Slipping back into student life in Salamanca

Trip Start May 04, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Calle de San Patricio, Salamanca, Espaņa - Anna Blanco's student residence apartments

Flag of Spain  , Castile-León,
Monday, June 21, 2010

Salamanca was the first stop of my 5 and a half week stay in Espaņa where I took a 2 week crash course in Espaņol.

I came to the beautiful university city of Salamanca on the advice of my Spanish penpal, Sara, who explained that her home town is renouned for it's inhabitants speaking the purest form of Spanish, as well as boasting the most magnificent Plaza Mayor (central square) in Spain. She was right on both counts, although, upon being dropped off by a taxi at the wrong place on arrival and subsequently struggling with my landlady on the telephone with neither of us speaking each others' languages, my first thoughts were, "Oh god, what have I got myself into here!" Then, even more so the next day turning up for classes at Berceo Academy for them to say, "We have a problem with you,..we have no absolute beginner classes" 

Still, after a little bit of a shaky start, I settled into the student residence well and was fast tracked with one-on-one Spanish tutition. I found myself slipping back into the student lifestyle freakishly easy - classes from 9-2, lunch from 2:30 to 4, siesta til 6 followed by dinner and drinks til late. And all without the pressure of any final exams!

The student residence was the best thing I could have done - I was able to meet and hang out with some great people from across the world...America, England, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Hungary who had all come to Salamanca to study Spanish. While we were all split up between different apartments, we ate lunch and dinner together in Anna's flat where failure to speak in Spanish saw some people slapped across the back of the head! I developed a keen sense for listening in Anna's presence!

Aside from the Spanish language experience, Salamanca was the most special place out of my time in Spain for meeting Sara, a Spanish girl who I pen-befriended as a 13 year old. Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, where Sara tracked me down after some years hiatus in writing, we met for the first time face to face in Salamanca in a very bizarre fashion running into each other in the street outside her parents' house before our scheduled meeting time. It went something like, "Sara...?", "Amy...?"....hug, kiss, kiss. A wonderful memory and end to a great story!

In spite of having exams, Sara came back for both weekends while I was in Salamanca introducing me to all her friends there, taking me out to her family's country house with her parents and lending her boyfriend as tour guide for the city. Salamanca really was a different place with a local friends :-)
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amyblundell on

Hi Courtney

I was very surprised to read that damning review of Berceo! My experience was a very positive and personal one with great teachers that allowed me to pick up a lot of Spanish in just 2 weeks. Yes, the staff was small and the school itself didn't have the most up to date facilities (although they were in the process of updating the computers and internet connection while I was there), but I did not witness any of the anti-American sentiment referred to in that review and I took classes with some American students. Given those comments were posted back in 2007, it could be the case that that particular teacher has moved on.

On another positive note, the staff at Berceo also arranged a really great homestay for me in Salamanca (with a Senora called Anna), which I would thoroughly recommend since it allows you to meet many students from other schools and practice your Spanish with the landlord.

I guess each persons' experience is different, so my advice would be to communicate your expectations/objectives clearly with the staff and if you are not happy with the service you are receiving you can always change schools if it comes to that.

Good luck and enjoy Salamanca - it is a gorgeous place!


Courtney on

Thanks for getting back to me! That really did calm my worries about the school. I am not naive enough to think that there won't be any anti-American feelings outside of the States, BUT that girl just made it sound vicious. Anyway, I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed your time and I certainly plan on doing the same

Thanks again!

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