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Universidad Complutense de Madrid
education, Languages, Learn, Travel, World,

5 Reasons to go to Spain on an exchange program

The old continent is a huge place, full of wonders all kinds. It was not there where humans emerged, but it undoubtedly saw our species spread throughout the world. Each European corner has hundreds of different stories about nations and empires that arose and fell, kings, knights, legends, and feats. In short, Europe is a place where there is much to discover, and for those who are interested in doing go on an exchange program, there is one place that’s perfect for that: Spain. In the following article, we will tell you five great reasons to go to Spain on an exchange program.

Learn to speak Spanish from its bases

By going to Spain, you can learn to speak fluent Spanish, since you will be in constant contact with Spanish native speakers in the land where this language was born, so you’ll be able to learn it from its bases. Also, Spanish educational institutes will also help you increase your Spanish proficiency, which in turn will make your process of adapting to the exchange program faster and more enjoyable. It should be noted that  Spanish is the official language of 20 countries, but it’s also the second most spoken in the United States. Thus, learning Spanish opens doors for making connections with people and companies that have a relationship with this audience, which exceeds half a billion people.

Spaniard’s warmth

Spain is the second most visited country in the world. Its inhabitants’ kindness, that joy that spreads in all directions, allows a pleasant coexistence. In addition, Spaniards are passionate people, which can be seen in their music, dances, stories and other cultural expressions. One of the advantages of going to Spain on an exchange program is precisely that: everybody appreciates being well treated but with much more reason the exchange students, who are far away from their country, so they give a lot of value to Spaniard’s warmth.

Internationally renowned educational institutions

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Spain has some of the finest universities worldwide, such as the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, and other educational institutions of the highest level whose degrees have international validity. In other words, going to Spain on an exchange program can give a boost to your resumé, and this will subsequently help you get better job opportunities all around the world.

Artistic expressions everywhere

Spanish fan with a floral design

Spain is full of art. Its architecture, gastronomy, literature, poetry and typical music genres such as flamenco and pasodoble (among many others) make cultural events a unique explosion for the bodily senses. It is almost impossible to travel any Spanish street without witnessing any of these artistic expressions.

Unrivaled tourist destinations

Ibiza town view

Besides Madrid, Spain has many other cities filled with tourist attractions such as Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and the Canary Islands, to name a few. By visiting these places, you will live different and exciting experiences. No matter how many times you go to one of these cities, you will see new things.

In short, Spain is a country where you will find many places to visit, people to know and unforgettable experiences to live. It is no coincidence that Spaniards are so nationalistic and that this country is always flooded with tourists, many of whom return for future vacations or make Spain their new home.

The same is experienced by those who go to Spain on an exchange program: after obtaining such a valuable education, surrounded by pleasant people and so many possibilities for recreation, they end up falling in love with this country. Are you ready to go to Spain on an exchange program? Please contact us so we can help you.

Mnemotechnics
education, Languages, Learn, Travel, World,

5 Tips on learning a language while being on an exchange program

Are you interesting in joining an exchange program? Let us help you. In this article, we’ll give you five tips that will help you learn the language spoken in the exchange program’s country. When going on an exchange program, the most crucial thing is to learn the host country’s language. Not only from the point of what this may imply in the future at a professional level, but also because the exchange student must at times be able to communicate on their own in the host country.

Incredible as it sounds, people can learn the basics of any language in a matter of weeks and handle its fundamental aspects after a few months. From this, we can deduce that the best method to learn a language is to practice it intensively in the shortest possible time. This is why exchange programs are so beneficial to learn a language: students are constantly exposed to such language during the time of their stay in the host country. It’s very likely that during the first months,  a student will not have a mastery of the new language to understand literary classics but it will not take them too long to reach the necessary level to hold informal conversations about current affairs, culture, etc.  These are the tips:

Learning languages

If you have not started studying the new language, do it immediately

The “perfect moment” to start studying a language does not exist. Waiting to be in a “more favorable” situation ends up becoming a waste of time, a delay in the education process, so when you decide to learn a new language, the best thing you can do is to start doing it as soon as possible. You certainly don’t have to wait for the exchange program to start studying the exchange program’s host country’s language. You can begin by studying its grammar and basic vocabulary. That way, once you are in the exchange program’s host country, you’ll be able to express basic ideas, and this will help you communicate better with your host family contact.

Immerse yourself in the language you want to learn

Some experts believe that the best way to learn a foreign language is through complete immersion in it. This means that you should handle all your contacts with the outside world by using that language reading books, listening to local radio stations, watching programs and movies and using it exclusively while speaking with others. By doing this, you’ll practice what you learn, expand your vocabulary and train your ears to understand that language.

