We have just welcomed a new school into our network: Escuela Mediterráneo will now hold the TANDEM Barcelona seal, representing us in this important city in Spain.
Like all TANDEM schools, they have gone through a strict and exhaustive admission process in which they have demonstrated, in addition to the quality of their services, their commitment to the values of the TANDEM Network.
We have interviewed the school directors, Rocío Vilaró and Emilia Molero, who tell us a little more about this experience from their personal point of view, as well as sharing with us some impressions of their city.
1. The Escuela Mediterráneo has more than twenty years of experience teaching languages in Barcelona. What is the difference between this school and other Spanish schools in the city?
The Escuela Mediterráneo was founded by two teachers specialized in learning Spanish for foreigners. This helped to shape the center’s team and methodology. The choice of each member of our student and teacher support team was made in accordance with the founding principles: to create an environment favorable to a pleasant, motivating learning experience that encompasses more than just linguistic aspects.
We believe that any educational program must be based on these principles in order to encourage each student to achieve their personal learning goals while enjoying their stay at the school.
2. The team is the soul of any language center. What is the hallmark of the teachers of the Mediterranean School?
As mentioned before, at the Mediterranean School all our team shares the same philosophy based on achieving that people (students and team members) contribute to create a climate of trust and communication, important for learning and for the personal relationship.
In addition, most of our teachers have been involved with the center for many years and therefore have many hours of experience and training.
Our student and teacher support team works to make students feel comfortable and satisfied with their work in the classroom and, in fact, this is evident in the student assessment questionnaires.
3. How are the Spanish classes at Escuela Mediterráneo? Do they focus on grammar and vocabulary or do they adapt to real-life situations?
Our methodology proposes to the student significant activities or tasks extracted from the daily reality and, from these, the student learns vocabulary, grammatical and sociocultural aspects necessary for the implementation of the proposed task. In this way, everything learned in the classroom has a purpose and a function. Our methodology is focused on the student learning using the language in collaboration with their peers and learning from them. Being immersed in the culture they have the possibility of training outside the classroom what they are learning inside it. In this way we get the students involved in the tasks or activities to be carried out.
4. Barcelona is, together with Granada, one of the favorite destinations for Erasmus students. What makes Barcelona so attractive to them?
Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city, European and Mediterranean at the same time; it combines the most avant-garde in art, fashion, urbanism with a multitude of vestiges of Roman, medieval, modernist Barcelona and a fascinating street life.
Barcelona responds to all the demands of those who visit it, from the most playful to the most cultural.
Students find here the beauty of a city with neighborhoods with strong personality, which still maintain the structure and traces of a relevant past.
Another aspect we love about Barcelona is the social diversity and respect for difference, which you can live in the daily life of all the neighborhoods. In Barcelona we have lived for a long time people coming from all over Spain and from all over the world. People who came to stay and people who came to visit and decided to stay.
5. Why is Barcelona a great destination to learn Spanish?
In Catalonia there are two official languages, Catalan and Spanish, which are spoken indistinctly.
Barcelona, as a cosmopolitan city, is used to receiving people from all over the world and welcoming them. The people of Barcelona give priority to communicating with people in the language that is most comfortable for them and help them in their process of learning Spanish.
6. What recommendations would you have to anyone who wants to study Spanish in Barcelona?
The first thing we would recommend is to look for shared accommodation with other Spanish speakers, families or students. This type of accommodation allows you to practice your Spanish at home as well as being a cheaper option in a city where, like all big cities, housing is not very affordable.
In addition, Barcelona has a network of food markets and other products in each of the neighborhoods and small local businesses, with quality products, where you can practice your Spanish while learning about Barcelona’s life and customs.
The Spanish schools offer a variety of affordable accommodation not far from the center of studies, so that students can invest as little time as possible in traveling. In the case of the Escuela Mediterráneo, this aspect is very interesting because we are in one of the most emblematic areas of the city, Las Ramblas, therefore the student will live close to the school and the cultural and leisure center.
7. What places in Barcelona should we not miss in the city and why?
Some of the places that we have chosen are not always mentioned in the tourist guides they’re still of plenty cultural interest or playful and charming.
Of course we must mention Gaudí’s buildings (La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, La Casa Batlló) which are a must for anyone who wants to visit our city.
In addition we recommend:
A visit to the places that were the scene of events of the Middle Ages, such as the Jewish or the Gothic quarter, of special interest for its antiquity and history.
For visitors who want to enjoy reading travel and adventure books and let their imagination run wild, we recommend the Altaïr bookshop located a few steps away from Plaza Catalunya, mentioned in all the guides of Barcelona for constituting a wide and welcoming cultural space that invites you to sit down to enjoy readings that transport us to other worlds.
We could also highlight the 22@arroba district, which is an urban renewal project and a new city model that aims to provide a solution to the new challenges of the information society. A place where old factories have been transformed into avant-garde housing and where many artists from the city and beyond have settled.Finally, for people who want to enjoy a panoramic view of the city, in addition to Tibidabo and Montjuic, there is the old bunker located in the Carmel neighborhood, which offers a view of the city that is very appropriate for watching the sunset.
8. What motivated you to join TANDEM international?
The philosophy of the part of the TANDEM network is very close to our own.
The Escuela Mediterráneo shares with TANDEM International a methodology that focuses on people: we take care of the student at every moment of their learning process and we also share the idea that learning a language goes beyond learning grammar.
The illusion that students from different cultures interact with each other and talk about their countries, their customs, their friends and families finding similarities and differences, always with the aim of learning from each other, is another point of the TANDEM philosophy that the Escuela Mediterráneo shares in its totality.