In einer Woche Intensivkurs in Salamanca bei ISLA habe ich sehr viel gelernt und viel Spaß gehabt. Um nicht alles sofort wieder zu vergessen und mein Wissen für den Urlaub auszubauen habe ich nach einer für mich passenden Lösung gesucht. Da ich oft lange arbeite und ich keine festen Termine mit großen Klassen besuchen wollte, war der Unterricht über Skype perfekt für mich. Ich lerne dabei Grammatik, wir sprechen über Themengebiete z.B. Kleidung, Essen, Tagesablauf etc. und das Wichtigste für mich: ich bin stets gefordert selbst zu sprechen und Sätze zu formulieren. Besonders gut finde ich auch den Skype-Chat, über den mir mein Lehrer mir unbekannte Wörter schnell aufschreiben und schicken kann. Ich kann diese Art des Spanisch-Lernens sehr empfehlen. Es macht riesigen Spaß, die Lehrer bei ISLA sind super und man hat regelmäßig und unkompliziert die Möglichkeit mit einem Muttersprachler spanisch zu sprechen. Und das sogar im eigenen Wohnzimmer :-). Sabine Grebler

14 Wochen Salamanca – ganz schön lang, dachte ich am Anfang. Jetzt sitze ich hier, schreibe den Bericht und habe noch 4 Tage bis ich wieder zurück in das kalte und regnerische Deutschland muss. ¡El tiempo pasa volando! Die Zeit verging wirklich wie im Flug und ich weiss jetzt schon, dass ich Salamanca und das ganze ISLA-Team vermissen werde. Spanischlernen bei ISLA ist fantastisch. Es ist bereits mein zweites Mal. 2008 war ich für längere Zeit in Barcelona und war restlos begeistert. Ich habe so viel gelernt! Schwierig für Salamanca meine Erwartungshaltung zu erfüllen. Aber ISLA Salamanca hat mich vom ersten Moment an überzeugt. Wie auch in Barcelona habe ich wieder den Intensiv-Sprachkurs gemacht. Dass bedeutet, dass man 4 Stunden am Tag Gruppenunterricht hat. Davon haben wir 3 Unterrichtseinheiten mit dem Lehrbuch gearbeitet und anschliessend hatten wir eine Konversationsstunde. 14 Wochen, Montags bis Freitags, 10-14 Uhr, Lehrbucharbeit, Gruppenunterricht – ist das nicht langweilig? Nein, ganz im Gegenteil. Bei ISLA wird es nie langweilig und das meine ich ernst. Natürlich sind einige Tage spannender als andere, das hängt ja schliesslich auch von der eigenen persönlichen und körperlichen Verfassung ab, aber im Unterricht lernt man, abgesehen von Grammatik und Vokabular, jeden Tag etwas Neues. Dies liegt nicht zuletzt an den Lehrern bei ISLA. Während meiner 14 Wochen hatte ich die Möglichkeit viele Lehrer nicht nur persönlich, sondern auch deren Unterricht kennenzulernen. Ausnahmslos sind alle unglaublich nett, humorvoll, hilfsbereit und kompetent. Die Unterrichtssprache ist Spanisch, woran man sich schon spätestens nach einigen Stunden gewöhnt und was gerade das Einfinden in die Fremdsprache erheblich erleichtert. Ein grosser Vorteil war für mich ausserdem der Gruppenunterricht. Ich habe so viele liebenswürdige und interessante Menschen aus aller Welt kennengelernt (Italien, England, Dänemark, Frankreich, China - um nur einige zu nennen) und ich hoffe sehr, dass wir auch nach ISLA weiterhin in Kontakt bleiben werden. Mit seinen Problemen steht man nie alleine da. Ich habe so viel an Selbstvertrauen gewonnen was mein Spanisch angeht. Spanischlernen bei ISLA bedeutet nicht nur die Spanische Sprache und Kultur kennenzulernen. Man erfährt aufgrund der internationalen Schülerzusammensetzung auch viel von anderen Kulturen. Dies hat zumindest mir den ein oder anderen Denkanstoss geben auch meine eigene Kultur zu hinterfragen und zu reflektieren. Eine Erfahrung die einem keiner mehr nehmen kann. Wer wirklich ernsthaft Spanisch lernen möchte, dem empfehle ich ISLA! Und das ist nicht nur so daher gesagt. Schliesslich habe ich meine Mutter davon überzeugt auch einen Sprachkurs bei ISLA zu machen und sollte sich für mich eine Möglichkeit ergeben wieder nach Salamanca zu kommen, werde ich diese Chance ergreifen, meine Koffer packen und einen weiteren Spanischkurs bei ISLA machen. Muchas gracias por todo a todos. Estoy segura que no olvidaré esta experiencia tan especial. Me habéis marcado mi vida y os echaré de menos. ¡Hasta pronto!

¡Hola! Ich heiße Lena und komme aus Deutschland! Nachdem ich 2012 schon ein halbes Jahr in Spanien verbracht habe, konnte ich es kaum erwarten, wieder spanischen Boden unter meinen Füßen zu spühren. Meine Wahl fiel diesesmal auf ISLA und damit Salamanca, weil mir eine Freundin diese Sprachschule sehr empfohlen hat. Außerdem bietet sich Salamanca durch das klare Spanisch, das hier gesprochen wird, perfekt dazu an, hier die Sprache zu lernen und die Kultur zu erleben (vorher war ich in Andalisien, wo mir der starke Dialekt einige Schwierigkeiten bereitet hat). Nachdem ich mich für ISLA entschieden hatte, ging die Buchung des Sprachkurses sowie der Unterkunft ganz einfach und schnell. Die Familie, in der ich in den ersten 2 Wochen meines Aufenthaltes lebte sowie die Wohnung für die restliche Zeit und den Transfer vom Flughafen Madrid nach Salamanca (in einem bequemen Reisebus) wurde alles vom ISLA-Team organisiert. Als ich in Madrid angekommen bin, habe ich den Reisebus direkt gefunden und konnte es kaum abwarten, in Salamanca anzukommen. Die Fahrt von Madrid nach Salamanca ist sehr unkompliziert und angenehm - man kann sich in Ruhe die Landschaft ansehen oder nach einem anstrengenden Flug ein wenig schlafen. Der Aufenthalt in meiner Gastfamilie war super, ich konnte das spanische Essen genießen und bekam einen Einblick in die Gewohnheiten und die Kultur einer spanischen Familie. Allerdings bin ich auch froh, dass ich danach in eine WG gezogen bin, weil man dadurch mit den anderen ISLA-Studenten besser in Kontakt bleibt, das WG-Leben genießen kann und sehr nah an der Schule wohnt. In den ersten Tagen des Sprachkurses lernt man schnell die anderen ISLA-Studenten kennen und erkundet Salamanca. Ich erlebe Salamanca als eine Stadt mit vielen beeindruckenden Gebäuden und einer angenehmen Atmosphäre - es herrscht wenig Hektik und man findet immer einen schönen Platz zum verweilen und Sonne tanken. Auch die Umgebung von Salamanca ist sehr beeindruckend. “Dieters Drive” (eine Bustour, organisiert von Dieter, dem Direktor von ISLA) gab uns Studenten von ISLA die Möglichkeit, beeindruckende Orte und Landschaften zu sehen, die die Einheimischen oft überhaupt nicht kennen. Das Nachtleben in Salamanca kommt natürlich auch nicht zu kurz. Durch die zahlreichen Tapasbars, Tanzbars und Clubs findet jeder etwas nach seinem Geschmack Die Lehrer von ISLA sind alle sehr bemueht und geduldig und immer an den Lernfortschritten ihrer Studenten interessiert. Die passende Beispiele oder Schemata der Lehrer zur Veranschaulichung von Grammatik oder Wortschatz machen das Lernen um einiges einfacher. Zusammenfassend kann ich nur sagen, dass der Aufenthalt in ISLA unvergesslich bleibt - viele tolle Menschen aus den verschiedenstens Ländern und Kontinenten, lustige und lehrreiche Spanischstunden, Fiesta, Sangria, Plaza Mayor, Tapas, das super ISLA-Team,… und das alles in einer wunderbaren Stadt: Salamanca.

Auf diesen Augenblick gewartet. Der Moment, in dem ich im Bus sitze und vom Weiten die Umrisse der Kathedrale sehe. Endlich- Salamanca!!!! Was für ein Gefühl, zu wissen, dass ich die nächsten Wochen in dieser wundervollen Stadt verbringe und ich wieder einmal Teil der ISLA „Familie“ sein kann. Auch wenn ich schon drei Mal bei ISLA war, habe ich mich erneut für einen 6-wöchigen Sprachkurs und ein Praktikum entschieden. Am meisten habe ich mich auf das Wiedersehen mit den Lehrern gefreut. Als ich am Montagmorgen zum Einstufungstest bei ISLA erschien, wurde ich von allen Lehrern und den Mädels im Office herzlichst empfangen. Kaum zu glauben, dass sich wirklich alle noch ( nach etwa 2 Jahren ) an mich erinnern konnten und wir in alte Erinnerungen schwelgten – so, als ob ich nie weggewesen wäre und ich mich mit meinen Freunden unterhalten würde. Nachdem ich den Einstufungstest geschrieben hatte, kam ich in meine Klasse und der Unterricht begann. Von da an hatte ich jeden Morgen von 10.00 Uhr- 13.50 Uhr Unterricht. In den Stunden nahmen wir verschiedene Grammatikthemen durch, lernten neue Vokabeln, machten Hörverstehübungen oder sprachen über irgendwelche Themen. Wenn ihr jetzt denkt „wie langweilig“ irrt ihr euch, denn ihr müsst die Lehrer hier erleben. Ich habe selten so lustige und motivierte Lehrer gesehen und jede Stunde war für mich ein Highlight. Am Nachmittag begann dann mein Praktikum. Ich wurde recht schnell von den anderen „Runners“ ( so nennt man die Praktikanten hier) eingearbeitet. Meine Arbeit bestand hauptsächlich darin, E-Mails und Anfragen zu beantworten und die englischen Texte der Hompage ins Deutsche zu übersetzen. Manchmal sollte ich auch Einkäufe erledigen oder für Dieter ( der Chef des Hauses) Recherchearbeiten machen. Um 20.00 Uhr hatte ich dann immer Schluss. Natürlich war ich abends kaputt, da die ganzen Eindrücke und vor allem das Spanischlernen einen ziemlich schlauchen. Trotzdem ging ich jeden Abend mit meinen Freunden weg, da man in Salamanca einfach ausgehen MUSS. Die Stadt ist für jeden Schüler oder Student ein Traum. Es gibt zahlreiche Tapasbars, Kneipen, Studentenclubs und Diskotheken, in denem man für wenig Geld viel bekommen und viel Spaß bis in die frühen Morgenstunden haben kann. Wir haben uns fast immer an der Gran Vía in einer Bar namens „Centenera“ getroffen und dort lustige Abende verbracht. An einigen Abenden haben wir uns auch einfach an der Plaza Mayor getroffen, uns auf den Boden gesetzt, ein Eis gegessen und den Klängen der spanischen Volksmusik gelauscht. Diese Abende habe ich besonders genossen, da die Plaza Mayor wegen ihrer Architektur und der Beleuchtung beeindruckend ist. In Salamanca gibt es noch viel mehr, worüber man staunen kann. Die zwei Kathedralen im Zentum sollte man sich unbedingt anschauen, da sie das Stadtbild prägen und der romanische Baustil wirklich eindrucksvoll ist. Zudem gibt es das Kloster San Esteban, dass sich direkt gegenüber von ISLA befindet. Ich habe mich besonders für die Universität interessiert, da ich das folgende Semester dort studieren werde. Der Bausstil der Universitätsgebäude am Plaza Anaya und der Bibliothek ist wirklich imposant und lädt zum Lernen ein. Die Rue Mayor, die Straße, die die Universität mit der Plaza Mayor verbindet, ist für mich sowas wie das Herzstück der Stadt. Dort trifft man auf Einheimische oder Touristen, die in den vielen Restaurants oder Tapasbars einen Kaffee in der Mittagssonne oder eine spanische Spezialität am Abend genießen. Außerdem kann man in zahlreichen Souvenierläden Andenken kaufen oder dort einfach nur langschländern und die Atmosphäre genießen. Ich habe dort das beste „Solomillo“ gegessen und die spanische Gastfreundlichkeit erleben dürfen. Die Salmantiner sind liebenswürdige Menschen und in jeder Situation hilfsbereit. Auch wenn ich anfangs nicht alles auf Spanisch gewusst oder richtig ausgesprochen habe, wurde mir immer mit einem Lächeln geholfen. Ich hatte auch nie Bedenken alleine nachts durch die Straßen zu gehen. Auch wenn die Stadt und die Sprachschule mir nur positive Momente beschehrt haben, muss ich jedoch gestehen, dass die Anreise nach Salamanca kompliziert ist und viel Zeit beansprucht, da man von Madrid aus mit dem Bus noch etwa 2,5 Stunden weiterfahren muss. Dennoch kann ich von mir aus sagen, dass ich diesen Stress immer wieder auf mich nehmen würde. Salamanca ist eine schöne Stadt mit viel Charme und mein Aufenthalt bei ISLA hat mir unheimlich viel gebracht. Ich habe nicht nur mein Spanisch verbessert, sondern auch Freunde fürs Leben gefunden. Danke liebes ISLA Team für diese schöne Zeit und wir sehen uns bestimmt wieder.. „Hasta PRONTO“ Yvonne aus Deutschland

