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Immersion programs - testimonials wanted

  Tags: Immersion | Arabic | Spanish
 Language Learning Forum : Immersion, Schools & Certificates Post Reply
40 messages over 5 pages: 1 2 3 4
Lisa Sc.
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 3142 days ago

4 posts - 3 votes

 
 Message 33 of 40
01 May 2011 at 10:10pm | IP Logged 
Hi there! I think this post can be interesting for those learning Spanish in Spain. Last year I went with two friends to Malaga (in the south) and it was GREAT. We went to WAHED School and both the school and the accomodation were superb! I stayed with a family, but my friends stayed in a 3bed-apartment. It was very clean and really close to the sea. But the best thing were all the activities we did. The staff is really friendly and the groups quite reduced so everything was pretty familiar.

I know that they also have another school in the North of Spain, so if you want to have a look...   The website is: www.wahed.es

Lisa Scattergood
2 persons have voted this message useful



ronsat
Diglot
Newbie
Canada
Joined 3443 days ago

12 posts - 25 votes
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 34 of 40
26 June 2011 at 11:13pm | IP Logged 
Just got back from two weeks at Llama Education in Arequipa Peru. This is a small school - whose strength is flexibility. You can basically arrange for any number of hours of teaching per week (currently at $6/hr). I had 6 hours of classes per day - and had 2 hours with each of three teachers. The Director of the school, Maria Huaman, talked to each teacher before and after each class to coordinate the lessons.

Quite a few of these classes were actually visits to interesting places in Arequipa.

Their website is /http://www.arequipaspanish.com/. I would be happy to answer any questions about this school, or the one I went to in Quito (see earlier post)

Edited by ronsat on 26 June 2011 at 11:16pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



tibbles
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3375 days ago

245 posts - 421 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Korean

 
 Message 35 of 40
27 June 2011 at 8:03am | IP Logged 
ronsat wrote:
I would be happy to answer any questions about this school


Thanks for the links to the two schools that you attended. Did you find going to two different schools complementary? Did one begin where the other left off, or was there a lot of overlap?

1 person has voted this message useful



ronsat
Diglot
Newbie
Canada
Joined 3443 days ago

12 posts - 25 votes
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 36 of 40
27 June 2011 at 1:49pm | IP Logged 
tibbles wrote:
ronsat wrote:
I would be happy to answer any questions about this school

Did you find going to two different schools complementary? Did one begin where the other left off, or was there a lot of overlap?


There wasn't much overlap - since by the time I was in the Arequipa school, I was much further advanced. Perhaps a bit of explanation is in order.

In the Quito school, the mornings were theory (if its Tuesday, it must be the preterite tense), and the afternoons were conversational - in the form of visits to tourist sites. I found the theory lessons boring and something that I could really do on my own. So, over the past year, I worked on verb tenses (did the whole McGraw Hill Spanish Verb Tenses workbook) and used Platiquemos audios so that my level was somewhat higher. My goal was to reach a point where the next session in Latin America was mainly conversational. Conversation practice is something that I cannot do on my own, and something that makes the trip interesting. Also - the ability to converse in Spanish is my goal in learning Spanish - I don't care whether I can write in Spanish.

What was good about Maria at the Llama school is that she doesn't try to slot you into pre-determined levels and classes - but takes into account your ability and desires to determine how your classes will run.

Hope this answers the question.
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tibbles
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3375 days ago

245 posts - 421 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Korean

 
 Message 37 of 40
27 June 2011 at 8:00pm | IP Logged 
ronsat wrote:
In the Quito school, the mornings were theory


Thanks for the explanations. Both schools you attended sound excellent, and I still have in the back of my mind the idea of attending an intensive, immersion school for an extended period of time. One other school that I came across is the Spanish Institute of Puebla (in Mexico), and it has good reviews along with being only a 4 hour plane ride from where I live. Also, the web site www.123teachme.com has a section on reviews of Spanish language schools, and the Quito school scored quite nicely.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Kisfroccs
Bilingual Pentaglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 3593 days ago

388 posts - 549 votes 
Speaks: French*, German*, EnglishC1, Swiss-German, Hungarian
Studies: Italian, Serbo-Croatian

 
 Message 38 of 40
28 July 2011 at 2:55pm | IP Logged 
3 weeks Intensive Hungarian Courses at the Debreceni Nyári Egyetem in Budapest

Website

Inscription, payment

You can subscribe on the website and can choose between online or by mail. In both cases, it is very efficient and Zoli will respond any of your questions. After a few weeks, you will receive a mail with a hungarian test in order to do a first level placement. A second is made the day you will arrive.

In case you do only 2 weeks (like me), it will costs less. The teaching material is not in the whole price, you will have to purchase it, but at the University you can have it at friendly price.

The whole courses costs around 320 euros maximum (85'000 Forint) the 3 weeks, and 251 euros the 2 weeks (63'700 Forint) ẘith the teaching material.

Lessons

The University is in the Báthory ut. 5 min from the Parlament and the Kossuth Lájos Tér (metro stop). It depends on your level and with which teacher you will be and it will be decided if you will have lessons in the morning or in the afternoon.

In my case it was in the afternoon, from 13:00 to 16:30 with 15 minutes break. Our teacher, Kata, made us ask questions and conversations the first hour. She did not correct us, but helped us in our pronunciation or to find words - or if it was really horrible. Then, we always did some grammar point and every pupil had to read aloud the exercices. After the break, she would give us additional sheet from real life and made us play some situations. Or watch a video or a listening. The book dates from 1995 and often it was really hilarious because some things completely changed and some really not.

