“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. ¨
Coming in 2022: Long-Term Spanish and English Classes
One-on-One Spanish and English Classes (Using My Special Polyglot Method)
I have devised the unusual and effective polyglot method to tutor students in Spanish and English based on:
- Spending over 1000 hours learning Spanish, French, Russian, and Italian. Using various techniques) at schools worldwide and on my own (whenever I visited a country that speaks one of these languages). See my post: My Complex Learning Language History for a synopsis of how I learned these languages and what practices and methods worked and did not work for me.
- Three years of experience teaching classes and seminars in English, Spanish, and traveling and living abroad to various students (different ages, nationalities, and financial backgrounds). I also have a minor in Spanish from Macalester College. I have also completed twenty teaching English and foreign languages classes and seminars through the University of California at Riverside and various online programs.
- The experience of polyglots (people who speak multiple languages, also called multilinguists) learning languages. These multilinguists have found out the hard way that learning languages takes time and effort but gets easier as you have more languages under your belt. Polyglots also do not believe the hype that people can learn a language quickly using some new hot methodology. They try out many different methods and adopt bits and pieces of each one until they master the language. Polyglots are also not afraid to make mistakes and know that the only genuine mistake is not to speak the language as often as possible. Here are two excellent videos that discuss how polyglots learn.
I AM CONVINCED THAT ANYONE CAN LEARN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Some people have more talent than others. However, more than talent, students need to accept the following caveats to be successful language learners:
- It takes time to learn a foreign language. The US State Department provides 600 hours of classes in Spanish to people that it wants to serve in a Spanish-speaking post. Spanish is one of the more accessible languages they teach. The level of skill the State Department requires is more than most people need. However, the US State Department hires people with a lot of academic preparation and skill. My experience is that most students can become sufficiently conversational to meet their needs after about 300 hours of practice, including time in the classroom and talking to natives. (However, another 300 hours are necessary to cement what you learned previously and produce a vocabulary sufficient to deal with almost any situation that comes along).
- There is no one surefire way to learn a language. Each person needs to find a method that works for them. Finding this method is a matter of trial and error. In addition, you need to change your techniques periodically as you become more fluent.
- Many people advertise that you can learn a language in a few hours; however, this is just a marketing ploy. Studies have shown that most people who sign up for gyms do not lose weight and that gyms rely on clients not showing up after a couple of weeks. (I am as guilty of this as most other people). While I have not seen a similar study about language classes, the same situation applies.
- The more passionate you are about learning a language, the better. I learned both Russian and French to talk to my girlfriends. (I have known many people who have learned a language quickly for love), Many of the middle-aged American women I met taking Italian classes in Italy had a love for Italy or some aspect of their culture. In Asia, many people have learned Korean to understand K-Pop songs: If you have passion, you will also have more patients for the bumps in the road, which will surely come along.
- Effective communication involves more than just words. You can say something perfectly correctly in a foreign language, and the listener can interpret it differently than you intended because they come from a different culture. (Mexicans, for example, often speak in ways that Americans interpret as beating around the bush, Sometimes as a result, I have said something that I think was direct, polite, and grammatically correct (all perfectly acceptable ways to talk for an American) but my Mexican friends interpreted as a harsh criticism).
- You will never be as fluent in another language as you are in your first language. If fluency was easy, a computer could translate languages automatically without mistakes. However, they cannot, despite more than fifty years of efforts of computers to translate texts. (This is especially true for specialized language situations like visiting a doctor’s office). In addition, studies have shown that people over the age of eighteen have a challenging time achieving true fluency in a foreign language. (However, it is not that hard to become almost fluent if you are willing to invest more than 600 hours into studying and practicing the language).
Starting in 2022, I will offer individualized courses in English and Spanish in my home in Merida, Mexico, based on these principles. (I will employ native Spanish speakers and teach them how to teach using my methodology).
I encourage students in Spanish and English classes (particularly beginners) to devote, if possible, at least a couple of months to taking courses in my home in Merida. I want my students to see noticeable progress. Noticeable progress only comes if you dedicate as much time as possible to learning a language.
By coming to my school for a more extended period (and avoiding the distraction of everyday life at home), I can ensure that you achieve your dreams.
In addition, I highly encourage students to live with a local family, an option that I plan to offer students as soon as possible. Living with a local family (mainly if you eat meals with them) has been key to my language learning success.