Im Sommer 2012 besuchte ich 10 Wochen die Sprachschule ISLA in Salamanca. Auf Grund des langen Aufenthaltes hier in „ISLA“ hatte ich ausreichend Gelegenheiten, an den angebotenen Exkursionen teilzunehmen. Diese finden in der Regel samstags und sonntags statt, wenn keine Schule ist. Auskunft ueber die angebotenen Exkursionen findet man zeitnah immer am schwarzen Brett, welches sich in dem Gebaeude „ISLA“ befindet. Angeboten werden Staedtetouren in der gesamten Region von Castilla y León und ausserhalb, wie zum Beispiel: Segovia, Zamora, León, Toledo, Valladolid. Des Weiteren werden auch Ausfluege in die Berge angeboten. Hier geht es meistens in die „Sierra de Gredos“ oder in die „Sierra de Francia“. Auch eine Kajaktour auf dem „Rio Duero“ am „Playa del Rostro“ in „Aldeadávila de la Ribera“ gehoert zum Programm. Um einen Eindruck zu bekommen, wie solche Ausfluege aussehen, werde ich jeweils einen Stadtausflug und einen Ausflug in die Berge beschreiben. Staedteausfluege, welche angeboten werden, besitzen einen sehr hohen kulturellen Stellenwert. Wer wie ich ueber einen laengeren Zeitraum an „Isla“ ist, hat die Moeglichkeit durch solche Städtetouren fast ganz „Castilla y León“ und auch andere Regionen von Spanien, zu besichtigen. Ein solcher Staedteausflug nach Segovia sieht wie folgt aus: samstags oder sonntags morgens gegen 9 bzw. 10 Uhr (kommt ganz auf die Dauer der Busfahrt an), ist Treffpunkt an einer Strassenecke ganz in der Naehe von der Sprachschule. Nach Segovia, welches im Uebrigen auf Grund eines besonderen Aquaeduktes zum Unesco- Weltkulturerbe gehoert, dauert die Busfahrt in etwa 2,5 Stunden. Dort angekommen, haben wir uns als Erstes diesen besonderen, riesigen Aquaedukt angeschaut. Dieser ist in etwa 30 Meter hoch und 29 Meter lang. Er stellt das Meisterwerk roemischer Baukunst dar und gehoert zu einem der bedeutendsten und am besten erhaltensten roemischen Bauwerke ganz Spaniens. Danach haben wir mit Cristina, unserer Fremdenfuehrerin von „Isla“, eine Stadtfuehrung gemacht. Die Exkursionen werden immer von Mitarbeitern von „Isla“ begleitet und gefuehrt. Im Anschluss an die Stadtfuehrung mit Cristina hat man dann meistens ca. 2 Stunden zur freien Verfuegung. Diese nutzten wir in Segovia um die Spezialitaet der Stadt „Ferkel“ auszuprobieren. Wenn man Lunchpakete dabei hat und daher nicht in einem Restaurant essen moechte, kann man die Freizeit auch nutzen, um sich auf eigene Faust weitere Ecken des huebschen Staedtchens anzuschauen. Im Anschluss an die freie Verfuegung trafen wir uns wieder mit Cristina, um im Programm fortzufahren. Wir schauten uns damals gemeinsam mit Cristina die Kathedrale Segovias an. Allerdings gab es auch einige Fahrten, in denen die Moeglichkeit bestand die Kathedrale im Rahmen der freien Verguegung zu besichtigen. Anschliessend spazierten wir aus dem Zentrum heraus, um das Schloss von Segovia, welches wirklich beeindruckend ist, zu erkunden. Auch hier hielt Cristina eine Fuehrung, so dass wir auch geschichtlich bestens informiert wurden. Eins schon einmal vorweg: Das Schloss von Segovia diente als Model fuer das eindrucksvolle Schloss im Disneyland Paris. Wer das Schloss im Disneyland kennt, bemerkt direkt die verblueffende Aehnlichkeit. Bevor wir auf das Schloss emporgestiegen sind, fuehrte uns Cristina, wie zuvor schon angemerkt, durch das im Schloss befindliche Museum. Hierbei erzaehlte Sie viel ueber die spanische Geschichte. Unter anderem auch ueber das spanische Koenigshaus. Durch die Staedtereisen schult man auf jeden Fall seine Allgemeinbildung und erfaehrt viel Interessantes ueber die spanische Geschichte. Hier muss ich auch anmerken, dass die Mitarbeiter von ISLA sich sehr darum bemuehen, die Geschichte interessant und spannend rueberzubringen. Des Weiteren ist es auch fuer Anfaenger, welche noch nicht ueber sehr grosse Sprachkenntnisse verfuegen, zum grossen Teil verstaendlich. Und wenn nicht, sind immer irgendwelche anderen Schueler dabei, die einem gerne weiterhelfen, um das Gesagte besser zu verstehen. Die Rueckfahrt hierbei wurde gegen 18.00h angesetzt, so dass man in etwa um 20.30 wieder in Salamanca war und dem weiteren Abendprogramm somit nichts mehr im Wege stand.

Die Exkursionen in die Berge finden auch immer am Wochenende statt. Im Vergleich zu den Staedtetouren dienen diese jedoch weniger dem kulturellen Zweck, als dass hierbei vielmehr der Spassfaktor im Vordergrund steht. Des Weiteren sind diese Exkursionen hilfreich, um neue Leute der Sprachschule kennenzulernen und Freundschaften zu knuepfen. Naeher beschreiben moechte ich nun eine solche Exkursion in die Berge und zwar zum „Rio Duero“ am „Playa del Rostro“. Hier starteten wir morgens um 9.00 Uhr unsere gemeinsame Tour. Als Begleitpersonen waren hierbei Amanda und Dieter, die Chefs von ISLA, und einige Runners, die nachmittags bei Isla ein Praktikum absolvieren, dabei. Nach etwa einer Stunde Busfahrt legten wir unsere erste Pause ein, um gemeinsam zu fruehstuecken. Hierzu brachten Dieter und Amanda Magdalenas (eine typische Spezialitaet Spaniens) und andere Leckereien mit, damit wir gestaerkt den Tag beginnen konnten. Nach etwa einer halben Stunde, in der wir uns mit allen moeglichen Leckereien gestaerkt hatten, ging die Fahrt etwa eine Stunde lang weiter in Richtung eines grossen Sees. Um diesen zu erreichen, mussten wir jedoch gute 20 min Fussmarsch auf uns nehmen. Um dort ein weiteres Picknick zu uns nehmen zu koennen, musste jeder einen Teil des Proviants tragen. Somit stiegen wir also mit Wassermelone, Flutes, Getraenken usw. den Berg zum See hinunter. Endlich am Ziel angekommen, breiteten wir alle unsere Handtuecher aus und Amanda, sowie die Praktikanten von „Isla“ begannen alle, die Sandwiches fuer jeden einzelnen vorzubereiten. Hierfuer wurden Tomaten geschnitten, Kaese und Wurst auf Tellern verteilt, Salat in Stuecke gemacht usw. Viele von uns konnten jedoch nicht mehr bis nach dem Essen warten und nutzten die Zeit, sich im kalten Nass zu erfrischen. Das Wasser war hierbei wirklich sehr sehr angenehm. Es war nicht zu kalt, jedoch konnte sich jeder bei Temperaturen um die 35 Grad super erfrischen. Wir verbrachten in etwa 2,5 Stunden dort. Wir assen leckere Sandwiches, die restlichen Salate, die noch von der Cena des Vorabends uebrig geblieben waren und feine Melonen. Auch Zeit fuer ein kurzes Mittagsschlaefchen hatten jene, die von der langen Busfahrt, oder auch von der vorherigen Nacht zu muede waren. Nach etwa 2,5 Stunden mussten wir alle Sachen zusammenraeumen und den anstrengenden Fussmarsch, den Berg hinauf entgegennehmen. Als wir dann endlich nach etwa einer halben Stunden oben angekommen waren, konnte sich jeder wieder etwas im Bus ausruhen. Unserer weiterer Weg ging zum Río Duero am Playa del Rostro. Dort sollten wir Kajak fahren und jeder hat sich natuerlich schon riesig darauf gefreut. Das Unternehmen, welches diese Kajaktouren anbot, heisst „El corazón de las Arribes“. Dieses fuehrt verschiedene Freizeitangebote durch, wobei dieses Kajakfahren auf dem Río Duero auch dazugehoert. Um an den Fluss zu kommen, mussten wir jedoch wiedermals einen langen Fussmarsch auf uns nehmen, da der Bus wiederum nicht bis direkt vor Ort fahren konnte. Zunaechst war dies aber noch kein Problem, weil es nur abwaerts ging, was sich aber dann im Nachhinein beim Wiederaufstieg fuer einige jedoch als kleines Problem darstellte. Als wir dann nach einiger Zeit endlich am Río Duero angekommen waren, stuermten die ersten wieder direkt ins Wasser, um sich zu erfrischen. Die Praktikanten von Isla bereiteteten hingegen schon den Sangría vor, den es nach der anstrengenden Kajaktour fuer jeden gab. Hierfuer wurden reichlich Fruechte geschnibbelt. Wir mussten uns in 2 Gruppen aufteilen, da nicht alle zusammen Kajak fahren konnten. Daher hatte die eine Gruppe, waehrend die zweite Gruppe 1 Stunde auf dem Duero Kajak fahren konnte, Zeit sich zu sonnen, im Duero zu plantschen oder Beachvolleyball zu spielen. Einige nutzten die Zeit auch, um an das andere Ufer des Flusses zu schwimmen. Dort war naemlich nicht mehr Spanien, sondern schon Portugal. Dies nutzten viele, trotz Anstrengung aus, um sagen zu koennen „uuuuuund ich war auch schon in Portugal!!!“ Die Fahrt mit dem Kajak war fuer alle sehr sehr amuesant, aber auch etwas anstrengend. Es wurde sowohl in 2er, oder Einzelkajaks gerudert. Die meisten nutzten auch die Zeit auf dem Kajak aus, um sich wiederum ein wenig abzukuehlen und sprangen waehrend der Fahrt aus dem Kajak in den kuehlen Fluss. Dies war wirklich sehr amuesant, vor allem weil jeder eine Rettungsweste tragen musste und es insofern gar nicht mehr so einfach war, sich nach der Abkuehlung nochmal auf das Kajak zu hiefen. Nachdem alle wieder von ihrer Kajaktour zurueck waren, wurde die restliche Zeit genutzt, um den Sangria zu trinken, der vorbereitet wurde und sich noch ein wenig zu sonnen. Danach mussten wir jedoch alle leider den Heimweg antreten. Dies war wirklich sehr anstrengend, da der Weg bis zum Bus in der Tat sehr steil war und viele noch einige Sachen tragen mussten, die fuer die Zubereitung des Sangrias benoetigt wurden. Doch auch diesen Weg haben wir alle, mehr oder weniger schnell, hinter uns gebracht und konnten uns auf der darauffolgenden Heimfahrt im Bus ausruhen. Wir sind in etwa gegen 20, 20.30 h wieder in Salamanca angelangt. Muede und erschoepft, aber gluecklich wieder eine tolle Exkursion von „Isla“ miterlebt zu haben.

