Spanish language courses attract students from all over the world, given that they combine work with pleasure — learn a language and relax on clean, sandy beaches washed by the waves of the Mediterranean Sea. Spanish is the second most popular language to learn in the world[1]. It is spoken by more than 500 million people in 21 countries. But it is Spain that offers the most correct and standard — the so-called Castilian — version of the language.

Advantages of language courses in Spain

  • Wide choice of language schools and courses. Private language schools offer a variety of programs for every language level and learning goal. Here you can not only learn a language, but also prepare for international exams, university entrance, or a teaching career. Schools are located both in large cities and in small resort areas.
  • Affordable prices. Education in Spain is more affordable than in other European countries. For comparison, the average cost of an intensive course (25-30 hours) in Spain is 282 USD per week, while the same courses will cost 358 USD in France and 380 USD in Germany. Accommodation in Spain is also cheaper — a room in a student residence costs 309 USD per week, while in Germany, such a residence will cost 489 USD. People often come to Spain to study not only Spanish, but also English or other foreign languages.
  • Neutral Spanish. Spanish has many dialects and variations, but Spanish language schools teach standard Spanish (Español estándar), which is approved by the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language and the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language. It uses lexical, phonetic, and grammatical rules, which are the most common among all varieties of Spanish.
  • A busy extracurricular life. Spain is a country of amazing architecture, endless beaches, diverse nature, and rich culture. At some language schools, education can be combined with recreation, sports, and excursions, which are included in the course program.

Disadvantages of language courses in Spain

  • Many dialects. The Spanish language has many dialects: Aragonese, Castilian, Leonese, and Andalusian, which in turn are divided into distinct forms of speech. It often happens that when studying a language in one of the regions of Spain, a student acquires a special pronunciation that may not be entirely clear to residents of other regions and Spanish-speaking countries.
  • Inability to combine language learning with work. Language course students are not allowed to work, and the violation of this prohibition leads to visa revocation. To gain professional experience, only unpaid internships and volunteering are available to these students.
  • Very hot summer. In Andalusia, the southern region of Spain, the temperature reaches +37 °С in the summer. In Seville, the capital of the region, temperatures above 40 °С are recorded every summer. This can be uncomfortable for those who are not accustomed to studying in such conditions.

Cost of language courses in Spain

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When applying for a language course, a lot of time is spent searching for information and clarifying the nuances of programs and accommodation options in Spain.
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Types of language courses in Spain

Type of programIntensityGroupMin. language requirementsCost per week
General Spanish15-206-10Beginner130 USD+
Intensive course25-308-12Beginner238 USD+
Super Intensive course30-358-12Beginner435 USD+
Exam preparation (DELE/SIELE)208-10Elementary272 USD+/402 USD+
University Pathway15-208-15Beginner6,801 USD/course
Private tuition1-101-2Beginner43 USD+/
Study & Live in Your Teacher's Home151-2Beginner1,141 USD+
Online1-21-3Beginner22 USD+/lesson
Spanish for Business258-10Intermediate282 USD+
Teacher training20-305-10Upper-Intermediate375 USD+
Summer camp208-10Beginner326 USD+

General Spanish. A standard course with a workload of 20 hours a week, the main task of which is to improve the level of the language. Evening classes are also available for 1.5-3 hours per week.

Intensive course. There are different durations. An average of 25-30 hours per week, these courses include 1 to 5 conversation and individual lessons. Depending on the number of additional lessons, courses are divided into Intensive, Intensive plus and Super Intensive.

Exam preparation. These courses are aimed at preparing foreigners for the international DELE and SIELE language exams, which are necessary for admission to Spanish-speaking universities and employment in Spain. They include 20 hours of lessons and 5 individual classes per week.

University Pathway. These are preparatory courses for admission to Spanish universities. Private language schools offer this option to students with a minimum level or even zero proficiency of the language, provided that they take intensive courses before starting the Pathway. The programs run from September to May. In the classroom, students learn the language and prepare for entrance examinations to universities. Also, private schools help students with homologation — the recognition of a foreign diploma and certificate.

Private tuition. These are individual lessons with a teacher that correspond to specific needs or aspects of the language that the student wants to master. Individual lessons can be taken in person or online, and the student can independently choose the intensity — from 1 to 10 lessons per week. During the course, the student receives personal recommendations and feedback from the teacher.

Spanish for Business. These classes are aimed at learning the principles of business communication in Spanish. Business Spanish can be taken as an addition to intensive programs, or as a separate course of 20 hours + 5 individual lessons per week.

