Spanish classes for migrant people


Teaching the local language with the help of volunteers.

Description of the activity

This is one of the pioneer activities within Cantabria Acoge. They have been teaching Spanish for over twenty years to all migrants who want it.

It can be carried out by volunteers and is generally related to the world of language teachers who spend part of their free time to help others.

Many of their volunteers are people who have dedicated themselves professionally to teaching and who know the different methodologies to learn Spanish. They currently have three levels of education: the first is focused on the acquisition of literacy in Spanish or the literacy of people who, for various reasons, have not been able to acquire this knowledge even in their own language; the other two levels go in depth for both oral and the written learning of Spanish.

The classes for migrants are taught from Monday to Thursday from 10:30 to 12:30 in classrooms given by a parish near the association’s headquarters. At this time there are people from Moldova, Romania, and Sub-Saharan Africa, especially Cameroon and Nigeria. There are approximately 12 students per group. However, there is a variable waiting list depending on the group and the time of year. The users of our urban garden can enter classes directly if they need it. Sometimes we also have visits to places of interest in the city and the surrounding area and to sporting events, as well as meals, visits to museums, etc.


In order to carry out this activity by the association, at least one technician is needed to coordinate the teaching staff and the students and to manage attendance. Experience is needed in coordinating a group of people in situations of disadvantage or at risk of exclusion. Active listening, empathy, leadership and managing the resolution of conflicts that may arise between teachers, students, etc. are also important. The teaching staff have a minimum ability to teach Spanish to foreign students and more importantly need the commitment and the continuity to put in time to this project.

Steps for the implementation of the activity

The first step is to meet the demand expressed by the user or in many cases coming from other organisations, both public and private, to access the classes.

There is an initial registration and reception emphasising the commitment to attend classes.

A Spanish test is done to detect what level the user needs.

The new student receives study material.

The new student starts Spanish classes, and there is a periodic follow-up by the teachers and the technician.

At the end of the training a certificate of attendance is issued.

Materials and methods

To be able to teach these classes, you need a large space with necessary pedagogical material as as well as chairs, tables, and a blackboard.

Materials and human resources:
To be able to teach these classes, you need a large space with necessary pedagogical material as as well as chairs, tables, and a blackboard.

Classes are governed by the school calendar of Cantabria, which gives a lot of flexibility to people to combine family life and training in Spanish. It requires the availability of 2 hours a day by teachers and students and the constant presence of the technician responsible for the activity.

Being an activity based on volunteering costs makes this activity cheaper. However, materials such as notebooks, pencils and photocopies are provided by the association. Other costs to consider are the supply of cleaning materials and the rent in case other space is required.

Learning outcomes for the participants

This activity is basic for the integration of the migrant in Spain and in Spanish speaking states in general. Without a correct understanding and ability to speak the language it is not possible to even undertake the basic activities of daily life. In general, users who attend classes show a great interest and commitment and understand the need to learn the language. They highly value visits and meetings of groups. They are encouraged through participation, exchange of different cultures, sharing common interests and the learning of the Spanish language.