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Learn Spanish in Spain

The Valencia Region is a Culturally Rich Location to Study

Study Spanish in historic Valencia
Study Spanish in historic Valencia.

Want to really learn Spanish? If you are seeking to study in Spain and become one of the approximately 170,000 international students (the average is between 130,000 and 210,000 students annually), and you are only thinking about Madrid or Barcelona as locations for an entire semester, you may be missing the boat.

The Valencia region is host to several schools in an area which includes Valencia, Denia, Castellon, and Alicante—where you can learn the language, experience the local culture, and commit yourself to an education ranging from a few weeks to programs which run year-round.

Selecting a School

When exploring schools in Spain, it is important to seek accreditation as a first step in your Spanish journey. For instance, AMEELE was created in 2002 to bring together leading schools in the Valencia region to commit to high standards and put a stamp on their quality of education. All schools are members of F.E.D.E.L.E., the Spanish Federation of Schools of Spanish as a Foreign Language. In order to join AMEELE, each school must be in operation for at least two years and accredited by the Cervantes Institute. The Institute was established in 1991 by the Spanish government to promote Spanish culture and language. Furthermore, schools that are accredited by this institute prepare students to sit for the DELE (Diploma for Spanish as a Foreign Language) exam. 

Directory of Selected Schools

AMEELE’s website includes their consortium of schools by region, along with links to each school’s website.

Alicante: The Language Centre, Enforex, Colegio Internacionel Alicante, Projecto Espanol.

Castellon: Audio Gil Spanish Institute.

Denia: The Language Centre in Denia.

Valencia: Don Quijote, Enforex, Espanole, Route 66, Caxton College, Ceiam, Intereuropa, Taronja, Costa de Valencia, AIP Languages.

The Cervantes Institute explains the Diploma for Spanish as a Foreign Language.


Spanish language school in Denia
The Language Centre in Denia.

Spanish Language Immersion

Once you have selected a few schools, it is important to note that their schedules may vary slightly. For instance, at The Language Centre in Denia, lessons are typically 20 hours each week with three credits translating to U.S. schools. Although the schedule may differ from school to school, in Denia they typically begin at 9 a.m. Students take a coffee break at 11 a.m. Language immersion classes—ten to twelve in size—then resume as students watch video clips, listen to instructors, and become active participants.

At Colegio Internacional Alicante, an average day in the classroom includes grammar as well as conversation and cultural studies. And according to Isabel Armada, head of students in Alicante, the learning really pays off. “They’re such quick learners. Someone who has not spoken Spanish before, can understand a conversation and go to hotel and ask for a room and become immersed in the language.”

While many of the schools organize "field trips"—which include museums, beaches, water sports, and wine tastings—a core element of the immersion experience is the optional but recommended home stay. Armada notes, “All the families treat students like members of their families. It’s Spanish life: Experience a home cooked meal.” As for the cost? Two weeks of intense learning in Alicante plus a shared apartment will cost approximately 400 euros; a home stay will cost about 850 euros with a family.

Study Spanish and homestays in Alicante
A view of the port in Alicante.

The Students Speak

For Brendon Reyes of Rochester, deciding to study at Don Quijote in Valencia was his own choice—despite others advising him against it. “People told me not to go here because every one speaks Valenciano. Well, everyone speaks Spanish here. It’s not an obstacle and I really like the city. The metro works very well and you’re right near the beach.”

Ana Maria of the regional tourist board from Valencia agrees. Although students may instantly think of big cities like Madrid or Barcelona when studying in Spain, technically Valencia and its nearby towns provide the best of both worlds. “Others who've been there prefer to come to Valencia, which isn't as big as Barcelona. It's nice for a weekend to hire a car or go by train."

Jan Eichmann, a student at Costa de Valencia, from Germany concurs. “There’s a mixture of old style and modern living here.” While Jan stayed for four weeks in an apartment with three other students, she chose the region to become fully immersed in the language without having too many distractions during the week.

Other students like Anita Kover from Hungary indicates her roommates were a highlight of her Spanish experience. “We did everything to get the most out of the experience. We rented bikes and did bike tours. We spoke Spanish on the weekends, it was so much fun!” In addition to the cultural experience and becoming immersed in the Spanish way of life, she also expanded her horizons. After all, her flatmates were from Germany, Austria, and Italy. “I definitely improved my Spanish skills when I was here. I’m looking for a job in France (I speak four languages) but learning this language will be an asset on job interviews.”

Essentially, once the language barrier is conquered anything is possible. Just take it from Alena Arzumanyn from Russia. Currently attending Caxton College for the past two years, she points out that her Spanish family does not speak any English and upon her arrival she couldn’t speak Spanish!

Although the Valencia region provides a plethora of options with a small-town feel, it’s important to remember the primary reason to study abroad: Learning. “If you plan on missing classes, don’t bother coming,” notes Reyes from Rochester. “If you’re going to be in school, be in school.”

Spanish language students in Valencia
Two Students in Valencia: Brendon Reyes, a 2009 alum from the University of Rochester and Levente Varga from Slovakia.

Why Choose the Valencia Region?

Valencia is situated next to the Mediterranean sea and is home to approximately 800,000 inhabitants. Known for its beaches and its illustrious history (during the 14th and 15th centuries it was one of the most prosperous cities in the country), students can also check out its Barrio del Carmen, the Cathedral, and landmarks such as the Quart and Serrano Towers.

The Valencia region enjoys approximately 300 days of sunshine per year, boasts paella, and a lot of students. Out of the international students that come to Spain each year, approximately 10-12% live and study in the Valencia region. Approximately 67% of these students are of college age, ranging from 20-24 years, according to Isabel Armada, a teacher in Alicante.

Museu de Fogueres

Off the beaten track: Visit Museu de Fogueres in Alicante on the Costa Blanca.

Every year the annual les Fogueres celebration (aka Bonfires of Saint John), takes place in Alicante a hallmark of the community’s heritage and tradition. The community comes together to create enormous floats made out of papier-mâché, only to first burn them and then hose them down as part of the same procession. During the festival one float is not burned down; it is saved and taken to the Museu de Fogueres where it remains in perpetuity.

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