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.

2017 Start Dates (for beginners only): January 9; February 6; March 6; April 3; May 2, 15; June 5, 19; July 3, 17; August 7, 21; September 4, 18; October 2; November 6. No beginner start dates in December.

There is a summer supplementary price increase per week (included in prices as shown) during the summer period July 3 to Aug 25 for courses and June 5 to September 16 for lodging.

2017 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, 6, 20; April 14, 17; May 1; July 25, 31; August 15; October 12; November 1; December 6, 8, 25.

Teen Program Start Dates 2017: June 5 through August 25. Beginners must start any week in July or the first week of August.

Start Dates 2018:  January 8; February 5; March 5; April 3; May 7, 21; June 4, 18;July 2, 16, 30; August 6, 20; September 3, 17; October 1; November 5; December no beginner class.

There is a summer supplementary price increase per week (included in prices as shown) during the summer period:

Courses July 2 to August 24 and Lodging June 3 to September 15

2018 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 to 6;  March 30; April 2; May 1; July 31; August 15; October 12; November 1; December 6, 8, 25. School is closed from December 25, 2018 to January 6, 2019.

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 2018: June 4 – August 24. Starting dates for beginner: June 4; July 2; August 6.

Activities - Lacunza offers a complete activity program throughout the year allowing you to make the most of your time in San Sebastián. Activities include: city tours, museum visits, sporting events, nature hikes, parties, festival celebrations, and more.  An example of another excursion might be to the world famous Guggenheim Museum in nearby Bilbao.  Some of these activities only have the cost of transport, while longer excursions are offered at reasonable costs.