About The School

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About San Sebastián

To visit San Sebastián, in the Basque country on Spain‘s northern coast, is to fall in love.  The first sight of the shimmering bay, replete with crescents of golden sand and turquoise waves, will sweep you off your feet.  Pairing this natural beauty with the unrivaled local cuisine, from Michelin starred feasts to bite sized pintxos (Basque tapas) may leave your head spinning.

The city will be putting its best foot forward for years, as it has been named a 2016 European Capital of Culture. San Sebastián or Donostia in Basque is 20 km away from the border of France and on the coast of the Bay of Biscay.  Not overly large, the city’s population is about 200,000. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Spain.  There are many events which take place here, such as the International Film Festival and Jazz Festival, giving the city an international prestige.  Meanwhile, the larger province blends sea and mountains, offering the traveler landscape, sports and cuisine, as well as interesting monuments.

A common question is about the language spoken in the Basque areas.  Yes, there are two official languages – Basque (Euskara) and Spanish.  Signs will be in both languages.  About 30% of the population speaks Basque, but almost everyone speaks fluent Spanish.

The Basque language is a language isolate, not belonging to any language family but constituting its own language family. Grammatically, it is the most complex of any language in the world.  Even many Basques who speak Spanish as a first language have extreme difficulty learning the language. What you will learn at the school is standard Spanish, and you will hear it everywhere and learn to speak a very useable Spanish.  All the while, it’s interesting to overhear a snippet of conversation in Basque along the street.

In brief, San Sebastián is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city with a strong Basque character, and filled with cultural events.  The fishing boat regatta tells us something of the tradition, while the prestigious film and jazz festivals say a great deal about its international allure.  It’s a fascinating place to study Spanish!

Travel

You can fly into the San Sebastián airport from Madrid or Barcelona.  Alternatively you can fly to Bilbao, an hour away, with flights from London, Frankfurt, Paris and other European cities. A third option is Biarritz airport (50 km away), with flights from various major cities including Paris and London.

Airport pickups are available for all these arrivals. If you want to include a Paris trip with train  in your study plans, San Sebastián (station 20 km. away) is on the Paris-Madrid route with the TGV train.

About The School

Lacunza (part of the International House organization) is a Spanish school that has become the most prominent school in the north of Spain and the only one that has obtained the CEELE quality certificate. Lacunza is a medium sized school with 40 to 60 students in winter, autumn and spring and from May to September from 100 to 160 students.

It is fully accredited through the strict quality standards of the International House organization and through this affiliation, it has all the resources for the latest advances in methodology, teacher training, and materials for different types of students.  Other accreditations include:
Bildungsurlab Certified by the Federal State of Hamburg, FEDELE and Cervantes Institute Accredited.  

Located in the center of the city, the facilities are planned to facilitate learning and communication in a pleasant, modern atmosphere. Facilities include an open air terrace, free wi fi access, an expansive social area and library, 18 air conditioned classrooms, 6 computers for student access, audio visual equipment.  Next door is the modern Mundaiz Gym.  Lacunza students receive a significant discount on membership.

Style of teaching – All instructors are native-speaking, certified professionals that work effectively in teams and on their own to offer an exceptionally high level of language instruction. The methodology, is focused on practicality and application of the language.  Lacunza also uses their own detailed teaching programs which are adapted to each student group. This way, apart from having great teachers, they also offer a unique school style. The result is that students learn and have fun doing it.

Levels offered – All levels of Spanish are offered, from complete beginners to advanced.  You will be given a placement test to determine your best position in a group class.

Class size and hours – 12 students maximum.  Classes begin at 9:30 am.

Materials – included in your course cost and prepared by the school

Academic Credit – Available for this program.  

Students - Coming from 40 different countries, about 20% of Lacunza’s students are from the USA, with Europeans being the highest percentage. The minimum age is 17 (but there is a special Junior Program for ages 14 - 16.) There is a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Some adults come as couples or with a friend, but many arrive unaccompanied and are quickly able to find interesting friends both in the school and in the city. The reasons for studying are just as varied...some for professional purposes, others for travel, and even those who just enjoy the cultural and intellectual stimulation.

Calendar - If you are not a beginner you can start on any Monday. However, we strongly recommend that you choose an official start date. If you do not start on an official start date, you will not have your orientation until your second week. Beginners MUST begin on any of the below start dates.

Start Dates 2020:  January 7; February 3; March 2; April 6; May 4, May 20, June 1, June 15, June 29; July 6, July 20; August 3, August 17, August 31; September 7; October 5; November 2; December 7.
There is a summer supplementary price increase per week (included in prices as shown) during the summer period: June 29 to August 21 for courses & May 31 to September 19 for accommodations.

2020 Holidays (due to the high number of public holidays in the area, holidays will be observed but classes of the rest of the week will start at 9 a.m., 30 minutes earlier).  January 1, January 6, January 20; March 19; April 10, 13; May 1; July 31; October 12; December 8, 25  to January 6.. Classes start at 9am, instead of 9.30am, during weeks that have a public holiday in them, to compensate for hours lost. Winter break December 20, 2019 to January 6, 2020. You may stay with host families during winter break. During the high season, classes may be held in the afternoon. The timetable may be: 13:15-14:45 and 15.00 - 16:30

Teen Program Start Dates 2020 (ages 14-17): DATES: June 1 – August 28 DATES FOR BEGINNERS: June 1, July 6 or August 3 (If you are not a beginner, you can start on any Monday)