Do you know why many Spanish language courses don’t really help you to communicate well in Spanish?

Many Spanish language courses are based on grammar rules – and only on the language. BUT successful communication in any language is much more. Practice is vital – only with practice does one obtain perfection!

Avoid taking a course which is based on bad methodology or which doesn’t have a methodology at all. These courses do exist. Be careful!

Here in Hello Cantabria we offer you the opportunity to experience something quite different. Our method is based on activities organized in such a way as to promote active communication skills which lead to a notable improvement in listening comprehension, pronunciation, intonation, grammar and vocabulary.

With us:

  •  You live and communicate in a totally Spanish environment and community. Being exposed continuously to a language allows for faster, easier and much more satisfying progress.
  • You live in a pleasant quiet atmosphere and the support of highly qualified experienced teachers, successful and meaningful learning takes place.
  • You achieve linguistic fluency quickly.
  • You improve your ability to face everyday situations with confidence and ease.
  • You think in Spanish without the need to translate, in this way communicating with fewer mistakes.

All our courses are based on the personal requirements of each client, and on a careful analysis of the student’s objectives and interests carried out prior to the start of the course.

You will also learn about Spanish culture, have wonderful local Spanish food — and wine!

Don’t forget!  At the same time you are learning to speak Spanish, you will be in one of the most beautiful parts of Spain called Cantabria – if not of Europe – with incredible mountains, rivers, the sea, green hills, many marvellous beaches and much more…

All this besides the historical and cultural heritage of northern Spain – there for you to see and discover!!

We make your stay an enjoyable one  – feel happy and you will learn!

Your comfort is one of our main concerns!

I do hope we can meet personally here in one of our courses.

Bye for now!

Harvey Higgings (Director Hello Cantabria)




Learning Spanish can be fun! There are seven common mistakes that people often make…but…there is hope! If you follow these easy tips, you will find it easier!

1-  When to use SER or ESTAR:

 Why is it so difficult to use two verbs that both mean “to be”correctly?

SER or ESTAR?  That is the question…

 SER refers to:

  • Permanent or lasting attributes:
  • Names: El es
  • Physical descriptions: Elena es alta, delgada y morena.
  • Nationalities: Pedro es
  • Religions: María es católica.
  • Occupations: Rosa es
  • Describing someone or something: Mi coche es nuevo…Mi casa es
  • Origen: Where a person comes from or the material something is made of: Steve es de USA… Las sillas son de madera….Mi anillo es de oro.
  • Time when it refers to to days, dates, years and time on the clock: Hoy es martes…Mañana será miércoles…Son las 12:30.
  • Relationships: Rubén es mi novio….Michael y Katie son mis hijos….

 ESTAR refers to:

  • Temporary states or locations: Mi abuela está sentada en el sillón…Estaba dormida cuando llamaste.
  • Physical location :  El baño está al fondo a la derecha.
  • Describing ongoing actions: Estoy limpiando las ventanas….Susana está cocinando comida china.
  • Physical and mental conditions: Lucía está enferma….Mi hermano está un poco loco.
  • Emotions: Hoy estoy alegre….Marta está triste

2-  Subject pronouns.

In Spanish the verb forms often make subject pronouns unnecessary. They are often understood by the context and therefore they shouldn’t be used.


  • Voy al cine (it implies the first person YO).
  • ¿A dónde vas? (It implies the second person singular TÚ).

But DON’T forget…sometimes we do use them in order to:

  • Avoid ambiguity: Él es Mario no Juan… Ellos vienen conmigo.
  • Emphasize the subject/contrasting two subjects: Tú lava e coche y yo hago la comida…Nosotros llevamos el vino y vosotros el postre. 

3-  Gender confusion (nouns).

English nouns do not have a gender, so it can be difficult to figure out whether an object is “el”( masculine)or “la”( feminine). In general, we say that all the words ending in “a” are feminine while the rest are masculine. BUT, if you follow this rule you are very likely to be often wrong. A good tip is to know that all words ending in “ma” (except for mamá), are masculine: Examples: el problema, el tema, el diagrama, el diploma, el enigma, el idioma, el crucigrama.

4-  Adjective noun order.

 Adjectives must agree with the subject they are modifying. Example: Los zapatos son rojos…La camisa es blanca.

The order is very important too. In English you say “a black car”. In Spanish the order is different: “un coche negro”. The adjective goes after the noun and NOT before.

5-  Being polite.

 It is always hard to decide whether to use: the TÚ form of the verb (informal) or the USTED form (formal).

The general rule is to use USTED only with older people or people who have power over you (your boss). However, it is common to use the same form in either case, so being too informal for the elderly or being TOO formal for younger people. USTED is used much more in Latin-American countries than in Spain. 

6-  False friends.

 There are many words that look very similar in Spanish and in English but they mean something completely different.


Asistir – means to attend or to be present.

Realizar – to carry out some kind of activity

Atender – to serve

Éxito – success

Estar emabarzada – to be pregnant

Ropa – clothes and not rope

As you can see there are a lot of these words…but don’t worry; just remember a few everyday, and in no time you will become aware of the difference.

7-  Being afraid to make mistakes.

 Making mistakes is part of the learning process. Don’t be afraid to use what you know. Be adventurous! We can become better by practising often and regularly.

