Friday, 5 June 2009

Student Feedback: Nerja

I always love hearing student feedback. It's easy to get bogged down in the day to day trivia of running CESA. It's good to be reminded of the pleasure that a great language course in a wonderful location can bring!

Here are the views of a student who attended a two week Spanish course in Nerja, aimed specifically at the Over 50s. This is a growing market - and it's nice to see that you don't have to be 17yrs old to want to work on your language skills! Actually there are Student Reports galore, featuring the views of students who have attended language courses with us (so if Spanish isn't your thing, take a look at the French, German, Japanese reports instead).


Spanish course in Nerja

"On the first day, the applicants for the Over 50s course met each other in the school garden – the new ones feeling a little awkward, the more experienced ones (who had obviously been through similar experiences before) looking more relaxed.

One by one, we were called in for the level test and finally found each other split up into two groups: one for beginners and one for a slightly more advanced students. I ended up in the latter group, together with a Finnish lady who, delighted, could not stop talking about the many similarities there are between her language and Spanish, and three Germans with a great eagerness to learn.

Our teacher, Francisco, seemed to have identified our strengths and our weaknesses very quickly and was not put out of countenance, although at the same time he treated his ‘flock’ in a very sensitive way. Three hours a day, we had to concentrate – something which was not all that easy at the beginning. But as we now know that the little grey cells regenerate, we do not really mind anymore. For two hours – interrupted by a short coffee/refreshment break in the garden/cafeteria, it was about grammar (the compulsory exercise); in the third hour, it was the turn of the free exercise: we brought newspaper articles to class, which often even led to heated discussions.

Honestly, the two weeks just flew by – also because the afternoon activities were, without exception, extremely interesting: whether a flamenco seminar, a visit to Nerja’s impressive stalactite caves, wine-tasting (by Paco, who turned out to be a real expert in the matter), a seminar about bull-fighting, a visit to one of Andalusia's most beautiful white-washed villages, Frigiliana, or the cooking class, in which Daniel, the teacher of the 50+ beginner course, gave the job of professional paella cook a try for the first time in his life ... and, according to the public’s unanimous opinion, performed this job quite charmingly and almost to perfection. Speaking of Daniel, he and teacher Laura were also the ‘tour guides’ in charge of the trip on Saturday, which this time was to Seville (other Saturday's they take you to Malaga or Granada).

Conclusion: Nerja is worth more than one trip.

The unanimous opinion of us ‘advanced’, as well as that of the ‘beginners’, was excellent – with special mention to the teachers, who were both professional and very relaxed. Next time, maybe we will plan another two-week Over 50 course and combine it with a ‘cultural holiday’ for further language study, because this whole region is so worth seeing, hearing and tasting, that one should definitely devote more time to Andalusia."

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