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Immersion Spanish...

Donna Sch

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#1
When I do stuff I tend to do it obsessively and learning a language is no exception. For language learning I try to surround myself with the language so I'm after ideas for ways to expose myself to Spanish.
So far...
  • Change my social media settings to Spanish
  • Duolingo
  • Translating a few lines of "Platero y yo" every night
  • Listening to SBS Spanish news podcasts
  • Coffee Break Spanish podcasts
  • El Tiempo weather app
  • Consider weekly night classes next year
  • Distance learning course - just need to find a good one!
  • Spanish subtitles on English movies
Any others?
 

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TMcA

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
#2
Anyone at an intermediate or higher level should consider a conversation exchange with a Spanish speaker. I have used conversationexchange.com for 4 years for my French and I have had good success. Via Skype, 1/2 hour in each language, usually once a week. PM me if you'd like additional tips.

BTW, it's free.

Tom
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x3), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham.
2018? CF, again :-)
#3
When I do stuff I tend to do it obsessively and learning a language is no exception. For language learning I try to surround myself with the language so I'm after ideas for ways to expose myself to Spanish.
So far...
  • Change my social media settings to Spanish
  • Duolingo
  • Translating a few lines of "Platero y yo" every night
  • Listening to SBS Spanish news podcasts
  • Coffee Break Spanish podcasts
  • El Tiempo weather app
  • Consider weekly night classes next year
  • Distance learning course - just need to find a good one!
  • Spanish subtitles on English movies
Any others?
I have just found I can listen to RTVE on my iphone when in the UK, there is an App.
Even my husband - who is learning Spanish - finds it helpful...

I also recommend night classes (well I would lol I am a teacher!) but only if they're the right level/speed.... Otherwise you are better off on your own.... Can you get hold of the BBC 'talk Spanish' books and Cd? Basic but does the job. (Sorry, I don't know your level).
 

Phil W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Melide, May-early July 2016,
Back to the Camino, 2017
#4
You have many great ideas! I like your idea of total immersion to learn Spanish. Janet and I are using Duolingo. She used it before our walk in 2016 and was surprised by how well she did. It wasn't perfect, she wasn't fluent but communicated better than I was able to. We are both using Duolingo daily now. We considered taking Spanish classes at the local university, meeting with fluent Spanish speakers to practice regularly, and as you suggested, changing our habits to include Spanish TV and news programs. In the end it has been only Duolingo. We are hoping that our use of Duolingo will pay off next week as we return to Spain to serve as hospitleros. Our expectation is that our Spanish will improve rapidly due to daily use.

Good luck with your efforts to learn Spanish!

Buen Camino!
 
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Phil W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Melide, May-early July 2016,
Back to the Camino, 2017
#5
Anyone at an intermediate or higher level should consider a conversation exchange with a Spanish speaker. I have used conversationexchange.com for 4 years for my French and I have had good success. Via Skype, 1/2 hour in each language, usually once a week. PM me if you'd like additional tips.

BTW, it's free.

Tom
Thanks for the information about the conversation exchange website!
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Ruta Fray Leopoldo (2018)
#6
That's a great list, Donna. I didn't know about the SBS Spanish news podcasts, but will give them a listen.

Another possibility is News in Slow Spanish which lets you listen to a current topic at both slow speed and at normal speed. Vocabulary definitions pop up with a mouse-over. To me, it has been worth the subscription fee.