El otoño pasado visité ISLA para aprender más Español. Tengo que decir que esta escuela me gustó mucho. El ambiente era estupendo! Los profesores eran amables, simpáticos y ambiciosos. También el director y las señoras de la oficina. La escuela ofrecía visitas a los monumentos de Salamanca, por ejemplo el Convento de San Esteban. Por supuesto había otras ofertas: cocinar con Cristina, visitar un taller de porcelana típica de Salamanca, hacer barbacoa por la tarde, ir de bares para disfrutar las tapas y el vino por la noche ( en Salamanca hay muchísimos bares). Había una excursión que me gustaba mucho: el domingo fuimos en autobús a Segovia. Era una excursión fantástica! El guía, Javier, es un hombre joven muy simpático y nos enseñó todas los monumentos importantes y él sabía mucho. Además Salamanca es una ciudad que me gusta. La parte antigua con la catedral, el convento, la fachada de la universidad y por último la Plaza Mayor!! Por supuesto hay otros lugares y calles estrechas que me gustan muchísimo! Salamanca es una ciudad muy joven. En todas partes se encuentran estudiantes y por eso se tiene el sentimiento de la vida sin límites. También hay muchas posibilidades para comprar ropa en tiendas pequeñas, tomar algo en varios bares y restaurantes. ¡Me parece que Salamanca no duerme! Para mí el principio en ISLA era complicado. Como ves en la foto tengo unos años, soy un poco vieja, y ISLA está visitado por muchos jóvenes! Pero cada uno del equipo de ISLA me ayudó. El resultado es, yo visitare esta escuela otra vez en verano! Espero que mi texto te ayude y te deseo que pases un buen tiempo en ISLA. Da mis saludos especialmente a Sarah y Emiliy por favor. Un abrazo

Ich bin am 3. Oktober 2010 zum ersten Mal nach Salamanca gekommen. Die Anreise war ziemlich einfach. Ich bin in Madrid aus dem Flughafen herausgelaufen und konnte gleich in den Bus einsteigen, der direkt nach Salamanca fahrt. Auf der Fahrt, die ungefähr 2 2/1 Stunden dauert, konnte ich mir die Landschaft im Innland Spaniens anschauen. Ich war überrascht, dass es so viel unbewohnte Fläche gibt. In Salamanca habe ich in einer WG gewohnt, wo ich gleich am ersten Abend herzlich von meinen Mitbewohnern empfangen wurde. Sie informierten mich über alles, was ich wissen wollte und musste. Ich wohnte mit einer Engländerin und einer Japanerin zusammen. Aber hier gab es keine Probleme, da man sich immer irgendwie verständigen kann. Auf diese weise lernt man neben der spanischen auch noch weitere Kulturen oder besser gesagt Lebensgewohnheiten kennen. An meinem ersten Schultag war ich überrascht, mit wie viel Spass und guter Laune die Lehrer den Unterricht gestalten. Der Unterschied zum normalen, deutschen Schulalltag ist doch gross. Ich habe nicht geglaubt, dass das so bleibt, doch auch nach drei Monaten war es wirklich so, dass es jeden Tag etwas zu lachen gab. Nach einer kurzen Eingewöhnungszeit kennt man sich in Salamanca aus, weiss wo man abends am besten Ausgehen kann und wo man am besten einkauft. Nebenher lernt man immer wieder neue Menschen aus verschiedenen Ländern kennen, mit denen man sein Freizeit verbringt. Durch diese vielen neuen Eindrücke, Erfahrung und Herausforderungen erweitert man nicht nur seinen sprachlichen Horizont, sondern bildet sich im Allgemeinen weiter. Ich bin sehr glücklich darüber, dass ich hier ein bisschen Zeit verbringen konnte, die ich nicht sobald vergessen werde.

Vor ziemlich genau drei Jahren beschlossen wir ganz spontan Spanisch zu lernen. So kamen wir im Oktober 2007 zum ersten Mal zu ISLA nach Salamanca. Dass wir uns danach dafür entschieden haben Spanische Kultur als Schwerpunkt in unserem Studium zu wählen, zeigt wohl wie prägend diese Zeit für uns war und in den vier Wochen bei ISLA haben wir nicht nur rasend schnell Spanisch verstehen und mehr oder weniger gut sprechen gelernt, sondern auch Freundschaften geschlossen, die immer noch bestehen. Dann, fast fertig mit dem Studium, hat es uns wieder nach Salamanca verschlagen, diesmal für fast vier Monate und zwar um als Praktikanten bei ISLA zu arbeiten.Wenn sich auch die Stadt, in die wir uns schon bei unserem ersten Aufenthalt verliebt hatten nicht groß verändert hat, war es doch ein komplett anderes Erlebnis! Wir haben noch mehr Leute kennengelernt, noch festere Freundschaften geschlossen, sind zu Sangría- und Churro con Chocolate-Experten ausgebildet worden und haben fast täglich Tränen gelacht, ob auf den Tapas Tours, den legendären ISLA Willkommens- oder sonstigen Fiestas (Buffalo Club, eso es para siempre!!), oder im Unterricht. Denn auch die Lehrer haben sich nicht verändert, sind immer noch so lieb, lustig und engagiert wie zuvor. Und das ist es was ISLA ausmacht: auch wenn es nicht gerade einfach ist Spanier kennenzulernen, sind laut Vicky eben die Lehrer deine Spanischen Freunde, genauso wie der Rest des ISLA Teams. Mil gracias por todo a Amanda, Dieter, Rosana, Sara, Carlos, Jimmy, Asun, Alberto, Vicky, José María. Regina & Carina Hampf

" I have to say that my summer break in Isla was surely the most fun I've had in a long time. Initially I was a little anxious about how I'd fit in being an older student, and yes, most everyone was a lot younger than me in my class but what can I say? The whole set up of the school is about learning through mixing in and having fun and not about being 15 or 40 and it really wasn't a problem in the end, at all.

Right from the start I felt welcome with a wonderful and hugh group paella being made in one class room - quite spectacular! Because every evening had something organised it helped me get to know lot's of people in the school, like the tapas tour (messy!), films nights (sort the chairs out sooo uncomfortable), and general nights on the town eating ice cream or drinking beer plus much more besides after a few days I felt as though I lived in Salamanca rather than was just passing through. The morning break with strong coffee and bocadillos became a tradition each day for my class, was we swopped our tails and stories from the night before and clutched our heads out of tiredness (Spain is a late night kind of place).

All this was helped by having a really lovely host family to live with Rosa and Domingo were nothing but generous and kind for my two weeks. They both took a genuine interest in my learning, helping me with homework and talking incessantly at me so that silence simply wasn't an option. Neither was laying in if I had come in too late the night before. Rosa was there knocking on my door and getting me out of bed to make sure I was on time for school - no rest for the wicked! To top it off, on the day I was due to leave and come home to the UK, they got up at 5am and insisted on driving me to the train station. That's care and consideration for you.

My teachers Rosa and Alberto, had infinite patience with everyone coming up with a plethora of ways to get people to open their mouths and not worry about being perfect. Everyone laughed together at the mistakes being made and helped each other out when someone was stuck, which made for some hilarious and memorable moments. They worked really hard to make each class interesting and relevant to the students, somehow managing to find the right balance between us all. What was particularly nice was that they remembered me from a brief earlier visit from a few months before which added to my sense of belonging. Hopefully it won't be too long before I return for my visit."

Elizabeth Cameron, UK

My name is Evelyn and I am from Germany. This year, I spent my first time in Spain here in Salamanca. In Germany I study German and Spanish and now it was time to improve not only my writing skills but as well my speaking. A good friend recommended ISLA. He already had been to ISLA two times. So I decided to come here to do an internship and a language course for two month.

Now there are just two more weeks left for me and I already look back on an amazing, interesting, funny but as well exhausting time. To go to classes in the morning and go to work in the afternoon is often tiring. But predominant was always the fun! My time here started with an absolutely awesome Tapas-Tour with Dieter, a trip to the Sierra de Francia with Amanda and Dieter and interesting and funny language-courses with Asun. Work started immediately with preparing the "Fiesta de Bienvenida" which normally takes place every or every second Monday. Work is (most of the time) interesting because, especially in the beginning, everything is new and the work varies a lot. Sometimes I just work with the computer (database, emailing etc.). On other days I have some things to do around Salamanca and I am running around the whole town (as the name said: Runner :).

What I really enjoy is meeting new people from all over the world and at Isla it is possible. Here are people from every continent. For me it is so interesting to talk with other young people about their cultures and their countries, their languages and their way of life. I also got to know the life of a Spanish family in which I used to live and where I enjoyed Spanish food. I learned a lot about the culture and the people in Spain. Most of them are really friendly, generous and open. As well I had the possibility of learning Salsa which was a lot of fun! All in all I had a great time here in the beautiful town Salamanca, which has charm and a wonderful atmosphere with its Plaza Mayor and the old centre! I made a lot of interesting and important (work-) experiences, I found new friends from all over the world AND I improved my Spanish! As well the atmosphere at the school is very good! All the teachers are very nice, funny but as well serious in what they are teaching! I recommend ISLA to everyone!

