Hi, my name is Bill, I’m from England, and just over a month ago I began an intensive online Spanish courses at AIL Madrid. I could have travelled to Madrid or Malaga to study at one of AIL’s schools, as COVID-19 protocols in England and Spain allow for students to travel abroad to learn Spanish. However, I’d read some great reviews about AIL Madrid’s online classes and decided that online classes would suit me really well just for now, especially as they’re delivered live face-to-face in a virtual classroom. The thing that tipped the balance for me was when I attended a couple of the online after class activities at AIL Madrid. These are open to anyone to attend on Wednesdays and Fridays but reserved exclusively for AIL Madrid/Malaga students on Tuesdays.
I’ve got to say that I was hugely impressed by the AIL after-class activity programme. There are usually about fifty of us from all over the world attending each session and I straightaway got to learn a fair bit about Spanish history, culture and traditions in a really fun, engaging environment; all from my sofa at home in Kent in the south east of England. The teachers who lead the activities are geniuses at bringing Spanish history to life. At some point during the class, I found myself chatting in my pretty rubbish Spanish to a guy from the USA in his (almost) equally poor Spanish and we’ve since met up again when we signed onto the AIL live Intensive Online Spanish course at pretty much the same time as me.
During the second open online activity class at AIL Madrid, the teachers had us actually learning some Spanish! Anyway, those two open sessions really served to whet my appetite for the intensive online Spanish language course that lay ahead.
Since enrolling on my course, I’ve attended every single one of the after-class activities. In May, the school has lined up lots of after school activities and here’s a sample of what’s in store:
2nd May Independece War
A couple days ago, we learned about the 2nd May Independence War, when the people of Madrid rose up against Napoleon’s occupying French forces in one of the most famous and heroic moments in Spanish history. The virtual tour took us to the Plaza del Dos Mayo memorial site and the whole story had me captivated. Although it took until 1813 for the Spanish to finally boot the French out of Spain, the 2nd May is uprising was the beginning of the end for the French and is now celebrated as a public holiday in Madrid.
Guided Tour throughout Alcalá de Henares
A virtual tour of Alcalá de Henares: Cervantes city. As you may or may not know (I didn’t), this is the birthplace of the great Spanish writer Cervantes. You will have heard of Don Quixote, it’s always high up on lists of the greatest books of all time and is, I’m told, recognised as the first truly modern novel. One day I plan on reading it in Spanish, now that’s a goal isn’t it? Our virtual tour will also be taking around the world-famous University City of Madrid (Ciudad Universitaria) which is not only one of the best but also the biggest universities in Spain.
Expressing feelings in Spanish
Spanish, as you’ll probably know is one of the Romance languages, full of emotion and passion, and the purpose of this class, I’m told, is to teach us how to use the correct grammatical structures, words and verbs to express our feelings accurately in Spanish.
Haunted places in Madrid
Whether you believe in ghosts or not (I’m a sceptic), I love this kind of activity. My teacher has told me (with a straight face) that a lot of paranormal activity occurs in Madrid and I can’t wait for this virtual tour as I understand it’s taking place from the perspective of the ghosts themselves! Sounds like a real hoot to me. We’ll see.
Spanish Past tenses
Next up is an online workshop on past tenses, which is an area of Spanish that I’ve been struggling with a bit in class. The teachers bring loads of fun and ideas to these potentially ‘dry’ but important exercises, so I’m looking forward to this a lot.
San Isidro Festival
More online after class activities follow in the form of a celebration of the Feast of St Isidro on 15th May. He’s the patron saint of peasants and also of Madrid, so this is cause for another public holiday!
Bad words in Spanish
Then we have a workshop on Bad Spanish words (can’t wait to find out what these are). My teacher tells me that I can learn lots about the Spanish language through bad words and insults, so this promises to be a thoroughly entertaining session!
UNESCO World Heritages in Spain
The next after class online activities at AIL on the calendar is a virtual tour of some Spanish UNESCO World Heritage sites, of which Spain has 44, the third most of any country on the planet. Included on the virtual tour are La Alhambra in Granada, and La Mezquita in Cordoba among many others. I love these virtual tours. They’re incredibly enlightening about Spanish culture, heritage, and history.
Then we have a workshop on pronouns and relative sentences and finish off the month with a workshop on the history of the Spanish language.
I cannot overemphasise how incredibly useful the virtual online after class activities at AIL Madrid have been for me, my fellow students and others who have joined us from all over the world to get a flavour of Spain simply by dipping into the sessions online. In my opinion, you cannot successfully learn a language without knowing something about the culture, history and heritage of the country in which the language is spoken and my hat goes off to AIL Madrid for putting on such a rich and diverse array of activities for us all. Remember, two of the three weekly online after class activities at AIL Madrid are open to everybody, whether you’re studying at AIL or not, and I’d strongly encourage anyone considering learning Spanish give them a try. It’s fantastic added value to my course, bags of fun, and I can’t recommend these activities too highly.
If you want more information about the online after class activities at AIL Madrid, you can go to their website and sign up in no time.