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2 months in Bilbao (immersing our family next summer to learn spanish) Where to stay?

2 months in Bilbao (immersing our family next summer to learn spanish) Where to stay?

Old May 18th, 2024, 12:44 PM
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2 months in Bilbao (immersing our family next summer to learn spanish) Where to stay?

Hello! We are a family of 4 (12 and 14 year old boys). Next summer we want to go on an adventure to learn spanish by immersing overselves somewhere overseas for the entire summer (approximately 2 months). We want to go to Spain and I've kind of zeroed in on Bilbao partly due to the cooler weather during the summer. We also love food and the basque country obviously is world famous in this regard. If we go to bilbao and rent a house or an apartment for 2 months, which area or neighborhood should it be in? Ideally we would be close enough to a gym that we could walk to. Also restaurants, markets etc in walking distance. Finally, I've read some negative things regarding crime and Bilbao. Is it safe for me to take my kids there for 2 months or should we look to another city?
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Old May 18th, 2024, 01:19 PM
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Bilbao is in the Basque speaking region so, perhaps, not the best choice for a location to learn Spanish. Look at Baiona, Pontreverde, O Grove for seaside towns
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Old May 18th, 2024, 01:21 PM
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Welcome to fodors. HappyTrvlr (just) beat me to it. I'd pick a town where Spanish is the dominant language . . .

Last edited by janisj; May 18th, 2024 at 01:22 PM. Reason: added welcome
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Old May 18th, 2024, 04:02 PM
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I've done pretty extensive reading and research on that subject and my conclusion was that this wouldn't be a problem. From what I've read Spanish is overwhelmingly spoken as the primary language in Bilbao itself. Am I misinformed? Do you live there?

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Old May 18th, 2024, 04:04 PM
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Old May 18th, 2024, 04:05 PM
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Old May 18th, 2024, 04:05 PM
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Old May 18th, 2024, 10:53 PM
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Well, as a Bilbao local, Spanish is the very predominant language and there are plenty of Spanish schools. Basque is also spoken, but itīs not the main language in the city and you will hear very little Basque and lots of Spanish. Basque is spoken by around 40% of the Basque population and is mainly heard in smaller towns. The towns recommended by Happy Trvlr are in Galicia, where "galego" or Galician is also spoken and itīs predominant there.

Bilbao is a very walkable city, you can get practically anywhere on foot, like many cities in Spain itīs very compact and people just walk to get to places. Public transport is outstanding (very cheap, clean, very safe, modern, frequent, covers everywhere) and Bilbao is the second cleanest city in Spain, after Oviedo in Asturias. Itīs also extremely safe, this should not be a concern. Beaches (although beach weather in the north is not always an option) are just 20min away by public transport (metro). You may want to look at Getxo, on the coast, as an alternative. Plenty of bars, restaurants, gyms, supermarkets...in every neighbourhood. You may want to post here (or send me a message) with the places you are looking at. By the way, we have an American School too.
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Old May 19th, 2024, 05:33 PM
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Thank you mikelg. I was trying to get to 10 posts to post a graphic that shows only 4% of the population of Bilbao speaks basque in the street! I will definitely message you with questions as we get closer to our trip. Not interested in the beaches, we live in Florida so we see plenty of the beach! We'll want to live in Bilbao.
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Old May 19th, 2024, 06:25 PM
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robarrington, instead of sending messages, please ask your questions here so others can benefit from the information you get.
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Old May 19th, 2024, 07:28 PM
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Ok will do.
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Old May 19th, 2024, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by robarrington5050
Thank you mikelg. I was trying to get to 10 posts to post a graphic that shows only 4% of the population of Bilbao speaks basque in the street! I will definitely message you with questions as we get closer to our trip. Not interested in the beaches, we live in Florida so we see plenty of the beach! We'll want to live in Bilbao.
Actually, in Bilbao it's around 20% of daily users and near 35% of persons who can speak it...but in any case, Spanish is predominant.
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Old May 20th, 2024, 09:36 PM
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IMHO you should enroll in Spanish classes while there

I suggest that you all take an online Spanish course (Babbel, etc) before your trip. Even if everyone around you is speaking Spanish 24/7 (which they won't be, because even if you anticipate an immersive experience), you will be speaking English among yourselves. Plus, Spaniards may also be tempted to practice their English on you. Another option may be to take courses at a language school if there is one nearby. It will make the trip more rewarding.
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Old May 21st, 2024, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Ez73
I suggest that you all take an online Spanish course (Babbel, etc) before your trip. Even if everyone around you is speaking Spanish 24/7 (which they won't be, because even if you anticipate an immersive experience), you will be speaking English among yourselves. Plus, Spaniards may also be tempted to practice their English on you. Another option may be to take courses at a language school if there is one nearby. It will make the trip more rewarding.

Great advice! Our plan is to practice between this summer and next. Also, we've made a pact that once we get off the plane in Spain we can only speach spanish to each other until the end of the trip!
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