Also, Anki has many Spanish flashcard decks, both printed and audio. Plus you can make your own and study using a very efficient spaced-repetition system.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte?
#7
I used language transfer a audiocourse while walking. I liked it very much. It builds on words that can be transfered from English to Spanish. It emphasises insight instead of learning by heart. For me it had 3 advantages while training, I learned Spanish and as a no-english speaker I could catch up on my English. Another way of getting more acquainted with Spanish for me was lending (or hmmbuying)books in Spanish and compare it with the translation.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 23 (2018) camino Frances from SJPP - first time
#8
When I do stuff I tend to do it obsessively and learning a language is no exception. For language learning I try to surround myself with the language so I'm after ideas for ways to expose myself to Spanish.
So far...
  • Change my social media settings to Spanish
  • Duolingo
  • Translating a few lines of "Platero y yo" every night
  • Listening to SBS Spanish news podcasts
  • Coffee Break Spanish podcasts
  • El Tiempo weather app
  • Consider weekly night classes next year
  • Distance learning course - just need to find a good one!
  • Spanish subtitles on English movies
Any others?
Total immersion seems like the best idea! These answers are awesome and i'm definitely going to use some of the suggestions myself. I've learned and forgotten spanish a few times over my life.
I listened to the free "coffee break spanish" podcast. 15 minute episodes where you listen to one guy teach you and another lady the basics. I then took a University course where we watched "Destinos" a made for teaching telenovela mystery where everyone spoke kinda slow (but still fast) but you would find that you could keep up with what was happening. This course can be taken online for a small fee where they give you a workbook and lessons or you can just watch the show to as you say "immerse yourself" in some spanish. I'm going to redo this myself over the next few months before my camino and hopefully the combination of the coursework and then being there for 6 weeks will solidify Spanish in my head finally.
 

mylifeonvacation

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés (from Ferrol June 2014)
Camino Portuguese (from Tui May 2015)
#9
I'm really liking the Espanol Automatico podcast. It's in Spanish, so you need to have a certain level of fluency to start with, but recent episodes have discussed the best ways to spend your time learning another language. You can also download transcripts to follow along, and the episodes usually include a portion where you are asked to repeat sentences back (to improve the fluidity with which you speak).

http://www.espanolautomatico.com/podcast/
 

kirkie

Pilgrim
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#10
Lots of tips above. Not sure if these are hidden among them: Mango languages, and BBC learning Spanish. Just google them. You will know straight away if they are useful for you. Buen camino!
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#11
A few weeks ago Aldi had sets of language lessons on CD - Michel Thomas method, Total Spanish, 8 CDs for $20. I think they are good and it was a bargain because he sells his individual lessons online for $10 a lesson. I had already bought a couple of his online lessons. I don’t know why the set of CDs was so cheap. Bulk buy and archaic format I guess? Alas no Aldi in NT. If I didn’t have these I’d be keeping an eye on ebay or gumtree.

Something I do when in the car is read out number plates in Spanish. Gives me numbers and alphabet practice. :)
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Camino(s) past & future
2015 & 2016 (partial)
#12
  • Spanish subtitles on English movies
Any others?
  • https://www.fluentin3months.com/hb/
  • English subtitles on Spanish movies
  • Spanish movies with no subtitles
  • http://italki.com or one of its competitors
  • attend a Spanish-speaking church
  • listen to an audio book while following along in the printed version
  • Check whether your library has a Mango subscription. If so, you get the free app and log in with your library card number.
Michel Thomas is not bad for a beginner. Rosetta Stone is not bad for learning vocabulary. Sucks for going beyond that. And DuoLingo (DL) is better than Rosetta Stone for that, plus DL goes further.

Apologies for any repetition of others. Web browser fooled me and I didn't see that there were already answers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Newbie. Walking CN June/July 2018. ❤️
#13
Hi all
New member but am a language teacher, so I thought I would chime in. Here are a few other things that I recommend to improve Spanish language skills: These address more listening comprehension and less speaking.
The only way to improve speaking abilities is country immersion, a class, or find a native speaker. I found a Spaniard who wanted to meet weekly 30 min in Spanish and 30 minutes in English. Both of us took notes and offered suggestions and corrections for the other. That was a big help.
  • Spanish subtitles as often as possible when watching news, regular TV, Netflix etc
  • Listen to Spanish lyric songs and find and translate the lyrics. I’ve been known to listen to a song 20 to 30 times, after I had studied the lyrics, so I can make sure I understood the words that were said.
  • Find a Spanish-speaking movie or TV series that you like. I have watched dozens on Netflix that I found very interesting. I don’t typically like the novellas there on primetime, designed for families to watch. One tip that I do for myself is when I’m watching a Spanish-speaking show, for the first bit of time, I put subtitles in English, afterwhile I put subtitles in Spanish, and then finally I take the subtitles off.
I’m going to walk the Camino next summer, and although I speak Spanish daily with my students, I’m going to practice with the native Spanish speaker before I go. I want to make sure I can understand other people well enough with respect to hotels and phone and things like that. I know I can always make myself be understood, but sometimes it’s difficult to understand.

