Hello from Lazkao, a small town in deepest Gipuzkao province in the Basque Country. Below you’ll find the link to the first of my vlogs from here.
I’m already half way through the first week of my four week intensive Basque course and am really enjoying the experience so far. With full board, the company of other enthusiastic learners and committed teachers and in lovely scenery, it feels like a great luxury to be able to devote myself to the language.
I recorded a call with my teacher just before I left to give a sense of where I’m starting from for Project “Basque Intensive!’. Now I’m hoping for a real boost from my “advanced elementary” level.
The Basques are Europe’s most ancient inhabitants, straddles the Franco-Spanish border at the western end of the Pyrenees. The Basque language is an “isolate” (related to no other) and its origins are something of a mystery. Today it’s spoken by 700,000 people and is undergoing a strong revival.
The video is a fun look at my journey from London to Bilbao and on to Lazkao, home to the Maizpide language school.
The journey was made special not only by the thrill of being here for the first time as somebody learning the language but also thanks to the hospitality of two hosts, Michael (in Bilbao) and Felix (in Lazkao, the night before the course started).
Michael isn’t a Basque speaker but it turned out that (like me) he’d lived in Russia and spoke Russian. Felix is very much a Basque and we spoke Basque all evening (and went to a local festival together). Talk about a flying start!
I arranged both stays through Couchsurfing. Neither cost me anything and both hosts were incredibly generous with their time and local knowledge. I’ve been a Couchsurfing host myself in London (I like to host people whose languages I’m learning).
If you’re thinking of visiting an area where your target language is spoken, how about becoming a couchsurfer or taking part in one of the similar schemes that are out there? If you don’t fancy that, you can just attend a Couchsurfing meetups or a similar event (try a site like meetup.com for ideas, or search Facebook for groups).
The next vlogs in the “Basque Intensive” series will look at the learning experience at the Maizpide school and at the sights and sounds of Lazkao and the surrounding area. I’ll finish up with a call with my teacher when I’m back in London.
Don’t forget to let me know about your intensive residential language hopes or experiences, either in the comments below or direct by email (contact details under the “About” tab at the top of the site).
In the meantime, here’s my vid. Let’s enjoy the journey together!
Next in series: THREE – half way diary (how’s it going?)