Hunter is a wise man. In his second year of an International Marketing major at a small liberal arts college in Florida, he knew that to really succeed in his Spanish language minor, going the extra mile, or a few hundred, would make all the difference. And so, having found a great price on a flight, he made his way to Panama for a month of classes, 6 hours per day, five days per week, at the Casco Antiguo Spanish School. Between the Small Group Intensive Course and the Private Lessons for business Spanish, he was ready to improve.
Hunter’s language course back home in the United States had already prepared him well with a strong understanding of Spanish grammar. He had even written 2,000-word essays for a Spanish writing course. The thing is, next semester he will be in the advanced conversation part of the course. Anyone who has learned a new language will understand that even knowing the rules of grammar and verb conjugations, coming face-to-face with a native speaker can leave you speechless.
There are different challenges and stages in learning a language. Memorizing vocabulary, drilling verb conjugation, learning colloquialisms that just “sound right”. One of the most frustrating parts can be overcoming a lack of fluency when you begin to practice speaking. You desperately want to express yourself, and understand a lot of what is being said to you, but can end up feeling like a bit of a dummy as you string some partial sentences together. You long to express yourself more clearly, and make your opinions and personality shine in your new language. To do so, you have to be prepared to a) make a lot of mistakes and b) spend a lot of time practicing until you have developed some brain waves that work with your new words, until you start to think in the new language.
As soon as Hunter arrived at the Casco Antiguo Spanish School, he was placed into a group according to his level of Spanish. As the Small Group Intensive course is divided into 9 Levels, (Beginner 1, 2, 3, Intermediate 1, 2, 3, and Advanced 1, 2, 3) there was only 1 other student in the group at his level that first week. For the following weeks he was the only student at his exact level so he received 3 hours of one-on-one classes instead of the 4 hours of group in order to accommodate his skills and keep pushing him to improve. Throughout the month he worked with four different teachers, and found that they were all excellent. They spoke clearly to help him understand, worked with him on marketing-specific as well as general topics, and helped him improve his vocabulary and confidence in speaking. As he neared the end of his time with us, he felt far more confident in speaking Spanish than when he had arrived, and was ready to take on his advanced conversation course.
Wait, there’s more! As an added bonus, to help Hunter comply with his university requirement to do 40+ hours of volunteering each year, Casco Antiguo Spanish School was happy to arrange volunteer work for him with our beloved neighbor, the non-profit APROJUSAN. Hunter spent a few hours each school day with APROJUSAN’s adolescents, 12-18 years old, helping to improve their English conversation skills, while putting his newly acquired Spanish conversation skills to use as well – what a great language exchange! We have been so delighted to provide this well-rounded conversation experience to help Hunter on his way to international marketing success!