Alcalá de Henares
At our language center in Alcalá, Commercial Spanish is one of our special courses. Teaching is based on communicative methods. Each class lasts 55 minutes. Maximum of 10 students per class. Most courses are largely based around the following two programs.
The Principal Course has 20 lessons per week centered on the practical aspects of Spanish used in daily life. Students develop the abilities of listening, speaking, reading and writing for studies, work, travel or social life. This course is especially ideal for those students who wish to learn Spanish through a structured “step by step” approach, while having time to be able to enjoy the many opportunities to experience the local way of life. The Principal Course’s four levels of learning cover all aspects of Spanish grammar. New language skills are introduced and reinforced in a logical and progressive manner, ensuring a steady learning curve.
The Intensive Course is targeted for committed students wanting to achieve maximum linguistic progress and a broad perspective of Hispanic culture in a short time. In this course of 30 lessons per week, besides the classes included in the Principal Course: grammar, reading/writing and conversation; students will have the extra benefit of various weekly cultural seminars. Ranging from literature, art, movies, travel, to history, the seminars are intended to give a general perspective of the Hispanic world.
Our Alcalá de Henares language center is located in the heart of the city. Just a few minutes walk from Plaza Cervantes which serves as a central gathering point for both students and the local community. The center is fully equipped with 8 classrooms with air conditioning and heating, a reception area and a reference library that has computers with Internet access. In the same building, but on different floors, there is a cafeteria and student residency.
We believe that suitable accommodations are as important as first class teaching and facilities. We arrange families, student apartments, hotels and hostels for our students. They can choose one or combine more than one option during their stay.
Almost all our students choose to live with a host family during the first weeks of the program. These families are chosen carefully and monitored through regular inspections and feedback from students. Living with a family is a guaranteed way to practice the language and to learn other aspects of Spanish culture. All accommodations are walking distance from classes.
Organized outings are always accompanied by a teacher. A typical monthly program of activities and excursions could be composed of:
- Welcoming and departure parties.
- Tour of the City: Plaza de Cervantes, monuments and museums, and where to find key services such as the Post Office, The Tourist Information Office, and the Train Station.
- Videos and documentary films.
- Theater and concerts.
- Sports activities and games, such as swimming or learning Spanish card games.
- Dinners and informal outings.
- Excursions to Madrid, Aranjuez, El Escorial, Toledo, Segovia, El Valle de Los Caídos, Sigüenza.
Courses start every Monday for students with some knowledge of Spanish, but we recommend that beginners start at the beginning of a 4 week cycle. You may enroll for a period of 2 to 32 weeks.
The weather varies a lot in Spain. Even though it is true that the sun shines often, temperatures vary quite a bit from season to season. In Alcalá, summers are hot, but the heat is dry and usually comfortable in the shade. In the winter, it does occasionally get down to freezing, but snow is a rarity. In spring and fall one might experience either extreme, but it is usually very pleasant by day and by night.
Alcalá, with a population of 180,000 inhabitants, is a delightful city to visit and a magnificent place to live. Located a mere 25 minutes from the center of Madrid, it is the location of an important university, which for 7 centuries has flourished as one of Spain’s foremost cultural and intellectual centers.
It is also the birthplace of Cervantes, Spain’s literary giant and author of Don Quixote. UNESCO recently named this historic city a “World Heritage City.” Being medium sized yet prosperous, Alcalá offers an extensive program of cultural, educational and recreational activities. The Instituto Cervantes, a public organization that contributes in the diffusion of Spanish culture in foreign countries and assists in the investigation of the Spanish language, is located here. Away from the bustle of Madrid, this safe and inviting city offers a tranquil atmosphere, ideal for studying and making friends, whilst still providing easy access to all that Madrid has to offer.
Points of Interest
Things to do and see in Alcalá de Henares: Students can visit the Birthplace Museum of Miguel de Cervantes, the Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso, the Convent of San Bernardo, the Iglesia Magistral (Cathedral), and the Archaeological Museum. Local and national events take place in the Teatro Salón Cervantes and the Capilla (Chapel) de San Ildefonso. During the third week in August, the fair celebrating the Patron Saint of Alcalá de Henares, San Bartolomé, can be enjoyed by everyone. Things to do and see in Madrid: Students can visit the Gran Vía, the Plaza Mayor, the Puerta del Sol, the Plaza de España, the Royal Palace, the Prado Museum, El Rastro and the Retiro Park. The most important international events take place in the Plaza de Toros, La Riviera, the Amusement Park, the Patio Conde Duque, and the Royal Theatre of Madrid.
There may be no American style “happy hour” here, but most of the bars and cafes around Alcalá serve a free tapa with every drink (soft drinks included). Some of the better spots include Indalo, El Gran Porton, La Pata Negra or El Pajaro Grifo, all of which are close to the school. It’s a great way to socialize, have an inexpensive meal and try new foods that you might not think to go out and order for yourself.