EF: Language Courses Abroad in Spain
94% Rating
(26 Reviews)

EF: Language Courses Abroad in Spain

Learn Spanish with EF in some of the world's greatest cities. With centers in Madrid, Malaga, and Barcelona you will not only learn the language, but also live it.

You decide when you would like to start studying, how long you’ll be away, your course's intensity level – even how you’ll focus your studies according to your own interests and needs. You can earn transferable college credit for courses four weeks and up.

EF’s Spanish schools are accredited by Instituto Cervantes, the world's leading organization promoting Spanish language education. Globalize your future, boost your international career and prepare for the DELE Exam with a Spanish Language Diploma from EF.

Live in Canada? Visit our Canadian website instead.

Europe » Spain » Malaga
Europe » Spain » Madrid
Europe » Spain » Barcelona
Europe » Spain
Program Tags
Hands-On Learning
Language Immersion
Study Abroad
Volunteer Abroad
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Host Family
Primary Language
Age Max
Starting Price
Price Details
Host family accommodations and a meal plan are included in the course price. Contact the Admissions Team for a personalized price quote.

Questions & Answers

The age range is very diverse. Although the majority of the students are around 16-25, I have met many people of all ages at both schools in Madrid & Barcelona. Although I did come across a more older age group at the Madrid campus, I believe it's all a matter of what time of the year you go. Of course, you will come across more teenagers in the summer time so my best guess would to call and ask t...

Program Reviews

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Program Reviews (26)

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Beautiful City.... Terrible Program


I was very excited to go to Barcelona and study abroad. My friend went through a different program and enjoyed it a lot. My Spanish improved so much and I 100% think this was a valuable experience and recommend others to study abroad. (Learning Spanish was more of a result of being in Spain not at all a result of taking those un engaging classes with bad teachers)
Having said that I have come to the conclusion that, from what I experienced during my stay, the EF program in Barcelona is unorganized, the staff are rude, and the host moms, which I spoke to(I can't speak for ones I have not met or heard about), are uneducated and rude as well. I am not saying all of their locations are like this but the interactions I had with the Ef staff in Barcelona were atrocious. They would most definetly be unqualified to work in the U.S. for speaking to customers the way they do. Not only that but I was shocked because they were complete liars. They would say anything to save their behinds and made up stories when people complained. I do not believe they were qualified for their jobs one bit as they are rude, close minded, and untrustworthy.
As much as my experience with the staff was atrocious that wasn't the worst part, and it is probably unusual as most kids just pass through the program and are simply given fake smiles. The worst part was how obviously unorganized the program was. Most host parents were not even parents. Some where just men or young women who lived alone and were never home. My host mom was not a native spanish speaker and had such a thick accent I could barely understand her. She also did not know anything about the culture and therefore it was not a "cultural experience". I spoke to many people who were there with me in Barcelona(from all over the world) and many had problems with the program and their host "families". Some were left alone to do what ever they wanted sometimes as their host "parent" would go out clubbing. One of my friends was not even fed for a few days and was forced to buy her own food(the program is expensive and includes meals). Everyone I had talked to who was vegetarian arrived at the house to find out that the host family didn't even know! My host mom did not even know how to cook for my roommate and me and due to this we wasted so much money on our own food. Her boyfriend also smoked in the bathroom and the house would reek and I had an allergic reaction to the smoke.
Over all I recommend going to Spain just not through EF. My close friend loved her program and even talks to them today! There are great programs out there- this is not one of them.

How can this program be improved?

Yes. Have basic and detailed policies for staff to follow. Expect staff to report what happens when it happens. Make sure host parents are informed about people's dietary restrictions. Teach your staff not to be rude and teach them about customer service. Also explain how making things up is unprofessional and inappropriate. I hate to say this but some of your staff are clearly immature and don't know what they are doing.

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17 years old
Louisiana, USA

EF Madrid


I spent a month in Madrid in order to improve my Spanish, but I learned so much more than that! All of the students at EF Madrid were so welcoming, passionate, and intelligent. I made so many close friends; I was not expecting my social experience to be so fulfilling and exciting!
I absolutely fell in love with the city-- Madrid is so beautiful, safe, historical, and accepting. I cannot wait to return in the future!
This experience was unforgettable, and I am so glad that I decided to go to EF Madrid!

How can this program be improved?

