Up to now, the idea of my first day at school has always evoked rather negative associations: the holidays are over; you are surrounded by many unknown classmates and teachers and, as a result, you sometimes feel a little bit lonesome.
However, my first day at the Spanish school Costa de Valencia was quite different and has changed my opinion on first days of school in general.
When I began my Spanish course at this school 3 weeks ago, I soon realized that I was in good hands and that you cannot feel lonely here at all. At Costa de Valencia, one immediately gets to know many nice people and in the friendly atmosphere of this school, it is not difficult to make friends. Already before the placement test, which was written at the beginning of my first day of school, I got into contact with many nice people. The classification test itself also went quite well. According to the results of the test, I was assigned to the class which corresponded exactly to my level of Spanish.
Because my first lesson began in the afternoon, I took a guided tour, which is offered by the school every Monday, after the test. This was a good opportunity to get to know the city centre of Valencia and the most important places of interest. For example, we visited the bullfight arena, the central market and the historical city centre. But I think the most impressive building was the imposing cathedral of Valencia. Some of us climbed the 202 steps of the steeple and had a fantastic view of the town. There, I noticed how huge Valencia is. Usually, with its comfortable atmosphere, this town does not give the impression of being a gigantic metropolis.
After the guided tour, my first lesson began in the afternoon, which has also surprised me positively. In my course there were three other students so that the contents could be conveyed much better than in my Spanish class in Germany, where there are 29 other pupils. My teacher was also absolutely nice and open-minded so that, in no time, a personal relationship developed between her and us students. This way, it was actually fun to learn properly!
In the evening, a welcome paella party took place. Here, I got to know the other language students whom I had not met yet. While eating the tasty paella, we began to talk with each other. When I came back to my room in one of the school flats that evening, I finally realized that my panic concerning the first day of school in Spain had been groundless. At Costa de Valencia a lot is simply better than expected!
Jana E., 05/2010
Because I did want to learn Spanish, I went to Spain to do a Spanish course in the Spanish school Costa de Valencia. Soon I realized that not only my Spanish lessons were excellent to learn how to speak Spanish, but I also come to see how useful all the activities that Costa de Valencia offered to us were. During my free time I practiced my language skills and I could learn to speak Spanish fluently in a daily life situation.
For me it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered that I could join the salsa lessons in Valencia, because I have always been interesting in this exotic dance. I had the pleasure to participate in all the parties that almost all Wednesday nights took place in Tucán club. In this club everybody lost all sense of shame and even the most monkey one went to the dance floor to enjoy these Latin rhythms, which also represent a great aspect of the Spanish culture. After all, salsa has been a source of inspiration for people of all over the world during decades and I could not find a better occasion to learn these Latin rhythms than the Spanish night life, where you can see how people breathe this music.
These salsa lessons were the perfect way to have fun, while we were also learning many things about the Spanish culture and its language. To learn how to speak Spanish was not so difficult for me in such a good environment. In moments like these, without caring much about it, your Spanish comes out automatically when you try to speak with someone else. I think that it was so easy for all my friends from my Spanish course and me to learn to speak Spanish, because we all were from different countries and our only way to communicate with each other was this language. And if you really want to learn Spanish, it is not such a big deal.
Although, we were sometimes out until late, we did not have any problem to follow the lessons the next morning. With Costa de Valencia it is always fun to learn to speak Spanish and all the Spanish classes are very interesting. Everything is so well organized that you can never get bored and it is impossible to fall asleep in any of the lessons.
The people from Costa de Valencia teach you not only how to speak Spanish, but how to enjoy this language and its culture. I highly recommend these Spanish classes if you really want to learn Spanish and enjoy the marvellous city of Valencia.
Thorsten S., 03/2010
During this spring, I have been 3 weeks in Valencia doing a Spanish language program with Costa de Valencia. While I was in Spain, this Spanish academy has given me the opportunity to participate in many activities and to enjoy different excursions, where the other students and I could practice our language skills and learn many interesting things about Valencia and the Spanish culture.
But the best day for me was, without any doubt, when we were in the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (The City of Arts and Sciences). This small city inside the city of Valencia left every of us impressed when we gazed at the buildings from the outside. The organization and distribution of the different buildings provided us with an incredible view that can only be compared with a science fiction film scenario.
The Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias consisted of 6 different buildings: the extravagant building of the opera called Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofía; the Hemisférico, which is a 3D Imax cinema with planetarium and laserium, its design is an eye that can be opened and closed; the Umbracle, which is a huge structure that encloses a greenbelt of vegetation, from which you can perfectly appreciate a beautiful panoramic of the CAC; the interesting Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe; the Oceanográfico, which is definitively the biggest aquarium in Europe; and the Ágora building, where 500 tennis tournaments of the ATP are going to take place during the next years, among many other events.
During my stay in Spain with Costa de Valencia I could visit the inside of the Hemisférico, all my friends of my Spanish class and more others that were doing a Spanish language program enjoyed the time we spent there accompanied with one of the guiding teachers. We watched a film about the ocean, but before the film started we were given some headphones and we could select in which language we wanted to watch the film. This one was showed in the vault curved wall of the inside of the building, in this way, the spectators were totally immersed in the film universe and it managed to convey a much more real experience.
In our next trip, my friends from my Spanish class and I visited the Museo de las Ciencias, which was amazing just with having a look to the entry hall. It was really odd how it was build, because there was no right angle in the whole building and the entry columns made shapes of 45º angles, which produced a weird sense of vertigo and imbalance.
In the museum we found many explanations about natural laws with descriptive demonstrations. In each floor was explained a specific science field and all was accompanied with many interactive activities, which were so funny that we could not stop making the same little experiments time after time.
But what I liked the most about this city was the Oceanográfico. I had not seen until that very moment an aquarium so well organized and big. And I was not the only one that thought that, because all my classmates from my Spanish classes in Valencia were also amazed. The different habitats were organized according to the continents and the natural areas of the earth. On the upper floor we saw see animals, such as seals and walrus, and many different types of birds. On the lower floor there were underwater animals, like whales and morays, among others.
The park was also subdivided into 10 other areas:
In the sea areas we could appreciate the Mediterranean habitats, the Polar areas from the Artic and Antarctic, the tropical seas, the Island worlds and the warm water areas like the one from the Red Sea. On the other hand, there were also a dolphinarium and a wide variety of plants which were part of the park green zones. The innumerable birds’ species were placed in some of these green zones and so they could enjoy the sun light of Valencia during the day.
These enjoyable excursions were very well organized by Costa de Valencia, where all my friends and I were taking part in a Spanish language program. Thanks to these Spanish classes together with all the activities promoted by this academy, my Spanish proficiency has improved a lot, while at the same time, I was having a great time in Valencia.
Sandra L., 05/2010
During my time in Valencia I have enjoyed the varied entertainment possibilities of this town very much. Nevertheless, I must say that an excursion which led me out of the city was one of the best experiences of my language holidays in Valencia. We went by bicycle to one of the quietest and nicest nature beaches of the whole east coast of Spain.
The aim of this excursion was not only to reach the wonderful, quiet beach, but the journey was its own reward. The environs of Valencia offer cyclists unique views of the scenery with pine woods, fields and lakes. Besides, we had many opportunities to improve our Spanish knowledge in several conversations with other students during the bicycle tour and during the picnic break. This way we could improve our Spanish without being aware of it.
I liked these conversations with the students from other nations very much. Spanish was often the only language that everybody spoke more or less. This way we had to overcome our shyness in speaking Spanish and became better and better.
Arriving at the beach of El Saler, many of us were speechless, because the sight of the apparently untouched dune scenery is extremely impressive and is one of the nicest places in Spain.
This excursion as well as many others during my stay in Valencia, which were also organized by the Spanish school Costa de Valencia, have contributed to the fact that my language holidays were a complete success. People who would like to get many varied impressions of Valencia and its environs beside their Spanish course are in good hands with this Spanish school.
Anne-Pauline T. 06/2010
When I was this spring with my school class at Costa de Valencia, we had done many different excursions and activities by which we could get to know the city of Valencia, its environment and the Spanish culture. What I liked the most was the Gymkhana evening that our Spanish school in Valencia “Costa de Valencia” had organised for us.
