10 ene. 2017

Changes on the 'red half' of Madrid!

Antoinne Griezmann celebrating after
yet another goal
On the face of it, not much seems to have changed at Athletico Madrid this season. They’re still faring well in La Liga (4th after 17 games, 5 points behind their rivals Real Madrid), they’re still in with a shout of getting their hands on the Champions League and the Copa del Rey and Yannick Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann are scoring the majority of their goals (14 goals between them in La Liga this season so far). However behind the scenes, a lot has been going on.

New Stadium

The main reason behind Athletico's decision to move home is that El Vicente Calderón lacks the possibility for expansion - it has a river and a motorway on one side and a residential area on the other. The new ground is getting built on the site of Estadio La Peineta which was originally going to be built for the Olympics. However, as Madrid failed to win both the 2020 and 2024 bids, part of the original stadium has been used for the new one. The whole project is estimated at costing the club around €200 million.

Description of Athletico’s new home

The Wanda Metropolitano
It’s being built on the up in the north-east of the city near Madrid’s airport and its closest metro will be Estadio Olímpico (Line 7 (Orange)). It will have a capacity of around 67,000 which clearly shows that the club has not tried to compete with the likes of the Camp Nou (Barcelona) or the Santiago Bernabéu (Real Madrid) in terms of capacity. Instead they decided to prioritize the comfort and enjoyment of their supporters by having more space in between the seats. There’s nothing worse than being at a football game and having your knees around your chest!

When will it be ready to go?

Like most massive projects, timings tend to slip. This has been no exception. The club initially stated that it would be completed at some point during 2015 but this was soon pushed back to 2017 due to a number of funding issues. Let’s hope we get to see the Rojiblancos run out onto their new home turf this year!

Thinking behind its name

The new stadium has been named the Wanda Metropolitano. Let’s look at the reasons behind this: firstly, its first name ‘Wanda’ has been named so for commercial reasons. Commercialization is something that football and football fans are going to have to get used to: think about The Etihad (Manchester City), The Emirates Stadium (Arsenal). It’s happening all around us and we can’t stop it. The second half of the name comes from the stadium that Athletico called home until 1966 – El Estado Metropolitano de Madrid. We will discuss the reaction to this change later on in the article.

New badge design

The old and new badges
Those powerful people at the top of the Athletico Madrid pyramid clearly see the migration to a new stadium as a new era for the club and have also decided to slightly modify the badge. In the grand scheme of things, the modifications are not drastic. The corners at the top have been rounded off whilst ‘el Oso y el Madroño’ are now completely blue. The designers of the badge, Vasava, have said that the new design with its rounder edges seeks to ‘represent the club’s traditional values while also looking to the future.’ Athletico’s captain, Gabi likes the look of the new badge saying that ‘it’s true to our history.’ The badge will come into use for the 2017/18 season.

Reaction to the changes

As always, changes as significant as these are not welcomed by all. With regard to the Wanda Metropolitano, the name itself seems to have irritated a number of loyal supporters. This is mainly down to its first name, ‘Wanda’. It’s a commercial name and to many fans, the Metropolitano part has been added simply to appease them. Although it sounds like a good idea to add this little bit of history into the name, it perhaps would have been better to use a name like ‘Calderón’ in order to appeal to the modern fan. In terms of the crest, it has also been met by mixed reviews. This was inevitable especially as it comes at the same time as the change of stadium and fans all over the world like stability. This unwillingness to accept significant changes to two of the most important aspects of the club’s identity is totally understandable! Head down to your local bar this week and practise your Spanish opinions by discussing these massive changes with the fans themselves!

Next match

As mentioned above, Athletico are sitting 4th in La Liga after victory against SD Eibar on Saturday. They would have perhaps preferred to be a little higher in the table at this stage in the season given the quality running through their squad however there is still a long way to go. Their next game is this Saturday against Real Betis, a game which they’ll be hoping to win in order to close in on their high-flying neighbors, Real Madrid.

2 ene. 2017

El Día de Los Reyes Magos is upon us!

The holidays still aren’t over in Spain! El Día de Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day), otherwise known as Epiphany in English speaking countries, is even more important than Christmas here in Spain. It is the celebration of the arrival of the Three Kings into Bethlehem and it takes place on 6th January.
The celebrations actually begin on the evening of 5th January with the Calbagata de los Reyes Magos (The Three Kings’ Parade) – it is one of the most important and special events of the year in the Spanish calendar. However, before we go into the details of the celebrations themselves, it's worth looking at the history of this significant event.


The arrival of the Three Kings!
In religious tradition, El Día de Los Reyes Magos marks the day that the Three Kings, also known as the Three Wise Men, arrived in Bethlehem having followed the North Star across the desert for twelve days. They came to Bethlehem to give gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. In 1885 the Spanish government decided to mark the Epiphany with a parade and thus it remains a beloved tradition and the longest standing parade in Spain.