I think that the lunch breaks should be a little bit longer-- 40 minutes was sometimes a stretch (LOL)! I also think that it should be made easier for students to advance levels. I was unaware that the tests were only given on Thursdays, so I had only gotten the chance to be in a higher level (the level that I believed was more appropriate for me) for one week out of the four that I was in Madrid.

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18 years old

A Wonderful Month with EF Madrid


I spent 4 weeks in Madrid to learn Spanish and honestly, it's been the most wonderful experience in my life. I loved everything about the school : the staff and the teachers were kind and creative, the activities organized by EF were interesting and I always had fun in my classes. The housing was great as well ; my Spanish mom really cared about the students who lived with her.
I also loved the atmosphere of the school : I met dozens of fellow students from around the world and they were all open-minded, nice and eager to learn.
My Spanish improved so much in just a month!!
Muchas gracias a la grande familia de EF Madrid :)

How can this program be improved?

I would have preferred smaller groups, and shorter classes (one hour and twenty minutes without any break can be a lot, even though classes were always interesting!)

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21 years old
Pasadena, Texas

EF Barcelona


My experience with EF in Barcelona was absolutely amazing. I got so much out of it. From improving my Spanish to traveling all over the city, it was definitely the best 2 weeks of my life. I met so many amazing people, some who will be friends for life. Unfortunately I did not have to best host families, and next time I will more than likely stay in the EF residence. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this program to anyone who's considering learning a language abroad. Thank you EF!

How can this program be improved?

More in-depth background checks on host families. The only part that I did not enjoy about my EF trip was my host family/living arrangement. Both host families were terrible.

18 years old
Scottsdale, Arizona

A valuable and worthwhile immersion experience


Being able to travel abroad and spend two weeks in Barcelona was an unforgettable experience. To spend time in a country, surrounded by one's target language and learning skills to practice in the real world is something few get the chance to experience but all should try to do. EF combines an environment of fast, efficient learning with the opportunity to explore the area and practice newly learned skills. EF also teaches the language and cultural skills necessary to travel, barter, communicate colloquially, engage in conversations, and meet new people, giving a well-rounded and wholesome learning experience. I highly recommend EF for anyone interested in learning a language quickly and effectively, while also being able to practice that language in a comfortable, safe environment while also having the freedom to break out of one's comfort zone and be completely immersed in a new culture and language.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing I can think of to improve the program would be to increase the number of classrooms to allow for a more flexible class schedule.

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16 years old

Malaga 2015 summer


The experience I had in Malaga Spain was not only amazing but very memorable. From the activities to people, everything was great. The funniest parts about being in the program was when you got free time to go places with your friends like into the city for shopping and exploring. It was exciting to be overseas because the culture of the Spanish is completely different from what my own culture is. The foods I got to try were very different and many I wish to have again

How can this program be improved?

give weekly surveys about how people are doing with their host families and if they are making friends easily. When I had a problem with my initial host family, I brought it up to the staff and they helped me change houses but I'm sure that there are other people who are too afraid to speak up.

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23 years old

EF Málaga The Adventures of So´


Before going to Malaga I was in New York and Tokyo so at first I wasn´t really expecting much from the city of Cervantes to be honest. But as soon as I arrived, I realized that this was going to be a lot of fun. The EF school is much smaller than in New York and Tokyo but it´s actually a great point because everybody get together and it´s like we´re a familly. Of course the whole staff is just incredible if you put the effort your spanish skills will increase fast.
Also, the beach is only at 5 minutes by walk from the school and the region of Malaga have so many breathtaking places, natural landscape and iconic places.
Malaga was the perfect place to end this crazy adventure and La Costa Del Sol has nothing to envy to the other places in the world.

22 years old
The Netherlands

You can relive my memories by reading my review, or you can just go and have your own EF experience!


It's kind of funny because the day before my flight to Barcelona i was actually second guessing my decision to go. Because i planned it within a month and a lot was going on at home and i thought i was running away from my problems. The thing is once i landed in Barcelona i knew i made the right choice. The sphere is great. The people are great. Of course the first two days are the most nerve recking. Meeting my host mom, first day of school and of course all the new people. Especially for someone like me. I mean i hate having to do something new. I like knowing what im getting myself into and i had no clue about what to expect. So hopefully this review helps all future students.

I'll give the 411 on EF Barcelona. What to and what not to expect and of course some advice.

