The country of fiestas and siestas - and everything in between - Spain pulsates with a unique and inviting culture which is just waiting to be explored in its many towns and cities. Tatiana Ivanova at ILAB Academy www.ilab.academy explains that Spain can be experienced in different ways, but mainly through the senses of sight, smell and sound. "Here you are, standing in the centre of Barcelona, the sun's shining, you're surrounded by tourists and palm trees with parrots nesting in them. There's the sea with its endless beaches," she regales, explaining that the essence of Spain has to be taken in leisurely, a pallet of different flavours and sensations to be absorbed at ease.
In Malaga, Bob Burger at Malaca Instituto www.malacainstituto.com says that students should head to Pedregalejo Beach, a favourite among students, in order to soak up the atmosphere. "Everyone loves the Bohemian environment created by the stands selling handmade crafts, the authentic chiringuitos [beachside bars and restaurants], the cocktail bars for a sundowner, the new tapas bar, and the opportunities for jogging and working out," he explains.
More than this, to learn Spanish in Spain is to open the door to a myriad of opportunities and experiences, as Arcadie Cotruta at DEC Camp www.dec.camp highlights. "So that students can travel through South America as a local; read Cervantes with tears of joy and sorrow; understand the heart-throbbing moods of Flamenco music; chant the Ole! in football stadiums; and have an open door to understand (and learn quickly) any other Latin language," he says.
Get to know Spain...
"One gem in Valencia is the street art that fills the walls of the El Carmen barrio," says Fernando Ribas at AIP Languages www.spanishinvalencia.com. "Highly vibrant and artistic!"
"Hire a bike and explore the many cycling tracks in the surrounding countryside or join the surfers on San Lorenzo Beach," says María Álvarez at Lawton School www.lawtonschool.com.
Bird's eye view
"From Malaga Cathedral, you are right in the middle of the historic city centre looking down on the Roman Amphitheatre, the Arabic Alcazaba palace and all the narrow streets and beautiful squares of the city centre," notes Bob Burger at Malaca Instituto.
A well-travelled path
"Walking the Camino de Santiago is a really great and unique experience," highlights Alexandra Lainé at Linguamania Language School www.linguamania.es in Pontevedra.
Food and festivals
"One of the most enjoyable ways to get to know Spain is through its cuisine: paella from Valencia, octopus from Galicia, cider from Asturias. everything is incredibly delicious," enthuses Tatiana from ILAB Academy. For a relatively unknown experience, students can find out more about Barcelona's 'secret dinners', hosted by top chefs at their own houses. "Add to that the buzz of having clues to find the address and passwords to get in, and you're in for a real delicious adventure," notes Arcadie at DEC Camp.
Fernando at AIP Languages www.spanishinvalencia.com recommends Tomatina, "the most famous tomato fight in the world". He continues, "You wait for the trucks to bring tonnes and tonnes of tomatoes and. let the battle begin!"