Learning Spanish in Spain

Sergio Pajares Granada, Spain


January 21, 2021

Michelle Obama once said that “you can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.” Life is not easy at all and making decisions can be hard. For that reason, when thinking about studying abroad, you have to take into account many things you had never thought about. If you are afraid of what may happen (you may miss your flight or break your leg), then you will never know what you may have experienced.

Being abroad is a unique experience, even if you are traveling to other countries every year. It is true that English is an international language and you can communicate in your native language as if you were in the US. However, some places have different languages and cultures that will require a great effort so that you can communicate effectively.

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world after Mandarin. More than 586 million people speak it worldwide, including non-natives and students. Moreover, Spanish is the official language in twenty-two countries (including New Mexico) and one territory (Western Sahara). It is also widely spoken in the Philippines and Belize although it has no official status.

In the Arcadia in Granada program we offer you the possibility of learning and speaking European Spanish. This is the official variety used in the European Union and many international organizations. Moreover, we offer one of the most enriching experiences in study abroad since you will learn the Andalusian accent which still maintains its own sounds and expressions derived from Latin, old Spanish, and even Arabic words.

Regarding other questions you may want to ask:

  • Will my knowledge of Spanish be enough for the classes and the program?

After taking a placement test at the University of Granada Centro de Lenguas Modernas, you will take classes according to your level of proficiency in Spanish (zero to native-like). You can choose from a wide variety of courses (taught in Spanish or English) on Spanish culture, art, history, politics, economics, business, music, geography, and more. 

Although we always try to speak in Spanish at the Arcadia office and the activities we organize, students can always communicate with us in English.

  • Will the Spanish I will learn in Granada be useful for my home university or future jobs?

Of course! Our courses are officially recognised by the University of Granada, Arcadia University, and the Cervantes Institute, which is the official agency in charge of Spanish language teaching and culture worldwide. You will get immersed in our culture and language and all this will contribute very positively to your academic and professional profiles. 

  • What will happen if my knowledge of Spanish is not as good as I expected while studying there?

If you feel that your classes are difficult or your level is a bit lower, you can change your Spanish courses during the first days of the semester. We will support and advise you during the process so that you can feel comfortable with your classes, classmates, and professors.

  • I feel like there may be many misunderstandings if I do not speak Spanish fluently.

Making mistakes is, indeed, a key part of the learning process. As we always say, keep calm and speak Spanish at your own pace. Misunderstandings are quite common when living in a different culture and the language used is not your native language. You will see how this can be solved very easily and you can always count on us!

  • European Spanish may be useful in Europe. I am planning to live in Mexico. How will this help me if you speak different varieties?

Spanish is an evolving language. It is true that many words differ between countries and some of them may not be understood in certain contexts or situations. For example, a tortilla is not the same in Spain and Mexico. Nevertheless, these differences can be smoothed out by using different strategies. You may learn the European accent and words we use, but more than 90% will be used with the same sense in other territories.

  • I speak Spanish fluently but I am not pretty sure if I will be able to communicate with others in certain situations like health emergencies or if I lose my passport.

In Arcadia we always encourage our students to do their best. If a difficult situation arises, we will help you and translate or interpret anything you may need, but trying on your own will also give you the necessary skills to deal with these situations and see which aspects could be improved.

Remember that diversity is part of our society and that using a variety may be interesting, especially if you know a native speaker and they try to guess where you learnt their language by the local words you may be using. Spanish is an easy language in general, except for verbs which are just a bit… complicated, to be honest.

Qué difícil es hablar el español by Inténtalo Carito.