Olé Languages has been teaching Spanish in Barcelona since 2005. In 2009 Olé Languages became the first low-cost Spanish school in Barcelona to get the prestigious Cervantes Institute accreditation, which is awarded to top quality Spanish language schools. In 2012 Olé Languages will welcome over 1600 students.
Both the high student numbers and the Cervantes accreditation are an impressive achievement for an independent Spanish school that opened just a few years ago in a city with many Spanish schools already. We talked to school director Javier Sanchez about the success of Olé Languages.
Why is Olé Languages a popular Barcelona Spanish school? Javier feels that many students choose Olé Languages in Barcelona because of the quality of the classes, which is an fundamental priority of the school. Since opening Olé Languages has worked to build a good reputation for quality based the concept of combining organised and efficient Spanish classes with low prices. This attracts many students who want intensive courses to learn as much Spanish as possible in a short period of time. As a testimonial to the school around 70% of Olé Languages students extend their Spanish course after the first period, and many come back to the school later to continue their studies. Many new students come via recommendations from old students.
What is the Cervantes Institute accreditation? The Cervantes accredition is an official stamp of quality for Olé Languages. What it means, is that the prestigious Spanish “Instituto Cervantes” has approved the quality level of the teaching and services offered at Olé Languages. The Instituto Cervantes is a non-profit organization created by the Spanish government in 1991. Its mission is to promote the teaching of Spanish and to contribute to the advancement of the culture of the Spanish speaking countries. Being accredited by Cervantes is probably the highest stamp of quality for a Spanish language school. Read more about Cervantes Institute accredited schools. Usually a Cervantes approved school has quite high prices, but Olé Languages is committed to keeping prices fair and low so Olé Languages is one of the lowest priced schools in Barcelona accredited by the Instituto Cervantes.
What types of Spanish courses do you offer in Barcelona? Olé Languages offers intensive Spanish courses in Barcelona for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners from 4 hours a week to our most intensive courses of 25 hours a week. The courses are from Monday to Friday in the mornings, afternoons or evenings throughout the whole year. You can see more about levels, times and prices on the Olé Languages website.
All the Spanish teachers at Ole Languages school are qualified and friendly!
Are your Spanish teachers qualified? All Olé Languages teachers all native Spanish speakers with a university degree, an BA or MA in Hispanic Studies (Filología Hispánica) and specialized in teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Olé Languages makes sure that our teachers have two or more years teaching experience, and most importantly that they are enthusiastic and passionate about their job. Javier feels that while the management is the head of the school, teachers are "el corazón" - the heart.
What is included in Olé Languages Spanish courses? Olé Languages prices include qualified teachers, air-conditioned classrooms & cafeteria, self-study software, access to DVDs and reading material for each level, internet café with 10 computers with internet access & wifi, free fax & photocopies, the first Spanish course book, an entry level test & certificate and a language exchange programme.
What are the teaching methods? The teaching methods at Olé Languages Spanish school is guided by the CEFR, the European Framwork of Reference for foreign language acquisition, and as mentioned above, approved by the Cervantes institute. Spanish classes are immersion based, which means that everything during a class is in Spanish. The books are completely in Spanish and the teachers only speak Spanish as a rule. This can be a challenge at first for beginners, but it has proved to be the best way in the long term and almost all schools in Spain teach immersion classes. For beginners it can take a few days to get used to, but it really only means a little extra effort in the beginning - and a good dictionary.
How much Spanish can one learn to speak in 4 weeks? You can learn a lot, but it is important to understand that learning a language is a lifelong process. In just a few weeks it is unrealistic to think that you will be speaking fluent Spanish. But nevertheless, with good teachers like ours, with good materials and a commitment from the student, then it is definitely possible to speak and understand an impressive amount of Spanish after just 4 to 8 weeks of intensive courses. Many students start with 4 weeks of intensive Spanish of 4 hours a day, and then extend to 8 weeks. If you come to class every day and study at home as well, then in 8 weeks you can really learn all the basic Spanish grammar and a large vocabulary of Spanish words, enabling you to have conversations.
Can anyone learn Spanish? Definately. Learning Spanish is not hard, but it is hard work. You have to be prepared to put in a personal effort and take it seriously. There are no short cuts. If you just want a few phrases, then a Spanish phrase book is all you need. If you want to learn a language for life, then come to Olé Languages. Learning a language can be a gateway to a new life, and a new culture and a new future sometimes so it is worth an effort.
Where is Olé Spanish School located? We are on Avenida Mistral, which is 10-12 minutes by foot to Plaza Catalunya and 2 metro stops on the red L1 from Plaza Catalunya, so the school location is central no matter where you live in Barcelona. Avenida Mistral is a picturesque, pedestrian avenue with many small shops, restaurants and little local cafes and bars with outdoor terrazas. It is in the neighbourhood of Sant Antoni in the left side of Eixample. Eixample is the most central district of Barcelona’s 10 districts, so the school is very well connected to public transport and there are plenty of city bike bicing stations. (Read about bicing here.)
Olé Languages school facilities. The Olé Languages school is functional, clean and tidy and hosued in a modern building. Perhaps it not the most charming school in the world, but being in a modern building means that everything works and that is important for a professional school. Olé Languages picked this location because it is very quiet, which is also very important for language school. The school has 8 modern and functional classrooms with room for a maximum of 8 students in each. On average the class size is 6, but in the summer many of the classes are full. We have found that 8 students is the best number for groups – not too big and not too small – like our school!
The free internet area at Ole Languages is very popular with students!
What cultural activities does Olé Languages school have? We think that looking forward to coming to classes is very important to the learning process. And that is partly achieved by making friends at the school. So we try and make sure that students get to know their classmates in their own class and in other classes through a casual weekly get-together. We also encourage students to discover Barcelona together. The internet has really now become the most useful tool for students coming to a new city and we have an internet café with free WiFi and ten PC’s for our students, so that they have internet access from day one. We can also help them with advice on where to find rooms and flats and where to find the best experiences in the city. We provide basic services like airport pick-up, language exchange and information about cultural activities in collaboration with a Barcelona event agency that offers daily cultural activities from guided tours through the historic city centre, to pub crawls, bike tours, flamenco and tapas nights, salsa courses as well as day and weekend excursions to nearby towns and places of interest. Do you arrange accommodation? Good accommodation plays an important part when going abroad to study foreign language., so we always make an effort to help make our students comfortable, safe and at home in Barcelona by offering different types accommodation which are flat shares with other students or staying with Spanish host families. The host families as well as the student flats are located in central areas close to the school. To ensure availability, we recommend that students book rooms in shared apartments in advance.
What kinds of students choose Olé Languages? Olé Languages has a great international mix of students. Many study with us are university students and young professionals from Europe, Russia, Brazil, the US, South Africa and Australia. In the summer we get a slightly younger mix with students in Barcelona for the summer to just to learn Spanish.
Over 1500 students a year come from all over the world to learn Spanish at Ole Languages!
What do the students say about Olé Languages? We asked some students to review Olé Languages school and tell us about their experience. Students speak highly of the teachers and praise them for being professional and passionate about their job. Many students mentioned the friendly atmosphere at the Olé Languages and how many new friends that they have made. And there was praise for the admin staff and teachers again for generally makes a big effort to help students in every way.