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Suggestions for language immersion?
Old 03-25-2011, 12:03 PM   #1
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Suggestions for language immersion?

I'm thinking about refreshing my oh-so-rusty Spanish skills (studied for 6 yrs in jr. high & high school, about 40+ years ago) along with traveling somewhere. So, to me, an immersion program sounds like it would fit the bill. Does anyone have any suggestions of schools, countries, things to consider,etc.?

Since air fare will be a big chunk of the cost, I'm thinking a 2 or 3 week stay would be more cost-effective, as well as better for language learning.

I'm also wondering how to determine where I fit into a school's program. I have some preexisting knowledge (that is buried somewhere in the recesses of my brain) and would likely get bored in a class of beginners. At the same time, I don't want to be so 'over my head' that I don't maximize my learning.

Also, once I get back, any suggestions on how to maintain my new skills?

Thanks,

omni
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Old 03-25-2011, 01:41 PM   #2
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Hmm. How about starting with an indefinitely long vacation in Mazatlan (for example) or Lake Chapala and talk to the expats about a place to study. No need to plan it all in advance from a distance.

If you have the time, take more time. 3 weeks is hardly enough. You didn't say if you were retired or what.

What do you mean, 'when you come back'? Why would you come back? OK, move to California or Arizona or Tejas. Or get a cable package with Sabado Gigante on it.

Or take a long vacation in a different Latin American country every winter.
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:56 PM   #3
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Omni: I totally agree with Ed on his comment. Im Spanish and been reading American English novels all my life. And I started 6 years ago to listen to current bestselling audiobooks. Ive stayed in both countries several times for very short periods of time and I have reached the conclusion that, unless you are a natural for languages, you need a year of inmersion at least.
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy View Post
Hmm. How about starting with an indefinitely long vacation in Mazatlan (for example) or Lake Chapala and talk to the expats about a place to study. No need to plan it all in advance from a distance.

If you have the time, take more time. 3 weeks is hardly enough. You didn't say if you were retired or what.

What do you mean, 'when you come back'? Why would you come back? OK, move to California or Arizona or Tejas. Or get a cable package with Sabado Gigante on it.

Or take a long vacation in a different Latin American country every winter.

Ed,

All good thoughts. Thanks.

Yes, I'm retired and I own a home in the midwest (which probably means I will return home after my travels) as it requires some modicum of upkeep and maintenance.

Personality-wise, I'm not the most outgoing person, so it's easier for me to go to a class that I've researched and registered for...rather than travel to a Latin American city and try asking around within the expat community. I've also moved several times as an adult for my career and found it difficult as a single to 'break in' to a new community.

I enjoy travel, but not only to Latin American countries, though. I've already committed to a long trip to the Florida Keys next winter with a friend.

omni
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
I enjoy travel, but not only to Latin American countries, though. I've already committed to a long trip to the Florida Keys next winter with a friend.
Close enuf. You will hear a lot of Spanish.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
I'm thinking about refreshing my oh-so-rusty Spanish skills (studied for 6 yrs in jr. high & high school, about 40+ years ago) along with traveling somewhere.
For me it was only 35+ years.

I don't think immersion would work for me. My second year high school spanish class tried that and I thought it was a complete waste of time. Whenever the teacher asked me something my usual response was 'I don't understand you'.

I started relearning spanish by finding lists of the most frequently used words on the net and loaded them into a spaced repitition memory problem, aka flashcards on steroids. I use Anki, not because it's free, but because I think it's the best. Anki - friendly, intelligent flashcards. People make their Anki decks available for download so you don't have to input all the words you already know. I'd be happy to send you my Spanish deck.

At the time I lived in a town with a substantial Latino population. Found a couple mom & pop food places where the staff spoke Spanish and English so I practiced my newly regained Spanish. Then I took a 3 day trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. Tried to use only Spanish, sometimes succeeded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
Also, once I get back, any suggestions on how to maintain my new skills?
Anki. DVD English movies with spanish subtitles or Spanish movies with English subtitles. Telenovelas on Spanish language cable. Haven't tried it, but Google for 'Language Exchange'. One can find a native Spanish speaker who is learning English to compliment your native English and Spanish learning. Use Skype and email to communicate. At least one of the exchange sites has a lesson plan to follow in that it gives you topics to talk and write about. Don't remember it's name.
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Old 03-27-2011, 01:18 PM   #7
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I took a one-month long Spanish immersion class in May 2010 in Manuel Antonio-Quepos, Costa Rica. Four hours of class a day and then the rest of the time with a family that didn't speak English and a handful of mostly mono-Spanish-speaking folks.

It was a really positive experience and I advanced my ability to speak Spanish appreciably - although I do not consider myself fluent. Here's the website about the school I attended:
www.academiadamore.com The fact that I was an "old guy" was totally irrelevant.
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