During this competition, my class was split into 5 different groups and each of the groups had to find different places in the centre of Valencia in order to solve the different tasks. First, the people from the school described a certain place to us. Then we had to find it and afterwards we were assigned different tasks that we could only solve by asking several passers-by and noting down their answers. For example, we had to discover which ingredients a paella contains or which heraldic animal Valencia has. During the talks with the passers-by we had to overcome our shyness and speak Spanish because no one spoke English to us. It surprised me very much that we could really talk with them and that we found the answers without any language problems. This language success is also the reason why I liked this evening so much, it was one of the best activities during my whole language stay in Valencia. On the one hand, we could use our Spanish language knowledge, which we had acquired during our stay in Valencia doing the intensive Spanish course. On the other hand, we developed a linguistic sense of achievement that has given us more self-confidence during the following days.
In general, the whole Gymkhana evening worked very well without any problem. The language school had organised everything perfectly, so that the evening became all in all a big success.
I strongly recommend a stay at the language school in Valencia and also for school trips Costa de Valencia is the perfect partner.
Maximilian S., 06/2010
A day in Xativa
This is my 3rd week in Valencia. I’m attending a Spanish crash course here and besides I’m joining lots of extracurricular activities to get to know the Spanish culture better.
Last Saturday the language school organized a trip to Xativa. As I didn’t know a lot about this place, I decided to join it. It really looked beautiful, an old town with a medieval atmosphere.
We started on Saturday and the sun was already shining hot. We went by train and it took us less than an hour to get to Xativa. Once we had arrived, we went up to the old castle and as we’ve managed the steep incline we enjoyed the spectacular scenery of the town.
As the people I was travelling with came from many different countries, we were mainly talking in Spanish.
After a short break we went to the old town. Due to its many historical buildings it is under a preservation order. It was brilliant, because with all the narrow lanes and ancient buildings it felt like going back in time, back to the Middle Ages. I wish, I could have stayed there a bit longer, but unfortunately it was time to go back to Valencia. I used the last couple of minutes to take some pictures of the castle and the city during sunset.
Well, I can only recommend this trip to all of you, especially when you’re interested in the Spanish culture and want to practice the language.
Felix L, 06/2010
Volleyballmatch at the beach
On Thursday a small volleyballmatch for the students of the language school Costa de Valencia took place at the beach of Valencia. As I’m new here, this was a good opportunity to get to know other students of the school.
The girls started of the match slowly, the boys, however, were full of energy and did their best from start on. Although all players fought for every single score to win the game, the top priority that day was fun.
Thinking back at my sport lessons in school and all the things our teachers tried to teach us, they would have desperately left the game if they had seen our techniques and cheatings.
As I said before, this wasn’t about perfection and elegance, but to have a good time together and to practice Spanish.
As it got later the people at the beach went home and Valencia turned into a sea of lights. Even as it was already too dark to see the ball, the match went on. Finally a bath in the sea was an appreciated and well-deserved refreshment. Some of us went to a bar afterwards to have a drink and to enjoy each other’s company.
Anika S., 07/2010
Fiesta de Picasent
For all the people among us that love partying, Costa de Valencia organized a trip to the “Fiesta de Picasent” . This is a smaller and non-violent type of the famous and popular bull-runnings in Spain.
In a converted store room we had breakfast start with. It consisted of baguette with ham and cheese, as well as beer and sangria. Even some music has been arranged. Then we went to the actual event. which you have to picture it like this:
Some of the streets and house entrances are cordoned off with bars and small tribunes are set up. The bars are big enough for people to slip through it quickly and easily. Alongside the streets are improvised clubs in which the people are dancing and partying from early in the morning until late at night.
The actual highlight, however, are the bulls. A starting shot signalizes the people that the animals – in this case 3 – are let in to the street and are wandering at large. From now on everyone is supposed to be careful. It is still possible to walk around at the streets, but if a bull is coming around the corner you should better take to your heels and flee behind the bars. However, the party atmosphere and alcohol pushes up the people and makes them careless. It happened more than once that a wanna-be-torero could escape the bull’s horns only just, but only because the bulls slipped on the asphalt. After 2 hours another shot signalizes the end of this spectacle and while the bulls are fetched again, the party on the streets is going on. This whole thing will be repeated two more times.