Toward that end, the class cost per hour will be substantially less if you sign up for more than 100 hours of classes (7 to 20 weeks (about four and a half months)) than for less than 100 hours of instruction. The cost of living in Merida is reasonably low, so you can take several months of classes and live with a local family (including some meals) for $80-$125 per day ($2400-3750 per month. Less than living in the United States or Canada).
If appropriate, I will also try to gear the class toward helping you learn the dialect used in a particular Spanish or English region. If you plan to live or travel in Yucatan, you will have the bonus of practicing the local dialect with native speakers during and after your classes. (Note: Most Yucatecans are also familiar with Mexican Spanish and can help you learn words and expressions used in other parts of the country as well).
Suppose you are not able to devote so much time to learning Spanish. In that case, you should consider signing up for my classes ¨ How to Learn Spanish like a Polyglot¨ (this is best for anyone with a little Spanish already under their belt) or ¨Survival Basic Spanish for Travelers and Expats¨ (if you are an absolute beginner).
Shorter Term English and Spanish Classes
How to Learn Spanish (or English) Like a Polyglot
Want to study using the Fifty-Plus Method Polyglot Method but do not have months to spend in Merida? Then, sign up for my two-week ¨How to Learn Spanish Like a Polyglot¨ class. This class will help you start on your journey to learn Spanish or English. After the course, you will be able to study on your own at home. You will also have me as a coach afterward to ensure that you succeed on your own.
We will work through different videos, exercises, etc., to determine which methods and styles work for you to avoid wasting time and money on prepared programs that do not meet your needs.
No one style or method is innately better than another. Most polyglots mix and match distinctive techniques and methodologies until they find the perfect recipe for them.
At the end of the class, you will receive:
- A DETAILED plan for six months of classes at your home.
- A plan for you to have regular discussions with native speakers.
- Six months of one-hour weekly talks with me to go over progress and make recommendations for free.
NOTE: While the class is available and valuable for any level of Spanish or English student, the best results will come to students who already have at least a limited, basic command of English or Spanish. Beginners are encouraged to start with the Survival class (detailed below) and then take this class. Homestays with local families will be available to students who take this class. Students are encouraged to stay with local families.
Survival Basic Spanish for Travelers and Expats
This two-week course will give students with little or no background in English or Spanish enough language to understand and talk to Spanish or English speakers.
The words and expressions will vary depending on the class makeup. If we have travelers, we may study, for example, expressions related to driving or public transportation or checking into a hotel. If the class is made of expats, we will learn words for furniture, domestic help, etc.
At the end of the course, you should be able to:
- Form basic sentences (without much grammar)
- Learn between 200-400 words and expressions related to traveling/expat life, making friends, and describing things (adjectives), colors, numbers, time, and shopping
- Know false and real cognates. (Words that are almost the same in different languages. For example, every word that ends with ¨-tion¨ in English ends with ¨-cion ¨in Spanish (pronunciation (English)= pronunciacion (in Spanish).
Most of the class is in the student’s native language. The course also includes a city tour and cooking class (English and Spanish)
At the end of the class, you will receive a brief individualized plan for continued Spanish studies that you can use at home (including suggestions for conversation practice with locals). You will also be able to call me (or your teacher) once every month to check on your progress and offer further recommendations (optional)
Other Posts Related to Language Learning
- Introducing The New Fifty-Plus Nomad Blog: The Perfect Place to Begin Your Long-Term Living and Traveling Abroad Adventures Over 50Visit the all-new Fifty-Plus Nomad blog and learn all my tips for long-term travel and living abroad gathered from my 16 years of first-hand experience.
- My Complex Language Learning History: How I Learned 4 Foreign Languages Without Going CrazyI have learned Spanish, French, Italian, and Russian using a wide variety of methods. Some were more successful than others. I believe the most effective way is to combine several methods like I do with my exclusive polyglot method.
- Check Out My One-on-One Spanish and English Classes in Merida, Mexico: I Can Help Anyone Learn Using My Exclusive Polyglot Method (Coming Soon)Introducing Fifty-Plus Nomad Spanish and English classes in my home in Merida, Mexico. Come learn Spanish or English using the same techniques used by polyglots to become fully conversational in multiple foreign languages
- What a Difference a Year Makes: How I Found Contentment with Friends and a Dog in Merida Despite CoronavirusWhile I haven’t written any posts, the last year (Summer 2020-Summer 2021) has been very eventful. I have developed some essential friendships, improved my health, and really settled down into my new life as an expat in Merida.
- Learning Vacations and Volunteering: The Most Overlooked Travel OptionsMy favorite type of group travel is volunteering and learning vacations. No aspect of group travel has so influenced who I am as a person and how I view the world.