Good luck! I hope this helps

AF
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#14
Anyone at an intermediate or higher level should consider a conversation exchange with a Spanish speaker. I have used conversationexchange.com for 4 years for my French and I have had good success. Via Skype, 1/2 hour in each language, usually once a week. PM me if you'd like additional tips.

BTW, it's free.

Tom
I took a year of Beginning Spanish at the local state college before I left for my Camino. I just registered for Intermediate Spanish 1 in the spring. Year 1 the focus has been on vocabulary, and grammar. I guess you have to be able to walk before you can run. Much of the homework required writing (formulating sentences and progressed to paragraphs or very short essays). The writing component forced the use of the grammar. We would speak in small work groups, but we were learning Spanish and our pronunciation etc. was not the best but we did get a little practice.

I really like the idea of dedicating some time to speaking with someone who knows the language. I spent several days on the Camino with native Spanish speakers who knew English. They encouraged me to speak to them in Spanish, and they would speak to me in English. It really helped me with pronunciation, idioms, etc. Plus I learned a lot more about the Spanish culture, daily life...

I had a year of German 30 years ago in college, but have not had any real language training since. I think you need to be patient, and willing to make mistakes. I used my bad malformed Spanish the entire time I was in Spain. I got head tilts, etc., but was able to get my point across for the most part. My efforts were well received, and I learned a little more from every interaction. I still think in English, so I hear Spanish, translate Spanish to English, translate my English response to Spanish, and then speak Spanish. It is a slow process, and makes a conversation difficult. I have heard that it takes about 6 months of immersion before you start to think in Spanish.

Here is a hyperlink to my Quizlets from my first year of Spanish. Quizlets are like flash cards, you can turn on audio (Spanish), I like the learn mode, and it is free. I will continue to add to them after the holidays when I start my next class. Feel free to review or copy them for your own use.

It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.:D
 

TMcA

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
#16
Linkster is on the money - learning a language takes time on task and a lot of effort. I would just comment that there is good and bad language instruction. IMO, good instruction teaches vocabulary embedded in the spoken language. By that I mean a vocabulary list is practiced in a phrase such as "Do you have any oranges/peaches/apples, etc". Or "How much does the tortilla/empanada, etc. cost? For this reason, I have used instructional tapes or CDs from Pimsleur to refresh my French and to help me with my beginning Spanish. (I first took a semester of Spanish recently at the university near my house. Obviously this is much easier to accomplish if you are retired.) My wife and I walk now with a group of French hikers that we met the day we left Le Puy, so French is more my focus, since only one of the 5 or 6 members of the French group speaks English.

Oh yes, Linkster, I also use Quizlet and have sets of useful phrases and even vocabulary for which I don't know the meaning and/or gender. I even have a set of hiking related phrases. And during my conversation exchanges, I ask my partner to write corrections or the right way to express something in the messaging space and I transcribe most of this afterwards to reinforce my learning.

Best to all who are trying to tackle the long, slow process of learning a language!

Tom
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012 & 2015) San Salvador (2018) Primitivo (2018)
#17
I am taking Spanish at college 3 hours a week, and a high school course, also 3 hours a week. I listen to Spanish radio in the car and was thrilled to hear a full sentence that I understood this week - "that's an excellent question". I can usually pick up only a few words from the conversations and news.

I am working on Mango Languages, and Duolingo every day. I also work on Rosetta Stone and speak with a Spanish teacher for a 1/2 hour every other week (you have to finish 2 sections and then you discuss them with the teacher).

I went through the series Destinos, which I found for free online. I am now watching Club Cuervos in Spanish on Netflix - first with Spanish subtitles and then I watch the episode again with English subtitles. The language of the show is not what I am learning in class - so much swearing and sexual comments - oh well. My bilingual friends tell me watching tv is the fastest way to pick up the language and this show is funny.

I also have easy to read books in Spanish that come with audio and I am trying to read out loud to improve my pronunciation.

In May I am going to spend a week at a Spanish immersion school near Malaga Spain, before I walk another camino. I wish I was retired because I just don't have enough time in a day.