Evelyn Boch, Germany

Hi, I am Laura I am 18 years young and I come from Holland.

Last year I was in Spain for about 8 months, I went to Spain because I had a free year and I loved the Spanish culture.. I started in Salamanca where I lived for 5 months, I was learning Spanish at ISLA on the normal course. There was nobody from Holland over here...at the beginning I was a bit uncertain about this... . But after a few days I found a lot of Dutch people here in Salamanca..and at that point I realised that I was verry lucky that I was the only Dutch one at my school! This was my chance to meet new people from all over the world.

In these 5 months I lived with 2 great boys from Great Britain (Hamish and Justin in the photo with me). We went out together in Salamanca at night! and that was great. I was the only girl in a class with 7 other boys and we all used to meet up every night... After a few weeks we calmed down a bit and started to do our best with our Spanish and it wasn´t even that difficult.
A few months later I went to Great Britain to see my roommates from Salamanca and yes we are still in touch...

It was a great experience, I was verry young when I left my country but still I look back at it with great fun. And I can´t wait to hit Salamanca again!!

Laura van Reekum, Netherlands

Hi, my name is Lucy, I am 18 years old and I am from London.I first came to Isla when I was 13. I came with a large group of students from my school and the trip is still one of my favourite school memories. It would be hard to forget the churros, the teachers that made me laugh, the salsa classes, the tapas tours, the look on my Spanish mama's face when I told her I didn't eat red meat…

After I left school, it didn't take me very long to decide that a trip to Salamanca would be an excellent way to practice my Spanish before continuing my studies at university, and also a wonderful way to enjoy my year off; not to mention the tan I was hoping to show off to all of my friends when I got home! And I can say with all honesty that the trip has definitely lived up to all my expectations. Coming from London, I almost fainted when I discovered that I could buy a glass of Sangria in a bar for 1 euro, it took me less than 10 minutes to walk to the beautiful plaza mayor and I had an incredible view of the cathedral from the balcony of my flat.

In my opinion, Salamanca has a perfect combination of the relaxed Spanish attitude and the buzzing student night-life of a university town. Amongst the beautiful sandstone buildings, churches and monuments, there are hundreds of bars and cafés. There is always something to see or do, especially in a school like Isla where they plan activities almost every day, from film nights to paella nights, free tours of the city to a free trip to the tennis courts. The only thing you can't find here is a reason to be bored.

Lucy Merson, UK

Hello, my names Toby, I was a student and runner for ISLA.

I arrived in Salamanca in September, almost by accident with no previous knowledge of the city and even less of a grasp of the language. I knew no one, understood nothing and had no idea where to start. To put it bluntly when I left, I left with everything, friends, language and culture.

ISLA didn't just teach me. It gave me the opportunity to see so much more. The Tapas tours with Dieter for starters. Absolutely epic!! The salsa classes, haha, so much fun. The social life was incredible, the nightlife fantastic but even more so the atmosphere inside the school. The students shouldn't feel separate from the organization and in ISLA you certainly do not, your part of the school therefore part of the running.

For example, every second Friday Dieter, myself and assorted other students would put together some kind of morning surprise. Whether it be a fruit salad and drinks to a whole Pigs leg (Jamon), maybe even a cheeky mulled wine during the Christmas period.

This is all reflected in the friends I made there. From all over the world, all ages and walks of life. Germany, Brasil, Switzerland, Belgium.the list goes on. For all of this I have two people to thank, and that's Amanda and Dieter. If you have visited ISLA I am sure you could never forget them, especially not Amanda's dress sense. God I miss your green jumper with the bobbles Mands, and I still have the hat you bought me from Morocco.
Thanks for everything, Gracias para todo. Sois fenomenales.

Tobias Menzies, UK

I have been to ISLA three times as a student. First with group lessons and then with individual ones to prepare for a job.

I'd had a friend who had studied there and told me about how good the teachers were and the atmosphere was... and it really was. Dieter arranged a Spanish guitar lesson for me on my first time and I made good friends with my teacher, the magnificent Nano. This made a big difference to me. We are still in contact.

Obviously Salamanca is the most amazing location... no one can really believe that there is such s fun place in the middle of the desert. The school tapas tours are great fun, especially if Dieter goes. It's nice they still make an effort as they don't really need to as there is so much on offer in Salamanca.

There are quite a lot of school kids at Easter time but they try and keep them in the afternoons so they aren't too noisy. Also, do tell them if you don't like smoking... a lot of host families smoke. I had to change my family once, but Sara was really quick to find me a new place and Amanda moved me in her car.

I really recommend it. Wish there was an ISLA-like operation in France so if anyone knows please facebook me!

Sharon Magen, Israel

Life can be so random. Thanks to the wonderful efficiency of some country’s bureaucracy I had to wait 4 weeks before I would get my visa before I could start my internship abroad. Out of the blue and without any specific motive I decided to pack my bag and leave to Spain to study some Spanish. I could have easily gone to another city or picked another school, but I happened to end up at Isla Salamanca, something I have never really regretted.

I am trying to think about what exactly it is that made me come back for the third year in row now. First of all there is of course Salamanca itself: the city centre is absolutely gorgeous, its nightlife is no less than legendary and in summer the swimming pools are absolutely irresistible. More importantly however, I think it is Isla’s atmosphere that I keep coming back to. All my life I háted studying languages more than anything, whereas at Isla I discovered that learning a foreign language doesn’t need to be a complete bore.

I believe the difference between studying Spanish at a regular school and studying Spanish at Isla lies for a great deal in Isla’s teachers. I don’t really know how they do it, but I have never really had the feeling that I was studying Spanish. I remember for example how José María, my first teacher at Isla, made maximum use of his fantasy to help us telling things we didn’t have the vocabulary for yet, and how every time we had no other option than to assent, slightly giggling, with something like “si, mas o menos”. Yés, I might have looked a little sleepy in a class, but nó I hadn’t tried 25 chupitos at once the night before, neither did I need to be carried back home by two extremely handsome Spaniards who courteously left me their number on my bedside table, but yés, it was a wonderful evening, thank you very much”. Knowing we were rather defenceless José María knew quite well how he could stretch the meaning of the phrase “mas o menos” (more or less) to the maximum extent possible, and I suppose you never get too old to shyly giggle like a teenager.

Later, when my Spanish had significantly improved, I really enjoyed the discussions we had in class, as well as the fact that I was now able to poke fun at the teachers myself. The thing I like so much about studying at Isla is that everybody is welcomed to study at their own pace. Whereas some like to pursue an in-depth study about Salamanca's nightlife while grabbing some Spanish along the way, others consider studying Spanish more like something that enables them to learn more about the Spanish culture, and some way or another all this mixes pretty well together. I don’t know. What started as a bit of a haphazard project has turned out to be a nice and interesting chapter in my life. I had a lot of fun learning Spanish – which is something that has never occurred to me with any language I have studied before – and I attribute a great deal of this to Isla.

I like to compare it with a little child who is discovering the world. In the beginning you need a lot of confidence from the teacher to take your first steps, but the more you are gaining confidence, the better life gets, and the more you want more and more and more. Already after a couple of weeks I found myself capable to hang out with some of my Spanish CouchSurfing friends, which was an experience that gave me such a boost that ‘studying’ Spanish never really felt like studying. So here I am – there you are. If you are about to make a random choice just like I did 3 years ago, then I hope that my experience may inspire you. I remember that back then when I was comparing language schools that I didn't really pay attention to these student testimonials because I didn't think they be real or sincere. And yet, they are. They are so real that I don't mind putting my e-mail address below so that you can contact me in person. Please do so. Un besito,

Lie Heymans, Belgium

I first came to Isla just before I did my Alevels, wanting some last minute practice for the exams. It's amazing how much Asun and Carlos can teach you in one week without you even noticing.

But I never thought I'd fall in love with the place and return three times and counting! Since then, my visits to Isla have been as much a holiday as a study trip. In a city as spectacular as Salamanca, and thanks to Isla, I found it impossible to have a dull moment. That is unless I was recovering from one of the proverbial Tapas Tours... You're in seriously good hands with Amanda and Dieter. I went to places that I would never have found my myself. The wine, the razor clams, the porrones etc. will all take some beating. I mean, when was the last time you ate shark meat? Or churros at 6 in the morning while watching the sunrise?

It's this community spirit that I really love about Isla, because it's quite a small school. No problem is too small for Amanda and Dieter and Sara, I felt just like part of one big family. I met all sorts of people and always felt I had something in common with them, even if it was only loving all things Spanish.

Most importantly, that is after all the purpose of the place, my Spanish has improved no end. Tu madre... now takes pride of place in my vocab. But seriously, Jose Maria, Carlos, Asun, Rebe - and these are just the teachers that had to put up with me - are so dedicated y tan amables. ¡¡Gracias por todo, Isla!!

Iryna Lewis, Ucraine

When I first came to ISLA last year I wanted to gain ample amount Spanish in order to travel to South America for my gap year. With the hope of starting the language I had not studied since GCSE´s. I knew it would be best to start again. Embarking on the year of a lifetime I imagined Salamanca as Sun, Sea and Sangria….It was (no sea included).

Within my first three weeks as an ISLA student it was becoming increasingly harder to leave, the relaxed friendly working environment in a great city with great people. Seven and a half months later I was still there, not only had my Spanish improved monumentally I had made lifelong friends not only with students but the whole ISLA community. While the end was near I had one more thing to conquer at my stay at ISLA the dreaded Dele exam!!! Not being a natural linguist I had nothing to lose. Salamanca and ISLA had truly made my gap year South America is not going anywhere !. Thank you ISLA And I passed the Dele.

Hamish Murdoch, UK

Salamanca is paradise for anyone young and up for fun. I came to Isla from the UK for the first time in 2008 not really knowing what to expect.

I was there for two weeks on an AS revision course and loved it so much that I decided to come back during my gap year for 4 months. During my first visit to Salamanca I stayed with a host family. Although to begin with it was rather daunting; my host mum only spoke Spanish, Maria´s hospitality and amazing cooking meant I settled in extremely fast. There were two other Isla students living with Maria at the time, one German and one Swiss.

Despite the temptation to speak English we refrained out of politeness, Maria wouldn´t have understood a word of what we were saying and it would have seemed extremely rude, especially considering how generous she´d been with us. Having to speak Spanish "en casa" as well as in the classroom, meant that my Spanish improved enormously as well as fast. I returned to England with a fresh outlook on Spanish, what had previously been my worst subject was now my favourite and I decided to pursue it as a University career.

To the utter delight and surprise of my Spanish teacher in England I ultimately got an A in my Spanish A level and now have a place to study Hispanic studies at UCL which I´ll begin in September 2010. The Isla experience for me is the perfect mix of social fun vs studying. Outside the classroom it´s non- stop partying with your class mates, which you would think would make lessons a drag. However at Isla I found the classes almost as entertaining as the nightlife(even with a hangover.) The teachers are such great fun and the relationship you share with them isn´t the traditional one of distance that I was used to England but more one of good friendship. This means that you learn loads but at the same time don´t really realize how much you´re taking in, it seems that with little effort your Spanish improves enormously (ideal for any lazy teenager like myself.) As for being in Spain, the weather, culture and Dieter´s tapas tours make it seem more like a holiday, than a language course. I would recommend Isla to anyone wanting to improve their Spanish whilst having a ball socially.

