David bites the bullet and finally decides to learn Spanish
When David Torres first visited Barcelona back in 2017, he instantly fell in love with the city the people and the culture. He just knew: “I have to live here”. When he was let go from his job because of the pandemic he took it as a sign to bite the bullet and come live in Barcelona to learn the language.
David was born and raised in New Jersey until high school and then moved to Florida with his family. In 2016 he moved to Grand Cayman for work and lived the island life for 4 years. David comes from a Puerto Rican family but never learned the language.
The visa process
David signed up for a 6-month study course so he needed a visa (as a US citizen, he would automatically be given a 90-day tourist visa, but that was not enough).
“The process was surprisingly a lot easier than I thought. As long as you read everything thoroughly and what paper work you need, you’ll be fine.”
Another tip he found important to share: the photo you submit will be the one that ends up on the visa in your passport, so choose wisely!
Spanish classes in Barcelona
As we mentioned earlier, David grew up with Puerto Rican parents but never knew the language well enough to speak with his family and friends. He felt shame. The type of shame Cersei Lannister feels in that episode of Game of Thrones where they chant “shame” as she walks through the city. His words, not mine! He decided to finally go for it and sign up for classes.
He’s been taking the intensive course since he arrived in January – 4 hours a day from Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm. He’s made it up to the B2.1 level already.
Speakeasy’s Spanish teachers and methodology
David started learning with Javier in the beginning and up until he reached the B2 level. From then on, he’s also had the chance to study with Martha, Verónica, Olga and Gina.
“They have all been amazing […] exceptional and brought fresh teaching styles to the classroom.”
Each teacher brought a different style to their classroom. He enjoyed having the opportunity to learn and speak with each one and how they had their own flare on the learning environment. Some had a bigger focus on conversation (which was his favourite), learning through games and how to read and write. His favourite activities in the classroom were always the group discussions based on a chart and dice. Though they’re the most basic, he always found them most helpful because he not only learned to polish his conversation skills, but he also got to learn more about the other students’ cultural perspectives and ideals.
David’s Speakeasy classmates
David describes his classmates as his saving grace during his time in Barcelona. Because he arrived during the middle of the pandemic, the chance to meet people from all over the world in a small group setting was incredibly helpful. He friends he says the friends he made at Speakeasy were vital in helping him get through lockdown and beyond.
“We became so close it was like I had a little Spanish family here in Barcelona. I got to travel to different cities with them, explore restaurants or just have a night out.”
Activities in and around Barcelona
Luckily David was able to participate in some of the activities organized by Speakeasy. His first trip was to Valencia where they walked the city, went to the zoo and had a tour. He also visited Cadaqués and Roses where the students had a chance to swim and see the coast from a boat.
A day in the life
During a typical school day, David sets his alarm for 7:30am, but usually hits snooze a few times before he’s ready to face the day. He’ll start with coffee and make sure he looks put together before heading out the door and walking to class (he lives in Raval so it’s pretty close to the school). Around lunchtime or when there’s a break between classes, he’ll head to El Fornet with some classmates to grab a coffee, relax, and then get back to class.
Once lessons are done for the day, David will usually grab lunch with a friend. He loves Ciudad Condal for their tapas and Takumi Tonkutsu for their ramen. After some “light” shopping, he’ll head back home. In the evenings, David commits to making his own dinner. He likes to relax and watch some Netflix to practice his Spanish a bit more. He follows his teachers’ recommendations to watch shows with Spanish audio and Spanish subtitles. He’s been balancing between Grey’s Anatomy and Friends to keep it light.