@Donna Sch - you are right to work at it obsessively. Learning a new language is difficult and you have to make it a priority.
 

kirkie

Pilgrim
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#18
I have just remembered another source: euronews. You can watch a few minutes in Spanish, and then wait for the same news on the English Channel, or do it the other way round. it's generally the same news repeated a million times in a day. If you just watch a little, the phrases might stick, you don't have to retain too much at a time.
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Camino(s) past & future
2015 & 2016 (partial)
#19
Year 1 the focus has been on vocabulary, and grammar. I guess you have to be able to walk before you can run. Much of the homework required writing (formulating sentences and progressed to paragraphs or very short essays). The writing component forced the use of the grammar.
Sigh. These methods have been proven¹ inefficient for most students, yet many schools/teachers still cling to them stubbornly, perhaps because multiple-choice questions are easier to grade than "ability to communicate." Yet communication is the purpose of language, and the only way to get good at it. I am good at languages (at least I think so, and experience suggests it's true) but after five years of getting top scores on grammar and vocabulary tests, I was unable to communicate in Mexico.

Check out probably the best tool for learning a language.

¹I'm not just making that up; I have taught Spanish, went part way through a Spanish Teaching degree program, and read dozens of books on language teaching.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#20
@WGroleau I am a newbie to learning a language, and will defer to you. But just wanted to clarify the use of multiple choice questions. There were some multiple choice questions in the homework related to vocabulary, but it was a very small percentage of the overall class (low single digit percentage 1 ~ 2%). There were never any multiple choice questions on the tests or in class work.

There was usually the same sections on each test (there was no use of English on the test in any form):
1) Oral - She would ask a question in Spanish, and we had to write our answer in Spanish.
2) Verb Conjugation - A 1 pager with fill in the blanks with an appropriate conjugated verb. Usually a dialog.
3) Grammar - Sentence construction using a specific grammar component (double object pronoun, etc.) given a set of words as input. Needed to formulate a complete written sentence using the inputs (nouns, verbs, etc.).
4) Reading - Read an article in Spanish, and answer questions in Spanish.
5) Essay - Write a short essay based on the prompt.

The final also included a separate oral interview that was entirely in Spanish.
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Camino(s) past & future
2015 & 2016 (partial)
#22
@WGroleau I am a newbie to learning a language, and will defer to you. But just wanted to clarify the use of multiple choice questions. There were some multiple choice questions in the homework related to vocabulary, but it was a very small percentage of the overall class (low single digit percentage 1 ~ 2%). There were never any multiple choice questions on the tests or in class work.

There was usually the same sections on each test (there was no use of English on the test in any form):
1) Oral - She would ask a question in Spanish, and we had to write our answer in Spanish.
2) Verb Conjugation - A 1 pager with fill in the blanks with an appropriate conjugated verb. Usually a dialog.
3) Grammar - Sentence construction using a specific grammar component (double object pronoun, etc.) given a set of words as input. Needed to formulate a complete written sentence using the inputs (nouns, verbs, etc.).
4) Reading - Read an article in Spanish, and answer questions in Spanish.
5) Essay - Write a short essay based on the prompt.

The final also included a separate oral interview that was entirely in Spanish.
Sounds like you had a better teacher than many folks. But your first post suggests that the overall balance would have been better with more communication and less memorization.
 

TMcA

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
#23
Sigh. These methods have been proven¹ inefficient for most students, yet many schools/teachers still cling to them stubbornly, perhaps because multiple-choice questions are easier to grade than "ability to communicate." Yet communication is the purpose of language, and the only way to get good at it.
@WGroleau - I agree with you 100%.

I started my language studies, thankfully, in the US Peace Corps about 50 years ago. The instruction used what I would describe as an aural/oral approach. The teachers, native speakers of Thai, repeated a dialogue which would be stated, repeated, and repeated again multiple times. Then the students would repeat each phrase again and again. Later the dialogues contained two parts and students, after repeating each part multiple times, would assume each of the roles. The dialogues were expanded by substituting different subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, etc. Grammar was never explained. It was a lot of rote learning but we were learning language organically and those of us who continued with self-study after arriving in Thailand were eventually rewarded with some degree of fluency. Most of the students I have met at our flagship state university here in VT have almost no degree of fluency, of being able to readily produce a sentence of any length without pausing or hesitating.

