I flirted in the class room, was expelled due to mobile use and tested day drinking with my friends. Studying Spanish in Barcelona is anything but boring.
Como estas! I have left the suitcase at the school office and an employee has followed me a block away, to the classroom.
«I will now be placed in the right group – with those who can nunca espanol, that means nothing.»
We are a group of around 10: An older US guy (Estados Unidos), two male students from the Netherlands (Holanda) and Montenegro/ Rome, a man from Germany, (Alemania) a female student from Florida, a girl from the Philippines, (Filipinas) a French girl (Francia) who works and lives in Barcelona and three girls from Australia.
«The American quits to enjoy beach with his wife and I am alone with the young ones.»
There is a good atmosphere in the class room. We all struggle with the Spanish and it unites us. Together we ask each other deep questions like; Do you like working out? Do you play soccer or volleyball? Do you prefer the sea or the mountain? In your hometown, do you have a pharmacy, beach and library?
– Que hay en tu barrio? – What’s in your home-town? Asks the teacher. It can be discussed for hours….: /
«The breaks are a little irritating because I can not go to the bathroom without meeting advanced students crying out: «De donde eres?»
«I’m overwhelmed and I do not know what this means, I just want to fill my bottle with water and wash my hands.»
Eventually I become as eager as them, for now I know it means; Where are you from: – Noruega. Norway.
Outside the classroom, we enjoy life. The happy crowd take me to cheap three-course lunches, sightseeing on the way to beach and day drinking, something I seldom do at home. We have fun and I feel at home.
DAY DRINKING: Rachel from USA, Preety from Australia, Patrick from Germany, Stephan from the Netherlands and me, Tine from Norway gathered for three-course lunch and happy hour drinks. Dimo from Montenegro / Roma had left for his siesta when the picture was taken. Here he illustrates how much he misses his salt-mate who has gone home.
Every day we have two teachers, one before and one after the break, and each week they are replaced with new ones so we will have variety and hear different types of dialects. It’s brilliant and most teachers are nice, although it’s annoying that they speak fast in Spanish and refuse to explain anything in English.
It’s usually possible to talk to them and ask them to slow down, but when a bossy teacher from Cuba yells at me that I can not use the mobile as a translator without permission from her, I actually leave the classroom.
A distinguished Frenchman is out in the hallway for the same reason. I say hola to him 4 times before he hears me. He is completely distant. When I finally get in touch with him, he mumbles bothered that he checked something on the phone, was yelled at and protested.
«The teacher told him he acted like a five year old.
We do not want to go back inside. Yeah, thats how hard it is when you feel humiliated by your teacher. Imagine how it is for 15-year olds!!!
Apart from this little episode, I do fine.
«But I hate the homework. Late at night in your small room in the student apartment after long dinners, salsa nights, sangria, tapas, paella, flamenco show, sightseeing, beach and free welcome drinks, homework is the last thing you’re interested in, believe me!»
I desperately google and use google translate to find something sensible to say and discuss just as desperately with flat-mate Sophie from Hungary (Hungria) (left in the picture abowe) the next morning.
«I feel bad when I think about how much homework I gave to immigrants I taught Norwegian! If there will be a next time, I’ll cut the homework. Seriously!»
We have good chemistry in the class and when someone does not know the answer, or are tired due to little sleep and/or too many fiestas, we help each other. When I have to mime Spanish flamenco, I’m glad we work in pairs.
«The student from Rome (left below) tries to mime milk and illustrates with his hands; He milks the cow.»
Then we understand and it is funny.
It’s a moment in the class I have asked permission to tell about. Since the answer was yes, I tell you here:
«Speed-date: I told the guy he was very handsome! «
We learn to talk about how people look and after some sort of «speed date» I have to describe the person I work with. That’s the boy from Holanda. He is tall and handsome and has blue eyes (ojos azules) and I have to say that in Spanish. Madre mia! I do not remember the words, I’m nervous. The teacher is waiting impatiently for answers.
– Muy guapo. That’s it, I say loudly.
It means insanely beautiful or something and is not something I usually say to men.
Now the classroom explodes. The boy blushes, everyone laugh, the teacher is all in and say it’s a revolution – because he’s not only very handsome but also very much younger than me.
My classmates take pictures, they post them in the WhatsApp group and one ask what I have done with the guy.
«I’m so embarrassed I can not answer.»
Now I’m also hot and I have to fan my face with the notebook.
OMG. Need I say more?
The muy guapo student disappears in the hallway and I want to follow. Too much attention!
But not for the others. The girl from Florida says I saved her day, she did not want to go to school that day as she is happy something funny happened. Haha!
I never dreamed that the course would be so fun or that I would meet so many lovely people from Europe, the United States and Australia.
But it is tough to be all in! When I’m invited to a football match I struggle to keep up with the group, some of the male students have twice as long legs as me and they walk fast. – Just a couple of blocks more, they say. Haha! Afterwards there are drinks and shots.
I’m suddenly very tired. I feel old. Student life is not for amateurs! The head may be 20, but not the body. I have to sleep.
At home after four weeks of Spanish, salsa, daydrinking and tapas, I notice that I enjoyed the stay.
«I needed to get out of the comfort zone and do something new.»
I am now waiting for the next opportunity to call someone muy guapo! 🙂
Please contact me for advice and tips on language travel.
Due to the certificate I received from my class, I’m more than competent to answer.
In Barcelona on language and salsa-tour.
Tine Holm. 🙂
Thanks to my fantastic classmates; chicas y chicos, locas y locos, guapas y guapos, famosas y famosos who made it possible to write this article.
What did it cost:
Spanish course at Camino Barcelona: 4 hours Spanish Monday-Friday from 0930 + 2 hours salsa 2 nights a week. I paid 915 euros for 4 weeks.
Accommodation: Separate single room in shared apartment: I paid 716 euros for 4 weeks.
Why Barcelona? I had only been in Barcelona once and wanted to explore the city while learning Spanish. I like harbour cities by the beach and Barcelona is a beautiful city not far away.
Scholarship: I received a scholarship of NOK 18 500 – ca 1940 euro – from the Norwegian Journalist Association / STUP. It covered flight, accommodation and tuition fee. Food, excursions, transportation and other things I paid for myself.
The journey: I paid around 1800 NOK – ca 189 euro – with Norwegian airlines to fly from Oslo-Barcelona-Oslo.
Apartment: The apartment should have a large room with window and it should not be more than 20 minutes walk from the study location. Hotel is fine, but in four weeks it will be very expensive. Hostels and smaller hotels are quickly filled up in season and you have to be early.
Climate: Good summer climate spring and autumn, very hot in July and August and cold in winter.
If you need to contact me, my e-mail-address is firstname.lastname@example.org and phone +4792222406