My Foreign Language School In Spain | My Family Travels
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Malaga is on the Costa del Sol, in the south of Spain. It’s the capital of Andalusia, the province that consists largely of the Southern coast. It has approximately 700,000 people and is a bustling port. And it’s where I spent half of my summer, learning the Spanish language, culture and lifestyle.

I doubt that many American travelers will spend any time in Malaga, considering it is not a big American tourist destination (although many Brits own condos in or outside of Malaga.) However, many people fly there because of its large international airport that is the closest one to historically important cities such as Seville, Granada and Ronda.
 
I spent three weeks in Malaga studying at the Instituto Cervantes, an international Spanish language school that has schools everywhere from New York City to Istanbul. However, their only school in Spain that offers a youth program/home stay with a Spanish family is in Malaga.
 
In Malaga, I lived with Senora Vera, a fast (non-English) speaking old woman and a few other students. While her cooking consisted mostly of French fries and toast, she was nice enough. In Spanish houses, there are typically more bedrooms in an area of the house than in American ones. I had a small room on the second floor with two beds, which I shared with a French boy.
 
The Instituto Cervantes (www.cervantes.edu) in Malaga is on a large street, about two blocks from the beach. The school itself is very Spanish, consisting of two buildings built around a courtyard, through which you enter the school. The first day of school consisted of taking a placement test and a tour of Malaga led by the school. Aside from the first day, the schedule every day was completely identical. I had my language classes from 8:30am to 11:30am (with a 10-minute break in the middle) and my “culture” class from noon to 1:30pm.
 
The quality of the classes was excellent. The classes were small, the text books were good and the teaching was excellent. In the cultural class, current events and culture were discussed, with each person describing that issue in their home. This was especially interesting because of the diverse backgrounds of everyone, with the majority of the students coming from Germany, France, the US, Italy and the UK, and the ages varying from 14 to 40 years.

The school only offers a small variety of extra-curricular activities. The ones they offered while I was there consisted of a visit to the Museo Picasso Malaga (Picasso was born in Malaga), a visit to the modern art museum there, a salsa lesson, a soccer game and a Flamenco performance. The school also offers weekend trips to cities outside of Malaga such as Seville, Granada and Ronda. The activities vary in cost, from € 3 (about US$4) for a Flamenco performance, to €40 (US$53) for the day trips.
 
Overall, the program was moderately enjoyable. While the extra curricular activities are not fabulous, the teaching at the school is excellent, it is nice to meet a variety of kids from all over the world. Most of all, your Spanish is certain to improve, as mine did greatly.
 
However, Instituto Cervantes is more like a school than a summer camp. My friend did a similar program with ASA (Academic Study Associates) in Spain, where all of the kids were American teenagers, and they did activities like rock climbing together besides studying a language.
 
Kids looking for a good time with Spanish classes, rather than Spanish classes with a good time, should opt for a program like that instead of mine.
 
Regan Bozman studied in Spain in July, 2006.  He wrote this for www.kidtravels.com in 2006.

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