Most people would visit Barcelona or Madrid when they go to Spain yet I had chosen to go to the Southern part, Andalucia, for spending a week in a Spanish School by the Mediterranean Sea. My major purpose of the trip was to learn as much Spanish as I could, and running away from the touristic spots and let yourself completely immerse in the Spanish-only environment wasn't a bad idea.
So I did my research online. Among 100+ schools online I found Agualivar Spanish School, and it immediately stood out from the rest - I could feel the heart in it. And, how could a school be as beautiful as Agualivar Spanish School like a heaven?
I got a chance to do what I had not done when I was at middle and high school - staying in a host family for learning a language (Home stay program). The school is right inside of this 4,000 sq ft mansion. I was so lucky to have Elizabeth as my tutor, who is professional and very experienced. She is also very patient in both trying to understand you and get you understand her in Spanish for beginner-students like me. Most importantly, she pays attention into details. She knows your level and progress and she will use her creative ways to strengthen your weak and new parts. She cares about your progress more than you do.
For the rest of the time outside of the classes, Spanish only. The host parents during meals, the news on TV, the songs on the radio as well as the cute toddler...they would only communicate with you in Spanish. You will soon get used to it and will realize how much you have improved after few days here, specifically your confidence in speaking in Spanish.
You could also choose to join the local tours provided by the school. We have visited Sevilla, Granada, Malaga, Frigiliana and Nerja together. I was surprised by their capability in explaining the history of the areas. I did not have a map nor a travel book with me. I just had my mind focusing on learning Spanish and they took care of the rest. While enjoying the beautiful scenes, the churros with chocolate, the tapas and the Mediterranean Sea, Elizabeth didn't forget to give me some little challenges by playing vocabulary games with me... haha, again, you will be surprised by how much you have learnt!
And the bonus part is the 5-star food and environment! they have their own farms and orchards, an outdoor swimming pool, a beautiful garden, dozens sets of Spanish DVDs in the comfortable TV room that you will never get bored! I love what they offer in meals! My favourite dis is definitely the home-made Paella! and the fresh salad, tortilla...every meal was a surprise because they seldom repeat it during your stay!
End up I couldn't tell whether I was here for study or holiday. Maybe that's exactly what they mean to let you feel. Even my Spanish friends have asked how did I find such a good school. I said, this is fate.