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February 2006 issue

Contents
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Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
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Direction
Special Report
Market Report
Course Guide
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City Focus
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Madrid's magic

With a bounty of wonderful art galleries, a non-stop nightlife and a population renowned for being loud and chatty, Madrid promises language travellers a lively experience, as Gillian Evans finds out.

Madrid is a big vibrant city like London or Paris and students choose to study here because it is the capital of Spain," states Mercedes Guerrero from Tandem Escuela Internacional. "It is a city where people of any age can find things to do, see and enjoy."

Indeed, the capital city of Spain is a lively energetic city with world class museums and art galleries, beautiful parks and an unstoppable nightlife, as well as a population renowned for talking. All this makes it an ideal language travel destination for those wanting to learn Spanish and get to know the Spanish people.

Juan Manuel Sampere from Estudio Sampere agrees that Madrid appeals to students of all ages. "We welcome more than 1,800 students per year to our school in Madrid and the age group is very wide as well as their reasons for coming to Madrid," he relates. "Madrid is a very open city with many foreigners and many people from other areas of Spain and visitors feel welcomed. Not to mention Real Madrid [football team], which is a big attraction."

Madrid has a population of around three million and, although predominantly a modern city, its heart is made up of attractive medieval buildings, winding alleys and 18th-century squares, including the breathtaking Plaza Mayor, which boasts 114 arches and 337 balconies. Scattered all around the city are bars and restaurants with outdoor terraces, ideal for watching the world go by, and despite being a fair distance from Andalusia, the home of flamenco dancing, Madrid is, according to Sampere, "a capital city for Flamenco, like Chicago is for Jazz", and many schools introduce students to this and other facets of Madrid life in their activity programmes.

Domenico Oppizzio at Enforex says they encourage students to get the most out of their stay in Madrid by organising "as many activities as possible such as walking tours, Flamenco and culture lessons, nights out and weekend trips". There are certainly plenty of cultural attractions in Madrid, too. The Palacio Real boasts more rooms than any other European palace; an armoury housing a collection of weapons dating from the 15th century; and a library with one of the biggest collections of books and manuscripts in the world. The city also has three important art galleries: El Prado, Madrid';s biggest tourist attraction, which boasts one of the world';s oldest and greatest collections of art; the Centro Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid';s leading modern art gallery and most famous for housing Picasso';s huge masterpiece, Guernica; and Coleccion Thyssen-Bornemisza, home to what many believe to be the world';s finest private art collection. These three, according to Oppizzio, are high on the list of things to do for students, although he adds that one of the highlights for many is to see Goya';s colourful fresco on Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida. This small church was built by an Italian, Felipe Fontana, between 1792 and 1798, and decorated by Goya.

The San Antonio hermitage itself is the centre of an odd tradition: as San Antonio is the patron saint of sweethearts, on June 13 each year, local girls go there to pray for a boyfriend for the year ahead. The girls put their hands into the font, where 13 pins have been placed, and the number of pins that stick to them indicates how many boyfriends they will have that year.

Putting Madrid';s many cultural attractions aside, there are plenty of other pastimes to entertain students while in Madrid. Guerrero says, "In their free time, during the day, students like to go to the parks for a walk or to go shopping. There are also a lot of terraces where they can sit and drink something with friends." And Sampere notes, "Students are very surprised by the number of parks and trees in the city."

Madrid';s most central and popular park is Parque del Buen Retiro, known as El Retiro, a mix of formal gardens and wide-open spaces. Guerrero mentions a trip to El Rastro flea market as being a worthwhile experience for students, as well as going to a Real Madrid football match.

