Spain remains one of Irish people’s favourite destinations for holidays abroad – in a 2017 survey, 38 percent of adults chose Spain as their holiday destination. In addition, many Irish people live in Spain during our winter months – or all year round.
So, it should come as no surprise that Spanish is increasingly becoming a second language that Irish people need to master to some degree – or at least become familiar with for everyday contexts.
Mariana Jiménez Moreno moved to Ireland in 2010 and, shortly afterwards, she started teaching Corkonians how to speak Spanish!
Today, she delivers beginners and more advanced Spanish classes in Bishopstown Community School, Ballincollig Community School, Ashton Comprehensive School, and Carrigaline Community School.
“After I moved to Ireland, I did teacher training for ELE - a Certificate in Spanish Language Teaching to Foreign People – at the Instituto Cervantes, Dublin,” says Mariana, who hails from Madrid originally.
“A lot of different people come to the classes: from people who are in college to people in their eighties. Some people want a few words of Spanish to use on their holidays, or some want to learn Spanish because a family member has married a person from Spain or Latin American and they want to communicate better with them.
“In some classes, we have a very wide range of ages. I have students who want to train their mind and learn another language. Some people are retired and want to move to Spain (or already have a base in Spain) or want to learn to speak to Spanish-speaking grandchildren.
“Lately, I have realised that there are a couple students in each class who enrol to learn Spanish because they are doing the Camino de Santiago, they have already done it, or they are planning to do it. Or, in the September class, people come to learn Spanish because they have booked a holiday in Spain over Christmas.”
As with any night class, the social benefits are enormous. “In some classes, a lot of the same people come back each year. People become friends and get to know about each other’s lives. Recently, one of the class was in hospital and we sent a best wishes card written in Spanish.”
In terms of lifelong learning, Spanish is ideal in helping people to navigate social situations on holidays. “In the beginners class, we cover the basics, greetings, introductions, then different foods and directions. At the improvers classes, the participants know what they need – maybe going to a hairdresser when living or holidaying in Spain.
“Every class has a cultural element – so, for instance, at Christmas time, we cover what Christmas is like in Spain, compared to what it is like in Ireland.
“And, at the end of the classes, we go to a Spanish restaurant in Cork, so they can use their Spanish in a real setting. Or, in another class, we applied this in class where everybody prepared a tapas dish and explained in Spanish how they did it. Everyone is familiar with tapas!!”
Find out which schools in our network run Spanish classes here.