A New LGBT Language Travel Program Launches In Spain
by Heather Cassell
The only way to learn a language is to truly immerse yourself in the country, culture and its people, or so they say. So, why not learn Spanish in Spain? Even better! Learn Spanish exploring queer Spain.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender travelers will be able to learn Spanish and experience queer Spain through a new program launched by the Gay European Travel Association and Sign Up! Language Institute in Seville, Spain, announces the travel trade organization in a news release May 5.
“I visited Seville … and fell in love with the city” says Carlos Kytka, executive director of GETA, who discovered the opportunity while speaking at an event about how Seville could welcome more LGBT travelers in the release.
“This initiative is a great way for people to see this beautiful city, discover the gay life and learn how to speak Spanish,” he continues.
Travelers of all ages will be able to choose between a two-week or four-week tour of Spain’s most LGBT-friendly cities while learning how to roll those r’s in the romantic language.
Led by an LGBT teacher, the first-ever tour of its kind specifically for queer travelers, guests will explore famed Spanish cities Carmona, Italica, Vejer, and Seville. Travelers will live like locals staying in LGBT-friendly apartments and explore the culture, social scene – including experience Seville’s LGBT Pride festival or any of the city’s festivals year-round – and travel through southern Spain after a few hours of Spanish lessons every day.
“We wanted to create a very special language and cultural experience in Seville – different from the more mainstream programmes (sic) that other schools offer,” says Mario Ruiz Legido, commercial director of Sign Up Language Institute, in the release. “Seville has great qualities as an LGBT destination: it is a gorgeous and safe city with cultural sites on every corner; Sevillanos are famous for their liveliness and joy for life and there is a very open and active gay scene.”
Spain is one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in Europe after homosexuality was legalized in 1978. In 2005, Spain became the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
It won’t be all gay all of the time. While you’ll be in the company of “family,” travelers will also get out to see tourist hot spots wandering through the White village of Carmona, the Roman city of Italica, the Arabic town of Vejer, and of course the Seville, the capital of the Spanish region of Andalusia, which is influenced by the Muslims and Romans.
Andalucia is one of the more popular places for gays and lesbians within Spain. With a desirable climate, shopping, beaches and an awesome bar and club scene, there is plenty going on for both gay and straight people.
Seville sports an open-air culture due to its very short and mild winters, hot summers and a long and pleasant spring and autumn. “Sometimes there is more going on in front of the bars than inside,” notes Mario on the language school’s website for the LGBT tour.
The city’s climate easily lends itself to long leisurely days simply hanging out with friends, drinking and relaxing or partying into the night.
Seville’s night life is particularly lively easily shifting from a day in the park along the Alameda de Hércules, a popular hangout for having a drink and a chat with friends or flirting amongst friends. There is one bar after another and basically all the bars there are at least gay-friendly and the gay bars are straight-friendly, so you’ll usually find a mixed, easy-going crowd.
Seville is also piping hot, not just because it’s in the warmest region of Spain, but it’s the flashpoint of flamenco dance. Get sparked to stop your feet and spin around in the Triana neighborhood where flamenco dancers flock to.
Want to get a little festive? Seville’s most popular festivals are:
March/April: Holy Week (Semana Santa)
April/May: Seville Spring Fair (typically held two weeks after Semana Santa)
June: Seville Gay Pride (Orgullo del Sur) (typically at the end of the month)
November 21 – 30: Andalesgai. International Film Festival of Lesbian and Gay de Andalucia (Andalesgai. Festival Internacional de Cine Lesbico y Gay de Andalucia)
Looking for a little art, architecture, culture and history? Seville has plenty of that to dazzle any traveler. In the 16th century, Seville became the main port for trade with the Americas after the continent was discovered by famed explorer Christopher Columbus. Christopher was laid to rest at the Cathedral of Seville. Guests will have plenty of time to explore the architecture of the city’s Gothic cathedrals and Moorish castles.
The programme (sic) so far has been an instant success and we are certain it is going to be extended to other European cities,” says Mario.
“I hope it will be a model for more LGBT educational tourism throughout Europe,” adds Carlos.
Travelers can choose from several trips during 2015:
June 1 – 14: Break into Summer
June 14 – 28: Seville Pride
July 5 – 19: Southern Heat (Beaches, Siesta, and Nightlife)
September 1 – 26: Shop Until You Drop
October 4 – 18: Cozy Autumn + Guadalkibear
The two-week Spanish language immersion tour starts at $1,472.50 (€1,315; A$1,853), not including airfare.
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