Testimonial with a CLIC
Going through some old archives and stories shared by our students over the years, I came across this wonderful testimony from one of our own.
“ It was around the time when I was doing fifth level of Español in Instituto Hispania, the idea of going to Spain crystallized in my mind. The idea I must say germinated much earlier and I kept looking fondly at the “Spanish in Spain” link on the Institute’s website, often very longingly. The classes we had and the stories we heard from our teachers of the distant land were very inviting. Finally after finishing 7th level (Diploma Superior), I along with one of my classmates decided to take the plunge.
We came to know from our teachers that Instituto Hispania has an education partner in Spain known as CLIC institute of language studies, one of the schools under International House. CLIC has 2 campuses in Spain, one in Seville and another in Cadiz.
Coming from the beach city of Chennai we were not as attracted to Cadiz which is another beach city and opted for Seville which holds a lot of cultural and historic importance in Spain. After a couple of mail exchanges from the very efficient administration of CLIC Seville ,we decided to take a 4 week super intensive course of 30 hours a week .Then more research and legal documentation help from Instituto Hispania helped us to apply for a Visa. I must admit it is not an easy process but having the much needed support from Instituto Hispania on the documents and being meticulous about arranging them, really helped.
Finally we got a 45 day student visa, much more than we expected- and we were literally jumping with Joy. There is no direct flight from Chennai to Seville and we have to go to Madrid or Barcelona and then go to Seville by road or air.
On April 21st we took the long flight to Madrid and could not really believe it when we landed there. We were truly living a dream. We spent 4 days in Madrid before moving to Seville where the course started on April 27th .We walked the streets of Madrid, saw the palaces, museums, parks, talked to people, found our way to many places using our Spanish skills. Initially we were hesitant to speak because there is a huge difference between learning conversational skills in a class room for 3 hours and actually getting on the street to talk to people who know nothing but Spanish. We were really out of our comfort zone and slowly we got out of the shyness and started speaking without hesitation. Of course there were and will be mistakes but if we think and worry about that we will never really get to speaking Spanish or putting it into any practical use.
We made a one day bus trip to the city of Segovia and the architectural marvels of the Roman aqueduct, cathedral and Alcazar were breathtaking. Being vegetarians our choice of food were limited but we did try different things which we could eat and of course that was also part of the experience .There certainly is no perfect way to travel. We have to learn to adapt to the cultural difference that is presented during the travel.
We moved to Seville where CLIC had arranged the accommodation for us with a Spanish host. A wonderful Española de Seville. Me and my friend had a room to ourselves and access to a clean bathroom, a very well equipped kitchen, a good Wi-Fi connection and a set of keys for both of us. The house was in the beautiful, old neighborhood of Triana and we had to cross the Puente de Isabel over River Guadalquivir to reach the school. With beautiful blooms of spring and kayakers and street musicians to watch as we go by to the class, the 25 minute walk across the bridge was one of the most enjoyable part of the day.
The school has modern classrooms, amazing native teachers and really high quality study material. The teachers only spoke in Spanish and even doubts were asked and cleared only in Spanish. This forced us to use the language freely and attain more fluency over a period .The level B2.1 book that we had were handled by 2 teachers and the post lunch session of intensive classes by another .While the 2 morning sessions focused on grammar, writing and comprehension , the evening sessions were more focused on conversation and were equally interesting.
I had classmates from different parts of the world- Germans, French, English, Americans, Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Swiss, Swedish, Scottish…and ranging from teenagers to people in their sixties and seventies. It was truly a multi-cultural, multi-racial class with no boundaries of age .And the exercises and interactions were so much fun owing to the cultural differences. Getting to know people and their cultures were exciting and at the same time eye opening.
CLIC organized a lot of cultural activities too. As part of it we went along with other students to cities like Lisbon in Portugal, Cordoba which is another beautiful city close to Seville. The guides on these trips were mostly our own teachers. We did make many trips on our own too .We explored Seville extensively during our free time and after class attended flamenco performances and even saw a UEFA football semi -final match. Of course we shopped too. Our teachers recommended some wonderful books which will be real assets to continue our learning.
The 4 weeks flew past and some students went and new one ones came every week .Finally on the last day we were given our course completion certificates and we bid our emotional good byes to the teachers who we had grown attached to.
On our way back we spent 4 days to see the beautiful Catalan city of Barcelona. Even though they primarily speak Catalan, other derivatives of Spanish is understood and widely used too.
We lived a dream and came back rich with experience, and with many new friends and having seen some of the most beautiful places in the world. The love for Spanish renewed and we will continue to pursue learning the language in depth. However, the visit was in a sense also a beautiful culmination to the journey that we started about 2 years ago when we sat in our dear teacher Marta’s class for the first class of First level in Chennai on a pleasant August morning.”
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Much love and peace, Arav.