As seemingly enticing as destinations like Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona may be, there’s simply something about Salamanca that draws Spanish learners there in droves.
Perhaps it’s the city’s deep academic roots, the bewitching architecture, or the combination of both old and new which makes Salamanca the perfect place to spend some time learning Spanish. Regardless, to learn Spanish in Salamanca is to truly immerse yourself in a world where Spanish learning has been the norm for over a century.
Located in the autonomous region of Castile-and-León, about 130 miles from Madrid, Salamanca is home to one of the oldest universities in the world and is also one of the most popular places in Spain to learn Spanish—so much so, in fact, that this is one of Salamanca’s main tourist campaigns.
Opportunities abound for high school students, university students, business professionals, and really, anyone who just wants to learn Spanish. You'll find everything from high school and college study abroad programs to short-term language classes to courses offered directly by the Universidad de Salamanca,Photo credit: jl.cernadas.
Since Salamanca is such a popular destination to learn Spanish, prospective language learners have a large variety of programs to pursue. Some options include:
Spanish classes, diplomas, and study abroad at Universidad de Salamanca
Since 1929, Salamanca’s famous university has been offering Spanish classes for extranjeros (foreigners). Currently, there are many options to explore such as regular Spanish classes at all levels, study abroad semesters geared specifically for business students, preparatory classes for the DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language examination), and training courses for Spanish teachers.
Third party study abroad programs
AIFS, API, ISA, and James Madison University -- as well as other companies, organizations, and outside universities—have semester abroad programs specifically for university students.
Depending on which semester you want to study (fall, spring, or summer), it is likely you will be able to find a program that is offered during the specific time frame you are seeking.
Besides Spanish classes, students will have the opportunity to take courses in other areas of interest. Moreover, many programs incorporate field trips and additional support.
Private language schools
There are many language schools in Salamanca such as Enforex, CSA, Don Quixote, and Tia Tula. Class size, length, type, and cost vary per program and language school.
This is the best option for older Spanish learners who are no longer attending university, or students who only have a short period of time to study Spanish in Salamanca.
Home stay/language immersion programs
Companies like Greenheart Travel offer language immersion programs where you can live in a Spanish home for free in exchange for tutoring and English practice with your host family. Greenheart also has a homestay program where you can take Spanish language classes.
Because there are so many options for Spanish classes in Salamanca, the basic qualifications for each course and/or program type differ per language school, organization, and company. Some are designed specifically for high school students, others for current university students. Some schools are open to practically everyone.
Some programs require basic Spanish skills, and others are designed for beginning Spanish language learners. The good news, then, is there is probably a program available for you!
U.S. citizens who are planning on living, volunteering, or studying in Spain for a period of less than 90 days are not required to have a student visa. If, however, you are planning on staying in Spain for a longer period of time, you must obtain a student visa from either the Spanish Consulate or the Spanish Embassy.
Cultural Immersion/Extracurricular Activities
Many study abroad programs incorporate outside activities such as day trips to nearby cities like Toledo, Madrid, and Segovia, as well as longer trips around other parts of Spain; sometimes even trips outside of the country.
Also, some programs incorporate activities in and around Salamanca, providing students with an insider’s look at the city. Other programs are more bare-bones, however, only offering classes and no real outside activities.
Although Salamanca isn’t nearly as expensive a study abroad destination as the cities of Seville, Madrid, and Barcelona, costs can quickly add up if you don’t come prepared, make a budget, or spend wisely.
Since the euro is currently stronger than the U.S. dollar, your money will go faster than you would think—especially if you are withdrawing money from ATMs which charge fees anywhere from 2-4€ every time you take out money.
Before you study abroad, research the average living costs of life in Salamanca and make an anticipated budget so you know how much to bring beforehand. Most programs will have this information or even provide it to you. Also, ensure that you set aside savings in case of an emergency.
While you are studying in Salamanca, try to do as many free things as possible; go to museums during their off hours, and look into student discounts.
Instead of going out every night, try to go out only a few nights a week. Drink beforehand instead of buying exorbitantly overpriced drinks at the bar or discoteca. Travel within Spain instead of flying to different countries every weekend. Cook at home instead of eating out.