Federica Miller, UK

I'd always wanted to learn Spanish, and for those purposes I tried several self study programs earlier, unfortunately they didn't work for me.

Then I decided to get Spanish classes in a Spanish speaking country. After a long researching progress, I decided to go to Salamanca. The main reasons for me to decide on Salamanca were being a safe, inexpensive, being said good spoken Spanish city.

I focused on Spanish schools in Salamanca, I contacted to former students of each school and asked some details. The answers from students were helped me to reduce the list to mainly two schools in Salamanca, ISLA was clearly offering better prices. At that point, I couldn't make my mind immediately. Because I had concerns whether the school was too small which would may end up with less socializing atmosphere or education quality. I started to get more information about ISLA, the more info I got the more I loved and finally made my decision.

I started as complete beginner and I didn't know anything to say except some crucial words I learnt from self study books prior to my visit. My Spanish improved very quickly at Isla. My ex flat mate in London who lives in Madrid at the moment visited me in Salamanca at the end of my 3rd week, she and one of her friend were impressed by the Spanish I was speaking. At the end of the 4 weeks, I was able to speak about future, past as well as I was able to express my feelings in certain way. That was much more than I expected to learn. I had classmates from different nationalities and ages with a very well balanced level.

I wish I would have 4 months time which will definitely help to cover most of the things in Spanish and being at intermediate level. I absolutely recommend ISLA. Smaller classes, very skilful teachers, good management, friendly environment and the books and program followed to teach Spanish are excellent. Daily homework and weekly levelling exams are very good to motive to study and keep the level as it is supposed to be.

Salamanca is very good decision for learning Spanish, because it is a small, cheap and safe city, there are lots of attractions (a fantastic night life !) which suits everyone. Most Spanish people in Salamanca don't know English but they are extremely helpful and friendly which makes it perfect. It is so easy to make friends from all over the world in Salamanca.

Bora Uzun, Turkey

Hola, Jimmy, yes, Jimmy and nicknames no, but I wish that man from Extremadura would say that word 'joder'. Always with a minor irritation or annoyance it would be 'jo...' Que pasa, hombre, esta palabra es joder. Dice joder. It is the same as dammit and no need to be coy. But all the lecturers loved their work and obviously enjoyed teaching their favourite subject, Spanish, and fortunately could only speak Spanish.

Dieter's tapas tours, no Dieter's Tapas Tours. Amazing, is it the drink, is it the food or is it the most amazing characters you meet in the most unlikely of places? You start the evening with these amazing dishes (I have done tapas in Sevilla, Madrid and Santiago de Compostella), Salamanca is the best. Trust Dieter. But you end (normalmente a las tres o quatro) eating 'comida basura' in the High Street. Es mejor and the ultimate hangover cure, es verdad. Next morning in class, clear eyed and bushy tailed, me.

May I add I was not alone in the class, so there. la marcha in Salamanca is also the best. And by the way my host lady, beat me, I came home before she did. I wonder what time of the morning she came home? I know her sons met me on my way to my first class of the morning. They came in and I went out. My Spanish was way to poor to find out what they did in the evening. Luckily siesta was longer than most. But the night life; safe, friendly, a tad overindulge, but never too much. And this comes from a man who is much much younger than Dieter (tengo solamente 53 años). I will send my daughters to ISLA if they want to learn and immerse in Spanish and Spanish culture. I miss Salamanca, and I miss ISLA. Had a wonderful time, and it really was total immersion and I learnt more in two weeks than in a class of three years. Maybe el próxima año, por favor, Amanda

Andre Beukes, South Africa

As I write this from ISLA, looking out onto the Plaza de los Bosilios with the stunning back drop of the Cathedral and the Convent sat proudly next door my 13 weeks are coming to an end.

ISLA has played a massive part in my life over the last 7 years and each of the 7 visits have brought lots of memories for me. Starting in 2005 I came for a week with my school St.Aidan’s. Memories include walking through the stunning Sierra de Francia, A tapas tour a fantastic host mum and an improvement in Spanish. I then returned two years later again with my school but this time with thanks to the great teachers of ISLA my confidence in Spanish increased. After a few more one week trips I returned in 2009 as a member of staff of St.Aidan´s for a week and stayed in a student residence. Here I saw what I felt two years previously, the students growing in confidence thanks to a well structured teaching programme and enthusiastic teachers driving the students forward. That following summer I spent five weeks in Salamanca. I remember on my first day being petrified. I knew no one. However by 11.20am I had made a friend.

The welcome party then introduced me to other students making my stay in Salamanca all the more enjoyable. So now in the summer 2012 after 3 years of using very little Spanish I am here once again. However this time my experience has been completely different. For the last 13 weeks I have had classes for 4 hours and in the afternoons I have been working as a runner at ISLA. At first I didn’t know what to expect, I had lost all confidence in my Spanish so I knew that it would be a challenge. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t nervous. I was excited. On my first day after doing the test I was reunited with the famous teachers, the office staff and of course Amanda and Dieter.

Classes passed quickly and work was soon to start. I struggled to string a sentence together but somehow managed to get through my first day. I was instantly relieved. I knew that my time here wasn’t going to be as hard as originally thought. As time has progressed my confidence in Spanish has improved and that has been the icing of the cake. Once again I have made friends for life and I will never forget this summer. From the laughter in class, to the nights of Fiesta, from the chats in the office, to the endless cups of coffee my experience has been incredible. I would recommend ISLA to anyone of any age; it truly is an incredible experience and one which I will never forget. So thank you ISLA and the team for making it that very bit special.

Charlotte Woods, UK

I spent 5 weeks at ISLA in October 2014 and celebrated my 49th birthday in the magic city of Salamanca! I had an amazing time both as a student at ISLA and as a tourist. If you are looking to take Spanish classes, look no further!

You cannot find a better run school than ISLA! Before embarking on this adventure, I spent two months researching different schools in a number of countries in Latin America and Spain. I am a linguist and a teacher so I had many requirements and was very critical of the language programs offered.

Amanda, one of the school directors, addressed all my inquiries and concerns very patiently and provided many details about the language classes at ISLA. Everything she promised was delivered and more! For example, she assured me that in the unlikely case that I were the only complete beginner, I would have lessons on my own and will not be put in the same class with other students that are more advanced. When I arrived, I was the only beginner and for a whole week I had one hour private classes every day without having to pay extra for that!

My first teacher at ISLA was Alberto. He is an outstanding language teacher, with a great sense of humor, highly accomplished and knowledgeable. One of the things I liked about the program is that each week we had a different teacher. In this way students are exposed to different teaching styles and methods and I believe this facilitates the learning process. All the teachers I had, Alberto, Rosa, Jose Maria, and Luis, were outstanding! They were not only very experienced and knowledgeable language instructors, who knew minimum of three languages but also in a way - artists and actors! They drew pictures of the words we could not understand or acted them out!

The teachers did everything to make the lesson a fun learning experience and I never felt bored or anxious in class. During the 35 days I was there, not a single person from the ISLA team was ever in a bad mood or not prepared! Everyone at ISLA is eager to help with any questions you might have - classes, travel, sightseeing, shopping, cooking, etc. The school also organizes surprises 'sopresas' once a week during class break. We enjoyed 'chocolate con churros', 'jamon Iberico y queso' and many other free fun activities. For my accommodation I chose to live with a host family and I was very happy with my choice. I stayed with Pilar and Felix who took care of me like I was their own daughter! I enjoyed gourmet lunches that Pilar prepared every day and tried to practice in my conversations with them everything I had learned in class that day. Pilar prepared vocabulary handouts for me with the days of the week, months, fruits, veggies, etc. and Felix was very patient with me and my beginner Spanish! When I was leaving, they would not let me call a taxi and drove me to the bus station at 5 am in the morning!

I made many new friends and came home a renewed and changed person who is happier, calmer and appreciates life more. I learned a lot and I had a great time thanks to the outstanding teachers and staff at ISLA! I would love to return to ISLA to study again in October 2015;)) Thank you for this amazing experience!

Stefanie Shumanova, USA

Amazing Experience at ISLA Salamanca

If you are looking in to what school to chose and you want to have a wonderful experience....look no further! All the students I spoke to....young as well as older - like myself (44) - loved ISLA and Salamanca is the perfect place to go and have an amazing time....also the tapas and wine and night life there is incredible and again - you can chose to participate in all of that with or without ISLA as all activities out side of school are voluntary and at a very little extra cost!!! Go for it! And enjoy...I wish I could return a few weeks a year!!!

Natashja Dworkin, Denmark

ISLA is a top-notch language school that not only provides dynamic language classes but also gives an otherwise unseen taste of Spanish culture while creating friendships and lasting memories among people of diverse cultures. The language lessons at ISLA provided pertinent conversational sessions that enhanced my Spanish speaking from a timid novice to a conversational speaker in just weeks. The tapas tours and excursions gave me a taste of Spain I would have otherwise never experienced. Swimming in the pristine waterholes of Spain, having pitch-in dinners with people from all over the world, to kayaking between Spain and Portugal were some of my best memories from my adventures in Spain. And I owe it all to ISLA.

Keia Powell, USA

"I was searching for a Spanish program in Salamanca and I chose ISLA. I already knew how to speak Spanish, but I wasn't fluent. I also had some bad grammar and syntax habits from speaking 'street' Spanish. Not only did I improve my Spanish a lot, I made a lot of good friends. ISLA also does a fantastic job of organizing trips to see other sites in Spain, as well as tours of Salamanca. Truly a first-class operation and I highly recommend it to anyone from a beginner to somebody looking to sharpen their existing knowledge. I will be back!"

Joe Varney, USA

It can be difficult choosing a language school in a different country, but I look back at my time at ISLA as the best decision of my life. ISLA does it all, ranging from basic Spanish classes to such advanced levels that your head will spin. The teachers are knowledgeable, easy to understand, and will teach you in a way that sticks with you. The administration works hard to make you feel right at home in Salamanca, as they set up homestays, tours around Salamanca, and also several guided trips outside of the city. ISLA is also great with any age group, the school plans activities accordingly and makes speaking Spanish an integral part of the experience. If you want to do Spain right, do it with ISLA.

Ken Booser, USA

Here is my little story about the travel and about my experiences with Spain and ISLA. Before I left to Spain, I was looking forward to learn Spanish and meet new people. Only thing was, that I was bit worried about the travel on my own, and the first week that I wouldn’t meet enough people. Worries for nothing. ISLA organised my trip to Salamanca, tips how to get the easiest way to the bus to Salamanca and then to my apartment, so the journey was really comfortable. The first week I met loads of people because of the activities which ISLA was organising. (They do that every week) From trips to culture things it’s all nice. All the new people sign up and most of the time other students are coming to meet the new people.

The first week of school was a bit hard, a whole new language and the best way to learn is only speaking Spanish. The teachers are really nice and helpful and keep explaining till you get it. The lessons are not boring at all, because of the variety and the teachers. So the language, I learned it so fast, I was surprised, even when I started as a beginner. The teachers are amazing and the school well organised.

