Julie and I are taking four weeks of intensive Spanish class during our stay in Madrid.

Our class location Our class location

We chose AIL Madrid after quite a bit of research revealed good student reviews plus some bonuses that we found potentially valuable. We are technically in an intensive class, not an immersion class, because we are only spending four hours per day (M-F) in class. Immersion would have an extra two hours.

Chris' class Chris’ class

We each took online placement exams about a month ago. I’m in the A2 class while Julie is in A1, with both of us joining about halfway through our respective textbooks. They have a lot of classes in flight at the same time, and I think if Julie hadn’t done any preparation she would be in an A1 class starting right at chapter 1.

Our instructors are top notch, and we both appreciate how we have separate teachers for the first half of each day vs the second half. My teacher Carlos is young, knows all the street slang, yet is working on his PhD in linguistics so is deeply familiar with language theory. My teacher Ana is closer to my age and is very demanding (in a supportive way) about speaking as much Spanish in class as possible.

Every night of the work week they have excursion options: tapas, a party, an architecture walking tour, and so on. We’ve done one so far but will try to do at least three or four more before we finish.

After one week we are both seeing significant improvement. I took a lot of Spanish in high school and college and have a decent amount of memory for conjugations, irregular verbs, and some of the idiomatic nuances. But I never had enough conversational experience in school, and my vocabulary is weak. I’m glad we will have two more months to continue practicing in Spain after our class concludes.