If you are looking for a Spanish language school and you want to be sure that you choose the best option, you have to take into account these aspects that we will tell you below. Read on! In Madrid there are many Spanish schools with different options, however, the school that you choose should meet at least these requirements.
1. The Instituto Cervantes Credential
The Instituto Cervantes is a worldwide known institution. Its aim is to widespread the use of the Spanish language in all countries and to ensure that it is taught with the maximum guarantee in schools. The Spanish Federation of Associations of Spanish Schools for Foreigners (FEDELE) gives this accreditation to those schools with a high-quality educational offer. Indeed, it also requires a commitment on the part of each school to maintain and improve the quality of its courses on an annual basis.
2. Native Spanish speaker teachers
Another requirement is that the school you choose must have teachers who have a degree in Philology and are native speakers of the language they teach. A teacher can have a broad knowledge of the language despite the fact of not being a Spanish speaker. However, for your own sake, it is very important that your teachers were born in a Spanish speaking country. In this way, they will be familiar with colloquial expressions and sayings that are everyday used by Spaniards in less formal contexts.
You may think that this is not essential in the basic levels, but perhaps it is once you progress in learning the language. In this way, you will get to know more informal uses, understand them when you hear them and be able to use them yourself. Moreover, it would be advisable that the teachers are not only native Spanish speakers but also to come from different parts of Spain, so that you can hear different accents and understand what anyone says regardless of where they come from, as it is the case at Inhispania.
3. Courses for all levels
The best thing when learning a language is having the option to learn from scratch to advanced levels at the same school. This way, you won't have to look for another school once you are used to their teaching method and teachers. Thus, they will know your weaknesses and strengths, and will talk to the other teachers so that they can support you to develop your full potential in the most optimal way - and you won't have to say goodbye to your friends because you will continue learning with them!
On the other hand, the books that you use in class should be graded by level, so that they are suitable at all times for your knowledge and that of your classmates. At Inhispania, for example, we use AULA books, which are divided into a multitude of levels to allow each teacher to choose the most suitable one for the students they teach. Moreover, they are free! You won't have to pay for them! You can just leave a deposit at reception and when you return them, we will refund the deposit.😍
4. Large variety of courses
When learning a language, not everyone starts from the same level, nor do we all have the same circumstances. For example, there may be students with their own family, some who work or study in the mornings, people who cannot move to Madrid... Therefore, it is very important to choose a Spanish school that offers different types of courses to allow each person to find the most suitable one for their current situation. At Inhispania, for example, there are online and face-to-face courses, intensive (in the mornings) and regular (in the afternoons), private, in group and even Premium for those who want a much more personalised experience!
5. Good location
Is this your first time in Madrid? You will surely be eager to get to know the most famous and emblematic places in the city. Choosing a language school that is well located, close to the city centre, you will save time every day. And it'll be also great to sleep longer hours in the mornings before your course starts! ;) The location of our school is excellent, 1 minute from Gran Vía Street, 5 minutes walk from the Cibeles Square and 10 minutes from the Retiro Park.
Do you know the different neighbourhoods in Madrid? Read this article to get around Madrid like a madrileño / madrileña!
A Spanish language school is not only a place to learn a language, but also a place where you will spend a lot of time during the week, so it is essential that it has well-lit classrooms with free WiFi where you can study.
This way, even if your flatmates or neighbours are noisy, you can go to a quiet place with toilets and internet whenever you want. In addition, at some schools, such as Inhispania, there is a library with Spanish reference books that you can use while you are studying, and books that you can borrow to practice and expand your vocabulary.
Regarding the school's facilities, if you use a wheelchair to move, it is also very important to make sure that the school you choose has a lift and a wheelchair-accessible entrance. Inhispania, for example, is a wheelchair-accessible school. We have all the facilities for students in wheelchairs to access classes and attend courses on an equal basis with other students.
7. Personalised attention
7.1. Class size
On the one hand, class size is essential. In some languages schools there are too many students per class, which could slow down your progress in learning the language. It is true that learning with other people is very enriching because you learn from their mistakes, solve doubts with them and help each other. However, when there are too many people in the same class, sometimes there is not enough time for everyone to participate and you might not receive all the corrections you need to improve and keep progressing.
The most advisable number of students is between 3 and 6. For reasons of profitability you will rarely find such small classes without seeing the price increased considerably. It is recommended that there are no more than 9 students in each class.
7.2. Speak and be listened to
On the other hand, when we say "personalised attention" we also mean feeling listened to. If at some point you feel that the students in your class have a different level of knowledge than you have, you should be able to ask for tutoring and change classes. Likewise, if something is wrong at school or there is a problem, you should have the possibility to complain and change what is not working properly. This could be through feedback forms, an email address that is checked daily, or reliable staff to whom you can convey your concern and who can offer you an appropriate solution.
For the latter, of course, the school staff must speak different languages, or at least English and Spanish, in order to be able to receive students from other countries and to be able to attend to their needs. If the school offers Spanish courses from an initial level, some students are assumed not be able to speak Spanish beforehand, hence they will not be able to communicate in Spanish with teachers or administrative staff.
8. Official exams
If your aim is to pass an official exam of Spanish, look for a Spanish language school where the teachers are specifically trained in this area. A teacher does not necessary know how the official exams are structured and the most advisable strategies to successfully pass them only by studying a Philology degree. On the contrary, they have to attend to specific courses about it.
In an official exam, not only your knowledge of the language is assessed, but also your speed and other skills which are considered important and which are not normally learnt in a general Spanish class. For this reason, it seems most helpful to practise with the model exam before taking it and to receive specific classes to understand how it works.
At Inhispania, some teachers have taken previous courses in order to train students and prepare them to pass these official exams. Moreover, in our school we take DELE exams and even official exams to obtain the Spanish nationality (CCSE test).
9. Getting to know the Spanish culture
Are you a curious person? Do you like to get in touch with the local culture when you travel to another country? Perhaps it would be a plus if the school where you learn Spanish also enables you to discover aspects about the country you are visiting.
In our school, for example, we welcome the students doing an event where we explain about the city of Madrid and the Spanish culture, and we offer them some tapas to start enjoying the gastronomy of Spain. 😋
In addition, at Inhispania the Administration team organises weekly activities to get to know the city with other students, accompanied by a teacher from the school. Sometimes we also travel to nearby cities such as Toledo, Aranjuez, El Escorial or Alcalá de Henares.
Eventually, at the school we also offer the possibility of attending classes on Spanish culture, covering topics related to Politics, History, Art or traditions of our country, after the intensive classes in the morning (from 1.15 p.m., with an approximate duration of 45 minutes).
10. Commitment to students' welfare
The last, but not least, important aspect to consider when you choose a Spanish language school in Madrid is the school's commitment to the welfare of the students. What do we mean by this? Firstly, your chosen school must be up to date with safety issues, carrying out regular inspections of the working conditions, the equipment used in the classrooms and the measures to be taken in the event of a possible risk, such as a fire.
Indeed, facilities must be clean and disinfected to prevent possible infections, especially in a context such as the current one, in which we have just overcome a pandemic.
Finally, it is a good idea for teachers and all school staff to have completed a First Aid course so that they are prepared for possible health problems of students in the classroom. We hope this will never be necessary in your case! But if it ever is, it will be crucial that your teachers are able to give you as much help as possible.
We hope that this information help you to find it much easier to choose a school to learn Spanish. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or a message by WhatsApp to +34 616995490
See you soon in Madrid! 💗