Because reliving a trip is almost as much fun as the trip itself, every month we talk to two travelers who just did a language course abroad. In this episode actor and presenter Lennart Timmerman (29). During his language course at language school Enforex in Málaga, Seville and Granada. he particularly enjoyed the Spanish way of life where stress plays a smaller part than in the Netherlands.
Some will know Lennart as Raaf (Rafael) in the Dutch tv show SpangaS (2012-2015). He is currently working as a General Manager at the Amsterdam Film School and is a presenter for soccer club PSV. His favorite holiday destination is Italy, where he goes at least once a year. He lives in Eindhoven, together with his girlfriend, Isabeau. With Extralingo he went on a two-week language course in Spain to learn the basics of the Spanish language, to explore Spanish cities and to taste Spanish culture and tapas.
You were there for two weeks but still: how did you like the life in Málaga and within the Spanish culture?
"I really like the Mediterranean way of life. Spanish live way more tranquilo, they really enjoy eating, drinking, the sun and talking to each other. They take more time for things. But the best thing about the city was the nice weather and all the tapas tents. The food, so delicious. If you stroll a bit, you will bump into authentic bars with the best tapas. And we had sun! In November! "
Usually you go on holidays to Italy, right?
"Yes, every year I go to a small mountain village in the North-West of Italy called Airole. I have been there since I was a child. As a result, I now speak Italian quite well, which I have learned over the years. on the one hand, this helped me to learn Spanish, I think, because Spanish and Italian are very similar. On the other hand, it made it more difficult because sometimes confused things. "
You have been out of school for a while. What was it like to be in a classroom again?
"Well, of course, a classroom remains a classroom: tit's a place to study and not to party. But the Enforex school building in Málaga is very beautiful, so you will find yourself in an inspiring environment during the lessons. Very different from a dusty classroom in an average high school in the Netherlands. The atmosphere among me and my classmates was also very good, everyone really wanted to learn Spanish. That was also a big difference compared to high school. Nice was, that we only had lessons in the morning, then I am the most focused. In the afternoon me and my classmates went to town to do fun things and to practice our Spanish babble."
You expected a language course in Spain to be a bit dull? Tell me.
"Frankly, yes! For me language courses had a bit of a dull image. In my mind I had dusty classrooms and boring lessons. I gave it a chance, though, because I thought it was fun and useful to be able to speak a little Spanish. Well, it wasn't dull at all! We had a very nice, chic school building, a teacher who really enjoyed it and a very nice mixed class. In the afternoon we were free and we went into the city, rented bikes, ate tapas, have drinks, things like that. "
So you were surprised positively, that's nice. What surprised you the most?
"How quickly you make contact with people from your class and from the school during such a course. I am fairly easy going myself, so I didn't really expect this to become a pain in the ass, but also I did not expect that we were going to be really close. I was in class with seven completely different people, some of whom were peers, but also a Dutch man in his forties, a girl of eighteen and a woman in her sixties. People I would normally not come in contact with quickly. And then during such a course you find out that you can actually laugh very well with each other - especially about each other's clumsy way of speaking Spanish. "
What did a course day look like?
"I stayed in a shared apartment across the street from the school. In the morning my roommate and I - also a classmate - got up and we went to the bakery around the corner from the school to grab a coffee and a croissant. We often met our other classmates there too, very cozy. Then we had lessons for a few hours and during the break we went again to the same coffee shop. In the afternoon we were free around 1 pm and we went to town and ride our bikes, or we went out for lunch, or to the beach, you name it. Then in the evening we went somewhere to eat tapas and drink a beer and occasionally we ended in the pub."
You hardly spoke a word of Spanish. How did the lessons go?
"Well, Spanish is actually quite an easy language. Did you know that? The grammar is much simpler than the German or the Dutch one. So I was positively surprised. The first lesson was a bit of a bumble, because it was completely in Spanish from the start. Then everyone in class had to say something about themselves in turns, and that went with a lot of trouble because I hardly knew a single word. But everyone in class was bothered by that, so it was quite funny actually. It was a nice icebreaker for the group. Because you have to speak Spanish all the time, you pick it up quickly. So after two lessons you feel like you actually speak some Spanish already. My only problem was that I already speak Italian well and that made me occasionally confuse the words. "
And now? More often to Spain and never to Italy again?
"Haha! Italy remains my favorite place. But I definitely want to get to know Spain better after this trip. I want to go back to Málaga or another city in Spain and it would be very nice anyway to learn to speak Spanish very well! "
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