The Celebrations

As we said before, the party actually begins in the evening of 5th January with the Three Kings’ Parade. In Madrid, La Castellana, one of the main streets running down through the heart of the city, is shut down for the arrival of the Kings. Hundreds of families and friends seek out the best spots along the road in order to get a good view of the reenactment of their arrival! If you want a good view, we recommend planning ahead and heading down there early – it’s definitely worth it! The atmosphere is incredible as the Kings ride through on horses or extravagant floats, dishing out sweets to the crowd, surrounded by camels, musicians and acrobats. If you’re in Madrid, you must go and admire this amazing spectacle – we cannot recommend it enough!
Los Reyes Magos
After the procession, everyone goes home with a sugar rush from all the sweets and the children, very excited, leave out their shoes for the Kings to find and leave presents in. They also leave food and drink for each of the Kings and their camels! As you've probably noticed, it’s very similar to the tradition of Santa Claus – we all know how exciting it is!


A Roscón de Reyes
As with almost every Spanish fiesta, food plays a vital role! It’s traditional to eat a Roscón de Reyes for breakfast on the 6th which is a ring shaped cake decorated with fruits. Two plastic objects are hidden inside the cake: a faba bean and a King. Whoever picks the piece of cake with the king in it is said to have good luck for the rest of the year whilst the unlucky one who pulls out the faba bean has to pay for the cake! Be sure to get your Roscón de Reyes this week and join in with the Spanish tradition!

We hope you have a wonderful day on the 6th and we wish you a happy New Year from all of us here at AIL Madrid!!

29 dic. 2016

New Year's Eve in Madrid!

La Puerta del Sol
Happy Christmas AIL Madrid students! Now that Christmas is over, the next thing to look forward to is New Year’s Eve! As you might expect, New Year’s Eve or Nochevieja is an incredible time to be in Spain. It’s a very special and significant fiesta filled with excitement, noise, fun and tradition. If you’re lucky enough to be in Spain this weekend, make sure you practice your Spanish and soak up all the tradition and culture!

The 12 Grapes!
Saturday nights in Madrid are already some of the best nights out in the world so this Saturday, New Year’s Eve, promises to be something special. Thousands of people pack into the Puerta del Sol for the both the countdown and the incredible fireworks display. It’s a Spanish tradition that everyone eats twelve grapes, or doce uvas, for every strike of the clock in order to bring them luck for the next twelve months. You’ll see this going on in whichever Spanish city you happen to be celebrating. Another Spanish tradition on New Year’s Eve is dropping a gold object into a glass of Cava in order to bring not just good fortune but an actual fortune in the coming year. Be it a golden ring or a golden coin, it all goes in the glass! Then, in order for the charm to work, once the clock strikes midnight you have to drink the entire glass, retrieving your golden object. Give it a go this Saturday! Spaniards also say that in order to kick off the year on the right foot, your first step after the bells have chimed should be with your right foot. As you can see, midnight kisses alone won’t do you any good here in Spain!
Gold rings in the glasses of Cava

The party certainly does not end at midnight! Cava and cerveza flow in the hundreds of bars, restaurants and nightclubs across Madrid as the party spills onto the streets until the early hours of the morning. As the sun rises on New Year’s Day the churros con chocolate come flooding out as people reminisce on the events of the night before. Madrid really is a wonderful city in which to spend New Year’s Eve!

27 dic. 2016

DELE A2 with AIL Madrid

A Spanish Citizenship Requirement

What is the DELE A2?

DELE stands for Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera, or “Spanish as a Foreign Language Diploma”. It’s the official exam for non-native Spanish speakers that is officially recognized by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, and is a requirement for all Spanish citizenship applications. Most importantly, the DELE A2 is the second step in your journey towards mastering Spanish!

The DELE A2 Examination:

The DELE A2 examination consists of different tests organized into two groups. Group 1 tests your reading and writing skills and Group 2 tests your listening alongside your oral and interactive skills. The maximum score on the examination is 100 points and in order to receive an overall ‘pass’, a minimum score of 30 is necessary for each
of the two groups. Having obtained the DELE A2 qualification, you’ll have the ability to understand a basic

range of commonly used Spanish vocabulary and expressions. You’ll be able to confidently discuss ‘basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography and employment’ – a great base from which to begin your Spanish nationality application!

Why do you need the DELE A2?

The DELE A2 is very useful to have under your belt for the following reasons:
The DELE A2 exam is now a required level exam for Spanish nationality applicants. If you want to acquire Spanish citizenship, you’ll have to pass this exam.
It is highly regarded by universities and employers.
It is a prerequisite for many undergraduate and postgraduate university courses.
If you’re going on a gap year to a Spanish speaking country, it’s a valuable addition that will deeply enhance your experience.
Passing the DELE exam will help you when trying to find a job or accessing educational institutions.
The tests are administered in more than 90 countries around the world.

How do you prepare yourself?

