November 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
Language is not my strong point. After 4 years of high school spanish, I placed into the third week of spanish classes in Buenos Aires. (ok, high school was over ten years ago but still) I felt up to speed on grammar and vocabulary, but behind on speaking and listening — probably a relic of the fact that my high school classes involved little to no speaking and were instead mostly fill-in-the-blanks and memorization.
Given that 6 months of our year-long journey will be in Spanish-speaking South America and that Kasey is already fluent, taking classes for me was a no brainer and was part of the reason we decided to start with a month in Buenos Aires. I chose a company called Expanish, which seems to cater to Europeans in their mid-twenties. The classroom environment consists of 6 students in each class with an emphasis on speaking and listening rather than learning grammar from a book, which seemed to be exactly what I needed. It’s an intensive program — 4 hours a day every weekday, and taught almost entirely in Spanish.
After three weeks of classes we were ready to move on from Buenos Aires, and I received a diploma for graduating “level A2” whatever that means. Do I feel like I can now mingle with the locals? No. But when listening I can definitely pick out more words now, and I feel like I can express any sort of message, albeit awkwardly (e.g. “Water to arrive from the sky tomorrow?”) and slowly.
If anyone else is considering classes. I’d highly recommend them. Even one week would be worthwhile, just to start training your ears. The cost is roughly $160 US per week. If you happen be in Buenos Aires, I’ll make a plug for interSpanish (http://www.spanishclassesbuenosaires.org/), a recently launched school by our friend Katie. They offer the same small, discussion-oriented setup at more competitive prices.