San Sebastian Spanish Courses
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San Sebastian is a small to medium-sized coastal city in northern Spain, just off the border with France. Impeccably maintained and surrounded by a rich natural bounty (including La Concha bay with its stunning views on Santa Clara island), the city offers modern convenience, history, and a great student nightlife scene.
Spanish Courses Offered in San Sebastian
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About San Sebastian
San Sebastian is a charming city set in a small bay in Spain’s Basque country, and famous for its beautiful green nature and city beaches. Food lovers will discover countless superb places to eat and drink here: eating out is ingrained in San Sebastian’s culture and provides an excellent way for students to get out, meet new people, and practice their Spanish skills. The city is recommended for students who want to combine a few weeks or months of cultural events, sightseeing, great food and beaches—usually during late spring, the warm summer months, or early autumn. San Sebastian hosts a yearly International Film Festival in September, one of the cinema industry’s top global events.
San Sebastian is a small to medium sized city, and its main industry is national and international culture- and beach-tourism. The city has an efficient public transport system, including regular and inexpensive bus services. Students can also enjoy seeing the sights on rented city bicycles, a cheap public service organised by the town hall. Within the historic district it is easy to walk between the different places of interest. There are many historical buildings here, including the City Hall, Miramar Palace, and the Gothic Buen Pastor Cathedral. There is also a good selection of museums, such as the Museum of Basque History, the Naval Museum and the fascinating interactive science museum, Eureka. Another top attraction is the twin-sculpture known as El Peine del Viento, or “Wind Comb”, located on the beach. These steel sculptures, set into granite and sitting over the water, are particularly impressive on windy days when huge waves crash into the rocks.
San Sebastian’s nearby hills and small mountains offer great views of the city and sea. Students can enjoy some scenic hiking here, a popular past time in San Sebastian. A cable car will take visitors up Mount Igeldo, where there is a small turn-of-the-century amusement park, complete with beautifully renovated old rides and stalls. Avid shoppers will love San Sebastian’s many stylish clothing stores, high street shops and designer boutiques on Avenida de La Libertad, the main shopping street in the centre of the city, as well as the Garbera shopping centre on the outskirts. When it comes to eating, San Sebastian has an almost overwhelming number of choices. There are many small, family-owned restaurants that serve robust dishes of meat and seafood. San Sebastian’s pintxos bars, serving small, inexpensive portions of food similar to tapas, are popular with students. Those craving a little taste of home will be more than satisfied with the international options that are available.
The weather in San Sebastian is usually pleasant, if quite humid. July is the hottest month and the average temperature is 21ºC (69ºF), but can soar to 35ºC (95ºF). Summers are generally warm and sunny, and from June to early September, sunbathing on the beaches, or on either side of the river Urumea is a popular pastime on sunny days. Swimming, kayaking, surfing, and water skiing are also possible during the summer. The winters are cooler, and the coldest month is usually January with an average temperature of 9ºC (48ºF), so students visiting at this time will want to make sure that they pack a few extra layers. There is no particular rainy season, as it can rain at any time of year. August has the least rain, however, and March the most.
There are several vibrant celebrations and festivals in San Sebastian. One exciting, modern event is the International Film Festival in September. The festival is considered one of the main events of the global film industry and many famous faces can be spotted around the city. Past visitors include huge stars like Brad Pitt, Richard Gere, Meryl Streep and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
In San Sebastian both Spanish and the Basque language, called Euskera, are spoken. Although Spanish is prevalent and everybody speaks and understands it, many people in San Sebastian consider Basque their first language—speaking it is often a matter of patriotic pride. But at the same time, the city thrives on national and international tourism and therefore the locals welcome students practicing Spanish. In the longer term, however, this can make it hard for Spanish language students to fully integrate in the community, and therefore shorter immersion stays of 2 weeks to 3-4 months are best. For this reason, San Sebastian is also often combined with other Spanish immersion destinations, in particular the far cheaper Andalusian cities, like Granada, Malaga, Cadiz or Seville.
Northern Spain is known for being more expensive than the southern parts of the country. The cost of living in San Sebastian is actually higher than in large cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. The overall costs in San Sebastian are often compared to those found just over the border in France. The high quality of life that San Sebastian offers, however, makes it a city well worth spending time in. Students can save money by sharing accommodation, preparing food at home and by avoiding tourist areas and eating out where the locals eat.
San Sebastian is an ideal summer city (though winters aren't too cold--the city very rarely sees snow, for example--they can be consistently overcast and rainy). It's also a great city for those who prefer something on the smaller, more comfortable side. Nightlife is plentifully available for those who are interested, but for those who aren't this very picturesque city also offers plenty of relaxing, quiet environments.
San Sebastian's location in the Basque Country may be counted by some as a drawback, but in practical terms everyone in the city speaks Spanish and everyday life isn't affected by the political separatist movements the Basque Country is often associated with. Food fans should definitely consider San Sebastian a premium location, as should nature lovers.
Doubts or Questions?
If you have any doubts about what language course to choose in San Sebastian we will be very happy to help you: You can contact us by email, phone or via Skype.
We can also highly recommend trying our School Comparison tool where you can get a complete overview of the differences in the schools available in San Sebastian or you can download brochures of all the school we offer in San Sebastian.
To book a Spanish language course in San Sebastian, please fill out the Registration form, you will then receive a response from UniSpain confirming that we are processing your request for a Spanish language course.