Trust yourself

Sometimes we doubt our knowledge and skills, and we feel afraid to talk to others because we think that at some point we won’t be able to express ourselves and this will make the conversation stop uncomfortably. Although this fear is understandable, the way to overcome it is to face it. If you ever make a mistake or don’t know how to say something in the new language, take your time, breathe and find an alternative way to communicate yourself.

Be persistent

If you feel like abandoning the study of your new language you should know two things: 1. That happens to everyone and has to do with misunderstood words in the new language or in yours. For that reason, when you see a word that you don’t understand, be sure to translate it, clarify it in a dictionary of definitions and, if necessary, search Google for images related to it. 2. Success depends on perseverance. Even if you have problems, the most important thing is that you do not stop studying or practicing the new language for that reason. No matter how long the learning process takes, the only way to achieve your goal is by insisting on it.

Use mnemotechnics

Mnemotechnics

As you study new content, try using mnemotechnics, which basically consist of associating each learned concept with something that makes it easier for you to remember it like colors, songs, memories, objects, etc. Each person has their particular way of memorizing content. Find what is most suitable for you. Also, using mnemotechnics can be fun because of the kind of associations you can come up with.

Flamenco dancer
History, Languages, Travel, World,

Get to know Spain’s festivals and traditions

One of the aspects by which Spain is characterized is its great catalog of cultural expressions that are torn between the sacred and the pagan. In fact, the word “Spain” usually produces a mixture of mental images in which there are bullfights, processions to the virgin, carnival costumes and flamenco dancers, all these elements having something in common:  Spaniards’ passion and grace. In this article, we will talk about Spanish festivals and traditions.

Bullfights

Spanish bullfight

Spain is the home of the brave bull, the only descendant of the urus, a primitive species of the aforementioned animal that was found all over the world and of which there are no traces. It is debated whether it was the Egyptians, Celts or Romans who gave rise to this tradition, which has so many followers and continues to be held despite the protests that are annually held against it. All Spanish locations have their version of this show, but the most famous bullfights in the world are those held during the Sanfermines in Pamplona.

Flamenco

Flamenco dancer

This musical genre from Andalusia is a fusion of the Jewish, Christian, Arab and Gypsy culture. Flamenco is sung and danced to the rhythm of a guitar, and its known for its great emotional intensity manifested through laments, constant stomping and aesthetic arms movements. Among the most important flamenco festivals in Spain, we can mention the Flamenco Night of Zambra and the Festival of Cante Grande ‘Fosforito’ in Puente Genil.

The April Fair

The Feria de Abril is a festival that takes place in the month to which it owes its name, throughout a week full of songs, dancing and the well-known wine of Jerez, among other dishes and drinks of the area, which are accompanied of old cheese and ham, among other delicacies.

Holy Week

Every year every town in Spain celebrates with devotion and beauty the Holy Week, making its processions during Holy Thursday and Good Friday. On the other hand, the cities celebrate this festivity throughout the week. Regardless of the religion you have, Holy Week is a Spanish holiday that must be witnessed at least once in a lifetime. It should be noted, however, that it is not easy to get accommodation in Spain at this time due to a large number of tourists visiting the country at this time.

The Fallas

Continuing with other Spanish festivals. “Las Fallas” are parties that are celebrated in Valencia, San José and other locations between March 15 and 19. In them, carpenters burn old woods and pieces that no longer serve them. In Valencia, more than a million people attend the “Crema de los ninots” every year, which consists of the incineration of giant sculptures made with papier mache,.

Tomatinas of Buños

Also in Valencia, which a tradition that is more than 60 years old. It has been imitated in other countries and is celebrated on the last Wednesday of August when thousands of people throw themselves more than 100 tons of tomatoes in a kind of “battle” where the fun is felt everywhere, and so are tomatoes.

Moors and Christians

Moors and christians

This Spanish festival is held in several provinces of the country but the most renowned ones are those of Alicante and especially those of Alcoy. It takes place between April 21 and 24 and divides its participants into two large groups that parade, representing Moors and Christians dressed in clothing that recall the time of the Spanish Reconquest.

San Miguel festivities

It is one of the most important agricultural festivities in Spain. It is held annually in the Parque de Los Campos Eliseos, on the same date as the Fiesta Mayor de Otoño. The castellers are among the main attractions of this event. These are people who build human castles that are several meters high. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most visually striking Spanish festivals.

The Carnivals in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

We can’t forget to comment on the Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. These carnivals and those held in Cádiz are Spain’s most famous. As in the Carnivals of Rio de Janeiro, during these days joy overflows in Tenerife, the only rule being enjoyment.

These are just some of the Spanish traditions and festivals, but do not let them tell you: go to Spain on an exchange program. By doing so, not only will you have the chance to learn or practice your Spanish skills but you’ll also be able to enjoy all these celebrations. If you want more information about exchange programs in Spain, please contact us.