Ricardo Saez had always wanted to start his studies at IE University. He considered us one of the most prestigious institutions in Europe, because of our distinctive methodology and immersive international environment. He was looking for something different from the standard education of other European universities, so a focus on debate, case method, and the development of professional skills rather than the “memorization of useless knowledge” were crucial factors in his decision to apply.

In fact, IE University is the only institution I considered. I had something of a linguistic challenge to overcome: despite having completed an advanced Cambridge certificate in English, and having studied the language quite extensively, I didn’t believe my skills were fluent enough to actually study in English. The Spanish Baccalaureate I had also taken carried a focus on the language’s grammar, so while I could pass, and had passed, examinations in the subject, I felt I’d missed out on the ability to actually hold a conversation in English. 

I needed to immerse myself in the language in which I was going to be studying, so I enrolled in IE University’s Language Proficiency Track (LPT), which I saw as a golden opportunity to get integrated into an international environment.

The Language Proficiency Track is designed for students who want to study in English throughout the first year of their degree. It allows us to study with like-minded peers who hail from around the world and are studying a variety of bachelor’s and dual degree programs, reinforcing those crucial language skills and broadening our networking opportunities.

The Language Proficiency Track’s professors are an equally international group. Classes include topics for discussion such as liberalization, sustainability and globalization. We use these themes to both hone our debating skills and broaden our vocabulary to include terms commonly used in economics and law, for example. We also get a taste of IE University’s unique teaching methodologies ahead of time, giving us a head start on assimilating a way of learning that most of us haven’t experienced before.

The Language Proficiency Track also offers some outstanding extracurricular activities. There are trips across Madrid, to Segovia, and to Toledo, part of IE University’s philosophy that learning takes place outside the classroom as well. Previous trips have included Real Madrid FC’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and the Royal Palace, official residence of the Spanish royal family. I loved these trips—I thought they were informative and exciting, and a superb way to get to know some of my classmates outside the university context, and connect with them personally.

Since Language Proficiency Track students begin classes before the beginning of the autumn term, we got a head start in getting to know other members of the IE University community. Indeed the opportunity to build a wide network of connections extends not just to those studying different programs in either Madrid or Segovia; some local Spanish students also participate. Of course nobody knows Madrid better than Madrileños. Locals know the best restaurants, clubs and other places to have fun. They can give an accurate opinion and make recommendations of places to go.

I would sum up the Language Proficiency Track as an excellent program to undergo an experience very similar to the IE University student lifestyle. You’ll improve your English, familiarize yourself with IE University’s methodology before other students, and make friends with people from different nationalities and cultures, and with different aspirations. I highly recommend it to any student who’s not used to speaking English in an international environment.