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28-03-2019 by Linda

"Reliving a trip is almost as much fun as the trip itself, that's why every month we write a blog about travelers who have just followed a language course abroad every. In this episode Sanne Teunissen (23). Just before she went on a language trip, she quit her job as a sales support employee quite rigorously. She doubted whether that job was really what she was made of. During her language course in Valencia, she found the time to really think about what kind of work she would love to do. She did a job interview via Skype and when she got home she had a new job.

CV
Name - Sanne Teunissen
Lives in - Hoofddorp
Learned - 2 months Spanish in november and december 2019
Language school - Hispania in Valencia

Why did you want to learn Spanish?
I made a deal to myself to learn something new every year. That decision really broadened my life. Last year I went to San Diego in America for 6 weeks to do an English course. This year I decided to go for Spanish. I like the language and besides English it is the most spoken language in the world. So speaking a little Spanish also seemed very useful in terms of work or for future trips. Plus, I just quitted my job as a sales support employee and thought it would be a good idea to have a real break before I started looking for a new job.

Want to learn something new every year? Ambitious!
Haha yes! I really enjoy to continuously developing myself. I was twenty when I graduated from The Hague University in Facility Management. Very young, but I immediately started working as a recruiter. Because I had graduated, but actually wanted to learn more, I decided to further train myself by learning something new every year.

Why Valencia?
I wanted to stay "close". San Diego was very nice, but it also felt very far away. This time I therefore wanted to go less far. The choice for learning Spanish in Spain (and not in Central or South America) was easy made. I was able to cross Madrid and Barcelona off the list, because I had already been there and thought both cities were too busy and big to live for two months. The combination of city and beach in Valencia really appealed to me. Plus the fact that there is plenty to do, but the city also has a friendly atmosphere.

And? Did Valencia and its culture meet your expectations?
Yes! I really enjoyed it. Valencia is great, I felt at home from the beginning and I didn't feel unsafe for a second. I stayed in the old part, they hardly speak any English there. That was nice, because it helps you to practice your Spanish extra well when you go to a bakery, store or bar. You have to speak Spanish, even though you actually can't say anything at all in the beginning.

And how did you do during class?
You have to imagine: I didn't speak a word Spanish. Nothing. Okay, only "hola" and "adios". During the course every-thing was in Spanish, including the explanation of the grammar. That took some time getting used to. In the beginning I thought, "wow, how am I going to keep this up." But with a little help from Google Translate, I soon noticed that you actually learn fast when everything is in Spanish. And you learn the most at those moments where you get lost a little.

When you get lost? How do you mean?
To give an example. I arrived in Valencia on a Sunday and had just been brought to my apartment with the airport transfer. The fridge was empty and I was hungry so I thought I'd do some groceries quick. That turned out to be difficult: all stores were closed. After wandering through the center for a while I came across a greengrocer that was actually open. The man in the store did not speak a word English and asked me: "Bolsa?", when I was about to pay. I had no idea. The man: "BOLSA ???" After another dazed look from me, he flipped a bag in front of me. That 'Bolsa' means "bag" was the first Spanish I learned and I will never forget that because of the circumtances in which I learned it.

Were you a diligent language student?
In the beginning I was. In the morning we had lessons from half past nine until about two o'clock. The first week after class I went straight to my apartment to practice the study material myself. But that quickly came to the fore. And the temptation to go into town with classmates after class became to big. In retrospect, I think I would have learned more Spanish if I had made Spanish friends. We always spoke English among classmates and housemates. But then again, I really enjoyed myself. That's what's most important.

How's your Spanish now?

I'm at level B1. I understand Spaniards when they talk to me and I can also make myself understood. But, my goal is to go one or two levels higher. That way I really speak the language. To keep up with it a bit in the Netherlands I listen to Spanish podcasts and music in my car at work. And I consciously watch Spanish-language films and series, or turn on English films with Spanish subtitles.

And how was your life there? What did you like the most about life in Spain and the least? 
Spaniards are much more relaxed and less rushed than Dutch people. Very nice. But then again, that is also the reason why on Sunday time seems to stand still in Valencia, there is nothing to do in town and all stores are closed. That's something you have to get used to, but as soon as you know that you make sure that you already have your food on Saturday night at home, haha. Partly due to that relaxed atmosphere in Spain I really came to rest and I was able to think carefully about what kind of work I would like to do when back in the Netherlands. One afternoon I set out some lines via LinkedIn with the idea, I'll see what happens. Then a very nice company approached me. Sitting in my room in Valencia we did a Skypecall and suddenly I had a new job. Not planned at all, haha. I have been working as a talent sourcer at Talentmapper for a few months now, and really enjoy it.

Finally: what are your favorite places, cafes, clubs, shops, etc. in Valencia? 
Mya is a very cool underground club close to Ciutat de les Arts and les Ciències. I had never been to such a club in the Netherlands. Oh and of course you have to drink  Agua de Valencia. A cocktail made with orange juice, cava, vodka, gin and lots of ice. Very Valencian and very tasty!

Also interested in a Spanish language course in Spain? View all Spanish language schools and destinations here.

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A1

A2

hearing You understand... • Some words and basic-sentences • Common words and sentences
supervisor_account You can... • Briefly introduce yourself
• Give answers to some simple question
• Introduce yourself (shortly)
• Give answers to some simple questions
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B2

hearing  
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C2

hearing You understand... • Complex stories and opinions • Literary and academic texts
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