10 Essential Questions to Choose the Best Spanish School

by suzanne.pope on Friday, February 10, 2017

So you want to finally achieve fluency in Spanish and study abroad. Congratulations! Where do you begin? What do you look for? Finding a school can be daunting at first. Choosing the perfect school is not a one-size-fits-all kind of decision, everyone is different, like a unique snowflake. Here are 10 essential questions you must find answers to before signing up.

  1. Where do I want to study?
  2. Where is the school located? Is it in the center of the city and well connected by public transportation?
  3. What kind of accreditations does the school have?
  4. Who are the teachers? Do they have any training or college degrees?
  5. What is the teaching method or vision at the school?
  6. What’s the maximum class size?
  7. What type of courses are offered? Does the school offer the program that interests me?
  8. What extra services does the school offer and do they offer extracurricular activities?
  9. What kind of housing does the school offer or do I have to find it on my own? Do I want a home stay, student residence or shared apartment?
  10. What is the cost and what is included?

We suggest doing your research! You can ask the school to speak to former students, do a simple Google search to find out what schools are recommended by your favorite organizations and read online reviews. Find personal blogs of former or current students and contact them. Some good resources are Trip Advisor and Go Abroad.com. With the following information you should be able to make a great decision.

  1. Where do I want to study?

There are over 400 million Spanish speakers world-wide and 22 countries where Spanish is the official language. This is great news - you have options as to where you can study Spanish! Do you have a professional reason for going to one country or another? Do you prefer a developing country? We suggest you think about dialect, business opportunities, safety and travel restrictions and advantages. Or what about a mix-and-match program where you study at multiple schools? If you are limited on time, there are also online programs.

  1. Where is the school located? Is it in the center of the city and well connected by public transportation?

One of the worst things that could happen is that the school does not meet your expectations. Make sure you are able to have the experience you want. So, if you are dreaming about a cosmopolitan city, don’t go to a school that is in the suburbs of Barcelona where you don’t have easy access to buses or subways and people drive everywhere. Ask before signing up!

  1. What kind of accreditations does the school have?

Look for the prestigious Instituto Cervantes accreditation, which guarantees high course standards, excellent facilities and qualified teachers. Other accreditations such as FEDELE and ACELE and affiliations with international-acclaimed educational organizations are an additional guarantee of academic excellence.

  1. Who are the teachers? Do they have any training or college degrees?

The quality of teachers makes a huge difference. Teachers should be experienced and trained in teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Ask if the school’s teachers hold a four-year degree or any other post-graduate degrees such as a masters or even a Ph.D. If you are interested in taking specialized courses, such as DELE Preparation Courses or Business Spanish, teachers should be experienced professionals in their field. 

  1. What is the teaching method or vision at the school?

Make sure your Spanish school uses updated and relevant material. Industry best practices are constantly shifting and the school should be able to keep up. don Quijote uses the communicative approach and publishes its own material to create an authentic environment where students learn in a natural way and are continuously practicing. 

  1. What’s the maximum class size?

This is a no-brainer: you will get more personalized attention and practice in smaller classes. Don’t take a course where there are 30 students in one class! It is not to say learning with peers is not useful – with a group class you have more opportunities to speak with second language speakers and practice conversational skills.

  1. What type of courses are offered? Does the school offer the program that interests me?

Know that you have options! Sure, most people just take a general Spanish class because they want to improve their overall ability, but there are options for all ages, levels and goals including: adult programs, intensive courses, volunteer and internship programs, business Spanish, official exam prep courses, etc.

  1. What extra services does the school offer and do they offer extracurricular activities?

Find out which describes the school best: “all work and no play” or a “work hard, play hard”? Personally, I prefer the latter! Schools can offer more than just grammar classes, take advantage of schools that offer enriching activities and excursions.

  1. What kind of housing does the school offer or do I have to find it on my own?

Some schools (but not all) offer homestays, student residences or shared apartments. Which fits your personality the most?

  1. What is the cost and what is included?

Ask about the entire package, what is included in the price and what kind of hidden fees might there be? No surprises por favor!


Keywords: learn spanish abroad, international, spanish school, spanish experience, how to choose a spanish school

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