Living AbroadMexicoMexico CitySpain

Learning Catalan in Mexico

‘Catalan? Where do they speak that?’ is by far and away the most parroted sentence when I tell people that I’m learning this lesser-known, yet pretty robustly spoken Romance language. Some people just assume they misheard me completely. Others know that it’s spoken in Catalonia (although you can also find Catalan enclaves in France, Italy and other regions of Spain) and so their inevitable follow up is ‘but why are you learning it here?’ It’s a question I’ve asked myself, so here are some thoughts on learning Catalan in Mexico.


Why Catalan?

Apart from having got qualifications in Catalan and having studied it already, Catalan is a massively useful (although it may not seem it) language to have. It’s the widest spoken language in Europe that still isn’t one of the official languages of the EU and they’re crying out for translators who speak Catalan. Even though I don’t want to be a translator necessarily, it’s a pretty good language to have under your belt for emergencies.

What’s more, it’s always been my dream to live in Barcelona some day and I figured that having a decent, conversational or professional level in the language of the region would be pretty useful. Or at least an interesting talking point. And what with the Brexiters having had us chucked unceremoniously out of Europe, I’m possibly going to need some tricks up my sleeve if I want to get a visa or work on the continent in the future.

learning catalan mexico city barcelona catalunya catalonia

One day I’ll be in you, Barcelona | © Kah-Wai Lin/Flickr

Why Catalan in Mexico?

The reasons I decided to continue learning Catalan while in Mexico are twofold; I wanted to make friends, and thought joining a club or class of some kind would be the best way to do it (I was wrong, literally nobody takes Catalan classes in Mexico). Secondly, as mentioned before, I’d studied it for two years at university with the best teacher and thought there was no point losing the skills I’d picked up, or wasting the Ramon Llull certificates I’d already acquired. Plus, it seemed like a good way to get out of the house when you spend most of your day holed up in a dim bedroom with only the warming glow of your laptop screen for company.

learning catalan mexico city barcelona catalunya catalonia

Catalan flags | © David Tubau/Flickr

Is it worth it?

For me, learning any new language is worth it, whether it’s going to be particularly relevant in the country you’re currently living in or not. My teacher is great, flexible and always willing to help go over tricky points (looking at you pronoms febles i relatius), I’ve met some interesting people and I’ve got myself out of the house on a Saturday morning for class, which is an achievement in itself. Plus, they sell AMAZING tamales down the road from the Orfeó, which is reason enough to get yourself enrolled.

learning catalan mexico city barcelona catalunya catalonia

Independence for Catalunya | © Julie Gibbons/Flickr

Where do I sign up?!

Anyway, if I’ve talked you in to learning Catalan in Mexico City and you’re convinced you want to pick up a ‘minority’ language in the country where it’s not even spoken, then here are the details you’ll need:

  • They offer three different levels; Basic, Intermedi and Avançat, which correspond to the levels A2, B1 and B2 of the Institut Ramon Llull.
  • The price (MXN$3600) is very reasonable for the length of the course (40+ hours).
  • They have three teachers currently. Eva is mine and she’s the one in charge of the place, so it’s her you should ask for if you want more information.
  • As mentioned, they sell the best tamales in the world just down the street from the Orfeó (get the tamales oaxaqueños con salsa verde).

Orfeó Català de Mèxic, Calle Marsella 45, Juárez, Ciudad de México, México, +52 55 5525 0925

learning catalan in mexico

learning catalan in mexico


  1. The Wanderlust Dietitian 11 February, 2017 at 00:39 Reply

    I also enjoy languages! I have a background in Spanish but have gravitated towards Italian because we\’d love to live in Firenze. I commend you for pursuing your passion and am sure you will have situations that require this knowledge! Cheers!

  2. danasiafantastic 11 February, 2017 at 08:46 Reply

    I\’m unfamiliar with the Catalan language, so this was so informative! Is it similar to Latin or more like Spanish and French?

    • Lauren 11 February, 2017 at 08:58 Reply

      I always describe it to people as being the love child of French and Italian, that lives in Spain. It has a lot of French spelling and grammar, Latin influence and many similarities to Spanish 🙂

  3. Laia 11 February, 2017 at 10:25 Reply

    Wow I feel touched. I\’m Catalan and it\’s amazing to hear that people are learning our language so far away. If you come to live in Barcelona and speak Catalan people are going to love you!
    Ahhh pronoms febles i relatius, I hear you. They\’re tricky but not impossible, good luck with them! 🙂

  4. Stacey 11 February, 2017 at 12:57 Reply

    This is so interesting. I have actually never heard of catalan! Languages are not my strong suit so would probably give it a miss lol! Good luck with it though!

  5. jezzikafos13 11 February, 2017 at 15:12 Reply

    I had never heard of Catalan until this post- and I didn\’t know it was that widespread! I am working on learning Spanish because it is so useful in the US and most of the countries I want to visit. I am going to Mexico and Cuba in March! Maybe I should take a class too because it is hard to learn another language on your own.

    • Lauren 11 February, 2017 at 15:20 Reply

      Oh, I definitely recommend taking classes. I consider myself quite a motivated person, but when it comes to languages, there\’s nothing like a teacher to help you understand and persevere with everythin!

  6. ashlynsargent 11 February, 2017 at 19:52 Reply

    Learning new languages is so fun! I\’ve learned a little of Spanish and Russian (and a few words in Korean lol) but each one is fascinating!

  7. C-Ludik 12 February, 2017 at 08:26 Reply

    Learning new languages is fascinating ! Unfortunately, I\’m not very good at learning new languages :-(. I would love to learn Spanish… it would really help me when I\’m travelling in south America 🙂

  8. Alba 6 May, 2018 at 12:25 Reply

    Que divertit! Si necessites ajuda o vols parlar català amb algú m’ho pots dir 🙂
    Btw, there is a new TV program on tv3 about Catalan learners around the world and there was a whole episode set in Mexico! Maybe you’re even on it!

    • Lauren 7 May, 2018 at 14:59 Reply

      Moltes gracies! Em fa falta practicar el meu catala aixi que siiiiii voldria practicar amb voste! OOOOOH, I’m going to check that show out 🙂

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