I have to admit that this was a special and different experience, but in the end everyone has to make up his own mind about this part of the Spanish culture.
By the way, isn’t it a good topic to discuss in your Spanish classes?
Anika S., 07/2010
Last Friday it was finally time for my first sailing course. We, so 7 students from a Spanish language school and me, met at half past 6 pm at the harbour of Valencia.
When I saw the sailing boats, I was surprised about the size, as I didn’t expect them to be that big. Then the group was divided into 2 groups, so 4 people for one boat. As all provisions have been made, we went on board and sat down. We were given a short introduction by our sailing teacher. Now we were finally ready to start and clapped on the main sail. Beside the main sail there is another one which we didn’t use that day, because the wind was too strong, so it would have been a risk of security.It didn’t take us long to leave the harbour behind us and we were sailing high seas.
From now on we were given the starboard. Our sailing teacher told us different possibilities how to use the wind most efficiently. It was so much fun. Due to the strong wind the waves were quite high and we got wet, especially those like me who were sitting in the front of the boat. After 2 hours the funny trip was already over and we entered harbour. We got back and luckily no one fell into the water.
Finally I was on firm ground again, but everything was still swaying.
All in all we all enjoyed this trip and would like to recommend this amazing experience to all of you.
Gloria H. 07/2010
Always mobile with Valenbisi. The bikes are situated everywhere in the city, at the beach and even at the universities around the corner of my house and they are waiting for sportingly or lazy people like me. I walk out of my door, cross the street and whip out my bus- or metro ticket (tarjeta mobilis). As soon as I’ve entered the PIN-Code, I can choose a free bike at the screen of the terminal.
The first 30 minutes are for free and smart people just take another bike afterwards….the others have to pay.
When having finished my trip through Valencia I watch out for one of the almost 300 open-air stations that are spread throughout the city and park my bike there. The 3,000 bicycles of Valenbisi are handy, cheap and always close by.
Besides you can also get a ticket for one week which is perfect for a short holiday.
Hanne T, 09/2010
As a consequence of a growing globalization, Spanish language gains in importance and popularity. Every year there are more and more Spanish language students and the offers of language courses are increasing. That’s why I decided to learn Spanish 3 years ago. At the beginning, it was only one further skill to add to my curriculum vitae, which should improve my chances in the labour market. But pretty soon it became more, it became a passion: I started to watch Spanish films and to listen to Spanish music, I met Spanish-speaking people to improve my Spanish language skills, etc…..
After 3 years of classes, I had never obtained a certificate to confirm my Spanish language knowledge, and therefore I decided to do the exam for the DELE certificate C1 this year. Three times a year, one has the possibility to take the DELE exam of different levels: in May, August and November. One has to register for the exam approximately one month before the date of the exam on the Internet, for example on the web page of the Instituto Cervantes, or, like in my case, on the web page of the Spanish language school Costa de Valencia.
There, I took a DELE preparation course for 3 weeks, which was specially designed for the DELE exam C1 and its contents. In a class of only 4 students we solved examples of exercises of all the parts of the exam, among other things (reading and listening comprehension, writing, speaking). Furthermore, there was carried out a simulation of an entire exam to prepare us perfectly for the exam on the 24th of August.
But yet in the afternoon of the 23rd of August, the exam became reality: it was the date of the oral test. At the beginning, I was really nervous, but my nervousness disappeared immediately as I began to talk with the examiners. So the first step was already taken, but the majority of the exam still had to be done. The next day, 24th of August, I was already in the examination centre at 8 o’ clock in the morning, because it was necessary to be there one hour before the exam; often, more than 100 Spanish language students per examination centre want to take the DELE exam and so there are a lot of documents to be checked and instructions to be given to the participants.
After the beginning of the exam, the most important thing is: concentration! Those who think that the DELE exam is easy are mistaken. The Instituto Cervantes expects a lot from the Spanish language students and those who pass the exam and obtain the internationally recognized DELE certificate can be proud of themselves. The DELE certificate always will be a great help when applying for a job or a place at university.
Alex G, 08/2012
A foreign country, a foreign culture, far away from my family. But if I hadn’t ventured this step, I would have never known so many new things.
