English for Lecturers - Staff Training Week in Barcelona

An English course in Barcelona?

Given that I will soon be working on the International Programme for our incoming Erasmus students, the director of this programme made me aware of the Erasmus+ language courses offered to PH staff. The realisation that an English course is available in Barcelona both surprised and pleased me. The staff in the International Office were an excellent support in terms of handling the paperwork and so I landed in Barcelona on the last Sunday in May at midday to a very pleasant temperature.

The language school is located very centrally (Passeig de Gràcia) and was a 20-minute walk away from my hotel (in Vila de Gràcia). On Monday the course began at 9:30am and ran until Friday, finishing every day at 2:30pm with two teachers, Steve from America and Laura from Scotland and 14 participants. Two enrolled Czech participants only appeared briefly to pay the course fee and then were not seen again…

After a round of introductions, the group was divided up. In my group there were three participants from a technical university in Luxemburg, one from Hungary (Szent-Istán University) and a couple from a private university in Slovenia. The rest of the participants were from the Netherlands, Lithuania, Germany, France and Sweden.

The structure of the course was very varied. After some morning warm-up and vocal exercises, there were team games on common English phrases, discussions etc., broken up by two 15-minute breaks.

For the last day we had to prepare a 5-minute presentation on a topic of our choice (homework so to speak) and then of course present it. As a tip for future participants I can recommend, just as I did it, taking an already existing template with you (own laptop) and simply presenting in English.

Guided tours were offered on two afternoons by the language school, the first given by the very competent manager of the school through the old part (Barri Gòtic) of her home city, the second to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC).

My scepticism of an English course in Spain was definitely unfounded: There are 5 x 5 hours intensive language course and afterwards I was always out with a small group, where only English was spoken. And on the flight home I was sat next to an Australian couple, who were both teachers…

Gerhard Toppler

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