Why Learn Spanish in Ronda?
By Lauren Burnison
Why choose Ronda? It’s a question worth asking. Why not Seville with its ancient cathedrals and Royal Palaces? Or Madrid with its sprawling tree-lined boulevards and countless museums? Without a doubt, Ronda’s spectacular location on the edge of an ancient gorge surrounded by the glorious Andalusian mountains makes it a truly unique spot. However, there is more to this little place than meets the eye.
First, let’s determine what makes a positive language learning experience abroad. There are the teachers, the learning environment, relationships with the other learners and the cultural experience, among other things. I think you will agree that the larger the town or city, the less likely it is that a total stranger will give you a friendly nod as you pass in the street. In fact, in most cities you will even risk being labelled as mentally unstable for such a gesture! In Ronda, this is simply not the case. Outsiders are treated with a friendly curiosity and it is certainly deemed acceptable to greet each other in the street.
So, what does this have to do with having an amazing language learning experience? Unlike the more popular, larger Spanish language learning destinations, Ronda allows you to get up close and personal with the people and culture. You will do more than just observe them from afar. You will live the experience and there is no better way to learn and enhance your Spanish than this.
This shouldn’t be a daunting prospect. Ronda’s locals are incredibly down to earth and are grateful when you try to speak their language and show enthusiasm for their culture. Speaking to locals offers an entirely different perspective and deeper understanding of the culture and language.
This could be something as simple as a conversation about the weather or local food. Let’s face it, humans like to connect. Connecting with others is one of our most basic innate desires. We can appreciate our similarities and differences. And, the more we connect, the more we learn. This is especially true when learning a language.
Another reason why Ronda is an excellent choice for learning Spanish is that it remains relatively undeveloped. There are no high-rise buildings or Starbucks on every corner. In fact, not even one Starbucks exists in Ronda! This is most likely due to the popularity of the Spanish style milky coffee “cafe con leche”. I can safely say that after having traveled around the world I have found my coffee of choice, deliciously hot foamy and sweet!
When you walk around Ronda, you really feel like you’re in Spain. A friend, and recent visitor to Ronda, recently commented that cities around the world are all starting to look and feel the same. He loves the fact that Ronda has retained its character and charm over the centuries. Walking through the streets of Ronda gives the impression that you are stepping back in time. Your mind conjures up images of horses and carts in the streets and locals in traditional Andalusian attire.
Choosing to learn Spanish in Ronda puts you in an ideal position to explore the rest of Andalusia. You can choose from mountains, lakes, city breaks and beaches. Andalusia really has it all. If you aren’t enamoured by the busy tourist spots on the Costa Del Sol, head further west to the sandy white beaches of Cadiz Province. A two hour drive will take you to Spain’s most southern tip, Tarifa. From there you can get unparalleled views of North Africa. This happens to be one one of my favourite sights in Andalusia which leaves me mesmerised every time.
Malaga city, at just over an hour from Ronda by car, has become one of Spain’s cultural hot spots. It is home to an impressive range of museums and some of the best art collections in Spain. You’ll be spoilt for choice for places to eat out in Malaga’s old town where you’ll find quaint little tapas bars around every corner.
What makes Ronda truly special cannot be attributed solely to its breathtaking views and rustic charm. Instead, it is a unique blend of natural beauty, history, authenticity and of course its people that make Ronda an excellent choice for learning Spanish. Without the warmth and openness of the locals, Ronda simply wouldn’t be the same. It certainly wouldn’t offer such a close encounter with the culture, which after all, is the key to an unforgettable language learning experience.