Hi! Today I want to tell you about my return to the face-to-face Spanish classes, of course, at AIL Madrid.
You know I’m in love with Madrid. So, when the deconfinement started, my enthusiasm grew for walking and enjoying the city again. But also, what I am enjoying most now, is having returned to my face-to-face Spanish classes, so I will tell you a little bit about my experience studying in the New Normal! I hope my story helps you and encourages you to return to the classroom.
Over the past few weeks, AIL Madrid has been preparing to reopen its face-to-face classes in a safe, hygienic and confident environment. And really, I can assure you that this is how I feel being back in the classrooms of AIL. Special measures have been implemented, and it’s really impressive to see how all of us who come to the school are diligently complying with them.
During the confinement, I took classes in the virtual classroom with AIL. This was a great help during quarantine and the teachers were committed to giving us dynamic and fun classes. The resources used in the virtual classroom were super interactive. This meant that the online classes felt as immersive as the face-to-face classes. I couldn’t be prouder to have taken this decision, since it was the best way to make the most of the confinement, without losing my drive to become fluent in Spanish.
The proposal to return to the classroom…
Finally, the Spanish government gave the green light for Spain to come out of confinement and we started to return to public spaces and the school announced the return to face-to-face classes. At the beginning, when the proposal was first put forward about returning to the classrooms, I was a little hesitant. I didn’t know what I was going to return to. Spending so much time in confinement made me question how I would get along back in a group. However, the school surprised me a lot. I can assure you that I feel very safe in the school. Without a doubt, the team has been trained to protect us. I couldn’t be more grateful to all of them.
My return to the face-to-face classes:
The first day I returned to the school, I applied hydro-alcoholic gel to disinfect my hands as soon as I crossed the door. The gel is available on reception, along with a large number of posters reminding you of the measures that need to be followed: social distancing, hand washing, wearing a mask (update: based on the new regulations, the use of masks is mandatory inside and outside the classrooms), etc. Then, I approached the reception and stopped at a safe distance, as I looked at the tape on the floor telling me where to stand. Then they took my temperature, and when they checked that I was okay, they told me which room was my classroom. Some of this is reflected in this video:
Even on arriving at the school, the setup was very different: there were fewer tables and chairs than normal, and those that remained were separated by the required safety distance. Also, I noticed that on the teacher’s table, there was hand gel to use in the class.
By the way, during breaks, and also before and after each class, I saw different people from the school team entering classrooms, bathrooms, and snack areas, with gloves on their hands and special cleaning products – they disinfect doors and social areas after being touched on a regular basis! The commitment to safety measures is incredible.
Without a doubt, the best thing about coming back was seeing my classmates in person again. Although we can’t hug, the warmth of sharing a space together is a huge advantage. Being able to practice a language through conversation is something I really enjoy. I think it’s the way sticks in my head the best. Somehow, when I speak, I feel that I naturalize and incorporate the new language. Although in the virtual classes the conversations also existed, I think that the “face to face” communication gives a more real and fluid feeling to take advantage of when conversing. In addition, human contact, while respecting the required distances, is something I missed a lot.
Furthermore, I am amazed at everyone’s attitude. Both among my colleagues and with the AIL team, a great family has been formed in which we take care of each other at all times. We are all very aware of the measures that need to be taken: for example, when we go on break, we put on our masks even if it is just to go and buy a coffee or relax on one of the sofas in the break area, and we remind each other to wash our hands!
The face-to-face classes are stimulating and safe:
If I haven’t convinced you yet, I invite you to meet my partner Mark from London, who has returned with me to the face-to-face classes and tells you what they mean to him… Our opinions are practically the same! In this short interview, Mark summarizes very well everything I’m telling you about my return. I’m glad to know that we share the same opinion.
In conclusion, what I want is to be able to give you the peace of mind you need to return to the classroom. If you are thinking of studying Spanish in Madrid, but you still weren’t sure about returning to the classroom, I hope I have convinced you to do so. At AIL you will be protected, you will always have someone from the team to count on, and the group philosophy of care is evident at all times. Personally, being here is one of the most valuable experiences of my life. Not only for learning the language, but for what it means to be immersed in a new culture, in a stimulating environment and meeting interesting people.
So, come on! You won’t regret it.