Although package tours taking travellers outside these islands were introduced in 1872, they were accessible only to the rich. It wasn’t until the late 1950s that world travel became affordable for many working families.
European tourism exploded during the 60s and 70s, and Spain was quickly established as the destination of choice of UK residents. In 2022, 16.5 million British tourists visited Spain.
It’s unclear how many of these speak some Spanish. Certainly there’s little need to do so because Spanish people living and working in popular tourist spots speak English, but some people are keen to learn Spanish to get more out of their holidays, to enjoy conversations with residents, and learn about local and national traditions.
A year ago, 20 like-minded people eager to learn Spanish formed two Rotherham u3a pilot groups, each led by a fluent Spanish speaker. After 10 weeks, the successful ‘Spanish Beginners’ became full u3a groups. Since then, all members have continued to increase their language skills, and gained confidence in their own ability to speak Spanish in everyday situations.
A number have been able to try their new skills on Spanish soil. ‘Beginners’ have transitioned into ‘Improvers and Intermediates’. As with all u3a groups, members have established a friendly, comfortable atmosphere where learning is a pleasurable and fun activity.
But what about ‘Absolute Beginners’? Subject to demand, Rotherham u3a intends starting another pilot group in September. Interested? Contact Michael Garrett on 07494 806167 or visit www.u3asites.org.uk/rotherham for more about activities available at Rotherham u3a.