It’s not just children who get nervous on their first day at school, I must admit to a few butterflies myself when I started at IH Valladolid. A new country, a new city, an unfamiliar language, a new academy – all a bit daunting!
I remember having to try to communicate in my rather basic Spanish as soon as I walked into reception. The staff have so much experience of foreign students that they soon put you at your ease as you fumble around for the right verb ending. A big welcoming smile is the same in any language!
I managed to explain why I wanted to learn Spanish and soon found myself in a classroom doing a level assessment. The level tests are a vital part of the learning process; they enable the teacher to place you in a group with the same ability level. There is nothing more demoralising than sitting through lessons that are too difficult or that you did last year in your night classes.
The assessment over, I was given a guided tour by my new teacher; lovely light airy classrooms overlooking the historic Plaza Mayor (all with air conditioning!), bookcases full of extra resources to borrow (graded books and films in Spanish) and a computer room with free Internet access. No parallel rows of desks here, all the seating is arranged in a semi-circle to encourage communication and interaction. The walls were filled with student work and extra language resources. I couldn’t wait to start!
For more information on Spanish language courses at International House Valladolid and Santander go to www.espaname.es