June 24, 2005

Chasing Windmills

Learning Spanish in the Land of Don Quijote

What better way to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Cervantes celebrated work "Don Quijote" than to read it in Spanish. I am a firm believer in the need to speak other languages so that we may open ourselves to new cultures, thoughts and ideas.

Total immersion seemed to be my best option to learn a language like Spanish. I spent the first week studying at Aula sin Fronteras in Almansa, then headed to Málaga to study for 10 more weeks at ¡Málaga Sí! this summer. I went from the small town atmosphere of Almansa in the hot plains of La Mancha, to the huge tourist city of Málaga on the Costa del Sol along the Mediterranean coast.

Half the day was spent in class, entirely in Spanish. And, just like Don Quijote battling his windmills, I too struggled at times. Sometimes it was the heat, and sometimes it was trouble of my own making. But through it all, I met wonderful Spaniards, along with many other students learning Spanish from countries like Sweden, Scotland, England, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. Another truly international adventure. And when I wasn't in class, I spent time exploring the city and taking a few side trips to Tetouan in Morocco and Granada. And last, I visited friends in Madrid before flying home.