The Best Ways to Learn Spain’s Other Languages
Posted by Dreamer
Ideas and resources to help you learn or improve your knowledge of the Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian languages.
If you live in Barcelona, Bilbao, Benidorm, or Betanzos, let’s say, (or you’re just up for a good challenge,) then learning or improving your Basque, Catalan, Galician, or Valencian is a must for an inside look at the local culture. Here are the best ways you can go about doing that. (Besides having a fabulous Basque/Catalan/Galician/Valencian-speaking husband or wife, I mean.)
Official Schools of Languages
Each autonomous community throughout Spain runs their own network of Official Schools of Languages (Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas). A number of these schools offer courses in Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian, as well as Spanish for foreigners and a host of other languages. Most courses run for the academic year and are offered for beginning to advanced levels. As the schools are publicly funded, the prices are low and classes tend to fill up rather quickly.
Many universities in Spain offer Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian courses and, assuming you already speak Spanish, will allow you to sign up for one or two classes without having to enroll as a regular student.
A few universities abroad also offer these types of language courses. The University of Sheffield (UK), Lancaster University (UK), and the University of California, Berkeley (US), for example, offer courses in Catalan.
Though most language academies and schools in Spain seem to be exclusively dedicated to the study of English, there are a good number that offer courses in Spain’s regional languages. Check the schools in your local area for current offerings.
Courses at the Cultural Centers in Madrid
If you live in Madrid, then you’re in luck. The Euskal Etxea Madrid offers a variety of Basque courses: for kids and adults; general, conversation, and EGA exam-prep classes; and group and online classes. The Cercle Català de Madrid offers Catalan courses from elementary to intermediate levels, and a conversation class. The Centro Gallego de Madrid offers Galician courses, and while the Círculo Valenciano de Madrid doesn’t offer Valencian courses, they do make a mean paella.