Lorna Brown, Kathy Hickman & Shayesteh Khorrami

Wonderful, Fabuloso! It was a great experience!

I will never forget my time here. Fernando and his family are so welcoming.

My Spanish has improved immensely.

Fernando, Merche and the girls are hospitable, supportive and kind.

Catharina Joubert

Published on 22 June 2021

Please click here to visit her blog

Diana Brinton

Published 5 May 2018

Hola Fernando y Merche,

He regresado a casa con seguridad. El mar estaba tranquilo!

Gracias a ambos por permitirme quedarme con vosotros. He disfrutado conocerte a vosotros y vuestra familia. He aprendido mucho espanol en clases contigo Fernando. Gracias Merche por todas las comidas deliciosas y tambien por decirme sobre todos los lugares para caminar. Cantabria es hermosa y espero volver.




Published 27 March 2018

I have just come back for a great fortnight with Fernando and family at Aes.  I went with scratchy Spanish, but after two weeks of tailored lessons I found that I could sustain reasonable conversations.  Three hours of lessons in the mornings was about right for me and I found I could then practise in the afternoons on my trips out.  I made real progress and grew so much in confidence.  There is so much to see and do in the time off without having to go very far: caves with 10,000 year old paintings; pretty coastal towns; little villages with 12C churches and medieval towers; the Picos De Europa at the weekend; and of course, Santander itself.

I was made very welcome by the whole family and really enjoyed my stay.  I will go back for another session next year.

Sue Mahony’s feedback

Published 22 June 2017

Dear Fernando and Merche

I just wanted to say thank you for such a great 2 weeks. The course was exactly as described on the website. You delivered a great course that gave me an understanding of Spanish language that I could never have achieved in UK in such a short time. No mean feat when the language ability I had was so far behind the others in the group. The friendly, family approach was a great context in which to learn, and your cooking is lovely Merche. Thank you both.

You also went out of your way to make sure I got a view of Spain beyond the classroom and helped me get the things I wanted to buy, which I really appreciated. I don’t know if you saw the pictures I put up on ‘Guiris in Cantabria’ Whats app site, but for my brother-in-law’s birthday on return, I translated three recipes from the cookery books I bought and cooked them, along with Andy’s chorizos recipe. They were a great success! And this week end we take the Jamón to the big birthday party as well!

Thanks again- I am about to embark on online course so will be in touch, but I hope to see you all when you are travelling in UK next time!
Best wishes
Sue Mahony

Rachel Porter

Published 28 June 2016

I recently completed my 2 weeks SKE on ‘The Spanish Course’ and it has given my a deep understanding of Spanish language that I could not have effectively achieved on my own. I did not really know any Spanish before arriving, but Fernando’s clear explanations and exercises gave me a firm foundation for me to expand upon. I am now able to complete online course confidently to practice what I have learned. He has also given us techniques on how to teach Spanish to students in the future, and always approaches his classes with energy and enthusiasm!

The house is beautiful and Merche cooked wonderful food (catering really well for us vegetarians, too). We were able to do a lot of great trips and enjoy the area. Fernando and Merche always bent over backwards to help us.

I would 100% recommend this course to anyone at any level thinking of doing an SKE.

Elizabeth Smith SKE course

Published 28 June 2016
The Spanish Course is a great course for anyone wanting to learn Spanish from scratch, or to brush up on some rusty skills. I really enjoyed the two weeks in Spain, it was a great opportunity to find out more about the country and the culture. Cantabria is a beautiful region, and it was perfect for practising Spanish: few people spoke English, but everyone was really welcoming and patient – in fact everyone was so friendly that a couple of times when I went out for a jog around the area, people struck up conversations with me for no apparent reason! The structure of the course worked well too – lessons in the morning, free time in the afternoon, then back in time for some great food cooked by Merche. There was plenty of time to explore the local areas, with Santander a short bus journey away (the Maritime Museum and the beaches are definitely worth a visit!), and Fernando was always very helpful with suggestions of where to go, often driving us to places which weren’t easy to get to by bus.

