Student Natalia's future plans in Spain and love for the language bring her to Speakeasy
Natalia, 27, from Moscow, Russia, arrived to Barcelona just before the lockdown to do a masters. Her future plans in Spain and love for the language kept her in sunny Barcelona despite the unprecedented circumstances.
Meet Natalia, from Moscow, Russia. After finishing some projects in Moscow (she was making a magazine about runners) she was feeling lost about what she wanted to do next and decided to take her hobby (photography) more seriously, so she came to take a Master’s course in photography at Elisava. Barcelona was her choice because of the teachers in the course and 320 sunny days a year. Her future plans include living in Spain, so speaking Spanish was a must. Also, Natalia loves how Spanish sounds with all its strong “r”, “g” and “ch” intonations.
Natalia’s experience with her Spanish studies
Natalia has been studying Spanish for a year now, and is very happy with how far she has progressed so far. Right now, she is in the B2.2 level of the Intensive 20h week course. This means she attends classes four hours per day, five days per week. Over the year she’s had many teachers at Speakeasy, but had Gina for most of her course and her current teacher is Joan. Natalia says she “loves how every teacher has their own way to explain, it feels like a puzzle where you get the missing parts and suddenly everything begins to make sense”.
She says learning Spanish at Speakeasy is very different from when she was learning English at school in Moscow. “We learned a lot of grammar but didn’t practice in life so much, and we were afraid to make any mistakes. But here in Speakeasy, the most important thing is to speak and practice all the time, and mistakes are not scary. I would even say they are useful”, says Natalia.
Her favorite activities in class are when they discuss specific topics all together, where students can express opinions as if they were talking in their native languages. Also, she likes games!
Every Monday, when new students join classes, Natalia is very excited to meet new people in her group. “I love meeting people. Some of the people I have met became my friends, and we spend time together outside class. The groups in general are very international, and it’s interesting to learn the differences and similarities in our cultures”.
Natalia applied for a student visa when she was already in Barcelona because she took a masters course here and I didn’t go back to Russia. She got her residency a week before her first course finished, and I had to prolong straight away for the second course (she took two courses at Speakeasy). This it how it worked with all of her friends doing the same process as well.
What is a typical “day in the life” for you?
Morning: I wake up, say hi to my plants, always have breakfast (eggs or oats), walk or use the metro to go to Speakeasy, get to class a little bit late.
Noon: During the break, I go alone or with someone from the class to get some coffee at Juice Dudes (they use Nomad beans, and it tastes awesome) or chai latte. Or if I bring something from home, I snack in the classroom and watch some TikTok or check Instagram.
Afternoon: Usually after classes, I go home and have lunch or eat somewhere on my way home. I am a flexitarian and there is one of my favorite places to eat nearby: Honest Greens. Then at home I relax and go for a walk in the city (it’s one of my favorite activities), take some photographs, and meet with friends. From time to time I go to bookstores (love them), read, make pots for my small plants or simply go to the beach to chill (not only in summer).
Evening: Evenings are a lot more relaxed for me. I try to finish all active things by 6-7pm and then get into a relaxed mood. I eat dinner and watch some movies or Netflix, listen to music or podcasts or audiobooks, light up a candle or turn on a red lamp (very relaxing!). I try to go to bed by 11pm, but I am not always successful at it :)
Where do you usually like to hang out in the city?
I walk a lot because I love to explore the cities and what is hidden behind the small streets. I feel like an explorer. I also like cafés, I have a couple favorite ones. And also I love going to the beach. It’s something we don’t have in Moscow, but I realized I love it so much. Just simply going there after classes or in winter and breathing some sea air and enjoying the fact that you are at the beach. And one more: I’ve been trying to make pizza from scratch for several months now. I get better at cooking it every time (I’ve made 9 so far) but still need to work on the dough. It is much more difficult than it seems!
Are you doing any other activities here?
I am a photographer, so I make photographs. I love going to see exhibitions and museums. I would describe myself as a person who prefers more calm activities. I went to a Speakeasy activity – a table games night, it was fun! We played some games and got to know each other better.