Staff Member Spotlight: Margret Fortmann



Margret Fortmann is co-founder of Escuela Montalbán, Spanish language school. She is German and lives in Granada since 1985.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Wondering what’s at the end of the world? Hiking in Patagonia is one of my favorite destinations. Patagonia is a region of South America that includes the Southern parts of the neighboring countries Argentina and Chile. It contains a huge variety of indigenous flora and fauna, mountains and glacial lakes. Being located in the heart of the Andes Mountain Range, Patagonia is my perfect hiking destination.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

We are increasing our marketing efforts specially in social marketing and we are seeing results. I’m confident that our marketing efforts will be a success because I know that we are offering a high quality product at a good price and that we have a reputation of being a quality school that is owned and operated by its founders.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

The Escuela Montalban is the best language school in Granada, in my opinion. Why?

The classes are small, usually no more than six students. Also, the students come from a wide variety of different countries, so that in many cases the common language is Spanish. There are also a wide variety of ages at the school; I’ve been in Spanish classes with students from ages 18 to 70.

Even the beginning level is taught with complete immersion, which is the fastest and most effective way to learn a new language. Paco, who often teaches the beginning level, does a creative job of teaching with no English whatsoever. He is a wonderful professor, though, even if he is teaching a more advanced level. One week he was teaching the B2 intermediate/advanced level, and he had us read Lorca’s famous poem “Verde te quiero verde,” and drove the four of us in his class to the place where it is believed that Lorca was shot at the start of the Spanish Civil War, a location that also has a mass grave of other victims. What an unforgettable experience!

Maria is another professor for the beginning level, and she is the one in charge of instruction/curriculum; she has many years of experience. So even at the beginning level you have teachers who are highly-qualified and have years of experience!

Marisa, the professor for advanced grammar, knows how to explain complicated grammar to foreigners. If you want to prepare for a level of the DELE exam, she is very experienced. However, she also takes time to enjoy being with the diverse student population at the Escuela Montalban outside of regular class hours. Usually once or twice a month, usually on Monday evenings, she takes students on a Tapas crawl (in the evening/at night) to the local pubs, and she knows all the best places! These evenings usually turn out to be quite the international mix of conversations. I’ve learned so much about France, England, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Belgium, Iran, the Czech Republic, Greece, and California! She and her husband also own a churros cafe, so if you want to learn how churros are made, you might get to go to the churros cafe during class and get a demonstration in Spanish!

If you are a teacher (like me) and planning to take one- or two-week classes to refresh/renew your Spanish, the school offers excellent classes. You will learn new grammar even if you are a C2 level student, and will also get a chance to share with other teachers about how to best go about teaching grammar. My favorite cultural classes (these were taught by professor Jose Luis) were about politics (such as 15M and Podemos), current music for use in the classroom (such as Calle 13), and current films and film clips (directors such as Fernando Leon de Aranoa, David Trueba, etc.).

The school does an excellent job of organizing technical details like lodging. They are organized, 100% reliable and there is a 24-hour emergency number. The Jose that works in the office (and speaks EXCELLENT English) even helped my husband and I print our boarding passes, and I know he has helped others book train or bus tickets when they had difficulties.

The office will speak English (or German, or French, etc.) with you to ensure that the details are done right.

One of the wonderful things about Granada is that there are always cultural events taking place in addition to the tourist attractions like the Alhambra that are a must! I am a classical music fan, and the International Festival of Music and Dance happens every summer for over a month! There is also a summer foreign film festival downtown in June, and another in the Sacromonte in July, and there is lovely old-fashioned movie theater downtown (Cine Madrigal) that has a different high-quality film each week.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

Many of our students book our Spanish and culture courses, such us Spanish and Flamenco dancing or guitar lessons, Salsa and Tango workshops, Yoga, photo walks, cooking classes or horse riding, rock climbing and hiking tours.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

Nowadays! We offer high quality instruction in small classes with excellent teachers. We have a friendly and welcoming staff and offer an overall experience of classes plus accommodation plus activities.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

In our case the most important factor is that students feel at home at our school. The friendly atmosphere and personal touch of our courses as well as Granada's Andalusian charm will turn their language holidays into an unforgettable experience. The school building, characterized by its Andalusian style, its friendly classrooms, and its beautiful courtyard, retains much of the charm and intimacy of a family home.