If there is such a thing as an international language then it is English. As a native Spanish speaker, I have always found the language hard to come to terms with. At school I just about learned enough to be able to hold a very basic conversation but as I grew older I discovered that my natural career progression lead me to a stage whereby having the ability to speak a good standard of English was a pre-requisite for the type of jobs I was applying for. With English being in high demand it wasn’t difficult to find courses I could attend and living just 20km away from Valencia in a place called Sagunto, the choice was abundant. My only problem was which course I should choose, but in the end I decided to try one of the popular schools in Valencia. The course was expensive, but I didn’t mind as I thought that the high price would guarantee that I would learn English at a rapid pace but apparently I was wrong.
Although the standard of teaching was high, the problem was that the course was over-subscribed with over 18 people in my class alone. The biggest problem however, was that the class was of mixed ability with some people speaking English to a high standard and others barely able to utter a word making it very difficult for the teacher to deliver a class that could cater for everyone’s needs. I fell somewhere in the middle of the ability range, finding that some weeks I was learning a lot and other weeks my progress being hampered by material that was either too basic or too advanced.
Ultimately, to me it seemed that course was not value for money and my English was not progressing at the rate I had expected so I left and decided to try and find something else. After seeking recommendations, I was lead to a place much closer to my own doorstop here in Sagunto. Apparently a lot of people were recommending the American Cultural Center in the adjacent town of Puerto Sagunto telling me that if I wanted to learn English, this was where I should go.
Reserving my own judgment I decided to give it a go and quickly found that the strong recommendations were reliable. The American Cultural Center was excellent. The first thing that struck me about the American Cultural Center was the pleasant, ambient and relaxed environment. It felt less like a school and more like a place of work but at the same time friendly and welcoming. Secondly, classes were organized by ability, in groups of no more than 10 people, creating a more intimate learning experience and making me feel as if each lesson was a social event rather than a lesson at all!. The teaching standard was also very good and the smaller groups meant that the teachers were able to pay more attention to each individual which is fantastic considering that the course was also cheaper than the one I was attending in Valencia! Another big selling point for me was the fact that native English speakers were employed. Through my experience with the staff at the American Cultural Center, I have found that having the opportunity to learn from native speakers is by far the best way to learn English with the evidence of this being in this very article. Believe me when I say that this time last year my English was ok, but nowhere near the standard that it is now. The progress that I have made in that short time has been nothing short of remarkable and I urge my fellow Valencianos wishing to learn English to try the American Cultural Center in Puerto Sagunto. Check out their website at;