Good or bad first?

Ahh let's do the bad not that long of a list i think.

What not to expect:
1. That everyone will like you. (Rumors spread faster than any disease i know)
2. Teachers to hand feed all the answers.
3. That teachers like it when you speak your first language.
4. That you won't spend a lot of money.

What to expect:
1. Teachers and Staff members are always there to help you
2. I lived with a host family and this depends on the host family because not all are great. But mines was great. Her name was Montse and i had breakfast every morning and dinner every night. Cleaning service every few days. And a great way to practice my spanish outside of the school. I also had a really great roommate from Germany!
3. A lot of new friends and some that may stay in your life for a very long time. I've been gone for about two months now and i still have contact with a lot of the people that i met there.
4. a Great night life! From bars to club to restaurants.
5. Fun in class, well at least i had fun.
6. Fun activities organised by EF. I went on a day trip to Girona and a weekend trip to Valencia. There is also stuff like soccer matches, visiting Camp Nou, bike tours, boat rides, etc.
7. For people that live in countries where they don't have access to a beach or sun. There's plenty in Barca. (Im from an island so that was nothing new to me)
8. If your someone that loves the architectural buildings then Barcelona is the place to be. Thats something i enjoyed the most.
9. School provides you with everything Tech stuff you know computers and what not. There's also a really nice terras where you can enjoy the sun or have lunch. A mini library with some random books haha. Twilight fan? the book is there ;)
10. Meeting people from all over the world! Japan, USA, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and if your lucky someone like me whose from St. Maarten! :)
11. Your spanish improves a lot!!

There's plenty more i can add on this list. But hey i need to leave you future students to experience it for yourselves.

Now some advice:
1. You give 100% you get 100%
2. Do everything!! by that i mean Experience the night life, do the EF activities, your own activities and most of all Go to Class!!
3. Be openminded.
4. Your there to learn spanish so speak the damn language. By that i mean Practice whenever you can. To your host family, in class (very important!! Teacher doesn't like when you speak your native language), in bars, restaurants, you get the picture. Just do it!

I can promise it'll be the best thing you've ever done. Although it was a bit pricey it was the best thing i've ever experienced even if it was just for a month. You won't regret it.

Just go for it :)

How can this program be improved?

Some classes felt a little claustrophobic. I know it's not easy to make a classroom bigger, but for future ideas and renovations ;)

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24 years old

Not going to EF Barcelona, would be is mistake!


EF Barcelona was the best idea I ever had. A little background, I was coming to Barcelona already having 3 American friends over here. I figured I didn't really need EF activities or other students, and I would just take classes, and just hangout with my American friends.
I saw them twice...

The people I met at EF Barcelona changed my life, at age 22. I learned so much inside and outside of the classroom that I could never thank them for enough. The friends I met at EF Barcelona will remain my friends for a very long time. This program attracts really fun and nice people, who are excited to learn, explore and make memories.

Barcelona is an amazing city. I don't have many other words to describe it, you just need to see it for yourself. Never, have I felt so much love in one city from people I didn't even know. I've never laughed and lived as much as I did in Barcelona.

The staff at EF is what will make your experience. I graduated from a great four year college in the states, and never have I had teachers who cared about me as a person, and about my education like the teachers at EF Barcelona. They are VERY special people who truly care about their students. The staff as well, go out of their way to make sure that you are doing well, and having fun. I still keep in contact with one of my teachers, who became a very dear friend and mentor to me. And a girl who was my age that worked as an EF staff member, became a good friend of mine as well.

I don't have all the right words to tell you how amazing this experience can be. The people of Barcelona are loving and alive, the staff at EF is some of the best people I have ever met, and the other students who became some of my best friends are fun and truly amazing people.

I actually left Barcelona to work at an Outdoor School, and I know that EF ranks as an amazing educational institution.

I PROMISE you, if you have the chance to go to EF Barcelona, you will not regret it. Take my word for it. I wish I could go back every day!

How can this program be improved?

I can't think of one single thing.

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20 years old
Deal, UK

The Most Amazing Experience Ever


The EF Barcelona school is incredible.

You learn the language really fast because the lessons are very interactive and fun and the teachers are very supportive. I learnt way more in the first few weeks in EF Barcelona than I ever did in years or learning the language at school.

