English native speakers from all over the world come to learn about Spaniards, their culture and their country and, in return for their time and their input, have their full board and lodging covered by the program. The Spaniards, meanwhile, get to improve their fluency in the quickest, most intensive manner possible on earth. Both groups prosper, exchanging culture, conversation, knowledge and friendship during a very special week.
Englishtown was the brainchild of Richard Vaughan, a business student from Texas who came to Spain to teach English in the 70's. "After a quarter-century of language training and experience, I realized no matter how many times a person is drilled on irregular verbs, the only way to truly understand a language is to actively practice it," says Richard.
This led to the creation of Englishtown – eight-day immersion programs which include a cast of 20 Spaniards, 20 English-speakers from all over the world, a Master of Ceremonies to provide entertainment and a Program Director to enforce the only rule: No Spanish Allowed. All this for 15 hours a day, eight days straight and no stopping except for your daily siesta. Throw in a mix of activities such as conversations, scenic walks, games, meals plus Spanish music and dancing, and somewhere along the way the Spaniards find themselves blabbing away in English without having to stop, think and translate.
The idea was so innovative that it won the "Best Awards 2003" prize in Spain. It has earned rave reviews in the media, with travel guides plus major publications and TV stations such as CNN, the Irish Times and the Chicago Tribune all enthusing about the program. Englishtown has also been the subject on dozens of message boards, each buzzing about a deal that looks almost "too good to be true". Yet there is no hidden catch.
The lure is easy – English-speakers chat, play, walk, dine and wine with Spaniards against the beautiful backdrop of the local countryside, while Vaughan picks up the tab for their stay. Multinational clients such as Microsoft, Vodafone, Deloitte and Accenture send scores of Spanish executives to Englishtown as they find it to be the ideal solution to their needs. In short, it's a rapid, intense way to get their top directors speaking English.
Over the years, Englishtown has attracted 'Anglo' volunteers from all walks of life: concert pianists, writers, CEO's, social workers, backpackers, geologists, wandering musicians and students. These come from a wide range of ages, from 18 to 80 and, invariably, look back on it as having been one of the best, most enriching experiences of their lives.
For more information visit http://www.vaughanvillage.com .