Along Spain’s northeasterly coast lies Cataluña, the region that, perhaps somewhat unfairly, lays claim to both the urban center of Barcelona and the Costa Brava, or “wild coast,” with its rocky coves and turquoise Mediterranean vistas. The autonomous region is also the birthplace of surrealist icon Salvador Dalí and located just outside Barcelona is the museum that honors him, a fanciful burgundy structure crowned with enormous egg sculptures.
Barcelona, Cataluña’s capital, is fêted as cosmopolitan and sophisticated, and evidence in support of these monikers abounds: its Park Güell is only one of Gaudí’s countless architectural marvels with its circuitous benches and slanting colonnades. Santa María del Mar, a medieval Catalan gothic cathedral, was commissioned in honor of the capture of Sardinia, and its construction lends itself impeccably to the occasional concert that takes place inside. The bustling boulevard Las Ramblas is an outstanding example of the spirit of Barcelona, where numerous stands selling flowers, newspapers, or birds and an abundance of street performers, cafes, and terraces enrich the landscape. The exceptional climate and its sandy beaches make Barcelona an attractive tourist proposition year round.
The Catalan language is the pride of its people despite the suppression of its use until the 1970s under Franco’s dictatorship. Thriving in spite of such historical subjugation, this romance language can be heard abundantly throughout the region and is an official language alongside Spanish — its success gives outsiders prime insight into the resilience and determination of the Catalans.
Schools in Barcelona
For two years in a row (2006, 2007), The Wall Street Journal picked ESADE’s MBA program as the best in the world. There is no question that the school owes its reputation mainly to its business programs. However in addition to the business school, tourism, and law schools, ESADE has a prestigious language center. ESADE’s Executive Language Center offers Spanish intensive language courses, not only to foreign students already enrolled in any of the law or business programs, but to anyone interested in Spanish learning. One strong selling point of ESADE-ELC is its Barcelona location. The building was initially meant as a language instruction facility and now hosts both the MBA programs in addition to the language school. Another key to the success of the ELC is the quality of the professors; Delia Castro, head of the Spanish Department, was formerly the Head of the Master’s Program for Teachers of Spanish as a Second Language at the Universitat de Barcelona. The school policy allows a maximum of 10 students per group, facilitating individual attention. ESADE is also open to establishing tailor-made summer programs for foreign universities, which could include Spanish classes, company and cultural visits, and business-related topics, taught in either English or Spanish. Foreign students at ESADE experience life in one of the most beautiful cities in the world while studying Spanish at a prestigious business and language school.
For further info, visit www.esade.edu/spanish/eng
The School of Modern Languages of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), offers intensive Spanish courses running all year with start dates every month and tailor-made programs for groups. Courses enable students to make rapid progress and use Spanish in an effective and practical way. They also introduce students to the cultural and social customs of the country. The school’s teaching method is based on a communicative approach with a special focus on practicing oral expression, which includes interactive activities to develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In addition, students learn strategies to continue studying the language on their own. Teachers are qualified and experienced language teaching professionals, dedicated to providing a successful learning experience. The school is in an impressive art nouveau building, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the center of Barcelona. UAB Idiomes Barcelona also offers accommodation, visits to some of the many interesting local sites and events in Barcelona, and exchanges with local students. All courses are certified by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and are valid for university credits.
For further info, visit www.uab.es/uab-idiomes
Students can take 20 or 25 lessons per week for as long as they like, starting any Monday. Classes are held from Monday to Friday during the mornings or afternoons, and have an average of eight students. abcCollege is located in a modern building, custom-built to guarantee effective and comfortable language learning. All classrooms are equipped with audio-visual facilities. The school also has a large conference hall and a computer room with free internet access, as well as a penthouse bar-terrace with panoramic views of Barcelona.
It’s location in the city center, near the Plaza Molina, is well-connected by major metro and bus routes.
Located in the center of Barcelona, Camino Barcelona provides on-site accommodation and offers a wide variety of courses in well-equipped classrooms with a maximum class size of ten. All classrooms are air-conditioned and it has a cafeteria, three sunny terraces, and free wireless internet connection. In the on-site student residence, students have the opportunity to enjoy en suite bathrooms, hydro-massage showers, balconies, modern kitchens, and flat-screen televisions in every apartment. The school is located in a lively street in the Eixample neighborhood, a ten-minute walk from Plaza Cataluña and Las Ramblas. Eixample is famous for its many shops, restaurants, and bars — where there are endless possibilities to meet people.
International House offers a wide range of top quality Spanish language courses in a number of Spain’s most exciting locations. These include Barcelona, Córdoba, Palma de Mallorca, Madrid, San Sebastián, Sevilla, Valencia, and Vejer (Cádiz). Apart from the language courses themselves, each school also provides a long list of other services including an airport meeting and transfer service, accommodation placement, engaging programs of social and cultural activities and opportunities to meet people from the local community. The details of the courses and other services on offer vary to an extent from school to school, but the quality of service is guaranteed by the fact that all the schools share the same rigorous and externally verified standards.
IH Barcelona is located in the center of that sensational city, within easy walking distance of all the most famous landmarks including the gothic quarter, the Ramblas, Gaudi’s most famous buildings, and the city’s sandy beach.
The school has an international reputation and is one of the largest teacher training centers in the world. Every year thousands of students and hundreds of trainee teachers take a course at IH Barcelona.
Students can follow an entire study program at IH Barcelona, or they can combine a period of study in Barcelona with a period spent in one of the other IH centers in Spain. In both cases, full time students from the U.S. can usually obtain study credits for the course from their own university or college.
At inlingua, students begin speaking Spanish from their first lesson. Spanish lessons use the inlingua method and focus on specific language skills such as speaking, grammar, listening, and pronunciation. Moreover, it is the only school within the inlingua network authorized to perform the DELE-exams, which are the only exams leading to official certification in the Spanish language. The inlingua Barcelona Spanish Department is located in an old, recently renovated building in the city center, and is equipped with all facilities necessary for a modern school of languages.
Kate Sommers-Dawes is assistant editor for Language Magazine.