One city, two languages; of course we are talking about Barcelona!
Are you planning to work or study in Barcelona? If so, it is good to know, that there are two official languages in Barcelona – Catalan and Castilian Spanish. Approximately 7 million people speak Catalan and, contrary to the popular belief, it is not the same or very close to Castilian Spanish.
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When listening to people talking on the street or even when they speak to you, you will sometimes find yourself wondering why it is so hard to understand a word, even though you speak Spanish. It´s because they´re not speaking Spanish at all. Most Barcelona locals speak Catalan and most of the city´s traffic signs and posters are also in Catalan. The locals have a reputation for not liking Castilian Spanish, and it is often said that they will even refuse to speak it with you, preferring to speak in English instead. If you still wish to communicate in Spanish, however, it is normally not a problem because nearly everyone living in Barcelona is bilingual and speaks fluent Catalan and Spanish. So you should feel welcome to practice your Spanish skills while living in Barcelona.
If you wish to improve your language skills with a teacher, you have a variety of choices, as there are many language schools in Barcelona. The schools offer different types of courses – for beginner, intermediate or advanced levels. Doing a Spanish course in Barcelona is a fantastic opportunity to learn, while meeting new people and also discovering a new culture and lifestyle. A lot of language schools offer culture classes too, where Spanish history, customs and traditions are taught, widening your knowledge and understanding of Spain.