Here’s why we recommend this program to learn Spanish in Valencia

It’s widely acknowledged that children’s brains have the upper hand over grown-ups’ when it comes to learning a foreign language, but it wasn’t until my teenage daughter spent half term on an intensive Spanish course in Valencia, Spain, that I saw how enriching it would be for her – in so many ways.  

I’ve always loved, studied, and worked with languages myself, and was delighted when I started to see the same spark in my youngest daughter, Anna, who takes Spanish classes at school.

I wouldn’t say that nurturing her interest in learning Spanish has been easy; there seems to be diminishing investment in schools’ modern foreign languages programmes, with school exchanges and language study trips somewhere between thin on the ground and non-existent. So, we wanted to see what was available outside of school to inspire her and explored where she could learn Spanish in Valencia.

Guest post by Lucy and Anna Shrimpton.

learn Spanish in valencia
Study Spanish in beautiful Valencia

Knowing what a significant influence learning a new language and overseas language stays had on me as a teen, my hunch was that immersion in situ in Spain could be the best option for her Spanish GCSE preparation, for learning about Spanish culture, for her general confidence, and a heightened sense of adventure.   

We looked at several Spanish schools in Valencia but following a recommendation, I approached Blue Stamp Travel, a company offering many options for learning Spanish. Because Anna was 15, I decided to travel with her, so we booked our flights and our accommodation ourselves, with Blue Stamp just sorting out the language learning side of things for us.

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Learn Spanish in Valencia
Beautiful Valencia. Photo credit VisitValencia

Blue Stamp Travel

Talking to Steve and Vicky at Blue Stamp Travel was hugely reassuring: from the moment you make contact with them, they’re the two things you need them to be: expert and accessible, with everything they do showing that they understand this is probably one of the very first things your teen is going to do independently.

A series of straightforward organisational steps facilitates the process; a quick online language test to gauge the student’s language skills level, plus a few forms, all managed in a personal account area on their website.

Anna’s course was what Blue Stamp call their ‘Intensive Language Course’ meaning our days in Valencia followed what quickly became a familiar pattern.

Learn Spanish in Valencia
Photo credit VisitValencia

Anna attended Spanish language school every morning from Monday to Friday, completing a total of 18 hours of lessons over the week in a mixed-age group of international students.

The school is like a tourist attraction in itself, ultra-modern facilities in a restored Gothic palace in the heart of Valencia’s old town.

All communication in school is in Spanish and the teachers are native speakers. Lessons are interactive, covering listening, role-playing, reading, and writing activities – all designed to be fun and to embed some confidence and language love. 

During the afternoons Anna and I had a great time exploring Valencia, the local culture and Spanish life together.

For part of the evening each day, Anna had the option of signing up to non-classroom fun activities organised by the school. As she made friends from the first day she was keen to do them all!

Activities differ week to week, but Anna’s included a paella party, a guided tour of Valencia, a fitness class, yoga, and tapas night, most of which were included in the (very reasonable!) cost you pay to Blue Stamp Travel. 

Depending on the student’s age and level etc, Blue Stamp Travel also arranges other options to learn Spanish in Valencia including the ‘Summer Camp’ language stays (Anna seems keen to do this one next year, and will go without me this time), or more intensive A-Level revision programmes, with small groups of students all aged 16 to 18, staying either in the school’s student residence or with a Spanish host family. 

Having seen the level of confidence, skill and pure fun Anna gained in just a few days, I’d say the sky’s the limit with where language learning can take you, and I’d absolutely recommend this experience for all teens showing a little curiosity. I’m sure that Anna won’t forget her time in Spain in a hurry, and I’m also sure that half term holidays will never match up again!

Learn Spanish in Valencia
Photo credit VisitValencia

¡Qué experiencia!

Anna’s verdict on her week learning Spanish in Valencia

Was I super nervous about language school in Valencia? YES. Was it one of the best weeks of my life? YES! Sometimes, getting outside of your comfort zone is one of the hardest things to do, but it always pays off; my confidence has definitely improved.

