Posted in Europe on June 18, 2014
I recently completed a 4 week Spanish language course with Clic Cadiz IH, a private language school situated on the Spanish southern coast. This is my second time studying Spanish at a private language school (actually 3rd if you include a few private lessons in Bolivia) and is coupled with my experiences of learning Spanish online in recent months. So with all that in mind I figured I was in good position to a) provide an honest review of Clic Cadiz IH, and b) give that opinion bearing in mind all the other types and methods of learning the Spanish language I have amassed in recent months.
Quality of teaching
As a general rule of thumb the way private language schools teach and the (almost) complete immersion experience that they provide allows you to learn a foreign language much more quickly than you would at home. There are 3 main reasons (as far as I can see) why this happens:
A) You’re learning in a Spanish speaking country, i.e. you’re using what you’re learning in class each and everyday out and about.
B) If you pick a good school like Clic the classes are structured around the recognised European framework.
C) The classroom style activities allow you to practice with your classmates in a controlled learning environment (that you wouldn’t be able to do alone.)
Particularly pertaining to point C, I found that it was the classroom style activities with my classmates that helped to me to remember vocabulary much more quickly and feel much more confident about using the correct grammar tenses, e.g. knowing when to use the correct past tense in Spanish (because there is more than 1 in this language.)
Secondly, the social aspect of having classmates and being able to do after-class activities with them meant the whole experience was just much more fun than studying online, and that in itself will help you learn much better!
On top of this, as a general rule private language schools tend to have better teachers than say high schools, colleges or private hire teachers. They are specialists in their area and so they only hire the best teachers. Clic was no exception to this rule, and our teacher Blanca (along with all the other teachers that we met and interacted with) were all fantastic! Being part of the International House community of language schools in Spain also meant I was confident before my arrival that this would be the case anyway. You have to be a top quality school to become a part of the network.
Resources & Facilities
One thing I was particularly impressed with at Clic was the welcome/induction pack they give you when you arrive. The textbook alone is particularly comprehensive and includes an audio disc alongside it. Secondly, the little grammar tense wheel chart they include is a clever yet simple resource for each student that was also quite helpful. You’ll also receive a small notepad and pen as part of your induction, a student card and a list of local discounts from where you can use it. It was a lot more than what most language schools include in their welcome pack, although it is also worth bearing in mind that there is a €45 booking fee which essentially covers the price of all of these items, but in all honesty your textbook is probably worth the main brunt of that fee.
In terms of the resources and facilities within the school building itself, I would say Clic covers all bases when it comes to facilities despite the school being relatively small. The wifi connection was strong, you can print essential documents there, access a computer if you need to, and all of the general resources you would need in class are provided. The activities provided by the school after class were also particularly good and more often than not infused local Spanish and/or Andalusian culture with an evening experience.
Clic Cadiz IH is a DELE (Diplomas de Espanol como Lengua Extranjera) approved school, i.e. you can take and prepare for the official DELE exams here. The initial testing to gauge your level in the beginning was also quite comprehensive. Before you start a course with them you will do an online test followed by a Skype call (or a 5 minute talk on your arrival day) with a teacher at the school.
As I mentioned in a previous post briefly, Clic has an ideal location both in the fact that it is in Cadiz (an idyllic Spanish seaside town) but also the location within the town too. The school sits just outside the old town city walls. You are technically in the new town with all of the benefits that brings (the new town beach is much better), but you’re still just a couple minutes walk from the historic and beautiful old town too.
Secondly, Clic is around 3 to 5 minutes walk from both the main bus and train stations in Cadiz, there are many shops nearby, and most of the accommodation that Clic provides (should you choose to book your accommodation with them) is spread out in a 2 to 5 minute walking radius of the school!
Obviously this depends on what type of course you’re booking, but below is a price list for the most common types of courses at Clic Cadiz:
For further details and a full price list you can go to http://www.clic.es/en/dates-and-prices/spanish-in-cadiz.
– And a special thanks to study & work abroad expert Jeanette Kramer at http://studyworkabroad.ca for her excellent language school recommendation!