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Learn Spanish in Barcelona, Spain|
With its pristine beaches, bizarre architecture, laid-back lifestyle and cosmopolitan flare, Barcelona is one of the premier destinations for expats young and old who wish to vacation, live, or retire young and, most importantly learn Spanish. Spain’s second largest city, Barcelona offers huge selection to those who wish to learn Spanish at all levels. Major academies like Don Quixote and the Cervantes Institute, as well as a series of smaller, private and internationally accredited Spanish language institutes, compete fiercely for the expat dollar, because they know that Barcelona Spanish classes are a huge draw.
The price of many of these programs is rather high, but often worth it as they bring in top educators with PhD level mastery of language instruction. They also have reduced class size to the point where they’ve shaved down the teacher-student ratio to 3:1, 2:1 and even sometimes 1:1, which means college students and independent learners can access one on one teacher to student Spanish language study sessions in Barcelona.
Immersion classes in Barcelona
Now, you may be asking yourself, are there inexpensive Spanish language classes in Barcelona that still offer top quality teachers, small class size and that can also guarantee that I will really be fluent in Spanish? The truth is these are hard to find, but last summer we actually did send a small group of students over to Barcelona to learn Spanish in the city, and they reported back to us, telling us about their experience and what it was like to take a Spanish immersion course in Barcelona. Fortunately, they didn’t all go to the same language school, but rather took Spanish classes in different parts of the city, at different schools. This gave us valuable insight into the wide variety of options in the city and even the larger region of Catalonia, and with this information we can now help you to compare Spanish academies in the city and throughout the state.
Some students even took the extremely cheap state-sponsored Spanish classes in Barcelona. They reported that there experience was actually not as down market as they had at first expected. In fact, a large number of expats take these Barcelona-based intensive Spanish classes sponsored by the government, which level out to about one euro per hour after you do the math, or even free in some cases! Yes, many of the students for whom these subsidized Spanish programs are intended as adult continuing education for immigrants from other parts of Europe and the Mediterranean countries (the city also features classes in Catalan, the language written on many signs, and spoken by some of the locals in addition to Spanish). But since the central Spanish government considers it extremely important that Barcelona integrate with other nationalities, the government has invested a lot into acquiring the best Spanish teachers, the best classroom facilities, leading edge multimedia materials and the best textbooks, which are also extremely cheap and sometimes even free, handed out to you as part of your enrollment fee or given free as part of the sign-up process. The government subsidizes these Barcelona Spanish immersion courses, and you benefit by paying next to nothing for top quality, accredited second language instruction. It’s a very good deal.
Of course, other students who went to private, higher cost Spanish language academies in Barcelona reported a level of instruction beyond comparison. Some went to the scenic, historic town of Girona to study, which is about an hour north of Barcelona by bus or car, and is even closer to the breathtaking coastal town Cadaqués (where, incidentally, you can also take Spanish lessons). While the price of these language schools in Barcelona and greater Catalonia is higher than the state-sponsored courses, you definitely get what you pay for. Don't take our word for it, though: read Barcelona Spanish school reviews by students that detail the classroom experience, quality of instruction, materials, etc.
Here is a list of private Spanish schools in Barcelona. This is a complete listing with growing detail where you can find the cheap Spanish classes plus reviews of these Spanish language schools in Barcelona:
This is one of the most famous language schools in town, and therefore has generated a lot of satisfied customers, as well as those who have complaints. Decide for your self based not just on the star ratings, but WHY students did or did not like their experience learning Spanish at this school. Read student reviews of Don Quijote language here.
You can go to their Web site and read selected testimonials about how fun and affordable they are, but for quality, objective information about what this program is like, what you want to do is read how a real student reviews Olé Spanish School, Barcelona on an outside forum or ratings site.
Speakeasy. If you want to know what other students think and what their experience was like, you can read a Speakeasy Barcelona review.
As you can see, the list of institutes and Spanish academies in Barcelona is extensive, which is why we recommend that you read Barcelona Spanish school reviews by students and student-written teacher evaluations before you enroll, to make sure that you select the best Spanish program in Barcelona. This means doing your research, which can seem like a daunting task with alll the We also recommend that you view the price list comparing the cost of Spanish programs in Barcelona. By looking at the list of classes above, you can see that you have options.
A note on the local languages: Catalan vs Spanish vs Castillian
Since you’ll be studying in Barcelona, which is the capital of Catalonia, the northeastern-most region of Spain that borders France, you’ll inevitably encounter the language Catalan. Some mistakenly consider this to be just a dialect of Spanish. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only similarity it has to Spanish is that they are both Romance languages, which means they both evolved from Latin. So did French, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese, to name just a few other Romance languages. Catalan has as much in common with Spanish as it does Portuguese, or even, some might argue, Romanian. Therefore, knowledge of Spanish can only provide a vague understanding of Catalan. For example, a local shop might display its opening hours in Catalan, and list the hours for each day of the week. For a Spanish speaker, or even the most elementary student of Spanish in Barcelona who knows very little Spanish but may already know the days of the week in Spanish, the Catalan words would be easy enough to figure out. “dilluns” is similar enough to “lunes”, so you know that it’s Monday we’re talking about. That’s just one example.
To be clear, however, while many signs on storefronts and public institutions are in Catalan, and many of the locals speak it, it is not necessary to learn Catalan to get by in Barcelona. And Barcelona is still one of the foremost places on the planet to immerse yourself in Spanish. After all, this is still a city in Spain (the second largest) and Spanish is still used broadly and intensely in Barcelona and most of Catalonia. Note that the Spanish you want to learn is called Castilian Spanish, or “Castellano” (what you know to be Spanish because it’s the language they speak throughout Spain, Mexico and most of Latin America).
If you’re asking, what languages do locals speak in Barcelona? The answer is Spanish. Spanish (Castilian) and Catalan. Most if not all of the locals who grew up speaking Catalan also grew up speaking Spanish, and they are perfect partners with whom to learn Spanish. Make friends with the locals, go out. This town knows how to party. You’ll be welcome into a warm embrace of local Spanish speakers, as well as a huge expat community from Latin America, people who speak Spanish and provide a great, fun way to get free Spanish immersion in Barcelona outside of the classroom.
There are also classes in Catalan, of course, as the local government takes deep pride in its autonomy, and language is a big part of that. But again Spanish, in English also called “Castilian” (because what we know as Spanish is actually from the region of Spain known as Castille), is the predominant language here, and Barcelona is one of the best cities in Spain to learn Spanish.
Cost of Spanish Classes in Barcelona, Spain
While the cost of living in Barcelona is higher than other parts of Spain, it is relatively cheap compared to the world cities that it rivals in convenience and fun, both stateside and in neighboring Europe that has met its match when it comes to the modernity this town offers. The same goes for the price of Spanish language courses hosted in Barcelona, meaning they offer cutting edge quality you'd expect from a first world marketplace. Sure, there are many institutes that are in it for a buck and will price guage you, but we've made sure to list the cheap Spanish classes Barcelona offers that offer great value by outdoing themselves in the quality of instruction and materials offered. This same also applies, perhaps even moreso, in deeper Catalonia: Spanish immersion in Girona, Tarragona and other cities in Catalonia where Castilian aka Spanish classes are offered at lower prices due to the lower cost of living in smaller, beautiful towns outside of Barcelona.
Here is the government Web site where you can learn about free state Spanish classes in Barcelona, Catalan immersion classes and find out exactly where and how to enroll in cheap Spanish classes in Barcelona.
Or study Spanish in Spain cheap, in another part of the country.
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