I now feel much more confident going into my teacher training course and I am looking forward to teaching Spanish – a testament to how enjoyable the lessons with Fernando were, and how much confidence they gave me. Fernando has taught Spanish in UK secondary schools too, so it was very useful to get tips from him on which language points children tend to find most difficult, and advice on how to go about teaching certain things. The online course is really useful for cementing what we studied in Spain, and having regular contact with Fernando is very useful for making sure everything stays up to scratch. Overall, I would thoroughly recommend The Spanish Course, and i might try and go back to carry on learning!

Un saludo!


Doug Cooke’s SKE course

Published 19 June 2016

I really enjoyed the two weeks in Spain with Fernando and his family. The classes were interesting, covering all of the key areas in sufficient detail to make sure we understood the main points and then with the online course reinforcing the material and giving us the chance to get the vocab and structures more firmly embedded. Fernando really conveys which language points can enable students to do what sort of things and provides a lot of interesting digressions to give a real insight into Spanish language. There’s plenty of good banter to be had too!

The house itself has a great homely feel. It’s very spacious and is within a beautifully peaceful setting in the mountains. The environment in the house is really nice, with everyone being really helpful and chatty. The food was lovely and gave a nice introduction to authentic Spanish cuisine -Merche is definitely a great cook. I’d definitely recommend ‘The Spanish Course’ and look forward to hopefully bringing a class back to the house in a few years’ time!

Ben Figler’s comment on our SKE Spanish Course

Published 02 September 2014

I recently completed the Spanish Course’s 8 week SKE programme and couldn’t be happier with my hosts/tutors and their quality of teaching. Before starting the couse, I had no experience in Spanish and was worried that I would feel confident enough to teach the language after an 8 week course. Fernando made it clear from day one of the course that his aim is to teach his SKE students the language and grammar required for the classroom; and this is exactly what he did. His teaching was to the point and was aimed at progressively producing my own work using newly tought vocabulary, phrases and grammar during my two week stay in Santander. The six week online course was hard work, but I was able to work through my text book unit by unit at my own pace, consolidating the grammar and vocabulary. Any finished work was quickly corrected (or usually highlighted, leaving it up to me to correct mistakes myself – this was excellent) on the online portal. The weekly video conferences were a great opportunity to ask any questions and then to practice some speaking. Obviously speaking is the most important aspect of a language, so it was much appreciated that Fernando put me though my paces.

Tricia Harkin

Their beautifully renovated Cantabrian farmhouse combines total comfort with the timeless charm of the distinctive houses of this region and Merche’s excellent cooking, (including great vegetarian meals) provided fuel for all the beautiful walks available from their doorstep. I would highly recommend it.

It is a very beautiful area, such a contrast from the Costas. Everyone must visit Cantabria. fantastic vistas, wonderful places to see. (Group of expats).

Oakdale School Spanish Trip

Day 1

Hi everyone….we had a really easy flight out with no turbulence and beautiful clear skies. It was lovely to see the snow capped mountains just as we came into land. We missed seeing the King and Queen of Spain by seconds as they were boarding their plane as we came into land!We had a typical Spanish dish ‘tortilla’ for dinner with lettuce fresh from Merche and Fernando`s garden.

It is very hot here too…just like England!

Love from the Spanish crew!

Day 2

This morning we had our first Spanish lesson of the week with Merche. We learnt the alphabet, how to spell our names and revised things such as colours and numbers. When we had finished our Spanish lesson we had free time until lunch.

Most of the girls explored the grounds and sunbathed, whilst the boys were playing snooker and table top football. After having chicken and chips for lunch, we then got ready to venture to Puente Viesgo. We walked beside the river and got ice-creams and watched people jumping off the bridge into the lake. When we arrived in the village we saw a water pump and we all took turns washing our hands and cooling ourselves down in the icy, cold mountain water.

After a few minutes walking we came across a park which we decided to have a play in. Next to the park is the old station house which had a disused train parked outside which we were allowed to play on and had our pictures taken . We walked back and are waiting to have our pizza supper. We all can’t wait until tomorrow because we are catching a bus to Santander for shopping, more ice-creams, the beach and a boat trip!

