Now that I am back in England, and this experience has come to an end, it's time to finish off this blog with one final post.
First of all, for me this trip was definitely the best 'holiday' that I have ever had! Due to the length of the trip, I never really felt like I was on holiday - it felt more like I was living in Toledo, and that the house I was staying in was my home. Also, due to the fact that I could talk to people in Spanish, I felt that I got a much better idea of the local culture, and had the opportunity to experience things that normal tourists would never see.
During this trip there were 2 things that were extremely important, and central to the whole experience: The school itself, and the host family. I am happy to say that for me, both of these were perfect!
The host family was amazing: The house was brilliant and in a great location, and all of the people in the family were really friendly and helpful. It was great to return from class each day and have a delicious (and often enormous) meal waiting for me, and I could never have learnt so much without being able to practice speaking with the family. It was also great for me to spend so much time with Paula. There are no small children in my life in England, and it was nice to spend time with her and see all of the amusing things she would always be doing.
For me the school was also amazing. When I had to fill in the questionnaire on my last day, there was a section for suggestions, but I really couldn't think of any way in which the lessons could have been improved. I have had Spanish group lessons in the past in language schools in the UK, and always found the materials to be poor, and didn't really learn a lot. The materials here were good, and the lessons were fun and interesting, and I think I have greatly improved my Spanish over the past 4 weeks. When I arrived in Spain my host family didn't think I could say anything in Spanish, and to be honest this wasn't far from the truth! I had learnt a lot before I came here, but had never really had a lot of opportunities to practice. After just a few weeks at Aula Toledo I have been able to have lots of interesting conversations with people in Spanish, and have generally been able to understand what people have said to me, and have made myself understood most of the time.
Outside of class, Maite has organised quite a few things for me to do in the evenings, such as watching films in Spanish, going to concerts, going on tours of the city and having intercambios with students who are learning English. This has been great, because I don't think I would have found any of these activities on my own.
For me, the best part of this whole experience has to have been all of the lessons that I had with Cristina, especially in the last 2 weeks when I was the only student in the class. Cristina was an excellent teacher, and we got on really well. She was really easy to talk to, and always showed a great amount of interest in what I had to say. I'm going to miss Cristina a lot!
Overall this has been a great experience for me, and I didn't want to leave Spain and come back to England! There are a lot of things that I am going to miss about Spain, and I would love to live there one day.