Edit Blog Post
Published: September 6th 2009
With my end of course assessment looming for my beginners' Spanish course, I wanted to consolidate what I learnt so far. This gave me an opportunity to travel to Alicante where Spanish Intensives
run one week courses at different levels for students during the summer. I signed up for a beginners course (starting on the 29th August 2009) and hoped this would give me the confidence for the assessment.
We had 4.5 hours of Spanish classes each day. There were 15 of us and we were split into two groups. I was in the "advanced" class and some others joined us from the other group during the week. We did a variety of activities in class which was good for developing confidence in speaking and writing skills. The classes were an interesting experience and I learnt a lot in the week. There were opportunities to practice Spanish. On some evenings, we watched Spanish movies and I particularly enjoyed La Lengua de las Mariposas
(The language of the butterflies). At the end of the course, we had to do a presentation of what we learnt in that week. I chose to do a reading on the Spanish Royal Family and I was
At the Residencia
Where we cooled down!
delighted that my pronunciation markedly improved as this seemed to my problem at the moment from the feedback I received in my speaking test. After the presentations, we were awarded our certificates for attending and one of tutors, Rosa, who showed a slide show of our week in Alicante.
However, I feel that the residential courses are not for me. I found that the pace was pretty fast and the interaction with fellow students (although friendly) was overwhelming at times. I felt that I could have done with more independence and space in consolidating my learning. I was glad to have done the residential course but, in the future, I would rather improve my Spanish in a one to one settings or in very small groups along with independent learning.
The residential course was held in one of Alicante University's residence buildings. In the free time, there were opportunities to relax, swim in the pool and go sightseeing (Highlights in the next blog)
. The food at the canteen was something to be desired even if the breakfasts were passable. I had something that did not agree with me so this deterred me having most of my meals
there. However, this opened up an opportunity to eat out at a nearby shopping mall. There, I made regular visits to a nice Italian restaurant and once had tapas at a Spanish Taverna. I even had international comforts including Häagen-Dazs ice cream! On the final evening of the course, all of us went out for dinner at a local Spanish restaurant where we had typical Spanish food including seafood and paella.
The issue I had whilst I was in Alicante was the heat! It was constantly, 24/7, in its 30s and I found it very hard coping with it. It was way too hot with for me and I do not recall a time when it was actually cool. The heat affected my enthusiasm and motivation for class and sightseeing. Returning home to the cold and damp was refreshing even if this will be short lived!!! I had difficulty sleeping and if I knew how hot it was going to be beforehand, I would have invested in an air conditioned room. However, I was given two fans for my rooms but still it was very hot! Fortunately, the classrooms, relaxation areas and the restaurants were air conditioned so I
Those in my class
In Downtown Alicante
was able to receive respite. And at least there was the swimming pool to cool down in! Next blog, sightseeing highlights
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