- GEORGINA HOWARD
- HOLIDAY TYPES
- DATES 2022 & 2023
- PRESS & REVIEWS
These Spanish immersion 'house-parties' are ideal for adult learners of the Spanish language who want to avoid anonymous city-based language schools.
They unfold at a Basque mountain farmhouse in the Spanish Pyrenees where you are welcomed by a team of experienced teachers, hosts, writers and guides. But we are more than this. We are a group of passionate individuals who love our work and embrace the dimensions our guests - so far some 1500 people from around the world - bring to our lives.
We welcome discerning adults who enjoy the countryside, learning languages and share a genuine interest in other people. For surely, this is what learning languages is all about?
We are not a large course centre but a family farmhouse and our house has a limited number of bedrooms which means that we can only accommodate a handful of guests at one time. All the better!
Each week knits together a programme of formal Spanish tuition with an eclectic mix of gentle country walks, lunches and cultural and social events where we embroil family, farmers, villagers and friends. Spanish cooks, musicians and historians also enter the plot.
Every path we walk, every ‘tortilla’ we share, every village bar and fiesta offers our guests genuine opportunities to converse with native Spanish speakers and integrate into the local community.
Our Total Immersion Spanish Courses in Spain are run at Three Different Levels
Our Spanish Immersion Courses are not your average classroom experience. We offer 2 hrs a day of formal Spanish classes (totaling 10 hrs a week), where the teacher focuses on the structures and grammatical ‘nuts and bolts’ of the Spanish language.
However, the programme of daily activities also offers round-the-clock informal Spanish immersion, conversation and vocabulary-building exercises too. While students have 2 hrs a day of formal classes, the rest of the day is spent practising your Spanish skills with locals, whether that is on a gentle guided walk to see the magnificent landscapes of the Basque Pyrenees, visiting friends and local experts in the villages or stopping by our neighbours' farms to listen to their stories of life in the Pyrenees.
A cold beer in a village bar or a stop to sample the local Basque cuisine is always on the agenda. Your exposure to the Spanish language is not limited to a classroom context at all and our 'razon de ser' is to offer you innumerable opportunities to speak Spanish and immerse yourself in the local village life.
Separate weeks are run for Intermediate and for Upper Intermediate level Students.
Elementary Spanish courses offer the same activities as above as well as an intense Spanish-speaking experience, however we do use some translation in order to help our guests get the most from some of our cultural activities and appreciate the fascinating history of the Basque Pyrenees.
Spanish students can also combine a module of Spanish lessons with one of our Total Pyrenean Experience Self-guided Walking Weeks. This makes an ideal holiday for guests who want to study Spanish but are also interested in more extended walks, or for those travelling with partners or friends who do not share the same zeal for language learning! Here days can be enjoyed together with a programme of guided or self-guided walks before relaxing in the evening with our bi-lingual dinner parties, gastronomy and music events. There is a supplement for these courses of 250 Euros for a session of 10 lessons.
After breakfast on the terrace, we head into the hills – usually straight from the farmhouse door. As we tie up our walking boots we adopt our ‘Spanish-speaking' personas and all the activities from then on (until dinner) are run in Spanish. The hill walks are taken at a gentle pace, lasting 2 - 3 hours, and are perfect for normally healthy people of all ages used to regular exercise. We stop off at farms and villages, explore the local architecture, watermills and fiestas, and are infamous for kidnapping the unsuspecting friends and farmers we meet en route. Talks are organised with local experts and rarely a bar is passed without stopping for a cool beer.
Lunch may be tapas at the village inn, lunch at a family restaurant or a picnic in the hills. After an afternoon siesta, (and you are expected to dream in Spanish!), we offer a formal 2 hr Spanish language lesson with a professional Spanish teacher who develops a structured platform of grammar, vocabulary, idioms and expressions. The immersion methods only slide to a halt at dinner time which is a time to relax in whatever language one chooses (free from the shackles of ‘para’ and ‘por’). These evenings on the terrace offer a relaxed and inspiring meeting of minds and a fun exchange of languages, cultural anecdotes, ideas and experiences.
In the middle of our Spanish language immersion weeks, our guests enjoy a free day when they can explore further afield. Many choose to take a local bus to sample the pintxos (Basque tapas) in the coastal towns of San Sebastian or Hondarribia, or head south to explore the mediaeval city of Pamplona. (Others decide to stay in the hills and go off on one of many self-guided walks leading straight from the farmhouse door).