At Spark we are not believers that the only Spanish one should study is Castellano or Spanish from Spain instead we firmly believe the important thing is that a learner be able to communicate in Spanish, be that Argentinian Spanish, Mexican Spanish or universal Spanish of second language speakers. However being internationalists, doesn’t mean we don’t promote the merits of Spain as a great place to learn Spanish for other reasons, as we do, because we love Spain and we want to give others the chance to live and experience the passion of Spanish life and culture and of course language.
Spain’s climate speaks for itself and El Puerto de Santa Maria being in the south of spain in andalusia gets some of the best of Spain’s weather. Also Spain’s 3000kms of coastline and beaches speak for themself and if one is seeking to combine studying Spanish with enjoying some beach time obviously Spain and especially Andalusia is a great choice. If one is a lover of historical buildings and beautiful cities then again Spain is an excellent choice for someone considering studying Spanish with wonderful cities like Seville (1 hour 15 mins from El Puerto), Salamanca and Toledo, not to mention Gaudi’s delights of Barcelona definitely offering the travellor special visits. Cadiz, said to be the oldest city in Europe, on a narrow peninsula of land, at points only a km across, is also a delight in itself and being right opposite El Puerto de Santa Maria and only a 20 minute boat trip away is a joy of a day trip. Spark’s beloved city of El Puerto de Santa Maria is not without its own historical presence with its “cien palacios” (100 palaces) built on the wealth of the Spanish-American intercontinental “trade”, gothic catherdral, medieval church and countless Bodegas (wine cellars) which make it one of the three home’s of sherry wine with Jerez and Sanlucar and the birthplace of the famous Osborne black bull statues found throughout Spain.
In our mind however where Spain most stands out as a great place to learn Spanish is in its rich and especially lively culture. “No-one knows how to party like the Spaniards”, we guarantee is something you will hear many guiris (foreigners who live in Spain) say at one point or another. “Party” in this sentence doesnt just refer to nightlife, it refers to so much more than that. The saying goes, put two British people together and you get a queue and put two Spanish people together and you get a party and it is so true when “party” is said to mean lively social interaction. Meeting a Spanish friend for a coffee can turn into a boisterious affair, a religious celebration can fast become a party and eating out with Spaniards well that is an experience in itself which just has to be lived to realise how much fun and energy it can be. Perhaps the liveliest part of Spain, and your lonely planet and Rough Guide books will back this up, is Andalusia. The “Andaluzs” are well known in Spain for having a laidback (but not lazy) attitude to life and secondly for being lively, open and boisterious people. Portuenses, as the locals from El Puerto de Santa Maria are called, are in our mind excellent examples of what is great about Andalusian culture and certainly they are some of the liviest as El Puerto has always been a favoured coastal destination in Spain for domestic tourism hence giving the town that extra lively touch.