As you might have already read, I’ve been studying Spanish in Antigua for the past two weeks. Proyecto Mosaico, through which I have organized my volunteering, has arranged this for me. I am really happy with my school Ixchel. My teacher, Alejandra, is a lovely young woman who is encouraging but also demanding. You study typically study one-on-one but are surrounded by other teachers with their students in a cute little courtyard or on the terrace which has amazing views. Pack a jacket for the morning, sooo cold at 8am! The school has daily activities ranging from salsa lessons (for free) to a volcano tour or Spanish lessons on the beach.
|Alejandra and I|
During my first week I have taken 5 hours/day five days a week for Q1350 (170$) but in my last hour of class I realized I was not really productive anymore and needed to give my brain a break. I thus changed to 4 hours of classes per day which cost me Q1080 ($135).
A Typical Day of Classes
On my first day, Alejandra started talking with me in Spanish to get a feeling for how well I already spoke the language (i.e. not very well…). We then started with the basics such as articles and nouns, simple regular verbs, etc. I got a notebook in which I would write new vocabulary at the end. The beginning of the notebook would be dedicated to grammar with a lot of examples. She always wrote down the grammar with a few examples on a whiteboard and I then had to come with more examples. The next step was to practice the new stuff with exercises from different books orally and written. Before moving on to new grammar, we always talked a little which was a nice way to apply newly learned stuff. At the end, I got two exercises to do at home and I had to learn vocabulary and grammar. For verbs, we made flashcards in class in different colors for different groups of “verbios de cambio” and irregular verbs. Each day during my first week, I had to study one new color. In my second week, we did with past tense and adverbs.
I feel like I have a pretty solid base after these two weeks. I can have good basic conversations with the Guatemalans – as long as they speak “Más despacio, por favor!”… Certainly, I feel more confident going to San Juan La Laguna to work with the women of Lema who hardly speak any English. It’s still going to be very challenging, of course, but at least that way I’ll improve my Spanish further. I am so excited to start on Monday!