Madrid is a city that never sleeps, and the streets remain busy with people of all ages and street entertainers throughout the night. "What often happens is that people in the streets or even in the metro play music. Once, two musicians were on the Place Santa Anna and a group of about 100 people


Agent viewpoint

"Madrid is known as a very cosmopolitan city, with a wide variety of places to visit and things to enjoy. There really is something for everyone, from the famous El Prado art gallery to the Bernabeu football stadium, beautiful parks, trendy bars and restaurants, and fashionable boutiques. Madrid is a very affordable city, despite the fact that it is the capital. Students are very impressed by the friendliness of the local people and their cosmopolitan outlook. They feel welcome in the city, and also comment on how safe they feel, even when they are out and about late at night."
Victoria Jones, Apple Languages, UK 

"Our clients who choose Madrid do so because they want to study in the capital of Spain. They want to live in a big city with lots of restaurants, clubs, culture, shopping, etc. Students enjoy visiting the museums, shopping, eating good food and going out at night. They like to eat tapas and drink sangria and good red wine. In general, they like the people and the fact that the Spanish people tend to be more talkative than the Swedes. On the negative side, quite a lot of students have been robbed because they are not used to the threat of pickpockets.
"Sofia Henningsson, SI-Sprakresor, Sweden

"Madrid is a lovely city with lots to see and do. Our students always enjoy visiting the Museo del Prado, Museo de Reina Sofia and Parque del Buen Retiro. The local tapas bars are often a highlight for students, although there are also some trendy restaurants in Chueca square. Students generally find the people to be really helpful and friendly."
Sarah Gooding, Cactus Language, UK

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company
Country
Telephone

Email



ASSOCIATIONS/
GROUPS
Education New
      Zealand Trust
Eltasa
English Australia

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
      Authority

WORKSHOPS
Alphe Agent
      Workshops 

SERVICES
Language Travel
      Phonecard 

AUSTRALIA
English Australia

AUSTRIA
Cultura Wien

CANADA
Académie des
      langues de Trois
      -Pistoles
Algonquin and
      Lakeshore Catholic
      District School Board
Bodwell College
Bow Valley College
Canadian
      International
      Student Services
Cowichan Valley
      School District # 79
Delta School District
Fraser Cascade -
      School District # 78
Ottawa International
      Student Programmes
      (OISP)
Richmond School
      District # 38
University of Calgary
West Vancouver
      School District # 45

ENGLAND
Aspect (Australia,
      Canada, England,
      France, Germany,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, Scotland,
      South Africa, Spain,
      USA)
Bell International
Eastbourne School
      of English
LAL Language and
      Leisure (England,
      Malta, South Africa,
      USA)
Langbourne College
Leeds English
      Language School
Malvern House
Oxford Brookes
      University
Queen Ethelburga's
      College
Salisbury School of
      English
St Giles Colleges
      (UK, USA)
St John's Wood
      School of English
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa,
      Spain, USA)
University of
      Sheffield

FRANCE
Centre d'Etudes des
      Langues de Saint-
      Malo
ELFE
Institut Français Riéra
IS Aix-en-Provence
SILC - Séjours
      Linguistiques
      (England, France,
      Spain)
Université de
      Provence

GERMANY
F+U Academy
      (Austria, Germany,
      Russia)
Lichtenberg Kolleg
      E.V.
Prolog- International
      House Berlin

IRELAND
High Schools
      International (HSI)
      (England, Australia,
      Canada, Ireland,
      USA)

ITALY
Babilonia
Est Ovest
Istituto Linguistico
      Mediterraneo

MALTA
EC English
      Language Centre
      (England, Malta)
inlingua Malta
Malta Tourism
      Authority

NEW ZEALAND
Education New
      Zealand Trust

RUSSIA
Liden & Denz
      Language Centre

SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Studies -
      Pacific Gateway
      Study Group
Eurocentres Cape
      Town
Geos Cape Town
      Language  Centre
Good Hope Studies 
inlingua Language
      Training Centre
      Cape Town
Interlink School of
      Languages
International House -
      Durban
Jeffrey's Bay
      Language Centre
LAL Cape Town
LAL Durban
Shane Global
      Language Centres -
      Cape Town

SPAIN
Estudio Sampere
      (Ecuador, Spain)
Kings College
      International
      (England, Spain)

SWITZERLAND
EF Language
      Colleges Ltd
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Russia,
      Scotland, Spain,
      USA)
Eurocentres
      International
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Japan, New Zealand,
      Russia, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)

USA
American Language
      Communication
      Center
Kaplan Educational
      Centers (Canada,
      England, USA)
Zoni Language
      Centers

WALES
CELTiC (Schools)
Ltd