Juliette Boury’s Testimonial: Tandem, Madrid and Almodóvar

From the moment I walked into the doors of Tandem school, I was greeted with what could only be described as the warmest of Spanish welcomes, meaning probably one of the warmest around in the world.

Juliette Boury, Spanish and a passion for Almodovar Cinema - Portrait and Poster My first visit to Tandem school was a few months ago, before the summer. On a trip to Madrid I and a friend decided to take a look, the place had been recommended by my Spanish professor at school as well as a few friends who had been there the previous summer. We were talked through the courses, and the thought of living in this city, learning at this wonderful school and visiting the nearby café (something that was a major part of my trip) was very tempting, and I decided to go over the summer.

Organisation was simple. With the help of family, I soon had a course chosen and host family. Tandem was brilliant in accommodating my aims, which were to improve my knowledge of Almodóvar as well as my Spanish. Before I knew it I had walked off the plane into the great 40 degree heat of Madrid (apparently it was the warmest summer since 1924, one of my classmates had heard from an old regular at one of the bars she often went to). I settled in quickly.

Juliette Boury, Spanish and a passion for Almodovar Cinema - lunch 2 The teaching here really was incredible because of two things that it truly incorporates and aims for. The first: small class sizes (my morning one being just me and my afternoon one being with three people!). Secondly: speaking – the classes were fully in Spanish. I learnt the most expressions, mannerisms and therefore felt the most fluent at the end of the week thanks to all the conversations that we were simply having. Instead of following the textbook method of teaching to a repetitive extent, conversation was really the focus of the classes and I loved that.

Juliette Boury, Spanish and a passion for Almodovar Cinema - Donuts Not only were the lessons original, varied and different every time, but outside of Tandem the teachers would give up their time to help us to really experience Madrid and not just its tourist information centres. One evening (which for me was definitely the highlight) involved going to a café/bar down a cobbled stone pavement, in a random location that no-one I think I would have found without the school. It was to see a Flamenco show, which took place at the back of the café, where some curtains opened up to reveal a small, hidden stage where four, genuine flamenco artists performed to about 15 people. The setting was the definition of authentic, intimate and friendly. I would really recommend the course Spanish and a Passion for Almodóvar Cinema!

There were many walks across the roads of Madrid featuring Almodóvar; it’s brilliant to actually see where he had filmed and why, I felt like less of a tourist somehow and that is always a good feeling in a foreign country. Almodóvar’s passion about cooking was explored literally “hands on” as we took a cooking class based on three of his main recipes.

All in all, Tandem can only be described as an open, inspiring and intellectual place where teachers really care about not only you improving your Spanish but also your knowledge of Madrid as a place in itself, and that aim goes beyond the classroom.

Did my Spanish improve? I think it did, or at least this time when I asked for my lunch at the airport’s Starbucks a woman replied to me in Spanish, not English.

Juliette Boury, Spanish and a passion for Almodovar Cinema - Lunch Juliette Boury, Spanish and a passion for Almodovar Cinema - cooking class 1 Juliette Boury, Spanish and a passion for Almodovar Cinema - cooking class 2 Juliette Boury, Spanish and a passion for Almodovar Cinema - cooking class 3

Juliette Boury, Spanish and a passion for Almodovar Cinema - Poster Juliette Boury, Spanish and a passion for Almodovar Cinema - cooking class 4 Juliette Boury, Spanish and a passion for Almodovar Cinema - cooking class 5 Juliette Boury, Spanish and a passion for Almodovar Cinema - cooking class 6

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