I lived in two apartments in Salamanca. I didn’t choose for a host family because I wanted a step further, live on my own. All the apartments are in the centre, supermarket next to your house, the bars everything, comparing to other schools I think ISLA has the best locations. These apartments are well equipped, clean and have a really reasonable price! I lived in Salamanca with other ISLA students. If you have a problem with anything, ISLA is ready to solve it. I changed my apartment because I wanted to live with my best friends. I told ISLA and the next day I was in my new apartment with my friends.

The city Salamanca is great. Not to big, and everything is in the centre. For going out this city is the best! Salamanca has a lot of culture things as well. The city is beautiful and really good for tapas.

I had a wonderful time in Salamanca, thanks to ISLA! Great city, great school, great teachers, great live!

Maarten Zonnevylle, Netherlands

From the very beginning, ISLA was different. I had been traveling for about eight months without goal or destination and the idea of visiting Spain to take some language classes had been growing on me. On the recommendation of a friend I decided to go to Salamanca; an ancient and beautiful center of learning close to Madrid where I could learn beautiful Castilian Spanish.

Because I was traveling, I wanted things to be easy and spontaneous. I sent 4-5 preliminary email inquiries to language schools advertising on the internet. From most of them, I received auto-responses complete with extensive questionnaires about my education, long-term goals, time-frame, etc., etc., etc. And then; a personal email response from Dieter Wiggert; the Director of ISLA. Dieter welcomed me, told me a little about the school and assured me that classes would be available for me whenever I chose to arrive, tailored to my own abilities - or lack thereof - in Spanish. He offered to find accommodations for me and in response to my concern that I might be older and less traditional than the typical students at the institute, he assured me that I would find people of all ages and that I would fit in and find friends there.

And that is exactly what I found; a friendly yet professionally managed environment where I met new friends and learned more Spanish during the next four weeks than in all of my previous years of classes and exposure to the language.On my first day in Salamanca - a Friday - I visited the school during the afternoon. The school was mostly empty as it was lunch and siesta time, but I met with Sara, one of the school administrators. She was warm, welcoming and informative. She invited me to come along on the evening's 'tapas tour' and offered to set up appointments for me to see the available accommodations the next day. It was just that easy.

By evening I was walking the streets of Salamanca in the company of about 15 other students ranging in age from 18 to 80, speaking a mixture of broken Spanish and English and myriad other languages; finding new friends and wonderful food. The next morning I visited two lovely private homes where there were rooms available for rent and arranged to move in the next morning. Pepita, my hostess, had a comfortable room with my own private balcony in her lovely 'piso', or flat, almost next door to the school in the older - and prettiest - part of town. She was accustomed to hosting students at ISLA and made everything seamless. She asked my preferences for waking time, breakfast and lunch and from then on, we had at least two meals together every day -- where I attempted to make myself understood in conversation. In the mornings she would wake me, make me coffee and breakfast and make sure I left on time to make the short walk across the courtyard to the school.

When I returned after classes she always had delicious hot meals waiting for me. Before I left, we had become friends and Pepita had even taken me for a weekend trip to her home in the country where we visited the beautiful ancient city of Alberca and ate "comidas"; a traditional Spanish meal involving more dishes than American Thanksgiving. By Monday morning I was in 'school'. A short exam and a little conversation determined which classes were appropriate for me, my level of learning, my budget, and my goals. The school was always completely flexible. I was able to tailor my experience from week to week. There were indeed students of all ages and abilities attending the school and even with so much diversity everything seemed to run seamlessly.There was always a variety of cultural and social activities to support my learning; guided visits to museums and cathedrals, films, music, parties., etc. I made friends, learned Spanish, learned about the culture and people of Spain and had a wonderful time. I can't wait to go back again.... Collette Royer, USA

ISLA is a great school for those that want to excel their Spanish study. The teachers are friendly and very professional . I learned more in 3 months than I could have learned in 3 years in university. The school provides an array of social opportunities including the always enjoyable tapas crawls (tours). The experience at ISLA starts to feel like a close-knit family perfect for developing authentic friendships and a more functional ability in Spanish. As an American I had an amazing experience learning along side students from many different countries. If you want a unique and rewarding experience choose ISLA not one of the monster language school that will treat you as another check.

Jeffrey Stone, USA

When I decided to study Spanish, I never knew that ISLA and Salamanca would provide me with the most exhilarating, eye-opening and extraordinary six months of my life. All travellers know that choosing to uproot and move to another country is not an easy decision to make. In January 2012, after I’d finally settled on Spain as my adopted country and Salamanca as my new city, I needed to choose a language school. When I emailed Amanda (co-director) a few questions about ISLA, I had a response from a remote part of West Indies less than 24 hours later. That sort of dedication, even whilst on holidays, cemented my decision to study at ISLA.

I could actually take up multiple webpages discussing my six-month experience but I’m trying to keep this testimonial relatively brief. Therefore, I’ve outlined two major topics which are usually important to any prospective student – The School and Extra curricular activities! I’d be more than happy if anyone wants more details to contact me about my experience with ISLA and Salamanca to email me at jordan.goulding@hotmail.com.

THE SCHOOL (AND EXAM PREPARATION)
The truth is that I only planned to stay at ISLA for three months. However, after three weeks of friendly and patient teachers, comfortable classrooms and helpful and welcoming office staff showing me their city, I made the easy decision to extend my stay until November 2012. The teachers use their years of professional experience to implement courses which are intense without being laborious. ISLA has a high success rate with students passing DELE exams because the teachers actually care and do everything within their power to get them across the finish line. As a teacher myself, I appreciate this immensely. On top of this, they are just really nice, sincere people. I now have a B1 DELE Diploma in Spanish which has created many career paths I could take around the world. Hopefully I pass B2 – time will tell!

EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
‘Bored’ is NEVER a word one can use to describe an ISLA student. Students can easily pass their recreation time travelling around the region with new friends or relaxing in a Salamantino bar with the locals (my personal favourite being a little joint near the school called ‘Centenera’). However, Amanda and co-director/husband Dieter as well as dedicated office staff organise a variety of weekly activities, many with cultural overtones such as salsa dancing or cooking tapas. One of my favourite activities is the Friday night tapas tour. I was on one within my first four hours in Salamanca and never looked back! Amanda and Dieter spend what could easily be considered ‘their own time’ organising activities to ensure students relish their free time and create special memories out of school hours. These truly are two of the most generous people in the world. Providing a simple testimonial is the least I can do to thank ISLA for a life-changing experience. Salamanca is now my second home and I consider the people from ISLA my family. I really can’t wait to see them all later in 2013.

Jordan Goulding, Australia

If you ever wake up one morning and think, I really need to learn Spanish, pronto, don´t think twice, just come to Salamanca. While I was living in France during my gap year, a whim possessed me to start learning Spanish, which was always one of the languages I had planned to learn one day, though I had assumed it would be after university, where I´m going to read French and Arabic. So I was recommended an Isla course, booked it, had a horrendous 12 hour bus journey to Spain, and since then it´s been crazy. I headed straight here to a new lifestyle of 5 hours Spanish lessons, siesta, fiesta. Time is flying by far too fast in a blur of an ever-changing student body at school and after-party exhaustion. Although as someone who is staying more permanently it´s sad to see people come and friends go, I love how international an experience ISLA offers, as it attracts everyone from everywhere. Your facebook friends count will explode, if that gets you going. But I know these are not only cyber friends but people I will fly to another country to see when I next can! Because you see a lot of people from school when you´re out in the evening (Salamanca´s on the small side- watch out, it´s very likely you´ll see people you´d rather not see from the night before around during the day!), so when you´ve shared experiences in some of the unforgettably cheesy clubs Salamanca throws at you ( you won´t find another ´Camelot´ anywhere in the world) you can party anywhere together!! Or rather, Salamanca will send you looking for a real party…

My time here is far from over, but I can already tell you how worthwhile it is, in terms of the global networking you´ll be doing, the Spanish you´ll be learning, and the experiences you´ll have- eating vast amounts of tapas on tapas tours, seeing more of an amazingly rich country on trips to nearby cities, or exploring Salamanca by night on night walks, all organised through the school. The teachers are all good-humoured and will broach ANY subject to get you talking Spanish, which I really appreciate, especially when you´re getting excellent speaking practice and matchmaking advice in one go… So, like the others, my review also finishes with one recommendation: get yourself to ISLA. All that´s left for you to do is get on a plane. Or boat. Or just walk.

Katie Holland, UK

It is always difficult to choose a language course , especially if you are a mature student, and, after one bad experience in another city, I only booked for a week at ISLA in Salamance.

Bad mistake – because it was SUPERB! I made real progress and two weeks would have been too short! From the initial friendly welcome (and the inevitable test!) it felt right. The teaching was outstanding – and as an ex-headteacher I have spent a lot of time observing lessons! Four hours of Spanish every morning seems daunting – but it was challenging, fun, well paced and always interesting. The group I was in was small (7 students from 7 different countries) and everyone was encouraged to take part all the time. I was staying independently but I know, from talking to my class mates, that the care and concern for the students in flats and families was exemplary. When I come next time – and I will be back – I will ask to stay with a family and I am already looking forward to another visit to the beautiful city of Salamanca and the friendly school.

Lindsey Wharmby, UK

3 years ago, as a 16 year old, I was sent to Salamanca by my parents to improve my Spanish before I started 6th form. After a recommendation from a family friend, my parents and I decided on ISLA. Little did I know that 3 years later, I would be coming to the end of my fourth unforgettable trip to ISLA. Every time I have come here, not only have I met people who I know will be friends for life, but I also always leave confidently knowing that my Spanish has improved dramatically. I think the reason that I have come back so much is because every person associated with ISLA is so friendly and welcoming from Amanda and Dieter to the office staff and the teachers. Every single one of them dedicates their free time to the students by organising activities such as tapas tours and salsa dancing or preparing enjoyable and interesting lessons. I love meeting people and at ISLA, I have had the opportunity to make friends of all different ages from a variety of different countries and backgrounds. I have shared the most incredible memories with the most incredible people from exploring Sierra de Francia on one of Dieter´s Drives to relaxing in my favourite Salamancan bar named “Centenera”-

I would thoroughly recommend ISLA to anyone thinking of studying Spanish as the teaching is first class, the staff are so friendly and to top it off, it is situated right at the centre of the wonderful city of Salamanca.

Charlotte Dialdas UK

I’ve been an English language teacher now for many years in Germany and have taken Spanish courses in the far Galician north and the deep Andalusian south and can say now after two weeks in Salamanca that ISLA is a superb Spanish language school in so many ways!

From my first inquiry about courses all the way to my departure after two weeks that really flew by I experienced ISLA's warm welcome and great coordination, the excellent team of teachers, many of whom according to ISLA’s informative website have been around from the start: a sign that either the founders Dieter and Amanda consciously made excellent choices in their staff or that they’ve just been very lucky or they really take care of their teachers, who evidently are happy here, or maybe all of the above!

As a "mature" student pursuing Spanish now in preparation for retirement, I was happy to experience the great mix of ages and backgrounds of students and teachers. And so many experiences making for wonderful memories…

At last listening comprehension not about artificial situations but about Spain, its geography, political structure, arts, history… everything from sobao pastry to primogeniture as an explanation for Spain's history to a moving description of Picasso's Guernika, all in beautifully clear Spanish, reminding me of my favorite television news reporter (because his pronunciation is so much easier to understand for me) Álvaro López de Goicoechea, who's also Basque like Carlos, “el hombre de la cultura.”

