A True Spanish Experience
in Cuenca
Image Credit: Kerry Gunston Image Credit: Kerry Gunston

 
Cuenca is a medieval fortified city in a near immaculate state of preservation with UNESCO World Heritage status
 

A Spanish language immersion program based in the city of Cuenca that endeavours to teach language, culture, cuisine, sports and more. From a few grammar classes to kayaking and rock-climbing, the program is packed full of fun activities, friendly locals and traditional foods in a UNESCO World Heritatge City.

True Spanish Experience (TSE) program is a great way to start any adventure into Spain and the program caters for all levels of Spanish, from first-time beginners to adept speakers.

Tim Wearne travelled overseas in 2013 to Spain, enrolled in the True Spanish Experience program in Cuenca. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience, consolidating and learning some of the language in the mornings throughout his week in the program. However his afternoons seemed to be one of the high points of the day, where after a lovely long lunch and short siesta in the middle of the day, he partook in various exciting activities with a Spanish guide.

The program runs a range of different types of activities however Tim along with others, chose the Outdoor Package. This allowed them to see different parts of the old town of Cuenca, placed high on a mountain-top and surrounded by the protection of natural rivers and forests at its base. Moreover his experience was a unique one because his Spanish guide on each of these excursions had limited English, forcing Tim to engage and practice his newly acquired Spanish skills. With interactive learning in the mornings and hands-on practice in the afternoons, the True Spanish Experience program equips each of its students to engage with the new world around them.

Furthermore, the program places students within a home-stay environment with various Spanish families living in Cuenca. This gave Tim the opportunity to enjoy a range of old, traditional foods and to learn a little about Spanish culture, which differs significantly from his experiences at home in Australia. Tim particularly noticed that apart from ordering tapas to share, instead of one big plate of food each, dishes were frequently left by waiters who took their time returning to tables and delivering their service. In Australia this might seem strange however, to many Spaniards eating is a long, drawn-out experience that can take many hours in which people share, talk and laugh, compared to the quick, hurried meals that are so common here.

True Spanish Experience programs runs all year round for varying lengths of time with different activity packages.

Originally built up by Moors as a defensive stronghold in the heart of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba, Cuenca is a medieval fortified city in a near immaculate state of preservation. Due to its Muslim origins, militarized nature and subsequent 12th-century Christian overtaking, the city boasts a exquisite architectural mix of Moorish homes and Christian buildings spanning numerous centuries that led to its eventual UNESCO World Heritage status. Along with its cobbled streets and preserved original townscape, Cuenca's stand-out highlights include Spain's very first Gothic cathedral as well as the famous "casas colgadas" (hanging houses), which hang precariously over the edge of sheer cliffs.

For more information, go to www.truespanishexperience.com for further details or contact the local Australian partner on  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for personalised attention.


By Chrissy Becker

Spanish Australia Magazine Intern