Admittedly, the goal of my Peace Corps' language instruction was comprehension and communication. But after my first year in Thailand I was able to tackle another language component, reading. And the methods I learned really did not in any way retard my progress in learning to read a newspaper. I later learned French using the same instructional methods - again no grammar. But teachers teach for the test, just as you have mentioned. I could rant on but I've said enough.

Tom
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#24
I heading to Guatemala in February for 6 weeks or so for total immersion. I can read and write decently, but I really need to practice, practice, practice! I'm in upper division Spanish courses at the local university, but I feel that I really need to be a bit more fluent to get the most out of them.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
From Somport Jul-Sep 2018
#25
Thank you for this thread. It is great!

Sigh. These methods have been proven¹ inefficient for most students...
Unfortunately my daughters have to use these inefficient methods in school.
But we can choose our learning methods. I think, learning should be as much fun as possible.

... and BBC learning Spanish...
Here are for example Spanish news, radio an TV links:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/
And there is a beginner level interactive video drama and Spanish course. I think it is fun ("my crazy life"):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/mividaloca/

Training hearing and understanding Spanish:
One can listen actively and try to get the context.
But I can listen passively as well while I do something different (working at the computer or in the kitchen or ...) and learn unconsciously. I think this unconscious learning process is time efficient... and similar to an important part of the way how children learn their mother language easily.
If a radio channel is too difficult for the current language level I can start with a language cd, a film with subtitles or something like that.

Another idea: I want to count in Spanish, e. g. in sports & gymnastics.
And this one: Because eating and drinking is so important... I try to find the Spanish words if I eat or drink something.
 
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MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
#27
If you want total immersion, get a Spanish cookbook with Spanish dishes. I have a Spanish cookbook dating from 1961, with Spanish dishes for Spaniards, Menús familiares y de invitados. You enter a world of simple cooking and using everything, at a time when so-called slow cooking was the norm. Cardo, acelgas, sesos, mollejas....
The author also explains how to seat your guests and who should be considered as a guest of honour. "La señora de la casa, se sentará en un extremo de la mesa, después de haber indicado a los invitados sus puestos, mientras el señor, después de que todos se hayan sentado, ocupará su sitio, en el extremo opuesto."
It is advised to have at least two servants.

:):)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP – SdC (2017)
Waiting for an opportunity to walk again...
#28
Instead of watching English movies with Spanish subtitles or Spanish movies with English subtitles, I would suggest to watch Spanish movies with Spanish subtitles if you have some basic knowledge of Spanish.
Reading what you hear helps a lot when trying to follow a conversation in a foreign language. That way, there is only one language you concentrate on (the one you want to improve) and what you get is "immersion" as opposed to "translation".
 

mgnswaus

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Muxia 2012. Arles to Puente la Reina 2013. Puente la Reina to SdC 2014 European Peace Walk 2016 Portuguese 2017 Ingles 2017
#29
Has anyone put together a series of sentences that would be a useful reference bank for hospitaleros?
 

dqduncan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015:SJPdP-Santiago
2016:Hosp. training
2017:Hospitalero,Aragonés@Arrés.
Next? Norte/Primitivo
#31
When I do stuff I tend to do it obsessively and learning a language is no exception. For language learning I try to surround myself with the language so I'm after ideas for ways to expose myself to Spanish.
So far...
  • Change my social media settings to Spanish
  • Duolingo
  • Translating a few lines of "Platero y yo" every night
  • Listening to SBS Spanish news podcasts
  • Coffee Break Spanish podcasts
  • El Tiempo weather app
  • Consider weekly night classes next year
  • Distance learning course - just need to find a good one!
  • Spanish subtitles on English movies
Any others?

A Spanish boyfriend or girlfriend ;)
 

dqduncan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015:SJPdP-Santiago
2016:Hosp. training
2017:Hospitalero,Aragonés@Arrés.
Next? Norte/Primitivo
#32
Has anyone put together a series of sentences that would be a useful reference bank for hospitaleros?
The Canadian Company of Pilgrims has a few lists for the hospitaleros it trains. I'll try to track a copy down or connect you to the trainers.
 

Donna Sch

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#33
A Spanish boyfriend or girlfriend ;)
On my last camino I walked from Alcuescar to SdC with a Spanish pilgrim from the Canary Islands. Unfortunately because he normally works in the UK he would lapse into English when I would speak English. He did teach me how to swear and use many words I would not use in polite company.