Study & Live in Your Teacher's Home. A special program that allows you to learn the language at the home of a teacher and immerse yourself in a friendly, homely Spanish atmosphere. It includes 15 hours of classes per week, accommodation, and extracurricular activities — visits to museums and parks, city tours, and trips to the beach.

Teacher training. Some language schools, such as Kingsbrook Idiomas and International House Valencia, offer practical training for foreigners who want to work as Spanish teachers. A minimum B2 (Upper-Intermediate) language level is required. In the classroom, students study the language in depth and obtain methods of teaching Spanish to foreigners.

Study and Work. Unpaid internships and volunteer programs are offered at partner companies of a school, which can be pursued in parallel with intensive language courses.

Summer camps in Spain

Summer camps are programs for teenagers from 14 to 17 years old. They allow you to fully immerse yourself in the Spanish environment, combine an academic program with sports, master classes, cultural programs, and excursions. Students study 20 hours a week in groups of 10 people. Extracurricular activities are held during lunch breaks, and one day a week is completely devoted to excursions. Schools provide study materials and award students with a certificate at the end of the course.

Language courses at Spanish universities

In addition to language schools, you can learn the language at Spanish universities. Some are only available to students who are already living in Spain on a student visa and want to improve their language level or prepare for language exams. Classes begin in September and end in December or May, depending on the specific program.

The curriculum of such courses includes lessons on grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. At the Autonomous University of Barcelona, ​​courses are also taught in the Catalan dialect. Upon completion, a certificate is issued, which indicates the number of credits received during the course. They can be counted towards the total amount for undergraduate or graduate programs if the student decides to enroll in the university where the course was taken (or another university that counts ECTS).

Features of admission to Spanish language schools

The process of enrolling in language courses in Spain is quite simple: the student pays the registration fee, makes full or partial payment for the course, provides information about himself, receives an invitation from the school, and submits documents for a Spanish visa.

At private schools, unlike courses at universities, classes are conducted all year round. A student with any level of Spanish can enter a language school, having previously passed a specialized test to determine his group level. Students who already have some knowledge of the language can start studying every Monday, while a distinct schedule is established for beginners.

When applying, you should pay attention to the compliance of the school with state standards. If the center does not have any accreditation, you may be denied a visa. You should also be careful with Study and Work programs. With a student visa to Spain, it is forbidden to work. However, you are allowed to do unpaid internships and participate in volunteer programs. When submitting documents, it is necessary to check that this information is clearly indicated in the content of the school’s curriculum.

In case of a visa refusal, schools return the full cost of education. It is necessary to carefully read the clauses of the agreement governing the return and retention of funds in case of cancellation or rescheduling of courses at the student’s initiative.

Studying in a Spanish language course

The course curriculum largely depends on the school. At university centers, courses are aimed exclusively at learning the language or preparing for language exams.

At private schools, the curriculum is designed in such a way that students can immerse themselves in learning the language and getting to know the culture of Spain. In addition to the language course itself, electives can be included in the program, where you can improve your pronunciation, work out grammatical structures in more detail, or study the cultural characteristics of Spanish-speaking countries.

Many private language schools allow the student to independently choose the duration of the course. As a rule, they use a communicative approach, when students spend most of the lesson communicating. Classes are held in small groups of 5-10 people. Also, some programs include individual lessons, during which you will study one-on-one with a teacher. This helps to better work through points that cause difficulties, or focus on topics of particular interest.

Additional and extracurricular activities

Often, private language schools in Spain offer students a variety of courses that allow you to combine language learning with relaxation and a variety of extracurricular activities. They are included in the compulsory program of the course and are included in the daily schedule of students. For example, you can go diving in Tenerife, hone your tennis skills at professional courts in Marbella, or get acquainted with national Spanish cuisine in Barcelona.

Accommodation options while studying in Spain

Accommodation optionsMealsNumber of people per roomMin. cost per weekAvg. cost per week
Host familyFull board or half board1-2190 USD222 USD
Student residenceOptional1-2152 USD309 USD
ApartmentCovered by the student1-4103 USD165 USD
HotelOptional1-248 USD/day89 USD/day

Additional expenses

ExpensesMin.Avg.
Consular fee38 USD65 USD
Medical insurance12 USD/week16 USD/week
Study materials23 USD26 USD
Airport transfers43 USD68 USD

Check the website of the school for additional costs.