Every week there are many optional activities set up which are really good fun. But also, if you want to plan your own trip you can always ask any of the EF staff for recommendations of places to visit, eat, see etc. or advise on the easiest way to get to particular places.

The EF staff are all very friendly, welcoming and very enthusiastic about their city, which I think is really important to a person when they move to study abroad, whether it is for a few weeks or many months. I found that the EF Barcelona School really does feel like a family (...that sounds really cheesy but its true!..).

During my time in Barcelona I have gained so much, friends that will stay with me for life, the ability to speak another language, experiences I will never forget and a confidence and independence I didn't have before. All of which I will take into the next stage of my life.

Thank you EF Barcelona, you have a fantastic city and a really special school.

Gracias por todo....amigos para siempre!

25 years old
Maria Enzersdorf, Austria

La vida es chula - Learning Spanish in Barcelona


Barcelona is not just a city located at the seaside, it is full of history, art, music, good food, incredible people and perfect for escaping ones life.
In Barcelona you find new friends, new experiences and if you are taking it a bit seriously, you even can set the base for another foreign language in only 3 months! Thanks to EF and all the amazing people working there, I not only have a lot of memories I would never want to miss, but I have the possibility to talk to people I would not have understood before! I love practicing at home with my new Spanish friends who are happy to support my improving! So the only thing I have to say is

GRACIAS POR TODO EF BARCELONA! Que tengais muchas estudiantes nuevos que disfruten su tiempo alli! ;)

How can this program be improved?

The program is already on a very high level! The only thing I would have loved to change is the great amount of German speaking students there. But of course this is something which cannot be influenced by anybody....

So if one really wants to learn something and avoid speaking English or, worse, the own mother tongue to often, the only way of doing so is to spend time with students from other countries who are already advanced in Spanish! As I tended to spend my time mostly with Spanish speaking students and staff, I had the chance to learn a lot from them as well!

23 years old
Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, my lovely city and the best city.


My (two) experience in EF Barcelona, i was so good, the staff (personel), school, prof and student are very great. (trip in EF BCN in 2014 : 2 weeks, and 2015 : 7 weeks)

I met so many people and made some great memories. i've grown a lot in those few months is Barcelona.

I loved the trips that the school organized in Costa Brava, Dali museum, Girona, Tarragona, PortAventura, Montserrat, Madrid etc..

I also improved my Spanish significantly and felt comfortable conversing with the locals. Highly reccomend !

But i travel frequently in Barcelona, because for me is the best city in the world, mountains, food, drink, gastronomy, park, culture, fun, art, architecture, nightlife, sun, beach, football, people.

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20 years old

An incredible gap-year!


After finishing high school, I decided to take a gap-year and study abroad in Barcelona with EF. I am so happy to say that I could not have made a better decision. Not only did I learn a new language, I also had the opportunity to meet amazing people from all around the world and share this wonderful experience with them.

The lovely teachers and staff are some of the most amazing people I’ve met in my life. From the very first day I could notice how incredibly motived everyone is. They made me feel at home in a place that was entirely new for me.

The classes are so much fun, very interactive and never boring. I’m convinced EF is the best way to learn a foreign language.

I met so many people and made some great memories. I’ve grown a lot in those few months is Barcelona, I’ve become more independent, more sociable and more open-minded.

Muchísimas gracias por todo!

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25 years old

Barcelona - a dream you never want to wake up from...


I decided to go to Barcelona to learn Spanish mainly because it's the home of the best football club in the world, but I learned very quickly that you can find so much more than good football here in the mediterranean city. In fact, there is really almost nothing that Barcelona can't offer you. As a person who has been to quite a few cities, coming to Barcelona immediately let's you feel this special and welcoming vibe that flows through the warm and humid air as you wander around it's charming streets. One of the first things I noticed in comparison to other big cities is the fact that there are trees on both sides of almost every street throughout the whole town, which gives a friendly character to the otherwise urban environment. In general, the city is surprisingly green with a lot of nice parks to relax. Also the beautiful harmony of both traditional architectural styles and modern buildings immediately meets the eye even before landing by plane. Looking out of the aircraft, the first things to notice are the magical Sagrada Familia basilica erupting from the sea of identical housing complexes that is the Eixample district and on the other side of town the modern Agbar tower bathed in it's blue and red colours. One can quickly see that Barcelona is a city of culture and history but nevertheless is constantly evolving and reinventing itself. A perfect harmony of tradition and innovation.

