Weekly immersions: 4 hour morning sessions Monday through Friday, with visits to the splendid region in the afternoons and weekend
Meals and lodging included as a part of the immersion
Communicative Approach under non-directive relations. A welcoming atmosphere to foster vital learnings beyond Spanish
Limited to a maximum of three students
680 €/week (approx. $735, £590)
Couples, family or friends of the students who are not interested in learning Spanish may be lodged.
Our residence is free for accomodation and for meals of learners.
Estilo de Vida was designed for adults, but youngsters and children are also welcome either alone or with relatives.
Immersions are for maximum of three students at the same time. We dedicate time to individual needs and don’t want to spread our attention among more students or to increase scale –“small is beautiful”!
The Communicative Approach assumes that communication is the goal for learning a new language. It is rather a ‘common sense’-based approach than a standard methodology with musts and must-nots. It combines theory and practice, grammar being used as an instrument to gaining communicational ability. We work on building a warm and supportive community among us all that helps communicate more uninhibitedly. Furthermore, in Estilo de Vida we assume that visitors may have different motivations to learn Spanish, and build course designs upon them. For over-three-weeks immersions we customize the learning further, designing programmes with specific consideration of the leaner’s particularities. To investigate on motivations and particularities is one of the goals of the conversation that we may hold following registrations –we can also talk about it at any moment.
The favourite issue in Estilo de Vida is diet, and we propose it as the underlying thread or contextual base for activities, in case you do not have other particular requirements.
Diet is important and relevant to everybody, is present everyday everywhere and is permanent. There are plenty of opportunities to investigate about it: while shopping, cooking or in restaurants; in your cities and countries or abroad; with your family, neighbours, friends, dinner guests or doctors; either in Spanish, in your native language or in any other.
The region in which immersions take place is Las Merindades, a beautiful, low population-density area, ideal for trekking or beast- and bird-watching; and a paradise of Romanic Art or sightseeing. The village is called Las Viadas, quiet and small, on the slope of Valderejo Natural Park, 75 km from Bilbao or Vitoria and 100 from Burgos or Santander. Our house and home also provides students’ accomodation, morning classes and meals. Estilo de Vida occupies a 405 sq m (4,400 sq ft) refurbished traditional stone house with three floors, four rooms for guests, garden with BBQ set, WiFi, video set, giant screen, and a 135 m² open penthouse with a table tennis, a table football, a multi-darts set and several board games, as well as 2 balconees that offer a gorgeous space to watch the stars at night.
Las Merindades gifts us with splendid surroundings for afternoon activities, with uncountable spots ready for:
Trekking. Just a handful of kilometers away from Estilo de Vida there are plenty of areas that offer walks in fantastic landscapes: Parque Natural de Valderejo, Montes Obarenes, Pico Humión, gorges of rivers Purón and Sobrón, forests, hermitages… Just a little further away, the list of sites for wonderful trekking ways becomes endless: the beautiful 110 km long karstic caves of San Bernabé, the river Ebro Canyon, valleys, paramos, waterfalls,.... Six GR (long distance walking routes) and plenty of PR (short distance) lay across cross our region.
Historic villages and Romanic spots. Medieval Oña preserves impressive buildings and monuments from old glory days. The fortified city of Frías is a lively spot with plenty of cultural activities, specially during the summer. Medina de Pomar, Espinosa de los Monteros and other villages and small towns also offer monasteries, towers, ancient walls and museums worth a visit. On the other hand, Romanic buildings spread across Las Merindades extolling the beauty of the sceneries where they lie: San Pantaleón, San Salvador de Oña, Santa María de Siones and so many others.
In an afternoon trip distance we also have the Guggenheim Museum, winneries in La Rioja and other places of touristic interest in Bilbao, Vitoria, Burgos or Santander.
Following the the group’s dynamic, in the afternoons we can also visit local ecologic farms and ecovillages and practice yoga, martial arts or other activities in multi-adventure park only 10 km away from Estilo de Vida (kayak, SUP, rock climbing, horse back riding,…), or enjoy the beauty of the area from the sky in a hot-air balloon. Some road and mountain bicycles are available. And there is always room for meditation, stillness and silence.
After dinner, we can still watch films or opera on the big screen, play games in the penthouse or watch the stars and constellations in the magnificent night sky provided by the lack of luminic or air pollution.
If you have reached this site, most probably you are a friend of either Charo or Alejo, or of a friend of theirs, rather than found it through a search engine. You might therefore perceive that this is a honest proposal.
English, French and Italian are spoken. Being able to communicate in another language is not absolutely fundamental with the methodology used, but will be good for students with a beginner level in Spanish.
Estilo de Vida was conceived as a the result of a natural, unforced process. Our proposal sprouds from an urge to share and learn together about an ever new lifestyle, to live with our house doors open. While passionate for life, we participate with its timeless search.
Alejo is Graduate in Economics and Business, MBA and MSc with distincition in Climate Change & Sustainable Development (DMU, UK). He worked for many years for the old economy through international commerce, sourcing from China and selling worldwide; and shifted to sustainable development regards, navigating the complex oceans of sustainaility for eight years: from the MSc to further writings and studies, to UNEP setting, to communities and, currently, to a deeper understanding of the self; until learning that the only thing that he could do for sustainability is to learn live a kind of first-hand life, coherent with sustainability principles. He has been teaching foreign languages for over 10 years, and in order to specialise on Spanish for foreigners, he got credentials by Instituto Hemingway and Instituto Cervantes. His linguistic ability can be verified in his personal blog (posts in Spanish and English).
Charo is a long term resident in the area. She is an excellent professional chef specialized in natural cuisine, with good knowledge of nursing and resilient herself as only very few are. She knows eveything about the area: natural supplies around (food, remedies, infusions, fuels,…), constructional matters, stories and abilities of local people. Helpful and kind, she is an endless source of conversation.
We count on the support from other professionals for teaching Spanish as a foreign language when the mixture of different levels in the group requires it.
For further details about our geographic location, how to arrive and contact details, please see the link below (Contact and how to arrive).
Accommodation in-place for participants, one room per person or couple.
Meals –breakfast, lunch and dinner— for participants included, with ecologic ingredients. You are invited to take part in the cooking as an important part of the learning process.
Free pick up from airports (preferably Bilbao or Vitoria) or train stations (preferably Miranda de Ebro).
Maximum three students concurrently.
The price is for the whole week is €680 (around $735, £590) all included.
If you are traveling with other people who do not wish to learn Spanish, they may lodge with you and participate in the visits. One of our rooms accommodates up to four people. Please tell us your situation to prepare a tailored proposal.
Contact & How to arrive
« Surely, education has no meaning unless it helps you to understand the vast expanse of life with all its subtleties, with its extraordinary beauty, its sorrows and joys. You may earn degrees, you may have a series of letters after your name and land a very good job; but then what? What is the point of it all if in the process your mind becomes dull, weary, stupid? So must you not seek to find out what life is all about? And is it not the true function of education to cultivate in you the intelligence which will try to find the answer to all these problems? »
J. Krishnamurti (The Matter of Culture, 1964)
Blog- Conversation, lifestyle and sustainability- Motivation for Estilo de Vida.