LONDON – Representatives of northern Spain’s Cantabria region were in London on Friday for the opening of The Language Show, where they will tout their area as the ideal destination for people who want to learn Spanish.
Daniel Ruiz Schäfer of the Cantabrian Regional Tourism Promotion Company told EFE that Cantabria has a “very wide selection of educational services” consisting of both public and private entities.
The 10 private institutions that make up the Cantabrian Association of Language Teaching Centers (ACCEI) have joined with Menendez Pelayo International University (UIMP) and the University of Cantabria’s CIESE-Comillas Foundation Center to promote the region.
It was at the urging of Eva Bartolme, Cantabria’s top tourism official, that the ACCEI members came together 18 months ago to offer the region as a “preferred destination” for people who want to learn Spanish as a second or third language.
“We have come here together to promote the learning of Spanish in Cantabria, to present the region and all of its academic services, which range from basic levels for children as young as 4 to doctorates in teaching,” Ruiz Schäfer said.
Besides that academic excellence, he said, Cantabria is a region that boasts “very good connectivity” with European capitals, “110 beaches with smooth golden sand” and the mountains of Picos de Europa National Park, “so close to the coast that you can see them while lying on the beach.”
A visitor to Cantabria can “combine surfing with learning the language,” Ruiz Schäfer said, creating a total-immersion option suitable for both parents and children.
Representatives from different organizations will inform until Sunday the almost 6,000 visitors who will attend the show, a considerable number despite the venue’s small size.
Organizers of The Language Show expect attendance of around 6,000 over the course of the three-day event.
Marga Ruiz, director of CIESE’s international department, says her center offers degree programs – a bachelor’s in Hispanic Studies and a master’s in teaching Spanish as a foreign language – as well as specialized courses for people already working in the field.
IMP, which began teaching Spanish to foreigners in the 1960s, offers programs in Santander, at Magdalena Palace and at Las Llamas Campus.
Irene Serrano, chief of staff to UIMP’s president, said that the center includes tailored programs for small groups; general courses in Spanish language and culture; training for teaching Spanish as a foreign language; exam preparation, as well as targeted Spanish instruction for legal, health and business professionals.
ACCEI Secretary Carlos Gonzalez told EFE that the 10 member schools encourage language teaching through classes, accommodation with families, in hotels and residences and leisure activities.
“We have focused considerably on primary and secondary school groups who stay for a week or so to receive classes in the morning and see the region in the afternoon,” Gonzalez said.
But ACCEI members also have options for adults.