The best way to prepare for the DELE A2 is with a DELE specific Spanish course: though DELE courses are demanding and you will have to work hard in order to be fully prepared for the exam, your course will ultimately give you exactly the skills needed to pass your exam. Reviewing past DELE examination papers and practicing specific examination tasks in order to develop all the linguistic skills tested during the exam are common techniques used to prepare. Exam technique is, as always, a vital element to passing with flying colors. Being a required exam for Spanish citizenship, it is not a walk in the park however if you follow all the advice and prepare as well as you can, you’ll succeed.

Why prepare at AIL Madrid?

AIL Madrid is an Instituto Cervantes – an accredited Spanish Language School that offers a wide range of Spanish classes for adults students of all ages. The school is located in the beautiful and exclusive district of Salamanca right in the heart of the city and only minutes from the stunning Retiro Park. You’ll receive a personalized and friendly service from the moment you contact us right throughout your stay.
Here you can find all the dates for this upcoming year: https://examenes.cervantes.es/

The different DELE courses you can take at AIL Madrid:

There are 3 different DELE courses that you can take at AIL Madrid depending on your availability:
DELE Exam Preparation Course – includes 10 DELE classes per week during the day.
DELE Exam Preparation Course and General Intensive Course – includes 10 DELE classes, as well as 20 General Intensive Spanish classes per week.
Extensive DELE Preparation Course – includes 4 DELE evening classes per week, broken into two blocks (Monday/ Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday).
With this range of diverse timetables, you’re sure to find one that fits your schedule.

The teachers and classes at AIL Madrid:

AIL Madrid's DELE classes are dynamic, interactive and well-structured by our dedicated, native Spanish teachers. They live and breathe the ins and outs of DELE and they’ll share their insider tips so you get the best preparation possible. Involvement in class is optimized by intimate class sizes (maximum 5 students) and, thanks to this, your teacher will be able to connect with you on a personal level to help identify your strengths and weaknesses. Passing the DELE exam becomes more like a group project with friends!

Enjoy the DELE course with AIL Madrid and good luck!

9 dic. 2016

Madrid – amongst the top 5 cities for quality of life!

Madrid's Plaza Mayor
Madrid is a wonderful city! Yes, like any other city in the world, it has its downsides but in terms of quality of life, it’s hard to beat. In fact, ‘Time Out Madrid’ conducted their very own global study in order to find out which is the best and most fun city in which to live. That is to say, they took into account standard of living, the quality of food and drink and so on… On asking over 20,000 people, they found that our very own Madrid is in the top 5!!

Let’s have a look at how Madrid has managed to achieve this and why it is such an incredible city in which to live. First of all, the climate is absolutely perfect. The winter is crisp and cool, with bright blue skies and a low rainfall. The spring and autumn are very pleasant times to visit the capital – temperatures in the mid-twenties provide a perfect environment in which to learn Spanish! (More about that later!) During the summer, the temperatures rise to up to 35ºC and you’ll certainly go home with a tan – perfect for those ‘sun-seekers’ amongst you!

El Museo del Prado
Secondly, Madrid is packed with culture and art. It boasts three internationally acclaimed museums namely the Thyssen-Bornemisza (collection ranges from primitive Flemish collections to contemporary paintings, sculptures, tapestries and carvings), the Museo del Prado (displays masterpieces from Velázquez, El Greco, Goya, and Rembrandt) and the Reina Sofía (Spanish contemporary art). Madrid also has a huge music scene – whatever you’re looking for, be it pop, reggaeton, hip hop, jazz, you’ll find it.

Inside the Mercado San Miguel
Last but by no means least, Madrid’s colorful food markets, filled with fresh fruit, meat, fish, and so on help create the special atmosphere that defines the city. If you’re looking for a small, traditional Spanish market, the Mercado Anton Martín is full of Spanish delicacies and specialties. The Mercado San Miguel is probably the most popular food market in Madrid and is always worth a visit – wondering around with a glass of Rioja whilst tasting delicious tapas is a special experience.

So as you can see, Madrid is an amazing city. If you’re reading this worried that you won’t be able to enjoy it as much as you’d like due to the language barrier, then please don’t! Here at AIL Madrid we offer a wide range of flexible Spanish courses so whatever your reasons are for learning the language, you’ll be able to find one that fits your individual needs and schedule.

We look forward to welcoming you to Madrid!

17 nov. 2016

Justin Bieber in Madrid!

Calling all AIL Madrid music fans! Justin Bieber’s coming to Madrid next Wednesday 23rd November as part of his world tour of the album Purpose! The concert is taking place in the Barclaycard Center which happens to be only a block away from our school! In fact, on your way to class you may have seen a huge line of people camping out over night to try and get their hands on those elusive tickets!

Since his first album in 2009, Justin Bieber has become one of the most successful artists of all time. He has broken world records and this album Purpose was the fourth best selling album of 2015 with worldwide sales of over 3 million!

If (somehow) you managed to find yourself a ticket, have a great time and don’t stop ‘Beliebing’! Maybe stop by one of our Spanish classes on the way!