At first I thought it was a bit scary that all communication was going to be in Spanish but I soon realised that this was the point – you’re not supposed to be able to understand everything! There was no pressure, and everyone was there to help you.

I learnt loads and I made new friends with people from different nationalities; sometimes we spoke in English and sometimes in Spanish. Spanish feels more like a hobby than a lesson – and I like it because it feels like my own skill – no one else in my family can do it! I practise Duolingo every day to keep my vocabulary going and it’s so nice to keep in contact with the friends I made in Valencia.

Learn Spanish in Valencia
Photo credit VisitValencia

Things to do in Valencia with Teens

What’s the best way to use your newly acquired Spanish skills? By getting out and using them! Valencia is packed full of fun things to do. Here, Anna shares the activities she loves best.

1. Hire some wheels from Valencia Bikes and cycle through the traffic-free Jardi del Turia gardens (right next to the hire shop) full of fountains, orange trees, and bridges. You can cycle all the way to Ciudad Artes y Ciencias (‘City of Arts and Science’).

It’s an impressive new cultural landmark that looks a bit like Sydney Opera House and it’s got museums and the Oceanogràfic aquarium inside. 

2. Take a 20-minute tram or bus from Valencia’s old town to the beach at El Cabanyal. It’s a vast sandy beach with a palmtree-lined walkway and there’s something for everyone whether you’re after a splash in the Mediterranean, skateboarding, or tapas at a beach bar. It’s the ideal place to reach by public transport if you are looking for a break from the city centre.

3. Visit Valencia’s Mercado Central (the central market), a historic building piled high with typical Spanish market food. Buy different foods from local producers to make your own tapas night and try ‘horchata’ (a milky drink made from tiger nut) with a ‘farton’ pastry – both local specialities.  

learn Spanish in valencia
Photo credit VisitValencia

4. Valencia’s food and tapas are unmatched. The old town has a couple of big squares where there are lots of places to eat or drink on café terraces (such as Plaza de la Virgen) or walk through the narrow lanes to find hidden ones.

We liked the locals’ bar de tapas in Carrer de Guillem del Rei but don’t come early – the best atmosphere is later in the evening, when the Spanish like to eat!

5. Football fanatics can take a tour around one of the oldest stadiums in the history of Spanish football, the Mestalla stadium. Home to Valencia’s team, it is situated within walking distance of the old town.

6. Browse Valencia’s generous array of shops in the old town. You can find vintage shops and independent stores, plus there’s a whole avenue of familiar ones such as Zara, Mango, and of course Spanish department store El Corte Inglés.  

7. Valencia is known for its street art, the streets full of works by local and international artists wherever you look.  Get your camera out to snap pictures of your favourites, especially in the El Carmen district. 

Learn Spanish in valencia
Photo credit VisitValencia

What you need to know

Getting there

We flew from London Stansted to Valencia with Ryanair but there are many other services from the UK to Valencia. It’s very easy to get to Valencia old town from the airport; just take the Metro line 3 or 5 taking around 25 mins. 

Getting around

You may not need anything other than your feet as Valencia old town is pretty neat and navigable! Alternatively, you can buy either a Valencia Tourist Card or a book of 10 SUMA tickets for inexpensive metro, tram and bus hops around the city.

Where to stay in Valencia

Blue Stamp Travel can talk you through their accommodation options that include student residence or staying with a Spanish family. Or, you can book your own accommodation independently. We booked our own accommodation, staying at Mon Suites Catedral apartments in the lovely narrow streets of Valencia old town, just 5 minutes’ walk from the language school in the heart of the city.

For more ideas on where to stay, take a look at the map below which details holiday rental options as well as hotels.

Blue Stamp Travel

Blue Stamp Travel run Spanish language courses in a handful of cities as well as the option to study in Valencia. For more details, take a look at their website.

About The Author

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