spanish, and German, while indulging in the diversity of Spanish culture, food, weather, sightseeing etc. Monika, a 21 year old student from Poland who has been studying Education with Spanish at the University of Aberystwyth for the past two years, has decided to do just that. She chose to study Spanish because she wanted to challenge herself and try something new. She also appreciates that Spanish is in high demand and she believes it would be very helpful in the future, as she dreams of becoming an English teacher. She has planned to come to Alicante for over a year now in order to carry out her year abroad, which is an essential part of her degree programme back in Wales.
Monika found out about Proyecto Español from her Spanish teacher at her university. She was looking for a school that could offer 20+ hours of Spanish lessons a week and Proyecto Español was perfect as she receives 25 hours a week of lessons and she is in love with the city of Alicante. She describes it as ‘small, but full of places that are worth seeing’. She plans to have classes at Proyecto Español for 3 months and afterwards her goal is to move to Salamanca in order to improve her Spanish further and pursue a job as an English teacher for children and young adults before she goes back to Wales to complete her final year at university – amazing!
Her daily routine is extremely productive, fun and very different to her routine back home. During the week she wakes up at 8am and has classes everyday between 9am and 2pm, and afterwards she attends the extra activities that the school offers. For example intercambio, Saturday trips, cooking classes, dance classes and more! She loves intercambio and tries to attend every week; she describes it as an incredible way to practice your language skills in a casual environment and make lots of friends from both Spain and around the world. She says the Saturday trips are great as they show you around the best spots of the city and it’s great having people who can show you how the transport works, the best places to eat, places to see etc. She wants to make the most of all these opportunities and take advantage of the activities the school offers as they are all completely free of charge!
In terms of why she chose to study Spanish, Monika says that her mother tongue, Polish, is only spoken in Poland so her opportunities are limited. She states that English is certainly very useful; however she found after coming to Spain that it is actually very difficult to communicate with people in English because many Spaniards cannot speak it very well, and with Spanish being the second most spoken language in the world, it will be massively useful to her in the future. Monika believes there is only so much Spanish you can learn in a classroom in Wales, or any other non-Spanish speaking country, and there is a big difference between learning Spanish here and learning Spanish at her university. Here, she is surrounded by the language; she hears it every day everywhere; in shops, on the street, with her host family. “This all forces me to speak and think in Spanish,” she adds, “outside the lessons you learn more of a colloquial Spanish and you pick up casual expressions, which makes your speech sound more natural and fluent”. Additionally, she chose to live with a host family which means that after going home from her classes, she still has the opportunity to speak and practice her Spanish with them. She chose to live this way because she wanted to get to know a little bit more about family life in Spain; how they live, how they eat, how they communicate. She described it as very interesting because back in Poland, she doesn’t pay attention to her family life, yet everything here is something new and exciting for her! For example, the times they wake up, go to bed and eat are all very different to life in Poland – it’s a real, exciting insight into the family culture. She is over the moon she chose to do this!
Overall, she says being here is a great experience because she was dreaming of living in Spain to see the life here and learn more of the language. It has shown her that learning languages is very important as she is able to experience and get to know a new culture, meet people from other nationalities and is offered more work opportunities which will all lead to a better future. She is really happy with everything and says it is everything she has ever dreamed of!