Why Choose our Programs for Groups
With our customized programs of language stays for groups, CIAM offers any teacher or a group leader from any institution the possibility to create their own specific program and design it according to the needs and preferences of the students or members of the group. These programs aim at promoting education and training in Spanish that adapts to the learning needs of the group members. We have designed programs that have been very successful in the past and can be used as a model to develop other programs.
1. Our philosophy: to awaken the students’ curiosity to participate in the new community
Learning a language means coming into contact not only with a new linguistic code, but also with a different way of seeing and understanding the world. Our customized programs allow our students to enter into a dimension where a language is truly a tool of communication and knowledge. In the design and planning of the programs, CIAM aims at helping students learn to solve problems, awaken their curiosity by studying inside and outside the classroom, and have a linguistic experience that is also a life experience.
Activities and courses at CIAM cover a wide range of topics and tasks. Our programs for groups focus not only on the development of the students’ language skills, but also on providing learning stimuli that allow them to learn about a wide variety of specialities (from translation and interpreting to anthropology, literature and philosophy; from archaeology and art to the cinema, and environmental and landscape studies). But this applies not only to the activities that we develop in class, but also to those that take place within the community, in volunteer programs and internships in companies, in trips to study and enjoy the landscape or to learn about the flora and fauna of our protected areas, in cultural visits to the artistic and architectural heritage of the region, and in popular festivals, among others.
3. Focused on the student
The theoretical framework of our programs aims at making the student the center of attention at all times. The diversity of the countries of origin is always taken into account when planning and developing the classes. The programs are based on the idea that our students are human beings from specific communities and cultures with their own distinct personalities. These ideas come to fruition in the materials and activities that are developed in the center. Students design their own learning plan, where they include the activities that they carry out both inside and outside the classroom. They also have follow-up sessions with their program tutor, write their learning diary, collect evidence of their work and their progress, and reflect on how they are developing their intercultural skills and how they are interacting with the new reality.
4. Learning in nature
Learning involves awakening wonder, curiosity, pleasure, and fun, and all of this is closely related to nature. We are committed to integrating the green spaces of our center, our city and our region in the educational process. There is a growing body of specialized literature that shows the positive effects that regular outdoor teaching has on learning. Some educators refer to the value of nature as the third educator. The effects of green spaces improve cognitive factors (attention, concentration, memory) as well as affective ones (motivation, anxiety, willingness to communicate), involved in foreign language learning processes. Therefore, we integrate the natural environment as an open-air classroom, and we organize weekly language and culture sessions in the nature classroom. We are committed to green pedagogy. This colour is a hallmark of our region.
5. Educational project and recognized center
CIAM is an academic institution specialized in the Spanish language and culture, which takes over the contribution and follows the path of the Duques de Soria Foundation to Hispanism in the world.
CIAM’s pedagogical project is well-established and is accredited by the Instituto Cervantes, a highly reputed government body, whose mission is to promote quality teaching of Spanish as a foreign language around the world. Every three years our center undergoes evaluations by the Instituto Cervantes that serve to identify strengths of our pedagogical project and to design improvement plans for those aspects in which we can consolidate our practices. Our trajectory allows us to have achieved recognition as an official Spanish exam center of the Instituto Cervantes, which means that we can prepare our students to the exams of the Diplomas of Spanish as a foreign language (DELE in Spanish) and hold the exams at our own center. We also have the license to administer the Sociocultural and Constitutional Knowledge Tests (CCSE in Spanish) that the Instituto Cervantes has developed and that are required in Spain to acquire the Spanish nationality. Furthermore, we have an agreement with the Instituto Cervantes that allows us and our students to use the platform and online materials of the Instituto Cervantes: the so-called AVE Global.
Our programs have received recognition through collaboration agreements with various academic and educational entities for which we design cultural and learning programs in Spanish. To access the list of institutions with which we collaborate, click on this link.
6. Specialized teachers
The CIAM teaching team is directed by and made up of Doctors and graduates with postgraduate training in teaching Spanish and in education. All of us have strong backgrounds in international educational institutions and the university. This endows our project with unique professional experiences that have taken place in very different educational contexts for teaching Spanish. Besides this team of specialized teachers, there is a group of collaborating teachers who are specialized in humanities and other related disciplines (writing, history, cinema, philosophy), which is a testament of the humanistic and educational vocation of our project. We share, as Kant says, the idea that man can only become a man through education.
7. Service learning and immersion experiences: our program “Spanish in the community and volunteering”
CIAM focuses its work on immersion in the life and culture of a unique city and region such as Soria through two programs: “Spanish in the community and in volunteering” and “Thematic workshops.” We believe that learning should not remain inside the classroom. Instead, students should be able to broaden their knowledge by communicating, working and living within a warm and unique community.
8. Soria, a safe city
Living and studying in a quiet city in Castile and Leon like Soria is an unforgettable experience. Soria is a small and safe city that can be explored on foot, away from the mass tourism of other Spanish cities. Because of these characteristics, it is easy to become part of the life and work of the community. Besides, Soria is an ideal location to explore other areas of Spain: Madrid, Zaragoza, Valladolid and Burgos (about two hours away by car or bus), Bilbao and San Sebastián (less than three hours away) and Barcelona (four and a half hours away).
9. Wide range of complementary cultural and sports activities
Our programs include a wide range of cultural, sports and nature activities, which complement those that we do in the classroom. The most popular ones include trips across Soria, the region and the most important towns in the area, with a twofold objective: to get to know new cities and places, and to enable students to use Spanish and to become familiar with behaviours and customs of our culture. The city also offers a wide range of activities that allow students to get to know it easily, have fun and feel comfortable right away. The city and the area as a whole are ideal to practise sports such as golf, athletics, swimming, and hiking, among others.
10. Our magnificent facilities and two accommodation options: you can live in the center or with a host family
Our facilities are simply magnificent. We are in the center of the city of Soria, just five minutes away from the Plaza Mayor, in a historic building from the 16th century: the Convento de la Merced. It is a completely renewed and conditioned building, where some famous Spanish writers such as Tirso de Molina lived, and which others, such as Antonio Machado, cite in their work. The Convento de la Merced has a large yard that serves as a privileged setting for our outdoor sessions when the weather allows them.
We have seven large classrooms, a lecture hall for events and conferences, a room to have a coffee and rest between classes, an audiovisual room, a multimedia room with computers, a yard, a Wi-Fi network throughout the building, and a student dormitory in the same complex. Students can choose between staying at the “Duques de Soria” university dormitory, located in the same building as CIAM, or living with carefully selected host families. There is also the possibility to stay in shared apartments with other students in the group.
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