Have fun in maths and English! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Day 3:

Today we took the bus into Santander town centre and boarded a small cruiser for a lovely trip around the bay. The weather is still glorious and we are all looking very healthy. After that we enjoyed our picnic lunch in the Magdalena Park and met with lots of Spanish children who were also having fun. Then we went to the beautiful sandy beach for a paddle and castle building. The beach was empty when we arrived around 2pm but was packed by the time we left around 4.30ish. Merche and Fernando took us to see the hungry seals who were about to have their fish supper. We also saw some sea lions and cheeky penguins! After a short bus ride back into the city Merche treated us all to a wonderful double scoop ice-cream – yum-yum. We arrived back home at 8pm tired, noisy and ready for our supper. PS Mrs Sutherland had the fortunate experience of being blessed by a Spanish pigeon with a dodgy stomach!! (It is supposed to be good luck so she received her gift with good humour – luckily kind Michael had packed some super strength detergent in his suitcase!)

Day 4:

Today in our Spanish lessons we learnt how to say where we live. We also learnt different animal names in preparation for our trip to Cabarceno Park tomorrow. Then we went out to the basketball court and it was too hot to play so we just sat in the shade. For lunch we had homemade lentil soup which some of us thought was wonderful! As well as that, we had chicken fajita and fresh fruit salad. After that we had a short rest and then we had an interesting walk up to the prehistoric caves. In the caves we saw paintings from 30,000 years ago. Most of them were bisons, deer and handprints. In the caves it was cold and damp. It has a constant temperature of 14 degrees celcius and humidity of 85%. The main part of the cave was excavated from 1903 funded by the prince of Monaco. We walked back to the village to buy ice creams and souvenirs. We waked onwards to the park where we played for a few a minutes. Evening meal tonight was prehistoric animal nuggets with chips. We are keeping our fingers crossed that is doesn’t rain too much tomorrow as we are going to the wildlife park and the weather forecast isn’t very good. All for now more tomorrow. Adios!

Day 5:

We anticipated a really wet day today as the weather forecast had predicted heavy showers for the region. Fortunately the rain only arrived this evening after we had returned from Cabarceno Wildlife Park. We were picked up from the house at 11.30am after having first had our lessons. Today we were learning the names of body parts. We also did some more singing and dancing. We really enjoy the song called Vuela la luna. The minibus took us on the short journey to Cabarceno and we just had time to get to the arena for the Birds of Prey display which started at 12.15pm. We waited eagerly for the first birds to appear and when they did we shrieked with excitement as they swooped over our heads. We saw a whole range of birds from vultures to eagles and black kites. The keepers were throwing bits of meat for some of the birds to catch and some of these landed in amongst the crowd and the birds came right onto the seats! It was a little scary but good fun and lovely to see the birds so close up. After the birds we had lunch. In the picnic area there were lots of children and teenagers having their lunch and we got chatting with some of them and they took a group photo of all of us.

After lunch we went into a mini cinema to see a very sad film about conservation and ecology and learnt some scary information about animals that are hunted for their furs and about carelessness that causes the death of other animals. For example, Pepe was a hand reared elephant that had been in Cabarceno who died at four years of age when he swallowed plastic bags that visitors had dumped.

Then we got back onto the minibus for our safari around the park. We drove short distances and stopped off to see lots of different animals bears, lions, tigers, giraffe, etc. We loved the bears…there are 60 brown bears living in the bear enclosure which was a huge mountainy area. It was quite difficult to spot them as they were camouflaged against the reddishbrown rock. There were two young bears who looked like they were having a wrestling match as they were standing on their back legs playfighting. We decided they should be put on a stage 5 for using hands and feet.

We also saw an amazing sealion display. The music before the show was very lively and there were lots of Spanish children dancing in their seats…it looked like fun. The first sealion was called Lucas and he was almost blind but he was fantastic. He waved and clapped and smiled (yes really) and did a few other things. The second sealion was called Pas and she was even more lively (she was a lot younger) she managed to do a slow dance and a rock and roll dance with the trainer!

Then we went home after visiting the shop which was really expensive although some people did buy ´teddies´. Dinner tonight was lasagne and there was also homemade lemonade. We are all looking forward to going home but we will also miss Spain.