Many people simply can’t get the idea out of their head they need a class to learn Spanish, and that’s fine. Self-study simply isn’t for everyone. Enrolling in a Spanish language class is something even most self-taught Spanish speakers will do eventually, if only to polish off their skills towards the end of the learning process.
Unlike studying the language at home, however, language schools are without exception an expensive proposition. There’s simply no way around the need to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars. With so much at stake, here more than anywhere else it’s important to make sure you get good value for your money. Here are some guidelines to follow when you’re thinking of enrolling in a Spanish language school.
It’s In A Spanish-Speaking Country – Sure you could take classes in your home-town, but they wouldn’t be half as effective as taking them abroad. At home, your lesson is over when you leave the classroom. Abroad, however, every interaction you have with practically anybody is part of your Spanish curriculum. Your teacher can show you how to conjugate a verb in the past tense, but only using those verbs time and time again will cement the concept in your brain and make the conjugation automatic. The benefits of being immersed in the language and culture you’re studying are immeasurable. So great are these benefits that even most self-taught students will want to spend at least a few weeks abroad to polish off their skills. Booking a two-week language-school vacation is the ideal way to do that.
The Teachers Are All Native Speakers – Even if you can’t afford to stu dy a few weeks abroad, you should never, under any circumstances, take spanish lessons or enroll in a spanish class taught by a non-native speaker. Even if the non-native is an excellent speaker of the language and gifted instructor, you won’t have the advantage of learning the proper accent or colloquial usages. There are so many native spanish-speaking teachers around that this shouldn’t be a difficult requirement to fulfill.
Small Class Sizes – In general, the smaller the class size the better. Most reputable spanish schools around the world try to limit their group classes to a maximum of 6 students, with some being even smaller. Anything larger than 8 students, however, and it will be impossible for them to give you the individual attention you need to really learn the language. If the school offers one-on-one lessons and you don’t mind the extra cost, even better.
At Least Two Hours Of Instruction Per Day – Two hours is a bare minimum here. If you’re studying less than that per day, it’s hardly worth the trouble of getting on a plane. The benefit you get out of your studies is directly proportional to the work you put in. If you really want to learn the language, you’ll have to study. A lot.
Free Cultural Excursions – Many of the better schools provide free cultural excursions to interesting cultural landmarks around town. Sometimes, these freebies even include dance lessons, cooking lessons, or any number of fun activities related to Spanish culture. Taking advantage of these opportunities gives you even more opportunities to practice.
Follow these five tips to increase the chances of finding a good school. Nothing will ruin your trip faster than finding out you were ripped off, paying outrageous prices for subpar instruction.