Valencia is a beautiful city situated on Spain’s east coast where the sun is shining almost every day.
Directly after arriving in Valencia, one already notes the great atmosphere of Valencia and the helpfulness of its people.
Of course it takes some time to get used to the tropical temperatures, especially in summer, if you come from a rainy Germany.
At first sight, Valencia’s traffic and public transport system seems to be very confusing, but in the course of time one gets used to it and can explore every corner of the city.
One of the first things to visit in Valencia are the old town, the market and the cathedral with its bell tower; from up there, one can see the whole city. One should always carry the camera to capture the fantastic places and moments in Valencia.
As a refreshment in the sunshine, one should take one of the typical drinks of the Valencian Community: a Horchata. Besides, it is always possible to find a good and cheap place to eat all over the city at any time.
In the evening one can enjoy the beautiful sunset taking a walk on the beach.
Valencia is chaotic but great city which cannot be compared with Central European, colourless cities.
But apart from Valencia’s famous sights there is another thing to experience: its social life.
In no other city I have ever known so many different people, seen so many different faces and heard so many different languages.
Unfortunately, to a language trip belongs more than just amusement, but in Valencia it’s more than easy to combine learning with free-time activities: during the lunch break one can go to the beach, learn Spanish and sunbathe at the same time.
Valencia, I’ll come back!
Kinga S, 08/2012
During my stay at Costa de Valencia, the big festival Las Fallas took place. This festival which is not just celebrated by the city of Valencia but by the whole Comunidad Valenciana, is a mix of visual, culinary and acoustic experiences that cannot be compared with other festivals of their kind.
Las Fallas take place from the 1st of March until the 19th of March, but the most important days are the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th. But the so called Mascletá yet begins at the 1st of March. The Mascletá is a firework in which firecrackers are used only to create an acoustical and melodic sound. This firework occurs every day at 14 pm at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. In the nights there are also fireworks that are called Castillo. These two events show the pyrotechnical and brilliant performance of the Valencianos.
One of the most amazing elements of Las Fallas are the statues built with papier-mâché and other material, which shell portray events from the past or present and are sometimes as high as buildings. Theses figures are called La Falla and thus give the festival its name. They’re financed by Falla-clubs, groups or companies and produced over the period of time of one year. From the 12th until the 17th of March, about 400 of these figures are erected in the whole city. You cannot imagine how much work these statues needed to look like they do after their erection.
After the erection of the Fallas, the most beautiful ones get an award. It is recommendable to visit the figures at night, because there are not so many people like during the day.
On the 19th of March, the day of Saint Joseph, all of the statues are burned accompanied by a big firework. This burning is called La Cremá and is especially amazing in the little alleys and places of the old town, because at these places it is very difficult to burn the figures safely.
You really shouldn’t miss La Cremá on the 19th at 1 am at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, because this event is like the final show of Las Fallas. This final show includes a big and long-time firework with firecrackers and a lot more you can imagine as a firework and after that the big Falla at this place is burned.
Personally, I have to say that it is too bad that all of the beautiful and well-built figures are just burned. Of course, there is an explanation for that: With the burning, the old and bad things from the previous year shell pass away and leave space for new good things.
Besides all the firecrackers and fireworks, the festival also has a religious meaning. The groups, that also finance the Fallas, carry flower-presents to the Plaza de la Virgen to apply these to a statue of the Virgin Mary that measures about 20 meters. These so called Falleras wear dresses and costumes that are produced in a lavish and costly way.
The culinary elements of the festival contain paella competitions and, of course, the stands of Churros, which you can really find at each corner of the city. Obviously, you have to taste both of them because they’re very delicious.
It isn’t possible to don’t party during the Fallas. Of course, there is a different way to celebrate during this event; you just don’t go to a club like on normal weekends. You enjoy places outside and listen and dance to music. Alcoholic drinks are available everywhere and are very cheap. All of these parties take place until the next morning.
Like you can see, there are many different things you can experience during Las Fallas. This festival really is spectacular and unique and very recommendable. Every age group will enjoy it and find things there’re interested in and it is just fun to participate. In my case, this is not the last time I went to Las Fallas. So we’ll see us at the Fallas 2014!!
Kristin W., 04/2013