Madrid is magic. A wonderful and sprawling melting pot of cosmopolitan influences, conservative Spanish traditions, outlandishly trendy neighbourhoods, high art and international business, Madrid is exciting and limitless.
For Spanish language students seeking a thrilling city destination, it is a sure choice. In case you are finding it hard to pick the right Spanish language course in Madrid, We has put together a Top 5 guide of the city’s best private language schools and university Spanish courses.
1. AIL Madrid
AIL Madrid offers a good range of high standard courses and many little extras. This school also makes up for all the course dates and after-class activities that are lost on Spanish bank holidays, which is highly unusual and means that you’ll get both quality and time in exchange for your money.
The school has modern facilities and services, which include WiFi, touch screen computers, a Self Study Centre, plus a 24-hour emergency telephone number and a Student Care Team to look after you during your stay. You can choose a course to suit you from over 20 different language programmes. All lessons are held in small groups of maximum 8 students and taught by trained and degree-qualified native Spanish teachers. Ten education organisations, like for instance the Cervantes Institute, have awarded their official accreditation to AIL Madrid.
There is also an impressive range of over 60 different cultural and extra-curricular activities, which are run on a rota, allowing students to choose cultural pursuits like sightseeing, lessons on history, art and customs, social events like trips to restaurants or tapas bars, and special interest classes like flamenco or even belly dancing. The activities are considered a part of the school’s language programme, so most are free and you’ll mostly only have to pay for entrance tickets, transport or food if those are required as part of the event.
The school is located in a beautiful old central Madrid neighbourhood, which is home to many upmarket hotels, boutiques and restaurants, and provides a charming and elegant backdrop for your stay in Madrid.
2. Babylon Idiomas Madrid
Babylon Idiomas Madrid has dedicated, enthusiastic teaching staff, and a superb location only a few blocks from the Puerta del Sol.
With free WiFi, a student dining area, audio-visual facilities, air-con in the summer, heating in the winter, and a book and DVD library, Babylon Madrid offers all the mod cons to students. The classes restrict attendance to 8 students, so you can expect highly focused tuition and plenty of opportunities to ask questions.
Part of Babylon Idiomas’ course program is their busy activity agenda, with events like the weekly “Happy Miércoles” where s tudents and teachers go out for tapas, learn salsa or flamenco dancing, take part in wine tasting evenings or go out to bars and clubs. There is also a weekly Spanish cinema afternoon every Thursday.
Babylon Madrid enjoys a perfect location on Plaza Santa Ana, which is at walking distance from the Prado Museum, shopping, bars and pubs, tapas, the Gran Via and is extremely accessible by public transport. The school’s situation enables you to soak in central Madrid life on a daily basis.
3. Complutense University of Madrid
The Complutense U niversity of Madrid has been running since 1499 and enjoys international fame and an historic reputation. It is also Spain’s largest university with over 100,000 students. Complutense is a good name to put on your CV, as well as a great place to mix with thousands of native Spanish students.
The Philology and Humanities faculty has been organising Spanish language courses for foreign students for over 15 years. The classes are more like lectures, and with 20 students per group they can sometimes feel a little impersonal. But the university offers all foreign students a University card, which gives access to the entire grounds. The Complutense has acres and acres of green parkland, a university library and big sports grounds including a swimming pool.
With the student card, you’ll also enjoy many discounts at Madrid’s main attractions, although the Complutense University does not organise much in the way of cultural activities or social events for students so you’ll have to be self-reliant in this aspect.
4. Estudio Sampere
The Sampere chain of schools has almost half a century of experience in organising Spanish language courses for foreign students. Madrid Sampere has developed its own teaching system and employs competent, degree-qualified teachers. Its premises include a library, a common area where students can study or socialise, and importantly, internet access.
Sampere is officially accredited by the Cervantes Institute – this is the highest quality approval that a private language school can receive from the Spanish government. If you want an official certificate that proves your level of Spanish, you can also take a DELE preparation course and examinations at Sampere Madrid.
The school organises welcome parties for all new students, so you’ll get an immediate opportunity to meet the teachers, staff and existing students upon arrival. Additionally, there is a full program of different extra-curricular activities, like tours of Madrid, day trips to nearby places of interest, parties and Flamenco dancing. Many of the cultural and after-class activities are included in the course fee, which is a bonus for those looking to have fun on a budget.
5. Nebrija University
If it’s high quality tuition and facilities you’re after, Madrid’s Nebrija University offers both. The teachers at this learning institution are famed for their dedication and enthusiasm and the courses are well thought out. Where university Spanish classes can often feel crowded and impersonal because of class size, at Nebrija many have noted that teachers pay a lot of individual attention to their students, even if the classes can hold up to 16 people.
Also unusually for a public university, Nebrija organises free-time activities for foreign students. These include social events like going out for tapas, to the cinema or to concerts, as well as cultural tours to museums and sightseeing in Madrid, and sports and dance classes. The activities are not free, however, and generally speaking courses at Nebrija are a little more expensive than other Spanish public universities. But you do get great quality for your money, as well as access to all of the university’s facilities, like sports grounds and the library.