¡Hola! I’m Aaron Curie. I am from Columbus, Ohio, United States and I’m 17 years old. I have been taking intensive courses at Spaneasy Spanish Lessons for about 8 months now and I would like to share my opinion about the school. First of all, let me say that I couldn’t be happier with my choice to study at Spaneasy. The people there, from the student care team to the teachers and web designer and financial staff and director are just absolutely amazing. From the first time I contacted them, I felt like I was welcome at Spaneasy. I contacted Franesca, part of the student care team, who was super knowledgeable about visa procedures and explained my options to pay for courses and accommodation. My parents wanted to be sure Madrid was safe and that I would be in good hands. Francesca and Lucia were super helpful and knowledgeable and assured my parents that Spaneasy is the most centrally located Spanish school in Madrid, and that I would be in good hands. Spaneasy is accredited by the Instituto Cervantes, assuring quality teaching and facilities.
So after I confirmed that I wanted to study at Spaneasy for 9 months, Francesca got started right away with helping me through the application procedure. She sent me my visa papers and after gathering documents and getting them notarized, Aposotilled, and translated, my family took a short trip to Chicago to meet with the Spanish consulate to get my visa. It was a short, easy, painless appointment and we were told that we would receive my passport and visa in the mail in a few weeks. A few weeks later, I received my returned passport with a bright shiny Schengen student visa in it!
So my parents and I booked a flight, and in a few weeks, I was off to Spain! I said adiós to my family, got on the plane and arrived in Madrid in 8 hours. I checked into my student accommodation, which the student care team helped organize. I explored Madrid and played tourist, and then got to work setting up my gap year here in Spain! I visited Spaneasy, located right next to La Puerta del Sol, the beating heart of the city to introduce myself. I looked around the school. There are several classrooms with a TV for videos and a whiteboard and fun posters on the walls. There are two vending machines, one for coffee and hot chocolate, one with snacks, water and soda. The water bottles are €0,70 and the sodas are about €0,80, both less than a dollar. There is also a school library where you can check out books. You tell the front desk you are checking out a book, write your name and the book on their form, and give them €10 which will be returned when the book is returned in good condition. They also have a color printer you can use for a small fee.
Upon entering the school, I was welcomed with opened arms and smiling faces. I had a meeting with Francesca about travel opportunities with the international student travel agency BeMadrid, as well as opportunities of cooking classes, flamenco shows, etc. After that, I went and talked with Lucia to fill out visa paperwork. They both were very patient and speak English, so I felt confident dealing with all the bureaucracy. A few days later I came back to do the level test with Amanda, one of the teachers at Spaneasy. It was not intimidating at all. I just did what I could on the short multiple choice paper test, then went into a classroom with Amanda and had a casual conversation just so she could see where I was at level-wise. Don’t worry if you start classes and it’s a little too hard. You can just tell Francesca or Lucia at the front desk and they will place you where you need to be.
Fast forward 2 weeks, and I move into my host family organized by Spaneasy with the partnering company Your Family in Madrid.
Then fast forward another week and it’s my first week of class! I was super nervous, but all of that went away the minute I stepped into the classroom. I was greeted by my new teacher David. There were a few other students in my class but not too many. David is an amazing teacher. You can really tell he cares about his students and that he wants us to learn. He shares his passion for languages with us in a casual and informal atmosphere. He knows about every little grammatical detail of the Spanish language and has several fun and engaging ways to explain and teach us about them. His classes really rely on communication so we are able to use Spanish in our real lives. When we don’t understand something in his class, he always figures out a way to adapt his teaching to meet our learning needs. David is a teacher that really connects with his students in a way I have never seen before. He teaches correct and more professional Spanish but focuses more on colloquial, «street» Spanish, because as you probably know, Spain has a very informal culture, and casual Spanish is the most commonly used type. We have homework every night, but never more than 15 minutes worth.
The class structure is nice because we usually practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening every day. He starts out with an informal conversation about our day or what’s going on in our lives or whatever we end up talking about, and then progresses to the learning time. Sometimes we go out for lunch or for a café con leche or for churros to practice our Spanish in an informal and fun way!
As we all know, there has been an unexpected crisis all over the world with the novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19. I have been extremely impressed with Spaneasy’s director Araceli’s response and careful handling of this unprecedented crisis. Araceli started planning what to do really early, unlike some other schools. She was very organized and had a clear plan on what to do. The school closed down temporarily like the rest of Spain and we continued our classes online. David continued his spectacular teaching, just differently because it was online. I have been learning a ton during la cuarentena and have received support from the school with anything I have needed.
I have had the privilege of having David, Amanda, Gonzalo and Nacho as teachers and they are all amazing! The passion they have for teaching Spanish and about Spain to you is extraordinary.
I started classes at Spaneasy with a B2 level and now am finishing my C1 course. I have learned so much while I’ve been here and have made so many friends from all over the world. I now feel completely comfortable using my Spanish in Spain and I feel like I can use it in practically any situation. I highly recommend this school, and even during quarantine, the teachers are ready to share their passion for Spanish with you. This will definitely go down as the best year of my life so far. ¡Gracias por todo, Spaneasy! ¡Sigamos aprendiendo y disfrutando juntos!