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Visa for language courses in Spain

To take short-term language programs for up to 90 days, it is enough to apply for a category C Schengen visa. The application and other documents must be submitted to the authorized Spanish visa center, having previously made an appointment online through the official website. The term for consideration is 5-10 working days, but in special cases, it can take up to 30 calendar days.

Required documents for obtaining a Schengen visa to Spain
  • Completed and signed visa application form
  • Passport valid for at least 3 months after returning home (at least two blank pages must remain in the passport, and the document must be issued not more than 10 years ago)
  • Photocopies of all pages of the passport, including those with affixed visas
  • 2 color photographs 3.5x4.5 cm in size, not older than 6 months
  • Consular fee payment receipt
  • Medical insurance valid in the Schengen area (covering the entire period of stay in Spain with a minimum insurance coverage of 32,591 USD)
  • Invitation from a language school confirming the purpose of the visit (the document must indicate the content of the curriculum, school information, duration of the course, and proof of payment for the course)
  • Round-trip flight booking confirmation
  • Proof of financial solvency (minimum 880 USD per trip) — bank statement or sponsorship letter (in this case, the sponsor must confirm his financial solvency)
  • For minor applicants: birth certificate, permission from the parents or guardian to travel to Spain, copy of the parent's Schengen visa if he is accompanying the child

For Spanish courses over 90 days long, a foreign student will need to apply for a national visa. The application is considered by the department of the region in which the student plans to study. Therefore, documents should be submitted no later than 30 days before the intended visit to Spain. The consulate may request the personal presence of the applicant and conduct an interview with him.

Required documents for obtaining a national visa to Spain
  • Completed and signed visa application form in two copies
  • 2 color photographs 3.5x4.5 cm in size, not older than 6 months
  • Passport valid for the entire period of the applicant's stay in Spain, issued not more than 10 years ago
  • Copies of active passport pages, including those with affixed visas
  • Consular fee payment receipt
  • Confirmation of housing for the period of study in Spain (reservation of a hotel, apartment rental, or information on hostels provided by a language school)
  • Medical insurance with a minimal coverage of at least 32,591 USD
  • Invitation from a language school confirming the purpose of the visit (the document must indicate the content of the curriculum, school information, duration of the course, and proof of payment for the course)
  • Round-trip flight booking confirmation
  • Proof of financial solvency (at the rate of 630 USD per month per person, except in cases of confirmation of full payment for accommodation) — bank account statement, employer statement describing the position and salary of the applicant, letter of sponsorship
  • For minor applicants: birth certificate (with a translation into Spanish certified by the Consulate General of Spain) and permission from the parents or guardian for the child to go abroad
  • Absence of a criminal record certified by the police, along with a translation into Spanish certified by the legalization department of the Consulate General of Spain (the certificate must be issued no earlier than three months before applying for a visa)
  • Medical certificate of health, with a translation into Spanish certified by the legalization department of the Consulate General of Spain (issued no earlier than three months before applying for a visa).
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Working while taking language courses in Spain

In Spain, foreign students are not allowed to combine study and work. This restriction should not be taken too personally, as it is an opportunity to fully focus on learning Spanish without wasting time looking for part-time jobs.

At the same time, you still have the opportunity to gain professional experience at a European company while taking a language course. Some schools in Spain, such as Españolé International House Valencia, offer Study and Work programs. These are unpaid internships and volunteering opportunities that you can choose in addition to your main language course.

ProgramDurationMin. language levelCost
Internship12Intermediate597 USD
Volunteering4Beginner597 USD
Demipair12-36Beginner2,694 USD

Most popular language schools in Spain

Españolé International House Valencia

Españolé is accredited by the prestigious association of the International House language centers, which also includes language schools in the UK, Portugal, Denmark, and other countries. The school is located in the historic center of Valencia and meets the high standards of education adopted by IH.

There are programs for all levels of language proficiency — from intensive courses of various durations to special programs for exam preparation and enrollment to Spanish universities. The curriculum includes elective classes in pronunciation, grammar, and cultural characteristics of Spanish-speaking countries. The school also offers students a combination of language learning and extracurricular activities — sailing or master classes in cooking Spanish dishes. The minimum age of students is 16 years old, while summer language camps accept students that are 14 or older.

Courses last from 1 week to 9 months. Depending on the intensity and duration, the price varies from 195 USD to 445 USD per week, which includes electives and all study materials. Extracurricular activities will cost an additional 98 USD per week.

Taronja

The Taronja language school is located in Valencia. In 2010, it joined the worldwide IALC association and received accreditation.

