So you have some time to spare while you make decisions about what to do next with your life and you fancy learning Spanish. Then really, there is only one thing I can say to you: go and study Spanish in Spain – at least for a while. Here’s my reasoning:
Firstly, you’ve taken a gap year so you can make your mind up about what to do next. Well, you can’t really do that until you’ve seen something of the world. If you spend your year sitting around at home wondering what to do with yourself a) it will be incredibly boring and b) it will be incredibly boring. Added to which you won’t get any new ideas and by the end of it, you’re world will have shrunk so much that you’ll probably end up deciding that you want to be a barman at your local or the school bus driver. So get out more, see a bit of life, travel to foreign lands and come back far more cool than the dudes you left behind.
Secondly, the most proven technique for learning a language is immersion. That’s not as unpleasant as it sounds (especially as the sea is lovely and warm in Spain). Immersion is about becoming immersed in the language and culture of a place so that everything you learn sinks right in to your core and you develop a natural fluency. According to leading language school, www.esl.co.uk, immersion in a language is guaranteed to get better results than weekly classes at your local FE college – no matter how much you say you do your homework…
Thirdly, it is Spanish you want to learn and so the place to learn it is where they speak it all day, every day. Where you eat in Spanish, sleep in Spanish and go dancing Spanish-style. I’ll admit, there is a flaw in that bit of my argument as Spanish is the third most spoken language in the world, so you could go just about anywhere and find someone to speak Spanish with you. That said most of those incarnations of Spanish are not the real thing, not the Castillian Spanish that is spoken in Spain and which forms the basis of the other versions of Spanish spoken around the world.
So there’s my reason number 4: Take at least some time on your gap year to learn Spanish in Spain so you will then be able to use the rest of your gap year to travel to all those other places where Spanish, or some version of it, is spoken.