View Full Version : Spanish language school
09-08-2007, 08:42 PM
I'm interested in knowing the Spanish language school that the author used to become fluent in Spanish. I'm looking for a Spanish school to go to that abides by his rules of learning a language.
09-08-2007, 11:19 PM
Tim was using a fairly common "immersive" technique - probably an "accelerated/intensive immersive" language school.
I'd suggest googling those terms, along with your city/region/area universities/colleges to find a suitable program.
For the record, I spent 9 years in "regular" French class, 2 in Japanese... I've completely lost my French, and my Japanese only got "good" once I married my (Japanese) wife.
I took a 12 week class in immersive spanish - 4 hours per class, once a week. And I left with easily a college year or two of "fluency", and I could've EASILY survived in a Spanish-speaking country at that point and continued to improve without a lot of additional instruction. My speaking has gotten extremely rusty, but I still read it fairly well.
More recently, I did an audio-learning program in Russian... It used what is called the "Lozanov method" of teaching first all the cognates (words that sound the same in both languages), as well as contextualizing the learning around tasks and actions instead of vocabulary and grammar (first you learn how to deal with the airport, then getting to the hotel, etc). Not as good as a real "classroom" environment, but it was the first time I was able to use tapes/CDs to get enough of a language to feel useful in only 2 weeks.
But, more than anything, Tim's point about using it day to day IN the country that speaks the language is the most important bit. You could go to Japan with no skills, but so long as you avoid hanging out with foreigners, reading the english-language newspapers, etc... You'll gain fluency VERY quickly. Just not in the "right" order according to most textbooks. ;)
09-14-2007, 08:53 PM
I'm definitely interested in going to a spanish school abroad, but how do I find those that teach what Tim suggests in the book. Or are there any good Spanish language school suggestions here for either Buenos Aires, Costa Rica, or Guatemala?
Sorry for the confusion.
There are plenty of language schools, "traditional" and immersion type, in most countries you will visit.
I learned Spanish formally in graduate school (Thunderbird), and came away nearly fluent, with my biggest gains made during my second semester when I lived with a Mexican family in Guadalajara.
I then went to Japan, learned passable Japanese, enough to get by, since I taught English and wasn't forced to use it most of the time. Still, outside of work, nobody I knew (except my girlfriend, American) knew English. So it was a partial necessity.
I came back to the US, ended up in Tucson working for a Mexican newspaper...again where nobody but the security guard (of all people) spoke English (and he was FLUENT....).
So...what I am saying is that while I learned a lot from books, watching TV and such, the best instruction and learning took place in-country...just as Tim suggests.
Short of finding someone here who has actually studied in a school in those countries, your best bet will be to Google "Immersion language instruction""<country>"
Then you can contact them from there.
Language study is fun, IMO....though I am twisted that way.
Best of luck.
10-30-2007, 12:39 PM
Thank you for the post. I am planning to attend a language school in Guatemala at the end of November to get the immersion experience.
11-08-2007, 10:43 PM
I'm a bit biased since I'm from Costa Rica but check out Ilisa (http://www.ilisa.com/welcome.htm). They have been teaching Spanish in Costa Rica for 20 years. And yes immersion is the best way to learn.
I'll be doing an interview with them on my Costa Rica podcast (http://www.costaricatalkradio.com) show coming up next month. And no, I do not work for them or get any money from them. :)
11-09-2007, 01:08 AM
Check out Tim's blog today, here is the permalink if you are reading later:
Very interesting read. On some levels, I was doing this subconsiously for some languages. What I found interesting when I taught ESL was that my Spanish improved (when teaching Spanish speakers) due to the mistakes they made in English. I knew they were translating rather than interpreting, so I could "reverse engineer" how to say something in Spanish.
The other issue is that people get too wrapped up in "why is it like that?" in sentence structure and how to say things. Once you can ignore this and just "get over it" that the target language is different, your learning (or at least mine) accelerates.
Finally, even if you DO make some mistakes in SVO/SOV/etc. structure, does that really impede someone's ability to understand you? Perhaps, but not usually. If a non-native English speaker said "I go kitchen now" (Spanish structure of "Voy a la cocina ahora"), "Now I kitchen go" (Japanese structure "Ima daidokoro/'kitchin' e ikimasu"), or "kitchen go I" (Russian, "kuhkniyu, poidu ya"), would you really have a problem figuring out what s/he was going to do? :)
11-16-2007, 07:37 PM
Oh dude! Go to the Lago de Atitlan. In guatemala. Cheapest place I've ever been. It's a lake surrounded by 3 volcanoes... it's great.
There are a dozen villages around that place.
Go to a spanish school in SAN PEDRO (DE ATITLAN).
That's where I did my week intensive spanish course. It's one on one lessons and very cheap man. Plus the ambiance is nice.
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