Babette ten Veen -
Valencia, Spain

A change of plans…. instead of going to the US, I am learning Spanish in Valencia.

My name is Babette ten Veen, I am 18 years old and from Amstelveen, the Netherlands.

I have been studying Spanish in Valencia for more than 3 months, since the end of September 2020.

After finishing high school this year, I knew I wanted to continue studying, but I wasn’t sure which program was right for me. My original plan was to take a gap year in the US. A friend of my parents had heard about UStudy. Everything was arranged by Marina and Rachel and I was admitted to Manhattanville College in New York.

Then came the COVID-19 crisis, along with a lot of uncertainties and in the end I needed to come up with a backup plan, because I couldn’t travel to the US. UStudy offered to help and I talked to and I talked to Carla to explore options about studying in Spain, for a year or at least for a couple of months. Valencia seemed to be a very nice city, and Carla knew a couple of schools I could attend.

I ended up choosing Hispania Escuela de Español. This school allows students to start every Monday of the year with their studies and you decide how many hours of lectures you want to take per week. I am living in a shared student apartment, owned by the school.

Everything is arranged in the Spanish way I must say, which means that it can sometimes take a while for practical issues in the apartment to be solved, but other than that, it is a great school. Classes are offered at every level in the Central European Framework (CEFR), and if a class is too easy or difficult, you can easily change classes. I took a test before school started, to see whether my language level was A2 or B1. I was placed in a B1-level class. After 2 days of classes I discovered that I needed more help with grammar and my classmates were more fluent than I was. I therefore switched to an A2-level class. This is a wonderful group, and now we are all at level B1.

I took Spanish classes at my high school for five years, but we learned primarily so-called passive Spanish: listening, writing words and sentences. There were 30 students in the classroom and we all spoke Dutch in class.

Here in Valencia, you learn to speak Spanish immediately, because the lessons are taught only in Spanish and I really enjoy learning the language this way. The classes are small, usually only 6-7 students (a maximum of 10), which is small enough to receive individual attention, take part in interactive lessons and work in groups.

So that is all about the school. Other than that, I am taking part in a lot of activities and I have met many nice people at the school and in Valencia. As a city I can really recommend Valencia. There is a large beach close by and it has everything a city can offer. You can cycle through the city, or take public transportation. There are many nice bars and restaurants. I cannot say much about the nightlife though 😊



I made a list of pros and cons. That’s when I knew I had to go to California.

This could be your story! Interested in exploring  your  study options in Spain?