Spanish Courses Unamuno: Learning Spanish the family way
Text: Matthew Hirtes | Photos © Unamuno
The Spanish spoken in the historic town of Salamanca is considered by many the purest and most correct in Spain – the equivalent of British RP (received pronunciation). The city is consequently widely considered one of the best places to learn the Spanish language.
Spanish Courses Unamuno was originally started in Salamanca back in 1987 by Irene Miguel Escobar’s parents, and she now works closely with her father in the running of the school. “My mother was a great Hispanophile,” recalls Escobar. “She had a deep love of our language and read Hispanic Philology at university.” It’s a description Irene hopes her own children will use about her as she remains committed to teaching Spanish using all the five senses.
Sultry Salamanca, deep in the heart of traditional Spain’s Castile and Léon, is home to Spain’s oldest university, founded in 1134. The city consequently has strong links to the university wherever you look, with streets full of bookshops, and is very much geared towards student life.
Spanish Courses Unamuno takes the third part of its name from celebrated poet, philosopher and playwright Miguel de Unamuno, who also served as the University of Salamanca’s rector. With a staff of ten including five teachers and, in high season, up to eleven teachers, it’s ideal for group learning.
Irene Miguel Escobar highlights “the communicative interaction” as the main benefit of learning Spanish as part of a group. “It’s an immersive experience and you’re less frightened of making mistakes, as everybody’s at the same level.” Spanish Courses Unamuno also organises trips in and around the city-centre, such as exploring the ‘Ruta de Tapas’ (tapas route), so students can get a real insight into the Spanish way of life.
Irene is also a champion of learning Spanish online. “This is a great way of both complementing and reinforcing what you’ve learnt as part of the group,” she explains. “You save on time and travel. Also, you can develop Spanish language skills at your own pace.”
With an established reputation as one of the country’s leading residential Spanish schools, Spanish Courses Unamuno is located in an iconic building a mere ten minute walk from Salamanca’s emblematic main square – one of the places Miguel Escobar insists you shouldn’t leave the city without visiting. “Our splendid Plaza Mayor is a must see,” she says, “along with our cathedrals (yes, we have more than one).”
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