1. The school is small and as such each student receives personal attention and the atmosphere is very friendly and welcoming – something that is sometimes less easy to achieve with larger schools.
2. The school has been awarded a Customer Satisfaction Excellence Award in both 2010 and 2011 from one of its partners.
3. As fewer people go to Murcia than other, more touristy, Spanish hubs such as Barcelona and Madrid, you are unlikely to hear English or other languages during your stay – thus creating the perfect environment to really immerse yourself in the Spanish language and culture.
4. The weather! Sitting on the aptly named Costa Cálida, Murcia boasts 330 days of sunshine each year and is the third sunniest region in all of Spain.
5. The food – namely tapas, which are said to be the best in Spain. Thanks to the Murcia’s location between some of Spain’s richest arable land and the Mediterranean, producing abundant fresh, local produce, you can happily spend each evening drifting between tapas bars and sampling delights such as spiced mussels, fried squid, hake goujons, quails’ eggs, ensaladilla rusa, grilled vegetables, freshly carved ham, garlic potatoes, paella and more – all washed down, of course, with a caña (draft beer) or two.
6. Founded by the Moors in 825AD, Murcia is a melting pot of cultures: Spanish, Arabic, Christian and Jewish. As such the people are colourful in character, exuding a religious passion that manifests itself wonderfully in Murcia’s many vibrant festivals. Whatever time of year you visit, you are likely to catch one of these: joyful Spring festivals (Fiestas de Primavera) and Easter Holy Week lead to the September fair, bullfights and a string of music festivals. As if you needed any excuse, you can be sure of ample food, drink and merriment at fiesta time.
7. Murcia-San Javier airport offers direct flights to the UK via several low-cost carriers, including easyJet, Ryanair, Jet2.com and bmibaby. Being a smaller airport than many of those on the Spanish costas, your time at the airport may well be shorter and less stressful.
8. If you’re after sea and beaches, Murcia is your place. With 250km of coastline as well as 18 natural parks, fields, mountains and valleys, the region boasts beautiful natural landscape which also lends itself perfectly to outdoor pursuits and sporting activities.
9. Murcia is a very safe city in comparison to many others. You can walk safely through the streets at any time of day – although it is of course advisable to take usual precautions as you would in any city.
10. Culturally, Murcia is something of an open-air museum. Alongside 15 museums you will find many art galleries and exhibition halls, and the vibrant student population (more than 35,000 split between two universities) adds even more to the city.
Cactus offers a variety of Spanish courses in Murcia, which can be combined with accommodation in a host family on a half board basis or a room in a shared apartment.