Studying Spanish in Spain: Madrid or Malaga?

cybele palace- image by how do you choose the right Spanish university for your studies?  What is most important – the course or the location?  What are your personal needs?

Well, maybe I’m wrong but I really do believe that the personal side of things are what make or break your relationship with your course.  All universities guarantee that each and every language teacher has the philology degree to his or her credit so, once you know the exact course you want to complete, you can then concentrate on what it will be like to live in those chosen cities.

So let’s compare the university in Madrid with that in Malaga.  Both offer intensive summer courses and various levels of learning, so let’s presume you are stuck for choice between these two.

Okay, Madrid.

  • Madrid is the capital of Spain and it lies more or less in the centre of the country.  The Spanish spoken there is clear and Valladolid, very close to Madrid, is said to be where the best Spanish is spoken in the whole of the country.  I’ve been to Valladolid and yes, it is easier to understand Spanish there than in the other regions of Spain that I have visited.
  •  Madrid is rich in culture, museums, cafes, restaurants and it has an amazing night life, seven days a week. There are two amusement parks in the capital of Madrid and you can also enjoy flea markets, parades and international concerts.  This city also boasts a grand selection of theatres and discos.
  • If you like experiencing all of the seasons of the year, Madrid varies between 4 degrees C / 39 degrees F in the cold months and 29 degrees C / 85 degrees F in the hot season.
  • The university is about fifteen minutes from the main shopping centre and is located in the west of the city.  It boasts an enormous library, a PC room, a cafeteria and a terrace, so there are plenty of communal places within the grounds.

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And Malaga.

  •  Malaga is in the region of Andalusia in the south of Spain, situated at about five o’clock and the Spanish spoken there is the distinct Andalusian.  Words tend to be shortened and those ending in ‘s’ tend to be without their tails e.g. ‘tre’ for ‘tres (three)’ and ‘gracia’ for ‘gracias (thanks)’.  I wouldn’t say that this accent spoils your understanding of Spanish, provided that you are already studying the language professionally.  However, simply going there to pick up the language may leave you a little confused when hearing the whole words spoken as they should be.
  •  This is the fifth biggest city in Spain and it is rich in culture, as a result of it having being occupied in the past by Romans, the Moors and the Carthaginians.  It boasts many monuments and a castle and fortress, as well as a Roman theatre.  Tourists flock to its white beaches and Malaga therefore caters for many foreign cultures, as well as its own.  Entertainment abounds and one can easily find interesting bars and restaurants, discos, music and fairs, causing the city to be full of life every night of the week. With its excellent train system, one can also easily get to the other tourist resorts of Benalmádena, Marbella and Torremolinos, towns equipped to serve the world with interesting culture, cuisine and entertainment.
  • You are as good as guaranteed good weather all year round, as Malaga receives the African heat which crosses the Mediterranean to this south coast of Spain. While this sub-tropical heat in August can prove to be intolerable for some visitors, winter is so wonderful, as it rarely feels cold to that same outsider who is passing through.
  •  The university in Malaga is made up of several buildings throughout the city and available to all students are a student room, a language lab, a garden and terrace so, again, there is plenty of communal space for all students.

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Both Madrid and Malaga offer an airport, good train links and a metro system and getting around will prove equally comfortable in both of these university cities. So, weather and beaches apart, maybe it will be something personal to you which will help you make the final decision as to where to enjoy your language studies.