We would like to welcome Elena and her team at Spain2Speak with this first guest article where they explain to us a new tendency in language learning called “experience-based tourism”. – Jared
Learn Spanish Language: Spain and Tourism
Experience-based tourism is booming. Travellers want to live new experiences on their trips and, while some look for safaris or canyoning, others choose relaxing tourism, religious tourism, gastronomic tourism, or artistic and cultural tourism. Among the most innovative stand out disaster tourism, political tourism, sports tourism, or tourism especially focused on fashion lovers.
Curiously enough, the concept of ‘experience’ is not so well developed within language tourism. For the occasional traveler, practicing a language during the holidays –as well as having direct contact with the local culture and customs–is subordinated either to having an acquaintance at the place of destination, to strike up conversations with whoever happens to be willing to talk, or to take up lessons at a typical language academy –something that usually dashes the idea of ‘vacation’.
Therefore, let us highlight some initiatives in Spain that are working their way through the deep forest of international tourism seeking to provide language students and scholars not only with traditional learning but also with true ‘language experiences’.
Ideas to Learn Spanish in Spain While in Vacations
1. Companies like Spain2Speak, which offers covert Spanish language sessions in each Tourist Pack: a visit to a museum, a Spanish cooking workshop, a stroll in the Gothic quarter or a shopping evening, are suggested as perfect moments to learn Spanish language in Spain or even just improve your level. The interesting thing about this offer is that it’s designed for travelers who are just passing through, usually on holiday, so you can hire one-day tours, weekend packages or 7-day packs. Ideal for solo travelers and for families or friends eager to rush into speaking Spanish without that meaning that their holidays will be sacrificed.
2. Other interesting alternatives in Spain are the Ruta Ñ (The Ñ Route), which offers the possibility of getting to know the Spanish language and culture through a route around the lands of Don Quixote: crossing Castile-La Mancha and visiting different towns such as Almagro, La Solana or Villanueva de los Infantes, with an average two-day-long stay at each locality, following the steps of one of the best-known characters in international Literature, Don Quijote de la Mancha. Or like las Malas Lenguas [the Bad/Gossiping Tongues] in Madrid, which adds outdoor activities to each of its classroom sessions: shopping in a traditional market, going for walks around the Lavapiés quarter, or attending exhibitions. In both cases, these are Spanish language academies which have done their best to allow their students to complement the lessons taught in the classroom with ‘language experiences.’
3. Apart from these options, many traditional academies offer their enrolled students the chance to carry out activities and excursions. Good examples of it are Babylon idiomas, International House BCN or AilMadrid. Spanish and Cooking, Spanish and Sailing or Spanish and Voluntary Work are some of their proposals.
We consequently suggest a renewed version of the ‘language experience’ concept, this time focused on the occasional traveler: “language experience allows the travelers to improve their language mastery while getting to know the culture, the society or the tourist landmarks of their selected destination.” At the end of the day, if we travel seeking new experiences, connecting with a country’s language and culture – even if it is for a few days – can be quite a good one.
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