I always tell people who ask me about Barcelona that for me it's a city that has everything! There is really nothing left to wish for in terms of culture, nightlife, art, sports, or any other aspect one might demand from a city. I mean the city ends right at the beach! What more could you want?! :) haha.

When it comes to the EF-language courses I really have to point out that I came to the school without knowing Spanish, but after just three months of classes I was already able to manage normal day to day life in Spanish without a lot of difficulties. The language classes are so different from the normal school lessons I was used to. Exciting interactions and modern teaching methods make the courses fun and you kind of learn the language in a more natural way. The competent teachers are always friendly, helpful and encouraging. The fact that I stayed with a host family also helped immensely since you are forced to talk communicate and practice not only in class but also in real life situations. After my time at EF I decided to study Spanish at university so as you can see EF Barcelona has had a huge impact on me. I loved going to class there and thats not very common right? haha

But the coolest thing apart from learning a new language and getting to know a new culture is the fact that you meet so many people from all over the world, make new friends and build connections around the globe. All the students find themselves more or less in the same situation so you immediately have one thing in common. This experience made me grow so much as a person and is unforgettable for the rest of my life. I can only recommend everybody to choose Barcelona: a city that makes you dream big and still surpasses those dream. A city so enchanting you fall in love with it over and over again.
I come back to BCN as often as I can and every time I walk back into the EF-school it's like coming home. EF will feel like family. And Barcelona will be your second home.

How can this program be improved?

For me this program was perfect... can't think of a thing to complain

19 years old
Krupa na Vrbasu

EF Barcelona


The two weeks I have spend in Barcelona were amazing. I have learned a new language and improved my knowledge. I kept in touch with new people and made new friends from different countries like Belgium, Canada, USA, Netherlands and Switzerland. I had a very good time with them in both places, school and outside. The host family was also very friendly and talkative. My main teacher at the EF School in Barcelona was one of my best teachers I have ever had. She is a supportive, talkative, funny and kind one who I will never forget. EF has given me the opportunity to visit an amazing country like Spain and it´s city Barcelona, where I have never been before and I´m so glad that I could grab my chance to visit it. It´s been an amazing time with all the guys and the teachers around me, cause they have given me a feeling that I am not alone in a foreign country, but in a big family where we all stick together as a team. Even if I have visited them just for a short period, it would be always a wonderful memory that I will never forget.
Thank you so much!!!

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18 years old

EF Málaga - Experience of a life time


if you want to have an Experience of a life time, travel with EF to malaga.
You learn the language in another way, you always want to learn more and thats why you always reach your goals. You meet fantastic people during your stay. I chose to live in a host family and for me that was the best choice.

i will never forget my experience with EF, and i will recomend everyone to think about traveling to malaga.

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21 years old

EF Málaga - A dutch girl in Malaga


First I went to an other school, but I made a lot of friends at EF Malaga so I wanted to end my trip in EF Malaga. I am so glad I made this choice, I even extended my stay at EF because I liked it that much.
I stayed at the recidence and I loved it. It feels like one big family and everybody knows eachother. I would absolutely recommend EF Malaga! The lessons are very varrieded and it gets never boring. The teachers are really nice and will help you anytime.
I wished I could stayed longer and I would do it over again for sure!

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19 years old
Vancouver, BC
McGill University

EF Barcelona


Everything about the EF Language program in Barcelona lived up to and surpassed my expectations. The teachers and staff were great, fun and supportive, and the campus was beautiful. It was also very centrally located near the beautiful neighbourhood of Gracia as well as more touristy destinations such as Casa Batlo by Gaudi. Not only did I have a great time, but I also improved my Spanish significantly and felt comfortable conversing with the locals. Highly reccomend!

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23 years old
Durham University

Love Malaga


If it wasn't for the vibrant social life and fun staff, my experience would have been completely different. I had the most incredible time, meeting people for all over the world and the welcome nights were so much fun. My Spanish could have improved a bit more but would not have changed it for the world.

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Sacramento, CA

Exploring Barcelona in 3 Weeks ...


I constantly thought about it but always pushed the dream into the back of my mind until the summer of 2015.
My 3 weeks in Barcelona, Spain turned out to be a life-changing experience beyond my wildest expectations. New friends, new stories, new language...all of these taught me lifelong lessons that I will carry with me forever.

