Sebastian lives in Düsseldorf, Germany, is 30 years old and came to Linguaschools Barcelona to do an intensive course (20 hours per week) for 8 weeks. Before he came to Barcelona he had worked in the Marketing sector in Germany, although he had decided to quit his job a couple of months ago to change his life and to be able to go on a world trip with his girlfriend to gain new life experience.
1) What was the reason for you to learn a foreign language abroad and why did you choose the city Barcelona as destination?
I always wanted to learn Spanish with pleasure. I did a beginner course in Germany and saw that it takes really long to learn the basics of the language if you don’t use the language daily. Since that I am planning to go on a world trip with my girlfriend, during which we will also visit South America, I wanted to learn Spanish as quickly as possible to reach a level that enables me to have a conversation in Spanish with locals in order to travel without any problem and to create friendships. Therefore, I decided to make a language trip abroad, because I think that it is easier and faster to learn Spanish in a native country, where I am forced to speak the language every day.
I chose Barcelona as my language trip destination, because I visited the city for holidays and I always wanted to come back here to spend more time in this breathtaking city. I also wanted to stay longer in this beautiful city to live the Spanish life very close, so it was the perfect choice for me to combine a cultural experience with my intention to attend a Spanish course abroad.
2) What were your expectations of your language travel?
I wanted to lose my fear of speaking the language in public. Therefore, I wanted to leave Barcelona with a level in Spanish that I can use to make myself understood in a Spanish spoken country. Another expectation was that I wanted to get to know a lot of people with whom I can discover the Spanish culture. I was studying 4 years in Maastricht, Holland, and I also spent 1 year in the US, where I went to High school and studied at the University. So from these experiences I can recommend that spending time abroad can help you to learn a lot about your own culture and you meet a lot of international people
3) Do you think that Spanish as a foreign language can help you in your business and private life?
I am of the opinion that Spanish as a foreign language can help a lot in business and private life, because the language is spoken by more than 400 million people and therefore it is the 4th most spoken language worldwide. A few years ago I had contact with Spanish companies and it would have been useful for me, the company and the business relationships if I had spoken Spanish at this time. I think that these are important reasons why Spanish as a foreign language can be a huge advantage for you, because it makes it possible for you to deal with Spanish business clients and also offers you the chance to travel through Spanish spoken countries to experience the culture and get in touch with locals in order to widen your personal horizon.
4) How was your first day at Linguaschools?
When I arrived at the school, I had to do an entry-level test that subdivided me into a specific group. The atmosphere at the language school was very nice and also for my colleagues it was the first day at school that made it easy for us to bond, because everybody was eager to get to know one another.
5) How was your time at Linguaschools? Which impressions and experiences did you collect and did your expectations become true?
I went really often for lunch with other students of my course after school and they became really good friends in the end. The school also offered a lot of after school activities that made it easy for me to get in touch with students from other courses. I really enjoyed the time at Linguaschools, because I was really productive in the mornings and used the rest of the day to discover the city with my new friends. The time at Linguaschools was really amazing and it had a tremendous impact on my level of Spanish. I will always remember about these 8 weeks and can only recommend it, because at the school there is a nice atmosphere with open-minded employees and students.
6) How did you find the level of the language courses and the teachers?
The language courses were consistently on a high level. The teachers used different education methods, responded to the level of every student individually and motivated as well as supported us during the courses. I found the balance between group work, individual works as well as classes based on studying grammar and more oriented towards practicing to talk very good and I am of the opinion that the courses helped me a lot for my Spanish.
7) What did you experience during your time in Barcelona? Can you give me some examples?
During the 8 weeks in Barcelona I was visiting a lot of different bars, restaurants and sights of Barcelona and Catalonia. On my days off I went on a day trips to Sant Pol, Sitges, etc. or after school I visited different sights (Sagrada Familia, Picasso Museum, Parc Guell) of Barcelona. In the evening, I was running or relaxing at the beach and I also didn’t miss out on the parties or highlights of Barcelona during my stay.
I was celebrating San Juan and the Primavera Sound festival with other students and I also watched the champions league match between FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich live in the Camp Nou stadium. Furthermore, I got introduced through student colleagues to Spanish and Catalan locals with whom I could get to know the Spanish and Catalan life.
8) Do you think that the duration of your stay was long enough? You had a beginner level (A2) before you came to Barcelona, right? How did your level of Spanish change during your stay in Spain?
Yes, I think so. I had previous but little knowledge in Spanish but now after a 8 weeks course in Barcelona I am of the opinion that I can express myself without any problem in order to have a conversation only in Spanish. At the beginning I was happy simply buying a new backpack in Spanish and towards the end I was able to have basic conversations in Spanish with locals.
9) If a person walks up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give him or her your best tip to learn Spanish, what would it be?
I would give the person the advice to learn Spanish in a Spanish speaking country, because you are obliged to speak or use the language every day. At the beginning it is useful to make an intensive course to arrive as fast as possible at a certain level of Spanish. As soon as you have the basics you should do a language exchange with locals or Spanish speaking people to practice the language. In addition it is important that you try to speak only in Spanish with your schoolmates after school!