Remember the old saying: “Practice makes perfect”.




Santander is an elegant city which extends over a wide bay with views of the Cantabrian Sea. Its historic quarter includes a group of majestic buildings which are situated against an incredible natural backdrop of sea and mountains. Its marine and commercial tradition is linked to a century old history of tourism, which has its main attractions in the famous El Sardinero beach, the promenade and the La Magdalena peninsula. The cultural wealth of the Cantabrian capital is enriched with the passage of the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago de Compostela and the neighbouring Altamira Caves, both of which have been declared World Heritage.

Santander is a city in which the mixture of its various vocations, seafaring, commercial and tourism traditions, remains patent. The city’s origin is related to the Portus Victoriae founded by the Romans. However, the capital’s urban development was not to come about until the XI c. when the town began to grow around the San Emeterio abbey. From its Latin name, Sancti Emeterii, comes the current name of Santander. During the XVIII and XIX centuries, the city became a key trading port for the maritime routes between Castile and the American colonies. From around the middle of the XIX century, Santander became one of the most exclusive summer tourist destinations on the northern coast of the Iberian peninsula. The Paseo de Pereda, with its typical houses with miradors, and its gardens constitutes a lively boulevard which separates the coastal strip from the historic quarter of Santander.

The nearby Cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in the capital, its earliest construction dating from the XIII c. Inside you can see the tomb of Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, a work by the sculptor Victorio Macho. Under the main chapel is the crypt of El Cristo, a sombre vaulted chamber in which various traces of the Roman era were discovered.Opposite the cathedral is the Plaza Porticada, in Neoherreran style surrounded by several public buildings. You find yourself at a major crossroads of lively commercial streets such as Arrabal or el Cubo. One of these streets leads to the plaza del Generalísimo, site of the Town Hall, next to the popular market of la Esperanza, in the modernist style. Your visit has to continue through the Fine Arts Museum and the Menéndez Pelayo Stately Home, a building which has been declared an Historic-Artistic Site. The Port and El Sardinero returning to the Pereda gardens, you can see the Santander Bank and the small palace of El Embarcadero, a building with excellent views over the bay. Here you will find the fishing port and the Puerto Chico, as well as several maritime installations: the exchange, the harbour, the Naval Command, etc.In this place you can see one of the most typical Santander scenes. Added to the image of mansions and bourgeois buildings overlooking the bay is that of other buildings of a cultural nature. Among them is the Festival Palace, built by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza and the current site of the prestigious Santander International Festival. The Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology, which includes various prehistoric finds, among which are its Paleolithic collection, one of the most valuable in Europe.

Finally, the Cantabrian Maritime Museum, one of the most complete museums in Spain dedicated to the sea, discovers various aspects related to the Cantabrian Sea: marine biology, maritime history, fishing ethnography, etc.From this point Santander display the beautiful beaches of los Peligrosla Magdalena and Biquinis, with calm waters protected from the wind by the bay.In the part of Santander where there is most tourism is El Sardinero. Opposite this famous beach you can enjoy one of the most beautiful promenades in Spain, with magnificent buildings such as the Gran Casino, which evokes the architecture of the Belle Époque. The Plaza de Italia, with its elegant, lively summer terraces, and the Piquío Gardens, which are situated on a rocky inlet marking the separation between the two beaches of El Sardinero, complete the picture.Between the historic quarter and El Sardinero is the peninsula on which the la Magdalena Park and the royal palace are sited, the latter being inaugurated in 1913 as the summer residence of King Alfonso XIII.

The residence, which is English in style, has excellent stables and is surrounded by extensive gardens and wooded areas. This privileged area for relaxation becomes during the summer months the nerve centre for the famous summer courses of the International Menéndez Pelayo University, a forum which brings together both students and the most outstanding figures in the most varied fields of knowledge. Gastronomy and the Outskirts situated halfway between the sea and the mountains, Santander has a particular mixture of ingredients in its gastronomy. From the sea come the characteristic rabas (fried squid), bocartes rebozados (breaded whitebait), and fresh shellfish. The interior provides excellent beef and a dish which is emblematic of the entire region, cocido montañés (a stew made of beans, meat and cabbage). Desserts includes quesada (cheesecake) and sobaos pasiegos (sponge cakes made with butter, flour and eggs). Nature lovers will find in Cantabria an impressive wealth of protected areas. Among the best conserved areas figure the Natural Parks of Oyambre, Peña Cabarga and Saja-Besaya, although the largest is the Picos de Europa National Park, which shares its territory with Asturias and Castilla y León. In the foothills of this mountain range is the Parador de Fuente Dé. Among the many accommodation options there is also the Parador Gil Blas, in Santillana del Mardeclared a National Monument. Near the capital, you can enjoy the Cabárceno Nature Park, an area of great natural beauty where various species of animals live almost in the wild. The traditional northern route of the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Compostela runs along the Cantabrian coast, crossing picturesque towns such as Castro Urdiales, Santoña, Suances, Comillas, San Vicente de la Barquera or Santillana del Mar. A few kilometres from this town are the Altamira Caves, which have been declared World Heritage. Considered the “Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic Art”, they contain some of the most important cave paintings of Quaternary art. A modern building houses the Museum, where the new cave can be seen, a true replica of the pictures which appear in the original cave.