Taronja offers courses ranging from 1 to 36 weeks, DELE/SIELE exam preparation programs, online courses, and conversation clubs for all language levels. The only restriction is that you must be 18 or older.

The priority of the school is social and cultural integration. Therefore, in addition to Spanish lessons, Taronja conducts a variety of extracurricular activities for its students — water sports, tennis, Spanish guitar, and salsa lessons. There is a minimum of 5 such classes per week.

The cost of the courses is from 195 to 542 USD per week, and the registration fee is 54 USD. For B2 and C1 level courses, additional study materials must be purchased for 26 USD. Extracurricular activities cost an average of 65 USD per lesson.

Kingsbrook Idiomas

The Kingsbrook Idiomas private language center is located in the capital of Catalonia — Barcelona. The school offers a wide range of courses for any level and purpose of study, including preparation for language exams or a teaching career. Kingsbrook Idiomas is one of the most popular language schools in Spain. Every year, it is chosen by students from 45 countries of the world. The school is accredited by the Instituto Cervantes, an organization established by the Spanish government to promote the study of the Spanish language and culture. Kingsbrook is a multilingual school where you can learn not only Spanish, but also English, German, French, and other languages.

The average cost of the course is 163 USD per week, and the fee for registration and textbooks is 33-163 USD depending on the length of the course. The price includes extracurricular activities — dancing, football, cooking classes, trips out of town, and walks through the streets of Barcelona, ​​during which teachers talk about history, culture, and traditions in Spanish. In addition, students themselves organize conversational clubs.

Best cities to learn Spanish in Spain

Valencia

Population1.7 million people
Average cost of living654 USD/month
DialectsCatalonian
  • Warm climate. Valencia is located on the Mediterranean coast. The sun shines 300 days a year, and the average temperature does not drop below +10 °С during the coldest month.
  • Sea proximity. The beach is a twenty-minute walk from the center of Valencia. This allows you to combine learning Spanish at a language school with various activities — sailing, surfing, swimming or yoga in the fresh air.
  • "City of Arts and Sciences". In 1989, a scientific museum was built in the bed of the drained Turia River, which received the "City of Arts and Sciences" name. Now, it houses the Reina Sofia Palace of Arts, a science museum, a planetarium, a cinema, an oceanographic park, and several unique monuments of modern architecture.
  • Heaven for foodies. Valencia is the gastronomic capital of Spain and the birthplace of famous national dishes, such as paella.

Barcelona

Population1.6 million people
Average cost of living763 USD/month
DialectsCatalonian
  • Unique architecture. Barcelona is home to the masterpieces of many outstanding architects. The most remarkable of them is Antonio Gaudi, with the Sagrada Familia, the hallmark of Catalonia, being the most recognizable of his works.
  • City of contemporary art. At different times, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Miro worked in Barcelona. In the museums and galleries of the city, you can get acquainted with their works and feel even more imbued with the unique atmosphere that inspired the masters to create.
  • Tourist center of Spain. Barcelona is the 8th most visited city in Europe. About 9 million tourists come here every year[2]. They are attracted by the warm climate, unique culture, and unusual architecture.
  • Sport capital of Europe. Barcelona has several sports teams, both amateur and professional. The most famous is the Barcelona football club, the multiple champion of Spain and the five-time winner of the Champions League. The Camp Nou stadium, home to the football club's museum, is a must-see attraction in Barcelona.
  • Independence. Barcelona is the capital of the Catalonian administrative community. At different times, this area tried to proclaim its independence from Spain. Residents of Barcelona call themselves exclusively Catalan and speak a language other than Spanish — Catalan, which has official status in the country.

Madrid

Population3.2 million people
Average cost of living742 USD/month
DialectsCatalonian, Galician, Basque
  • Influential cultural center. The museums of Madrid occupy high positions in the rankings of the most visited museums in the world: the Reina Sofia Art Center — 6th place, the Prado Museum — 16th place[3].
  • City of universities. There are several major universities in Madrid, including the Autonomous University of Madrid, Complutense University of Madrid, ESERP Business School, and others.
  • Relatively low cost of living. Madrid is distinguished by its democratic prices. Life here is cheaper than in most Western European capitals. The average cost of living in Madrid is 742 USD per month, while in Paris — 1,035 USD, in Berlin — 917 USD, and in Brussels — 894 USD.
  • Transportation accessibility. The Madrid subway is the second longest line in Europe. Also, any part of the city can easily be reached by land transportation. Moreover, Madrid is convenient for traveling around Europe thanks to its well-developed rail and air links.
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