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Spanish Competition Winners' Trip of a Lifetime

Spanish competition winners Ross Carolan and Aaron Freir embarked on an amazing all-expense-paid weeklong trip to Salamanca, Spain, from June 18th to 24th, following their 3rd place win in a Languages Connect competition earlier this year.

During the trip they attended Spanish classes and explored Salamanca’s rich history, culture and salsa dancing.

Here Ross and Aaron recount their incredible experience…

Aaron and I, alongside our exceptionally dedicated Spanish teacher Ms. Lopez, had a blast throughout the entire trip. From the moment the plane’s tyres left the tarmac of Dublin Airport, right up until they touched down a week later, there was never a dull moment. When we arrived in Salamanca, after a long day of travelling, we were awestruck at the outstanding sights and taken aback at the age of the town. For example, one of Salamanca’s universities dates as far back as the late 12th Century. From Monday to Friday, Aaron and I had an itinerary of events all of which were extremely enjoyable. In the morning, from 9:00-12:30 am, we had two classes. The first was a Spanish grammar class; the second was a vocabulary enhancement class which had more of a conversational aspect to it.

On our very first day, we had the opportunity to explore Salamanca's enchanting historic town centre and we visited numerous captivating locations. On Tuesday, we ventured into the renowned Barrio del Oeste, known for its meticulously regulated street art, offering a vibrant and unique perspective of the city's creativity. Wednesday stands out as one of our most cherished days on this unforgettable journey. We had a very busy schedule, overflowing with exciting activities, with the highlight being a spirited Spanish Salsa dancing class. Our initial attempts at dancing to a Spanish tune were somewhat awkward, but the experience was so much fun that we couldn't help but express our newfound passion with a Spanish phrase - "Antes no nos gustaba bailar pero ahora nos flipa" (Before, we didn't use to like to dance, but now we're crazy about it!).

As the Thursday sun beamed down upon us, we spent most of the afternoon witnessing the natural beauty of Salamanca's outdoors. The day concluded on a magical note as we witnessed our very first Spanish sunset, casting its golden glow over the ancient Puente Romano, a bridge dating back to at least the 1st Century. On our final day of classes, we continued our exploration by visiting two more intriguing museums - the Spanish Art Decó Museum and the Archive of the Civil War, delving deeper into Salamanca's rich cultural tapestry.

Our overall experience in Salamanca was nothing short of extraordinary. We developed a deep affection for this vibrant city and eagerly anticipate our future visits. The friendship that blossomed during our adventure, coupled with the delightful companionship of our Spanish teacher, Ms. Lopez, and the authentic Spanish Tapas Bar experience, have gifted us with treasured memories that will resonate for a lifetime.

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