José Manuel – better known as Jimmy – a great grammar teacher and for me an ideal representative of the generation of Spaniards growing up in the transición. Thanks to Asun I learned something about the etymology of becas ... on the side since she was actually the wonderfully witty teacher of my Español in Acción classes, where there really was action - Asun’s dry deadpan delivery deserves an Oscar.

Of course Luis deserves an Oscar too, both a teacher and a full-time actor, his way of making Don Quixote relevant and alive to a group of English adolescents - probably the most challenging audience I can imagine - was a highlight.  And I learned new insights about Don Quixote as well as being royally entertained by someone who was not a pringao in any sense of the word!

And then Vicky, who showed how well she can teach the challenging one-on-one classes with someone - me! - with very limited Spanish, and who also helped me understand a generation of the critical sophisticated Spaniards with an intriguingly ambivalent view of their home country. 

Hats off to you all! 

The office angels - Rosana, Cris, Sara - were fantastic: what a great service to have someone available from early until late always with a friendly smile and patience with so many foreigners stumbling and stuttering. While I didn’t have the chance to meet Amanda and Dieter personally, my email contact during the application process was very friendly and very helpful. Not only do I now have cherished memories of Salamanca, I was delighted to "hear" my progress upon my return to Germany by understanding a lot more Spanish television than before ISLA!

Thanks very much for a wonderfully rewarding experience in all possible ways, I’m looking forward to coming back – before retirement!
Jody Skinner, Germany

I had never been to a language school before I went to ISLA, however from the moment I arrived in Salamanca I was impressed. My ISLA apartment was great and I had a great view of the cathedral from my bedroom window, as well as lovely flatmates.

As for the first day, from the moment you walk into the reception you are greeted with the warmest of welcomes and instantly put at ease. After I sat the placement test (don't worry, it's just go gauge your level) you are taken to your class and three months later I can say that I feel my Spanish has improved immensely since then. The standard of teaching is superb and I have really enjoyed my classes with Asun, Carlos, Vicky, Jimmy and Alberto. They were very patient even when I was hopelessly lost in some bizarre usage of the subjunctive, but always took time to explain it to me, while of course having a good laugh together in the process!

As well as being a student I have also had the opportunity to work as a runner, which gives you a look at how things work behind the scenes and contributing to the general running of the school, as well as being a great way to practise your Spanish after class with the amazing Cristina, Rosana and Sara in the reception! Amanda and Dieter, the directors of the school, are also very fun and welcoming, and always endeavour to make sure that every student that comes to ISLA has a great time.

When my day finished (I had four hours of Spanish in the morning and four hours of work in the afternoon, quite a long day but nevertheless good practise!) I went back to my apartment where my flatmates and I cooked together, before inevitably ending up enjoying the great nightlife that Salamanca has to offer. There is never a dull moment in Salamanca, the food and drink is incredible, as well as the various excursions and activities that the school has provides (highlights include the Tapas Tour and the 'Dieter's Drive' excursion into the stunning countryside accompanied by great picnic!). I will really miss my time at ISLA and I hope one day that I get the opportunity to go back.
Alex Bolam, UK

I first came to ISLA in 1996 and spent a month learning Spanish. I returned a few time during the following year. I have just returned again, unfortunately only for one week this time. It continues to be, by far, the best place I have been to learn Spanish. The hosts (directors) are husband and wife, Amanda and Dieter. I was encouraged to recognise (and be remembered by) two of the teachers who taught me in the past and continue working there - Jimmy and Carlos.

Others have also been there for many years. It is clearly one big happy family for the staff as well as the students. Reception staff Sara, Rosana and Cristina are friendly and efficient and everyone does all they can to make you part of the family which is ISLA. If you want to learn Spanish in one of the most beautiful cities in the world in the best language school, I urge you to come to ISLA. Don't believe that you can't learn a language - forget the way you were taught at school!!!!


Ian McKenzie, UK

My trip to Salamanca was full of new but exciting experiences and is something that will stay with me forever.
What makes ISLA so special is the strong sense of community. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or how good you’re at Spanish. Everyone is made to feel welcome from the first day. This is helped by the wide range of activities they offer you throughout the week - from tapas tours to walking across the border into Portugal. My advice would be to get involved in everything because not only do you have a great time getting to know new people and new places but your Spanish is improving at the same time.
The thought of staying with a host family can be a bit daunting at first. But after a short while I learned that there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. My host mother was very kind to me and helped me to continue practicing my Spanish speaking outside the classroom. Although I enjoyed my new-found independence, it was comforting to know that if I did have any problems I had my host mother as well as the teachers at ISLA to go to.
Before going to Salamanca my friends thought I was mad going to spend 2 weeks of my summer holiday sitting in a classroom every day. However, I can honestly say that the atmosphere at ISLA is nothing like the one I experience at school in England. I think it’s a combination of the warm climate and friendly teachers that makes you feel so relaxed and not at all embarrassed about making mistakes. Also the 2pm finish meant that we still had the rest of the day to enjoy exploring the beautiful city of Salamanca and even get a flavour of the lively nightlife.
Even today I am still amazed at how much I had accomplished in just 2 weeks. For the first time I had travelled alone, attended a language school in a foreign country, stayed with a host family, got to know Salamanca like a second home, walked to Portugal, made some amazing friends and got a head start for my A2 studies. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend ISLA to anyone who is looking to brush up on their Spanish and have a holiday at the same time. Already I am counting down the days until my next trip!

Sarah Macmillan, UK

Volgende maand ga ik voor de zevende keer terug naar SALAMANCA om  met veel plezier mijn kennis van de Spaanse taal verder uit te breiden. Ik ga steeds naar dezelfde school: naar ISLA. Waarom? 
De school die centraal gelegen is in het prachtige historische Salamanca, werd onlangs volledig in een nieuw en modern jasje gestoken, wat mede bijdraagt tot de fijne open sfeer. Dit valt meteen op bij het binnenkomen. Amanda en Dieter weten efficiëntie te combineren met persoonlijke betrokkenheid bij elke student. Jong en minder jong -zoals ikzelf- voelt zich meteen opgenomen in de groep. De buitenschoolse activiteiten dragen hier zeker toe bij. Elke namiddag of avond valt er wel iets te beleven..koken, dansen, film, museum, een geleid bezoek aan een van de vele historische gebouwen, of de beroemde (lees beruchte) Tapas Tour.  Ook als je het wat rustiger wil houden, zorgt de wekelijkse "sorpresa en el parque" ervoor dat je toch iedereen leert kennen. Het allerbelangrijkst zijn natuurlijk de lessen en die zijn in één woord TOP! Alle leerkrachten zijn universitair geschoold, zeer kundig en ervaren en bovendien voorzien van veel humor en geduld. Persoonlijk heb ik ook altijd genoten van de extra cultuurlessen die op enthousiaste en boeiende manier worden overgebracht. Deze extra lessen zijn niet verplicht maar ik zou ze echt iedereen aanraden, want wat is een taal zonder de geschiedenis en de cultuur van het land?
Ik heb door en bij ISLA al veel nieuwe vrienden gemaakt en ik verheug me enorm om er weer te zijn!!

Jeanny Suppers, Belgium

Aangezien bij mij op de middelbare school geen Spaans gegeven werd, ging ik de zomer na mijn examens voor vier weken naar Salamanca om me alvast voor te bereiden op wat ik het jaar daarna zou gaan doen: Latijns-Amerika studies aan de Universiteit Leiden. Naast het feit dat ik door die vier weken taalschool meteen in module twee kon beginnen aan de universiteit, heb ik in Salamanca mijn leukste zomervakantie ooit gehad. De docenten en het personeel van Isla Salamanca zorgen ervoor dat je je meteen helemaal thuis voelt, de stad zelf is prachtig en je leert de eerste maandag tijdens de “welcome drinks” mensen van over de hele wereld kennen, met wie je uitstapjes maakt naar Madrid of Segovia, tapas eet en drankjes doet op de Plaza Mayor en ’s nachts uitgaat beginnend in de bar Centenera waar je altijd persoonlijk contact hebt met de mensen achter de bar. Je leert de Spaanse taal op de beste manier die er bestaat; namelijk vanaf dag één helemaal in het Spaans. Isla Salamanca organiseert daarnaast salsa of flamenco workshops, kooklessen, tapas tours en Dieter’s ride waarbij ik ben wezen kanoën op de rivier tussen Spanje en Portugal. Ik ben in mijn eentje met het vliegtuig naar Spanje gevlogen, maar heb me bij Isla Salamanca nooit alleen gevoeld. Vaak denk ik nog aan die vier weken terug en aan hoe graag ik ze overnieuw zou willen doen. Salamanca heeft voor altijd een plekje in mijn hart.

Elise van Wonderen, Netherlands

Arriving at Salamanca bus station on my first trip to study at ISLA, my stomach fluttered with butterflies as I waited to face the challenges that were to come. A smiling lady approached me with open arms introducing herself as my host mum, Pilar. She gave me a big squeeze to ease my nerves and began nattering away in Spanish to me of which the majority I struggled to understand being of a very low level at this time, with her husband grinning from ear to ear next to her. After settling into my room in her apartment an American girl appeared at my door and introduced herself as another ISLA student. By the end of the evening it felt as if we had known each other for years as we chatted and she laughed at my vocabulary and accent, epitomising at my use of the word ‘plaster’ instead of ‘band aid’, which had her in fits of laughter. The following morning my host mum showed me the picturesque route to school through the renowned Plaza Mayor, a place I would soon see as a meeting point and somewhere to get tasty ice cream. Arriving at the school I was welcomed with smiling faces all around as I met teachers and students and was shown my way around. Having no idea at the time that the girl I was walking around with would end up being a great friend of mine who I would room share with the following year upon returning to ISLA.

Lessons were not quite as I expected. They were fun and energetic with small class sizes, which gave a more intimate feel to the learning. We’d debate, gossip and learn all at the same time and the improvement in everyone’s Spanish after a few days was very visible. The week continued and I struck up friendships with people of all ages mainly as a result of signing up for Dieter’s drive. A trip in which we all hopped into a minibus and went up a mountain: stopping to have a quick swim in a river and picnic and finishing watching the sun set at the top. By the end of a week I was exhausted and ready for a weekend sleeping by the pool, however only after an evening at Centi’s with the whole ISLA crowd. (The bar that almost every ISLA student will be found in on most evenings). A great place for socialising where they tend to give you every other drink free! (Although heads up the wotsit looking crisps are most definitely not wotsit tasting, it’s more of a cardboard flavour.)

The following week was equally as fun. I made new friendships at the welcome party on the Monday, where all the new students meet the current ones and learn about ISLA culture. For example they will discover on Tuesday morning’s that ISLA is a very different place for the first few hours. Filled with people wearing sunglasses with big bottles of water and coffees in their hands, attempting to kill the hangover, which they have to remind them of the fab night before. This led onto me learning the word for hangover in Spanish, as my teachers laughed at those who were suffering the most. Every first break we would walk round to ‘el trastero’ for tapas or coffee and a quick chat with friends in other classes (I recommend the patatas bravas they are very tasty).

