No entiendo! Spanish Course in Sevilla

Last week I enrolled myself into two weeks of Spanish language school and Flamenco dance lessons.  I have to say I absolutely hated the first 3 days of language classes. From the moment I stepped into the college everything was spoken in Spanish. I kind of knew that the classes would be taught in Spanish however I assumed the beginners class would be pretty basic, not so! After registering my name I was asked to go to a certain room where five or six people were sitting down completing a form. I sat down and started reading the form but I couldn’t make head or tail of it. I wrote in my name where it seemed obvious to do so and tried translating the rest of the form with my electronic translator. After a few minutes I realised this form was actually a language test to assess my skills so that I could be placed in the most appropriate class. I put my translator away and proceded to put question marks next to most of the questions on the form. Next I worked out that I needed to take my form to another room where my language skills would be further assessed via a conversation in Spanish, bah! The conversation went something like this . . . .

Señora Español: ¿Cómo estás?
Me: muy bien, ¿y tú?
Señora Español: bien, something in Spanish. Something in Spanish. Something in Spanish
Me: No entiendo (I’d reached my limit already!)

. . . . and then I was ushered off to the so-called beginners Spanish class. When I arrived there were already 5 students in the classroom and a teacher who was chatting away to them in Spanish. This is the beginner’s class? I asked myself. It felt like every 100 words or so I would hear something I recognised such as; mañana (tomorrow), muy bien (very good), tambien (also/as well), etc. The concentration required was intense. That day my class was only 2 ½ hours long but by the time it was finished I was absolutely exhausted and just wanted to go home and have a siesta. When I woke up the next morning I didn’t want to go back to class, it was just so hard and quite stressful. I know that sounds crazy . . . being stressed in Spain  . . . while doing something many people dream of – learning another language. But that’s just how it was for the first few days. I guess it was a total culture shock and I’m sooo not used to not knowing what’s going on around me . . . my work colleges will attest to that :). The Flamenco dance classes however have been quite enjoyable. I go on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. These classes are also in Spanish but it’s not such a problem because I can just follow along with the instructor.

During the week I’ve been staying in the center of Seville with a Spanish family so on Friday afternoon Jon came and picked me up and we went back to our village of Sanlucar.  My father in-law Cyril flew in from London on Thursday and will be staying with us for 2 weeks. On Saturday morning Jon, Cyril, cousin Salvador and I drove to the coastal town of Nerja for the weekend to visit cousin Anna-Maria, Aunty Anna and Uncle Eusabio. The weather in Nerja was delightful (not as hot as Seville).  Quaint little tapas bars and a strong sense of community characterise the town. Everyone knows everyone in Nerja and they just pull up a seat and join you for the night. When our tapas bar closed at 1am our group (which had grown from 4 to 11 people) decided to continue on at another bar called Triana. At Triana there was live flamenco music and a really diverse age group, which was great to see. The bar was full of men and women clapping and singing out the lyrics to each song with intense emotion and boasting their best flamenco dance moves. The vibe of this place is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Even Jon surprised me with his enthusiasm for the music and willingness to get up on the dance floor. At 3am some of us (aka: me) ran out of steam so we headed back to our cousins house for the night.

This week I’m staying in the central Seville again for a second week of Spanish lessons. I hope to explore every corner of  Seville city on foot and with some luck work out how to hire one of the city bicycles.

Bueno, have a question about our live in Spain? Just ask!

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Hasta luego x

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12 Comments on “No entiendo! Spanish Course in Sevilla

  1. Hola roughseasinthmed y gracias por sus comentarios. I’ve watched a bit of TV for the purpose of improving my language skills and it is good as far as hearing new words, but I’m not able to determine their meaning from hearing alone so I make notes and look up the words later. My Spanish verb drill MP3 audios have been a godsend and have enabled me to start stinging small sentences together (but I often feel like I’ll never be able to have a proper conversation in Spanish). A houseguest we have at present said this morning that he was living in Japan and trying to learn Japanese but even after 6 months he felt like he was just never going to get it. Then at 9-months he said it all started to click and he started speaking Japanese fairly well. I love hearing little stories like this. I’ve only been here 6 weeks so I just need to be patient and enjoy the ride : )

  2. Hola, hola!! Enjoyed that post. would have hated to have been in that position though. I used tapes to learn Spanish when we came on holiday and when we moved, the best rapid fire learning method was a) television – especially soaps (seriously), and b) our Spanish speaking neighbours. I’m sure you will learn loads from the family.

    I’ve got some posts somewhere about speaking Spanish, I’ll try and look them up and post the links.

  3. Hola Di, yes when I think about it, it is getting easier. The things I found a bit scary last week like ordering a drink or talking to a shop assistant are no longer a big deal. Often when I’m paying a shop assistant will say something and I have no idea what they said but I just make an assumption and either say ‘si’ or ‘no’. At times they will also start speaking to me in English but I don’t really like that. I need to start saying “en espanol por favor”.

  4. Hi Dani

    sounds like you’re really immersing yourself in the Spanish way of life.. Great. How are you finding getting around commmunicating with the locals for shopping,cafes and the day to day stuff. is it getting esier?
    Cheers Di x

  5. Hi Dani and Jon
    How long did the trip up the coast from Seville to Nerja take?
    Want to try and make it there when over on one of my rare trips to Spain, pay my respects at the cemetery …

  6. Thanks Steve, I do need lots of encouragement right now. Much more enjoyable to learn Spanish by having a cerveza with the cousins than it is to sit in a class room. I’ve been told to not be in too much of a hurry to learn Spanish and to just have a siesta each day. That said I’m off for mine. Look forward to seeing you in a few weeks x

  7. Hey Petar! Great to hear from you! I’m hanging in there by a thread, I’ve just come back from class now actually. I don’t know if this classroom stuff is the best way for me to learn. I seem to get more out of having a cafe con leche with the relatives and learning new words via Google translate and my Spanish verb drills on MP3. I’ll say hi to Jon and see if he’s ready for his next post. He may need some ideas on what to write so if you have any suggestions let’s hear them : )

  8. Good onya Dani for giving it a go with something outside your comfort zone.
    Great to see Cyril looking well. I’m sure Jon’s happy he’s arrived, as anything that needed fixing around the house will now get done properly!
    Please say hi to him for us.
    We are enjoying reading the adventures, I especially liked Jon’s writing on “Faith” always knew he was a closet George Michael fan.

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