Beginning the first day of your program, you will take a placement exam that will help the school determine the best classroom to place you in. This is just one of the things that EF does to help their students: accommodation. The school accommodates to your needs and makes sure you are learning the language at your individual level. I met people that had never learned Spanish a day in their life, and others who had been learning for 8+ years; the diversity of students is huge. Erase every bad memory you have of a high school language teacher who shoves grammar into your head 24/7. The teachers at the school understand the difficulty of learning a language and put all their efforts into making a conversational, upbeat class environment; it's absolutely incredible.

Essentially, this is how friendships are formed. After attending the scheduled clases for the portion of the day, the rest is up to you. There are many activities planned by the school that encourage students to connect; some you may be interested, others not so much. Regardless, you will never be bored and I vow to that. It's amazing stepping off the plane into a country not knowing anyone or anything, and the next day forming friendships and traveling around the city like you truly belong there.

Host families are unique to everyone. I had roommates come and go for 3 weeks straight; one day it was just me and another student, and the next day there were 5 students living under the same roof. This is where your language is really put to the test because everyone had a different level of their speaking abilities & understanding Spanish.

Time abroad definitely puts your independence and capabilities to the test. These days spent away from home are very valuable and every activity offered to you should be taken advantage of because you never know when you will have that opportunity again. I learned to appreciate times like "getting lost in an unknown city without any cell service" because it essentially proves that even the experiences that seem bad in the moment, turn out to be the best stories you'll look back on later.

Whenever people ask what about it is so great, I always tell them the same six words "You won't know until you go."
Put aside all of your doubts, anxieties, and hesitations because facing my fears and spending my limited weeks in Barcelona introduced me to unforgettable experiences. Learning a language is so unique when you essentially "Live the Language."

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18 years old
Brooklyn, New York

2 Weeks Spent in Barcelona!


The two weeks I spent in Barcelona with EF contributed to one of the best summers of my life.
For starters, Barcelona is an amazing city. There is so much to see, particularly in the arts. It's a perfect city for walking around and getting lost, and the public transportation is very easy.

Upon arrival, EF does a placement test so that you are in a class in which everyone is at your level, which is great. The classes are small, and the teachers are all truly amazing—passionate about what they do, patient, entertaining, and curious about learning from the students as well. The classes mostly revolve around conversation, which I personally loved because I feel that this is what most Spanish classes lack. Not to mention, the conversations address really interesting topics.
The classes are small and lively, and there's just an overall pleasant environment. The teachers are super approachable, and I found myself talking with them outside of class a lot!

The social scene is amazing—I met people from all over the world, people I never would have had the opportunity to talk with had it not been for EF. The program also organizes a lot of activities, so you are bound to meet new people who might not be in your classes.
As for housing, EF has many families they can set you up with to meet your needs. I actually ended up changing families after my first week (I went from a single room to a double), and the person in charge for Accommodation was extremely helpful and attentive to what I was looking for, as is the rest of the staff!
One thing I really loved about this program is the freedom it gave me. I have never been so independent in my life and I truly loved it. I never felt lonely, nor overcrowded, and the activities EF organizes aren't mandatory (though they are really fun!).
Simply put, I strongly recommend this program. I really did advance my Spanish skills, and I had such a fun time. I definitely recommend staying with a host family and a roommate. You can learn a lot from your host family and it's nice to have someone living with you. For anyone who is worried about the presence of Catalán, as I was, I can assure you it is not at all a problem, and it did not interfere with my learning.

I really could go on and on about my two weeks in Barcelona! I encourage anyone who wants to learn Spanish while enjoying a city full of art, amazing architecture, great food, and a strong student presence to go with EF. I will be signing up with EF once again this summer to spend 3 weeks in Madrid!

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37 years old
Atlanta, GA

Invaluable experience


I have to say that the program offered through EF Madrid in Spain has made my Spanish experience a richer one. I enjoyed all the outings we did that took me to different parts of Madrid to experience the culture and people. The authentic sites for tapas, tablao flamenco, Spanish art and history, views of the city, sporting activities and also just getting to know my classmates while we hung out with the teachers. The trips to see areas outside of Madrid were awesome too. My Spanish grammar and vocabulary have improved a lot and I am not afraid to speak with native and non native speakers about any topic. I miss the school and the experience and would return in a heartbeat.

How can this program be improved?