And all those old Spanish blokes especially in Galicia would attempt to use their matchmaker skills because we are a similar age and were always teasing each other anyway. We spent half of our conversations explaning that he started in Granada, I started in Sevilla and that we were NOT a couple LOL.
 

Phil W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Melide, May-early July 2016,
Back to the Camino, 2017
#34
Has anyone put together a series of sentences that would be a useful reference bank for hospitaleros?
Yes, American Pilgrims on the Camino has a list they provide during hospitalero training.
 

mgnswaus

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Muxia 2012. Arles to Puente la Reina 2013. Puente la Reina to SdC 2014 European Peace Walk 2016 Portuguese 2017 Ingles 2017
#35
Thank you!
 

Gillean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven
#36
There is a book titled "Camino Lingo" available on Amazon which has a collection of useful Spanish phrases for the camino.
 

kirkie

Pilgrim
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#37
Oh my goodness, so many choices... i agree that using only one language, painful as it is at the beginning, twists the brain less as there is no interference from the native language.i am going to trawl through all the references this afternoon and make a post it so I have them handy for when I look at my to-do list and Spanish surfaces at the top of the pile.
 

Tracker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, July (2014); Salkantay Trek (Peru), July 2016; Camino Portugues, June 2017
#38
I heading to Guatemala in February for 6 weeks or so for total immersion. I can read and write decently, but I really need to practice, practice, practice! I'm in upper division Spanish courses at the local university, but I feel that I really need to be a bit more fluent to get the most out of them.
Hi Trecile! Going to Guatemala is a great idea! It's the cheapest (in my experience) immersion option there is, and there are many, many good schools in Antigua, if that's where you're going. I did a month there in 2014 at Don Pedro de Alvarado Spanish School and really enjoyed both the course, teacher(s), the homestay, and the whole immersion experience. Antigua is a fun little city with a great historic market area downtown, and if you look towards Volcán de Fuego at night you'll likely see fire from the summit cone. Volcán de Agua provides a gorgeous backdrop to the city as well!

One caveat if you've never been to Antigua before....

Since Spanish language teaching is a huge industry there, and English speakers comprise a HUGE percentage of their business, you sometimes have to work to speak Spanish in town, at restaurants, etc since MANY people at places of business speak at least some level of English as well. (This isn't as much of an issue if you go to Quetzaltenango (aka "Xela"). The good news is that the people in Antigua are very used to having Spanish students in their midst, and are always more than willing to help you practice. With good intentions, they might try to "help" you by speaking English, but just ask them politely if they mind if you practice your Spanish. You'll get a smile, a laugh, and a "¡Por supuesto!" It's really a very friendly place, and the people are terrific. I'm sure you'll enjoy your time there as much as I did. ¡Buen viaje!
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#39
Hi Trecile! Going to Guatemala is a great idea! It's the cheapest (in my experience) immersion option there is, and there are many, many good schools in Antigua, if that's where you're going. I did a month there in 2014 at Don Pedro de Alvarado Spanish School and really enjoyed both the course, teacher(s), the homestay, and the whole immersion experience. Antigua is a fun little city with a great historic market area downtown, and if you look towards Volcán de Fuego at night you'll likely see fire from the summit cone. Volcán de Agua provides a gorgeous backdrop to the city as well!

One caveat if you've never been to Antigua before....

Since Spanish language teaching is a huge industry there, and English speakers comprise a HUGE percentage of their business, you sometimes have to work to speak Spanish in town, at restaurants, etc since MANY people at places of business speak at least some level of English as well. (This isn't as much of an issue if you go to Quetzaltenango (aka "Xela"). The good news is that the people in Antigua are very used to having Spanish students in their midst, and are always more than willing to help you practice. With good intentions, they might try to "help" you by speaking English, but just ask them politely if they mind if you practice your Spanish. You'll get a smile, a laugh, and a "¡Por supuesto!" It's really a very friendly place, and the people are terrific. I'm sure you'll enjoy your time there as much as I did. ¡Buen viaje!
Thanks for sharing your experience!
I plan to split my time between Antigua and San Pedro la Laguna on Lake Atitlan. I will start in San Pedro, hoping for a more immersive experience there. I leave in less than month, so I'm nervously excited now - just as I was before going on my first Camino!
 

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