Tapas, ham, wine, cobblestone streets, and a city that never sleeps, but still naps. If any of those things make your heart flutter—in the good way, of course— you should get yourself on a plane to Madrid ASAP. Although it wasn’t always the capital, it is today a hub for political activity and is the official residence of the king and Spanish parliament.
On top of all those things, Madrid is an awesome place to learn Spanish. There are millions of speakers to learn from! It also has one of the oldest universities in the world, boasting thousands of students. Plus, unlike in southern Spain where there are thick accents, or in the north where they have other dialects, Madrid’s accent is very clear. Go to Madrid and you’ll be gabbing away in no time!
Read through our handy guide to learning Spanish in Madrid and then explore the dozens of programs below. You're already well on your way to Madrid... and Spanish fluency!Photo credits: federicojorda.
Before deciding on a program, there are a few things you should take into account. First, what is your current level of Spanish and what are your goals? Some programs tailor to certain needs better than others. It’s best to have these things clear so that you can maximize the benefit. Second, how do you learn best? Are textbooks and grammar exercises what help you remember? Or does interacting with people make it stick? Lastly, what is your level of commitment, both financially and work wise? Intensive three month programs aren’t for everyone, nor is affording two years of classes abroad. Find your happy medium with regards to your situation.
- Language study and Culture Immersion Combination ProgramsThese programs offer small classes partnered with cultural activities to complement your Spanish learning. Many of the centers are set up in the city within walking distance of many popular attractions such as Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor, and Puerta del Sol. Flamenco shows, theatre or musical performances, and neighborhood walking tours are just a few of the many opportunities available. Many programs also set up group language exchanges where you can learn about the city from the natives. Most of these programs are geared towards college students.
- Homestay Programs: Homestay programs allow you to live with a Spanish family and become integrated into their lives. It’s an experience unlike any other. You are constantly exposed to native speakers, learning about their lives and culture, as well as eating food they prepare for you. You can improve your cultural awareness and talk to them about local problems. These are available through either study abroad or specialized homestay programs and are available for almost all age groups.
- Language Exchanges Language exchanges are hidden gems. Exchanges are organized all over the city and most of them are free of charge. You can practice your second language while giving help to those studying your first. You meet new people in your host city, make friends, and practice your language in a relaxed environment. There are no textbooks, tests, formal teachers, or classrooms. You will find people from all over and of all ages. It’s one of the most natural ways to learn and practice.
Why Learn Spanish in Madrid?
You will never be bored in Madrid with the extent of amazing things there are to do. You will have many different places to practice your Spanish, from the coffee shop on the corner, to in the streets with new friends. There are millions of people to learn from during everyday life, plus dozens more opportunities to do language exchanges.The people are friendly and helpful, so don’t let nervousness get in the way. If you never try, you’ll never know what you’re capable of! Now, grab your hat and sunscreen, go over to sunny Madrid, and dive headfirst into learning Spanish in this great city.
Let’s be honest, being a student typically goes hand in hand with not having money. And there is no shame in that!
Luckily, that’s not a problem in Madrid. There are everyday cheats to help you save money. For lunch, take advantage of the popular Menú del Día where you get appetizer, entrée, dessert, drink, and bread for 9-12 euros. Then, check out student discount cards to save you money around town. A popular one for students is Disfruta Madrid Más.
To earn a few extra euros, private lessons are the way to go. Parents are eager for their kids to improve in English conversation, so there will always be extra money to be made here.
To find classes, simply tell everyone you know that you’re looking. Then, don’t shut up about it. Seriously though, word of mouth is the best, and quickest, way to get clients.
- A popular scholarship comes from the Spanish Ministry of Education. It’s for those interested in improving their Spanish and assisting in English at the same time. It can last from one to two years.
- Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship is similar to that of the Ministry of Education. You teach English but can still take advantage of what Madrid has to offer in order to improve your Spanish.
- Almost all study abroad programs, such as ISA, CIEE, IES, and API, have scholarships exclusively for those studying with them. Once you decide on your program, check out the website or ask a representative about what options there are.
- If you are still worried about money, check out more tips for finding scholarships here.