Speakeasy student Polina and her Spanish-learning journey
What happens when a language teacher decides to learn Spanish at Speakeasy? New friendships with classmates and teachers, beautiful memories, and long conversations in Spanish after just 3 months of learning!
Polina is from Yekaterinburg, Russia. She didn’t know much about Barcelona until she was volunteering at the Russian Football World Cup in 2018. She met a man from Barcelona whom she kept in touch with. That summer, Polina planned a trip across Europe and her new friend had offered to host her. She knew immediately upon arriving that she wanted to stay. It was love at first sight with the city and the man. Then later with the culture, food, nature and people. Polina followed her heart and made the plan to move to Spain.
Polina thinks Spanish is a beautiful and useful language and wanted to learn for her own pleasure. She’s also an English teacher and interested in languages in general. She was excited to be on the student side again. It was important for her to be able to communicate with her Spanish family as well since they don’t speak any English.
The visa process
Polina got a long-term student visa to Spain. She admits that it was quite a long process and not completely clear to the lawyers either. However, she was ultimately successful with the help of Speakeasy and other services.
Spanish classes in Barcelona (and online)
Polina chose to take the long-term intensive course in order to secure a long-term visa. This means she would attend class from Monday to Friday for 4 hours a day. She’s been studying for about 7 months from January to August with a month of holidays in September. She had the opportunity to try both in-person and online Spanish classes during the lockdown.
Her classmates were young, full of energy and willing to learn. They came from different countries, and all had different reasons for being there (in some cases, no reason at all!). Polina became friends with many of them – another reason for being excited about her lessons.
Speakeasy’s Spanish teachers and methodology
Laura and Thaïs were Polina’s first and favourite face-to-face teachers. She was impressed with their energy, way of teaching and communication with the class. She enjoyed every lesson and didn’t want to miss any! Gonzalo was her favourite online teacher even though they never had the chance to meet in person.
“Thanks to him, I smiled and had fun being in lockdown. We became friends with my teachers. This I appreciate the most,” she says.
One of Polina’s favourite activities was preparing presentations. You learn new things yourself, and also sharpen your listening skills while learning what other people present. She’s also keen on classroom debates because they help develop speaking and listening skills.
Polina couldn’t believe that it was possible to learn and teach entirely in Spanish to beginners. She was amazed by the teaching style and methodology. After a month, she saw her first results – she was able to understand people. And after just 2½ months, she had her first long conversation in Spanish. “The feeling of using a new language was amazing,” she says.
Activities in and around Barcelona
Because she lives quite far and works, Polina only participated in one of the activities where she and the other students went to the park to eat calçots. Polina’s favourite spot in the city is far away from the hustle and bustle – a “fairy world like Alice in Wonderland” – Turó Park in the Sant Gervasi district.
A day in the life
Polina lives in Sabadell, 25km outside of Barcelona, so she needs to be up early to arrive on time. She begins her day at 6:30am, meditates, has a quick shower and heads to the train station. She has breakfast at school before her classes start and after her 4 hours of lessons, she goes back to Sabadell. After lunch, she teaches English until the evening. Then she’ll have dinner and unwind with her partner while watching a series. She says it was a crazy time for her with so much back and forth, but it’s changed since the lockdown.