Language schools in Spain range from small schools with under 20 students to university departments devoted to Spanish language acquisition. In the summer months, schools organise outdoor activities to take advantage of the warm climate, while most schools also try and introduce students to Spanish customs and culture.
There is no compulsory accreditation scheme for language schools in Spain, but there is a voluntary inspection scheme which is run jointly by the Universidad Alcalá and Eduespaña Schools that pass its inspection can use the Ceele logo on all promotional material. (Ceele is awarded the Department of Modern Languages of the University of Alcalá and administered by Eduespaña). There are many regional associations of language schools in Spain, and Fedele is the national federation of these associations. Another important accreditation organisation is Instituto Cervantes - this worldwide non-profit organization was created by the Spanish government in 1991 and is said to be modelled on the British Council. Is is largely responsible for promoting the study and the teaching of Spanish and Spanish culture. The majority of language students in Spain come from other Western European countries.
Travelling around Spain
Spain is well connected by air, with international airports in every region of the country, but the main reason to use internal flights is to get to the beach resorts of the Balearic or Canary islands. To get across the country quickly, rail can be quite a competitive option, especially when you take into account time spent sitting in airport lounges. However, good flight deals can often be found, especially for under-26 year olds.
Trains in Spain can be a complicated business, but worthwhile if you make the right choices. If you are planning to travel outside Spain as well, then the InterRail and Eurail passes can offer good value. Otherwise, Spain’s national train operator RENFE offers its own Tarjeta Explorerail pass, which is also the only pass that can be bought in Spain itself. For individual journeys, the network is divided up into metropolitan, regional and inter-city services, and fares can vary dramatically – often they are competitive with buses, but newer high-speed routes can be expensive. The train is another option, and the national railway, Renfe, runs services throughout the country. Fares are based on a complicated structure, but there are many discount options available.
For those interested in travelling around by coach or bus, there are lots of independent companies operating services which are more extensive than those offered by Renfe, more often taking you closer to where you want to be. Eurolines is a national operator, but it is worth comparing prices with regional operators. More remote towns and villages are also accessible by bus.
Car rental is an option for travellers who want to be free from the timetables and schedules of Spain's public transport system, and car rental in Spain is among the cheapest in Europe. The most competitive rental rates tend to be in the tourist areas and at airports. Local companies are generally cheaper than international companies so it may well pay to shop around. But you do need some courage to drive in Spain - it has one of the highest road-death tolls in the developed world!
Crucial visa info and work rights
Nationals from the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein only need a national identity card or passport to stay in Spain for six months. To stay longer they need to apply for a permit of residence. Nationals of the countries listed below do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days, although they do require a visa for longer stays. All other countries require a visa to enter Spain – contact your local Spanish consular office.
Two-week general Spanish language course; Euro281 (US$379)
Two weeks' homestay accommodation; Euro346 (US$466)
Two weeks' residential accommodation; Euro312 (US$422)
Spanish language exams available: Diploma de Espanol como Lengua Extranjera (DELE)
Spanish language students in Spain by country of origin, 2006
Scandinavia and Finland 8.6%
Source: Language Travel Magazine
Visa national countries
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Slovakia, Slovenia, United States, Estonia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Czech Republic, Korea, Romania, San Marino, the Holy See, Singapore, Uruguay, and Venezuela, as well as the Special Chinese Administrative Regions of Macao, and Hong Kong.
Fedele (Federación Española de Asociaciones de Escuelas de Español para Extranjeros) Ed. Cinta, C.N. 340, Km, 189.6, 29604, Marbella, Málaga, Spain
Tel/Fax: +34 952831153
Ponzano, 69 - 6º Planta Despacho 20
Tel: +34 913084096
Fax: +34 913915324
Tel: +34 91 436 76 00