When this week came to an end, I wasn’t looking forward to the goodbyes I was going to have to say. Including my host family, who I had grown close to as my Spanish had improved enough to hold conversations with them and even share some jokes. Upon leaving Salamanca and hopping on the bus back to Madrid I knew I would be back the following year because the experiences I had were definitely ones I wanted to experience again.

The following year exceeded all expectations I had from the previous. I stayed with the same family as the year before for three weeks much to my delight as the food cooked by the host mum was delicious and plentiful (I don’t think I managed to finish a single meal because of the great quantity of food!). I reunited with several friends and teachers from the previous year and met several new people from various parts of the world. The three weeks passed fast, as I was packing my afternoons and evenings full with stuff to do with friends. The highlight being paddle boating on the river in swimwear to catch the suns rays, culminating in a few of us jumping into the river in front of the cathedral! (Which was peculiarly warm so maybe not a wise decision). Centi’s and Tuesday mornings in ISLA were just the same and it felt like I had never left. New faces appeared each Monday and the welcome party was always full with people with interesting stories and those who had done impressive things of varying ages and nationalities.

This summer will be my third summer at ISLA and I cannot wait to return. Salamanca is a great place for studying and socialising and this combination is what makes ISLA such a great place to study Spanish. You learn lots whilst also having a great time and it doesn’t feel like you’re at school at all. The people are great and everyone makes you feel like you belong. I couldn’t recommend ISLA more to anyone who wishes to improve their Spanish whilst also maturing themselves and forming great friendships that will last. (The churros and the tan are also great bonuses!)

Maddy Nutt, UK

I first came to ISLA in 1996 and spent a month learning Spanish. I returned a few time during the following year. I have just returned again, unfortunately only for one week this time. It continues to be, by far, the best place I have been to learn Spanish. The hosts (directors) are husband and wife, Amanda and Dieter. I was encouraged to recognise (and be remembered by) two of the teachers who taught me in the past and continue working there - Jimmy and Carlos.

Others have also been there for many years. It is clearly one big happy family for the staff as well as the students. Reception staff Sara, Rosana and Cristina are friendly and efficient and everyone does all they can to make you part of the family which is ISLA. If you want to learn Spanish in one of the most beautiful cities in the world in the best language school, I urge you to come to ISLA. Don't believe that you can't learn a language - forget the way you were taught at school!!!!


Ian McKenzie, UK

My trip to Salamanca was full of new but exciting experiences and is something that will stay with me forever.
What makes ISLA so special is the strong sense of community. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or how good you’re at Spanish. Everyone is made to feel welcome from the first day. This is helped by the wide range of activities they offer you throughout the week - from tapas tours to walking across the border into Portugal. My advice would be to get involved in everything because not only do you have a great time getting to know new people and new places but your Spanish is improving at the same time.
The thought of staying with a host family can be a bit daunting at first. But after a short while I learned that there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. My host mother was very kind to me and helped me to continue practicing my Spanish speaking outside the classroom. Although I enjoyed my new-found independence, it was comforting to know that if I did have any problems I had my host mother as well as the teachers at ISLA to go to.
Before going to Salamanca my friends thought I was mad going to spend 2 weeks of my summer holiday sitting in a classroom every day. However, I can honestly say that the atmosphere at ISLA is nothing like the one I experience at school in England. I think it’s a combination of the warm climate and friendly teachers that makes you feel so relaxed and not at all embarrassed about making mistakes. Also the 2pm finish meant that we still had the rest of the day to enjoy exploring the beautiful city of Salamanca and even get a flavour of the lively nightlife.
Even today I am still amazed at how much I had accomplished in just 2 weeks. For the first time I had travelled alone, attended a language school in a foreign country, stayed with a host family, got to know Salamanca like a second home, walked to Portugal, made some amazing friends and got a head start for my A2 studies. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend ISLA to anyone who is looking to brush up on their Spanish and have a holiday at the same time. Already I am counting down the days until my next trip!

Sarah Macmillan, UK

Volgende maand ga ik voor de zevende keer terug naar SALAMANCA om  met veel plezier mijn kennis van de Spaanse taal verder uit te breiden. Ik ga steeds naar dezelfde school: naar ISLA. Waarom? 
De school die centraal gelegen is in het prachtige historische Salamanca, werd onlangs volledig in een nieuw en modern jasje gestoken, wat mede bijdraagt tot de fijne open sfeer. Dit valt meteen op bij het binnenkomen. Amanda en Dieter weten efficiëntie te combineren met persoonlijke betrokkenheid bij elke student. Jong en minder jong -zoals ikzelf- voelt zich meteen opgenomen in de groep. De buitenschoolse activiteiten dragen hier zeker toe bij. Elke namiddag of avond valt er wel iets te beleven..koken, dansen, film, museum, een geleid bezoek aan een van de vele historische gebouwen, of de beroemde (lees beruchte) Tapas Tour.  Ook als je het wat rustiger wil houden, zorgt de wekelijkse "sorpresa en el parque" ervoor dat je toch iedereen leert kennen. Het allerbelangrijkst zijn natuurlijk de lessen en die zijn in één woord TOP! Alle leerkrachten zijn universitair geschoold, zeer kundig en ervaren en bovendien voorzien van veel humor en geduld. Persoonlijk heb ik ook altijd genoten van de extra cultuurlessen die op enthousiaste en boeiende manier worden overgebracht. Deze extra lessen zijn niet verplicht maar ik zou ze echt iedereen aanraden, want wat is een taal zonder de geschiedenis en de cultuur van het land?
Ik heb door en bij ISLA al veel nieuwe vrienden gemaakt en ik verheug me enorm om er weer te zijn!!

Jeanny Suppers, Belgium

Aangezien bij mij op de middelbare school geen Spaans gegeven werd, ging ik de zomer na mijn examens voor vier weken naar Salamanca om me alvast voor te bereiden op wat ik het jaar daarna zou gaan doen: Latijns-Amerika studies aan de Universiteit Leiden. Naast het feit dat ik door die vier weken taalschool meteen in module twee kon beginnen aan de universiteit, heb ik in Salamanca mijn leukste zomervakantie ooit gehad. De docenten en het personeel van Isla Salamanca zorgen ervoor dat je je meteen helemaal thuis voelt, de stad zelf is prachtig en je leert de eerste maandag tijdens de “welcome drinks” mensen van over de hele wereld kennen, met wie je uitstapjes maakt naar Madrid of Segovia, tapas eet en drankjes doet op de Plaza Mayor en ’s nachts uitgaat beginnend in de bar Centenera waar je altijd persoonlijk contact hebt met de mensen achter de bar. Je leert de Spaanse taal op de beste manier die er bestaat; namelijk vanaf dag één helemaal in het Spaans. Isla Salamanca organiseert daarnaast salsa of flamenco workshops, kooklessen, tapas tours en Dieter’s ride waarbij ik ben wezen kanoën op de rivier tussen Spanje en Portugal. Ik ben in mijn eentje met het vliegtuig naar Spanje gevlogen, maar heb me bij Isla Salamanca nooit alleen gevoeld. Vaak denk ik nog aan die vier weken terug en aan hoe graag ik ze overnieuw zou willen doen. Salamanca heeft voor altijd een plekje in mijn hart.

Elise van Wonderen, Netherlands

Arriving at Salamanca bus station on my first trip to study at ISLA, my stomach fluttered with butterflies as I waited to face the challenges that were to come. A smiling lady approached me with open arms introducing herself as my host mum, Pilar. She gave me a big squeeze to ease my nerves and began nattering away in Spanish to me of which the majority I struggled to understand being of a very low level at this time, with her husband grinning from ear to ear next to her. After settling into my room in her apartment an American girl appeared at my door and introduced herself as another ISLA student. By the end of the evening it felt as if we had known each other for years as we chatted and she laughed at my vocabulary and accent, epitomising at my use of the word ‘plaster’ instead of ‘band aid’, which had her in fits of laughter. The following morning my host mum showed me the picturesque route to school through the renowned Plaza Mayor, a place I would soon see as a meeting point and somewhere to get tasty ice cream. Arriving at the school I was welcomed with smiling faces all around as I met teachers and students and was shown my way around. Having no idea at the time that the girl I was walking around with would end up being a great friend of mine who I would room share with the following year upon returning to ISLA.

Lessons were not quite as I expected. They were fun and energetic with small class sizes, which gave a more intimate feel to the learning. We’d debate, gossip and learn all at the same time and the improvement in everyone’s Spanish after a few days was very visible. The week continued and I struck up friendships with people of all ages mainly as a result of signing up for Dieter’s drive. A trip in which we all hopped into a minibus and went up a mountain: stopping to have a quick swim in a river and picnic and finishing watching the sun set at the top. By the end of a week I was exhausted and ready for a weekend sleeping by the pool, however only after an evening at Centi’s with the whole ISLA crowd. (The bar that almost every ISLA student will be found in on most evenings). A great place for socialising where they tend to give you every other drink free! (Although heads up the wotsit looking crisps are most definitely not wotsit tasting, it’s more of a cardboard flavour.)

The following week was equally as fun. I made new friendships at the welcome party on the Monday, where all the new students meet the current ones and learn about ISLA culture. For example they will discover on Tuesday morning’s that ISLA is a very different place for the first few hours. Filled with people wearing sunglasses with big bottles of water and coffees in their hands, attempting to kill the hangover, which they have to remind them of the fab night before. This led onto me learning the word for hangover in Spanish, as my teachers laughed at those who were suffering the most. Every first break we would walk round to ‘el trastero’ for tapas or coffee and a quick chat with friends in other classes (I recommend the patatas bravas they are very tasty).

When this week came to an end, I wasn’t looking forward to the goodbyes I was going to have to say. Including my host family, who I had grown close to as my Spanish had improved enough to hold conversations with them and even share some jokes. Upon leaving Salamanca and hopping on the bus back to Madrid I knew I would be back the following year because the experiences I had were definitely ones I wanted to experience again.

The following year exceeded all expectations I had from the previous. I stayed with the same family as the year before for three weeks much to my delight as the food cooked by the host mum was delicious and plentiful (I don’t think I managed to finish a single meal because of the great quantity of food!). I reunited with several friends and teachers from the previous year and met several new people from various parts of the world. The three weeks passed fast, as I was packing my afternoons and evenings full with stuff to do with friends. The highlight being paddle boating on the river in swimwear to catch the suns rays, culminating in a few of us jumping into the river in front of the cathedral! (Which was peculiarly warm so maybe not a wise decision). Centi’s and Tuesday mornings in ISLA were just the same and it felt like I had never left. New faces appeared each Monday and the welcome party was always full with people with interesting stories and those who had done impressive things of varying ages and nationalities.

This summer will be my third summer at ISLA and I cannot wait to return. Salamanca is a great place for studying and socialising and this combination is what makes ISLA such a great place to study Spanish. You learn lots whilst also having a great time and it doesn’t feel like you’re at school at all. The people are great and everyone makes you feel like you belong. I couldn’t recommend ISLA more to anyone who wishes to improve their Spanish whilst also maturing themselves and forming great friendships that will last. (The churros and the tan are also great bonuses!)

Maddy Nutt, UK