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Education

An excellent option for those who live in Spain but would like to continue their studies using the British education system, is distance learning. Using this online home-study system, you can obtain British qualifications such as A levels, iGCSEs (International General Certificate of School Education, equivalent to GCSEs but awarded by an international exam body), Level 3 Diplomas and BTEC HNC (Higher National Certificate from Edexcel).

Of the many ways to learn Spanish in Spain and get a good foundation in grammar and pronunciation, while having fun in the process is to attend a language school. A good course will give you the grounding you need to boost your confidence when practicing the language in 'real life' later.

Yoga and tai chi are quite popular in Andalucía and classes can be found in both public and private centres. Because of the nature of these activities, you should be able to join a course and enjoy learning new skills even if you are only here for a two or three week holiday.

Wineries are located throughout this region and many of the larger companies offer tours of the facility via guides that explain the processes involved and can answer your questions regarding how wine production differs in Andalucía from that in other parts of Spain and the rest of the world.

Thanks to the mild climate in southern Spain, outdoor tennis can be enjoyed year round. So why not take a few classes and improve your stroke while you're on holiday here? You can find courses through your hotel, the administrative offices in the community of apartments or villas where you are staying or by visiting the nearest town hall and asking for the area's "polideportivo", or municipally sponsored sports centre.

With all the press devoted to sun and beaches it might be difficult to imagine taking a ski holiday in Andalucía, but Sierra Nevada in Granada makes that not only possible, but an excellent idea.

In ports all along the coast of Andalucía sailing classes are typically offered through the port's club, or members' association. As courses are often sold as a package involving a certain number of hours/weeks, these are best reserved only for an extended holiday.

Personal development as a subject - and course offering - is in it's infancy in Andalucia (and most parts of Spain). However, as more and more foreigners from northern Europe, flock to this region, an increasing number of workshops, seminars and courses are being offered in English and other languages - and you will find the occasional course offering in Spanish as well.

Andalucía is world-renowned for the flamenco music - flamenco guitar in particular - it exports to the rest of the world. And an extended holiday here could be the perfect opportunity for you to learn the basics - or, if you already play guitar, to expand your horizons.

Horses are a major attraction in Andalucía. Not only do they form an integral part of local traditions - still taking part in many modern-day fiestas, festivals and other events - they also serve tourists well.

With the a sun that shines most of the year, Andalucía is a perfect place to learn to golf. You don't need clubs or special clothing to get started. Just dress comfortably and sign up for the golf lessons that are offered at almost every course.

There is much to be learned about the fascinating limestone formations throughout Andalucía and what better way to get to know them than with an experienced, certified speleologist - or specialist in the study of caves.

Diving courses are available in seaside towns and cities all along the Andalusian coastline. Most diving schools offer you the opportunity to obtain PADI certification and can be located through your local tourist office, or one of the larger seaside hotel.

Wouldn't it be fun to return from Spain as an accomplished Flamenco dancer? A short - or even somewhat extended - holiday might not be enough to take your skills quite that far, but in as little as a month's time, you can learn some basic moves. And you'll have a lot of fun creating unforgettable memories and making new friends.

Language courses aren't the only offerings available through the international exchange programmes that operate at every university. Often you can also register for courses that focus specifically on different aspects of Spanish history, culture and modern society.

There are few better ways to learn about Andalucia than through its food, with all the fabuous local produce available, from the Sierra de Huelva's pure-bred acorn-fed free-range pork (cerdo iberico, which is made into the famous jamon iberico) to the unparalleled selection of mariscos (seafood) on the Costa de la Luz, salmorejo (thick cold tomato soup) from Cordoba, wild mushrooms in the Sierra de Grazalema, olive oil from Jaen.

Many cultural centres (Casas de Cultura) in small towns offer ceramic workshops and courses in basket weaving and other handicrafts. Registration usually begins at the end of the summer, but if you are going to spend an extended holiday in Andalucía, it might be worth it to check in at the cultural centre near your lodgings any time of year, to see if there is an opening.

If you are a botany buff, or wishing to become one, you can easily incorporate educational experiences into your Andalusian holiday. There are also world-renowned natural parks in Andalucía, where you can make the world your classroom. The local publishing company Santana sells a useful guide in English to some of the wildflowers you will meet with in these parks.

Andalucía is known as a "birdwatcher's paradise". Keep in mind that this is a key region for many birds that migrate between northern Europe and Africa. This translates into excellent bird watching opportunities that can convert even the shortest holiday into an educational experience.

If you go out to the streets of your town, or even in many villages, and try to find a star in the sky, you will not see many more than a dozen. What happened to the thousands of stars visible to the naked eye? The answer is that the light pollution has not only taken away the possibility of enjoying one of the greatest spectacles of nature.