Crystal is a student from the United States. She currently lives in Michigan and is a freelance graphic designer. She came to Valencia for a 12 week program, taking an Intensive Spanish language course and staying with a host family. She combines her studies with working remotely as a graphic designer.
Why did you decide to learn Spanish?
I speak only English and I am 25 years old and I feel kind of handicapped, so I though it is high time to start learning another language. Spanish is very popular in the US and I have lots of friends who speak Spanish. A lot of people in the US are interested in coming to Europe to follow their ancestry. I come from an American family but wanted to investigate this further and a DNA test indicated that 30 percent of my roots are a mix of Spanish and Portuguese. Apart from that, I love dancing bachata and salsa and I love Spanish music, so this was a natural choice for me.
Why did you choose to come to Valencia?
I have always lived in landlocked cities. I wanted to go to a beach city as well as one of the main Spanish cities and thus I chose Valencia. I looked for Spanish programs and I found the website of EUROACE to be very comprehensive and complete, I really liked it as it gave all the information I was looking for, I did not need to make any additional calls or fill in additional forms, it had information about programs, location and prices all in one.
You chose to stay with a host family. Could you tell us a bit more about this experience?
I am very happy with my choice. This is very good for my Spanish listening skills, as I get to hear Spanish as it is spoken in real life. I am staying with a family with 2 kids of 4 and 6 years old, I like playing with the kids and practicing my Spanish with them. I don’t feel embarrassed if I make mistakes and I learn a lot from them. The apartment where I am staying is very well positioned and I don’t have the feeling that I am intruding in the the life of the family; I feel very welcome. My host mother cooks all meals for me. She cooks delicious food, mostly traditional Valencian cuisine, like paella and different kinds of cold and warm soups including home-made gazpacho. It is great that no one speaks English in the family so I can concentrate on expressing myself in Spanish.
What do you like most about Valencia? What is the best and the most diffucult part about your stay here?
Valencia is a very safe city. What I like the most are the many friends that I have made in the school, in the Euroace activities, and the locals I meet in the Spanish- English language exchange events organized by the school. Every day my circle of friends gets bigger.
The most difficult – well, as I am I am a very communicative person, I like talking a lot and it is difficult at times that I cannot say all I want to say in Spanish.
What kind of Euroace activities did you participate in so far? What was your favourite?
I really liked the flamenco show, I never experienced this before. I also liked the cooking class where we learned how to cook paella, a local dessert, gazpacho, as well as Sangria all in one evening class. I just love cooking. I also enjoyed the wine tasting excursion in the town of Utiel, about an hour outside of Valencia. It was cool to see the different landscapes there and the change of weather as it was a bit colder, even though it wasn’t too far from Valencia.
Would you give any advice to students planning to study abroad in Spain?
I would tell them to come to Euroace, to study a bit of Spanish before, not to wait to begin only once in Spain, to have a brief look into Spanish history in order to understand the architecture and surroundings where they would live better. Also, if possible, to gradually increase the hours of Spanish classes they wish to study.
Can you see improvements in your Spanish, now that you are half way through your program?
Absolutely, I have learned a lot. I knew just basic Spanish when I came, now I can express myself and really speak in Spanish, I see a lot of progress in my grammar skills too.
Would you recommend Euroace?
I definitely would, for the quality of teaching and the patient teachers, the content of the classes – the information never repeats, even if some new students start a bit after the beginning of the course. I would recommend it also because of the friendly Euroace team that helped me choose the right program for me, including all sort of questions and advice after I came to Valencia. The prices are very affordable, it is good value for money. I love the combination of a language school and a co-working office, it was perfect for me so I could work quietly in the co-working space and then when it was time for classes, I just went into the classrooms.
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