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French/Spanish cities that are nice places to do a language course over summer
35

Japanopen · 15/05/2022 12:13

DD is in her first year at university studying French and Spanish. Over the summer vacation she would like to spend some time doing a language course in France and/or Spain. Does anyone have any recommendations for cities? Key criteria:

  • somewhere where a lone female student will feel safe (-obviously I appreciate no city is crime free, but some places feel safer than others);
  • somewhere that is a pleasant place to be with plenty of places of interest to explore locally that are reachable on foot or by public transport.

    Interested in any recommendations. NB Interested in recommendations for cities even if you don't know whether there's a suitable language course there, as DD may spend some time just travelling.

    TIA
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TizerorFizz · 15/05/2022 13:50

Don’t the language schools do lots of that for you? You stay with the group and trips and socialising are part of what’s available with your group.

When my DD did her year abroad, which your DD should do for y3, she chose on quality of university and where she actually wanted to be. So she looked at famous sites she wanted to see, trips available around the city and further afield by rail, and somewhere not full of Brits! I’m the summer she might want to factor in a beach!

Therefore make a list of her “wants” and what interests her. DD is keen on art too so having famous museums and galleries interested her. Where are the courses held? What is she interested in seeing as well as doing the course?

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user1477249785 · 15/05/2022 14:37

For Spanish Salamanca is the place to go. Went at the same age and learnt a lot while having a brilliant time.

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Fitterbyfifty · 15/05/2022 14:39

I have been on my own to do courses in Salamanca and Nancy and enjoyed them both.

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neerg · 15/05/2022 14:42

I was just going to say Salamanca. It is known as being a historical university city. I went on my own (years ago) but it was lovely and fairly close to Madrid if you would like to explore!!!!

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Snoopsnoggysnog · 15/05/2022 14:47

I was going to say Salamanca too, and I did one as a student in Montpellier, but that was a long time ago. Brilliant fun

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LaBellina · 15/05/2022 14:49

Nice in France is a gorgeous Mediterranean city with plenty of nice places around to see (Menton, Monaco or cross the border and see Italy). I absolutely loved it there.

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OneFootintheRave · 15/05/2022 14:53

I recommended this place - www.k2internacional.com/en/

Cadiz is a great, small, Andalusian city. Surrounded by sea so not too hot. Great food and a lively restaurant, bar and music and arts scene. Old historic town is just lovely and amazing beaches too.

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OneFootintheRave · 15/05/2022 14:54

I was there on my own and felt totally safe x

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TeenPlusCat · 15/05/2022 14:55

DD also went to Salamanca. Picked for historical interest and the local accent.

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generalh · 15/05/2022 14:56

Madrid.

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alpinia · 15/05/2022 14:59

Montpellier, did many courses there as a school and uni student. Have sent others there since. Great fun, small city. Cheap transport and lots to see in the surrounding areas, can explore the entire region for cost of a bus ticket. Very safe to travel around.

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LizziesTwin · 15/05/2022 15:01

Montpelier & Bordeaux. Dd liked them both.

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Japanopen · 15/05/2022 22:38

Many thanks all for the suggestions! DD did a school trip to Salamanca a few years ago which involved Spanish lessons and cultural activities and staying with a host Spanish family. She really enjoyed, but I suspect she might want to go somewhere different in the summer in order to see somewhere new.

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PradaOnaBudget · 16/05/2022 07:27

I would go somewhere with a fairly plain accent. For example Valladolid, Valencia, Santander, Tarragona, Castellón, Burgos, Soria.... Of course everyone has some sort of accent but as a student, it would be less frustrating not to end up somewhere with a really thick one. I'm a native Spanish speaker and when I go to Cadiz, I often end up having to ask people to repeat what they've said.

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IbizaToTheNorfolkBroads · 16/05/2022 07:34

Another vote for Nice. Public transport along the Mediterranean coast there is very good. Can nip to Italy for lunch!

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Scoobyblue · 16/05/2022 07:37

My dd went to a language school in Valencia (with school not on her own) but had a good time and felt safe. Nice because it is by the sea.

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doodlyfiddly · 16/05/2022 07:40

Santiago de Compostela in Galicia is a lovely Spanish city.
I did a long term Spanish course there years ago, but there were lots of people there for a week, few weeks or longer.
I learnt with Academia Iria Flavia. They seem to still be going, if you want to check them out.

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zafferana · 16/05/2022 07:42

The accent thing is relevant. We were recently in Malaga and did a guided tour with a local and even she, with a Malagueno accent, said it can be hard for anyone not from Malaga to understand, because they don't sound the ending of a lot of their words.

I also wouldn't go to Madrid in summer - I seem to remember it's known as 'the frying pan', because it's so incredibly hot! I loved Valencia and would definitely want to be in a city by the sea in summertime.

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erinaceus · 16/05/2022 07:56

If you are considering Nice, years ago I spent an idyllic month doing a language course with Actilangue. I did this program which involved language lessons every morning with a scheduled activities on a few of the afternoons, spent the remainder of the afternoons sightseeing or sitting on the beach eating brie and baguettes with my course mates, and lived with a local host. Was fabulous and would 100% recommend.

I did come back with a Nicoise accent though.

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Needmoresleep · 16/05/2022 08:04

In terms of French language schools, this is one of the best.

www.cavilam.com/en/

Vichy is safe, indeed could be described as dull. I don't know if they still offer the option of living with a French family, but if so it is a good way of further enhancing your French and knowledge of France. The spa water tastes foul, though is presumably good for you.

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Japanopen · 17/05/2022 23:14

Thank you for all responses. I have read all comments and suggestions and will pass on to DD.

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OldWivesTale · 17/05/2022 23:18

I did a Spanish course in Granada. I stayed in a hostel near the school but the school also offer home stays which are better for practising your speaking. I felt safe there - unlike in Barcelona. The school also arranged lots of activities in the evenings so she'd have people to hang out with. I also did one in Menorca but there weren't many other students on that course so it wasn't as much fun. I'd avoid Barcelona to be honest.

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MarmiteCoriander · 17/05/2022 23:20

I have no experience of good language schools, but if she is wanting both French and Spanish, then the Pyrenees might be the answer?

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Iflyaway · 17/05/2022 23:27

Many thanks all for the suggestions! DD did a school trip to Salamanca a few years ago

DS did a university course there too.

Sorry OP, you could have given a bit more info in OP, save people doubling up info...

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dreamingbohemian · 17/05/2022 23:33

In France the Loire Valley cities are well regarded for language courses as they have a very 'neutral' accent. Nantes and Angers are lovely and you can easily explore the Loire Valley, beaches, Paris by train.

In recent years the south of France has had some unbearable summer heat waves so something to consider.

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