Spanish Language Schools
The Spanish language always intrigued me and is a second unofficial language in California. I never studied the language in high school or college so in 1989 I joined an evening class at Foothill Junior College in Los Altos, CA. After completing two semesters, I dropped my studies until I began again in the fall of 2001. This time I joined Henry Wild’s Adventure Travel Institute’s (ATI) classes that were being given in Truckee, CA, a town in the Lake Tahoe area where we have a second home. I haven’t stopped learning the language since then. To this end I have attended the Intensive Spanish Summer Institute (ISSI) five times. The school offers a week long emersion course in the month of August in the city of South Lake Tahoe. In addition I attended Spanish Language classes in Cuenca, Ecuador (2003); Salamanca, Spain (2003); Santiago, Chile( 2005); Buenas Aires and Bariloche, Argentina (2007); Seville and Granada, Spain (2009); San Miguel, Mexico and Cordoba, Spain (2010). In each case the classes were 2 weeks long and included living with native families while attending school. I took the oportunity each time to tour the respective countries.
I flew from California to Quito, Ecuador on 16 September 2003 where I was picked up by a school representative and taken to a hotel for the night. The next morning the representative took me back to the airport for a flight to Cuenca which is in the southern part of the country. I was met at the airport by the couple with whom I would spend the two weeks, Edgar and Augusta. They took me to their home where I settled into my room. Afterwards Augusta and I walked to the school building for a familiarization tour and a placement test to see which class level I would be in . The Cuenca school is part of the Spanish based school system called Estudio Sampere. I was to start classes on the coming monday.
The first night in Cuenca, Augusta and Edgar took me to dinner at Augusta’s mother’s home. Edgar was a retired Architect and is seated to the right in the picture with Augusta. I was immediately part of their extended family.
When the two week class period was finished, I spent the next two weeks touring central Ecuador and the Galapagas Islands.
I went to Spain in October 2003 to walk the last 100 miles of the Camino de Santiago and then to spend two weeks in Salamanca attending a spanish language school called Estudio Sampere. Salamanca is a very academic city and contains the oldest university in Spain. I stayed with a family headed by a house wife, Candelas.
The famous Salamanca Plaza Mayor.
I flew to Santiago, Chile in March 2005 to attend the Spanish language school ECELA for two weeks. I lived with a family that lived within walking distance of the school.
After completing the two weeks of school, I flew to Punta Arenas in Chile’s Patagonia. From there I had a chance to visit the Puerto Natales area and the Torres del Paine national park.
Guanacos, a deer like animal indigenous to this area.
Sheep farming is big business in Patagonia.
There were ostrich farms in this area.
Buenas Aires, Argentina
I flew to Buenas Aires, Argentina and arrived on the 17th of January 2008. I arrived on a thursday and school did not start until monday. This gave me plenty of time to tour Buenas Aires before school started. The plan was to attend the Spanish language school ECELA for one week in Buenas Aires and for one week in Bariloche in the southern part of Argentina.
After 9 days in Buenas Aires, I flew to Bariloche which is in the northern portion of Patagonia.
Part of the ski hill outside of Bariloche.
After attending the Bariloche school, I flew to El Calafate and Ushuaia and explored these regions of southern Patagonia.
On the 5th of May 2009, I flew to Spain to attend language schools in Seville and Granada. I spent a week in Seville at the Enforex school system which is affiliated with the the Don Quijote school system. After a week of school in Seville, I took a train to Granada to attend a week of school at Don Quijote. The time prior to and after attending the schools, I toured various parts of Spain by rental car.
I get an A for effort in the evening Flamenco class.
My wife’s sister Annabel and her husband Don rented a home in San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajato for the month’s of January and February, 2010. Donna and I visited them for 16 days. While there I attended a Spanish language school called Centro Mexicano de Lengua y Cultura. I had a week and a half of private lessons. The school was only about 4 blocks from the house that we were staying in. On subsequent visits in January 2012 and 2013, I took another 8 and 12 hours, respectively, of private lessons from Adriana.
A view of the plaza with the Parrochia in the background.
I flew to Madrid on the 13th of April 2010 and did some touring by rental car in the La Mancha area of Spain before settling into a hotel in the city of Cordoba. I enrolled in the spanish language school E.L.E. Cordoba for a week of private lessons. The main reason for choosing Cordoba for this trip was due to my interest in the music and culture of the “Tres Culturas” (Moorish, Christian, Jewish) stemming from medieval times.
The week that I was in Cordoba, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a week long series of music recitals entitled XIV Ciclo Musica, De Las Tres Culturas. This kind of music was the very reason I chose to come to Cordoba. The music consisted of medieval sephardic, christian, and Arabic music.
There were other music recitals that I attended. After leaving Cordoba, I toured the Alicante area by rental car before returning to Madrid for my flight home.