I find no fault with this program.

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57 years old
Massachussetts, United States
Regis University

Breaking Borders in Language and Culture: Madrid and Malaga


This was a 2 part program - the first week was in the traditional city of Madrid where I stayed with a Spanish hostess in La Latina neighborhood. The morning after I arrived, I set off on foot with minimal instructions to find the El Rastro flea market - a Sunday event and long rambling outdoor marketplace that stretches through streets, alleys and neighborhoods. I was thrilled to find artisans selling their own wares (no "made in China") as well as the typical newer product and convenience items. There was an antiques section as well down by the park.

I was 59 years old and my roommate and classmate Helen was 81! She was no ordinary 81 - a retired neurologist, she spoke classic Latin, Greek and also Italian as well as her native French. She and I navigated the little streets to the train, then across town and the one block walk from the station to the school in the northern section of the city. Classes were fun - we were in a beginners class, but no English allowed! No "spanglish" either I might add! Our instructor, Abel Rey, had a fantastic dry sense of humor and everyone in our class, ages late teens to...81.....enjoyed our time there.

In that class, Helen made a comment that all should take to heart. When Abel asked her what she had done for vacation the prior year, she answered "climbed a mountain". He was astonished. "But isn't that dangerous?" he asked (in Spanish, translating here). To which she answered: "Better to die on a mountain than on a sofa!"

Our evenings were spent sometimes with the class and activities coordinator Mario, and other nights on our own or with our hostess Merche. We explored Plaza Mayor, a flamenco bar, some of the corner bars, and of course the shops between Puerto del Sol and Callao! The parks are wonderful as well - with gardens and lake (Jardin de Buon Retiree), the park with the Egyptian monument, and the lesser known event at Plaza del Cortes (the government offices center) where a large mechanical clock performs at 6 pm to the delight of all in the area!

Somewhere during that week, I made the breakthrough that I came for - I stopped translating and started speaking Spanish. No word-for-word construction anymore, just a flow of vocabulary to express what I wanted to say in the language. Vocabulary may have been simple, but that simple change made all the difference in moving forward in my studies.

As I headed to the airport for to go to my 2nd EF week in Malaga, the first light of dawn, the madrugada, was on the horizon. And young people were still milling around the nightclubs. Madrid is an all night city!

Malaga is a wonderful seaside town - though I will say that the program is more populated with those in their late teens and has a different dynamic. Classes were a little larger, but the staff ever helpful and the beaches and port a delight. My other half flew in for the week and we dined in the port in the evenings, watching the Spanish Navy, the large boats, the cruise ships, and the city lights as they flickered on - from the promenade to the Alcazaba road that led up the hill to Castel Gibralfaro.

How can this program be improved?

I loved the Madrid set up - felt a little out of synch in Malaga because everything was focused on the younger group (ok, I was well outnumbered). How could that be changed? Instructors need to appreciate what different generations can bring to the discussion and learning experience.

I'd also recommend a couples deal program to encourage both members of a couple to want to attend these programs.

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32 years old
Boston, MA
Elon University

Great Program in a Beautiful City!


The school in Malaga is very picturesque and in a wonderful location, within walking distance to the beach. The staff was friendly and helpful - they gave great advice on planning day trips to places like Grenada and Nerja for our days off. Our instructor always made class interesting and didn't simply teach straight from a book, but brought in useful daily life examples of how to improve our Spanish while in Malaga. The city was vibrant and we never ran out of fun things to do or delicious tapas and sangria to taste!

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32 years old
Boston, MA
Providence College

Intensive Spanish Language Course


I went to Malaga with some of my friends. We had a blast! The school is in a very safe neighborhood and the staff is super friendly. City is small and beautiful, right on the water. Didn't want to leave. Great market down the street for sandwiches and drinks. Beach is about 5 minute walk down the street. Everyone is very friendly. You will learn Spanish! Bring sunscreen, a smile, and an open mind and you'll be alright.

How can this program be improved?

I think the teachers could do more interactive activities. Class was long. But I was there for an intensive course so maybe that was it.

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24 years old
Conway, AR
Central Baptist College

Had a great time!


Everyday there was something to do and always people to do them with. I enjoyed watching the team in Spain making sure everyone had a friend. The teachers were very helpful and took the time to make sure I understood the lesson.

How can this program be improved?

Having the cooking area open year round.

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