Carthage College, from the United States, visited us this month in a three-week program. Two students from the group tell us about their experience at TANDEM Madrid.
The inside of a classroom thousands of miles away from home never seemed to me the place where I would find community. I have close circles of friends and family in my glacial hometown in Minnesota, at Carthage College (my university in the United States), and even at a camp in the wilds of Colorado. However, I, simply put, was wrong.
My time at TANDEM was incredible. Every weekday I would take the metro from my host home to the center of Madrid, walking past El Instituto de Cervantes and El Banco de España before entering Tandem’s beautiful and very old (by American standards) building. After getting an espresso from the machine, class would begin.
While walking through the city can teach someone lot about Spanish culture, I also noticed I picked up on it in my classes. My professors from TANDEM were all very fun to interact with, and I liked how they planned cool events for students to go to after class so we could get to know each other better. The cooking class was one of my favorites. I can’t believe I lived my entire life without trying torrijas (think a sweeter and crunchier French toast). In class, I loved talking with Queralt about her dogs and Mabel about her passion for her daily cup of americano. Their openness with me and my peers made me feel like I had been studying at TANDEM for weeks even a day after I arrived.
My teachers were also very flexible, tailoring their teaching style to match every student’s needs. I appreciated how they helped me review the subjunctive, as I’ve always some problems with my grammar. Other teaching styles have failed me in that department, but my teachers at TANDEM were able to put the concept into concise and easy to understand terms so I could grasp it better.
When I joined TANDEM Madrid all the teachers and the administration gave me a very nice welcome. I studied at TANDEM for three weeks and that short time I learned a lot of Spanish.
What I like most about TANDEM is that each teacher helps each student no matter what their level of Spanish is. My teachers always answered my questions about new vocabulary or words I didn’t understand. They teach rules and if students don’t understand them they go over the rules again in a different way until the students understand them. Also, if the students have a question about Spanish culture, the teachers will assist you.
I love that teachers encourage their students to talk in class. My teachers always asked me, “What did you do yesterday? So I could practice Spanish. I’m shy but the TANDEM teachers create a comfortable environment inside the classrooms so that people like me are not afraid to participate in the classes. After this time at TANDEM I have more confidence in my ability to speak Spanish with people. In short, the teachers love to teach Spanish and pass it on to the students.
In addition to the Spanish classes, TANDEM offers many cultural activities for the students. For example, we went to flamenco classes, Spanish cooking classes (gazpacho, paella, torrijas…) We also went on two excursions… I was very nervous about traveling abroad but thanks to TANDEM I felt better.
My educational experience at TANDEM has been incredible. I have improved my Spanish and learned a lot. I am very grateful for the opportunities TANDEM has given me.