The last 30 minutes were spent either with playing a gameboard, lotto, but everytime something to relax from the heavy grammar (our heads were always spinning). By the way, all the explanation were given in Hungarian, even in the beginner level (a class under us).

At the end, she would give us hazifeladat (homework) which could take up between 1 and 2 hours if you wanted to do it properly and depending on your personnal level.

The weekends, courses do not takes places.

In every courses, there were around 6 pupils and we had a really nice csoport :).

Hungarian

I came with little knowledge - something like A1 I think. The first group (level 1) learned how to say "hi", "my name is.." etc and I was placed in the second group (level 2) in which there is a huge difference. The third group (level 3) was around the B2 level, I think.

In the 2 weeks, I noticed progress. Before :


  • just knowing how to say "hello" etc
  • not really understanding the public announcements
  • barely knowing how to order something
  • just being able to introduce myself
  • basic phrases
  • understanding the general meaning/theme of a conversation


After :

  • ordering anything I want
  • pointing out and saying preferences
  • understanding every word of public announcements
  • understanding most of the street signs
  • buying electronic devices without real problem
  • buying food without problem (and understanding what you are buying !)
  • buying tickets, entry tickets etc without problem
  • asking for discounts
  • arguing with controlleurs (and I lost :))


And more important, I was feeling like an Hungarian and people treated me like a Hungarian girl. Some even didn't really understood why I just spoke a bit Hungarian and thought I was a bit stupid - if you're Hungarian, you should speak better :D. That means that my pronunciation was really good (our teacher corrected our pronunciation) and that people not really realised I wasn't Hungarian.

Well, people react differently if you speak Hungarian. Some don't react - they think you are Hungarian - and speak very fast, and realise later that in fact you are learner. It's rare enough that someone learns Hunagrian that people don't think about it. Then they speak slower.

But most of the time, people are really curious about why you are learning Hungarian, compliments you or are offering a free coffee, help etc. Most of the time, their faces are lighting up and then you are submerged with questions, most of them you won't understand. :)

Well, then there is the last category : people can't imagine that a foreigner is learning Hungarian and when you say that you didn't understand they will a) speak up, because in case you didn't hear it b) repeat, but faster. In these cases, only hands and feet helps to get the what you want :). Happened rarely though.

Budapest

Budapest is a international city, with a huge cultural offer. First, if you are staying for a few weeks, it's better to take months/ week pass for public transport. They are arount 13 euros (3850 Forint) for a month if you're a student.

If you are a student, public tranports in Budapest have a 50% discount. As well as a lot of museums and events.

The public transport system is well developped, but the metro stops wirking at 23:30 and there are only a few night busses. At day, won't be any problem, at night if you aren't at a station were your busses stops, it's better to take a taxi. Or prepare for a long walk.

Always call a taxi, for some strange reasons it's cheaper if you call one than if you stop one. You can easily have a guest card with which you can have discount. You just have to show the card before the trip. Only call taxis that are official. Other will be trying to trick you - but it has improved in the last years.

In night busses there will always be up to 3 controlleurs. You can buy a ticket but it will be a bit more expensive. 400 Forint instead of 320 Forint.

Budapest is a very safe city. Okay, don't behave stupidly, but as a women, blond hair and not ugly I never had problems, not even a glance from the men. Only tourist kept staring. :)

Living

I lived with my boyfriend, but I had several offers for appartement. If you go through an foreign site, it will be more expensive. Hostel can be found for 10 euros a day. Appartment from 150 to 300 euros a month - for Hungarian and I think only if you rent it for several month. But if you can arrange yourself with someone that you rent the first month and then the people after you the months after, it can be very advantageous. But I think it can only be done if you have contacts, otherwise it's difficult.

Ingatlan is one of the hungarian website that offer appartement to rent or to buy. Sadly, I don't really know others.

In the morning, a coffee cost between 280 and 420 Forint, more is too expensive (the 420 being expensive). A croissant 155 Forint. The prices varie greatly between the center and the outskirt.

You can eat for 400 Forint (1.5 euros) up to 3000 Forint (11 euros) and will depend on the quality, the quantity, but for a student the 3000 Forint was only once in a fine Italian restaurant. Without too much problem you can eat cheap and good, but only if you keep yourself away from the touristic area.

You will see that after a week, you will be shocked to see how much money tourists spend :).

Cultural offer

Budapest has a great variety of museums, festivals, concerts, clubs, baths. Just go to the tourist information, get a map and browse through the offers. I highly reccommend going to the Buda Castle, the Mattyás Church, the Baths (in the evening it's cheaper) and some exhibitions. Going in the libraries is a good feeling too. Lots of books from 700 Forint to 2990 Forint and generally with a cafe.

Go in the cafes, Budapest has a huge cafe culture. I only can reccomend the Alexandra Bookcafé at the Andrass út which reoppened and is really prestigious.

Budapest also offer some design store, the most being in Erzsébetváros. It's not as pricey as it used to be, and it's much more cheaper than the international shops around the Deák Ferenc Tér.

In short, Budapest is really a nice city for a student.

Books and websites about Budapest

- funzine.hu
- pestiest.hu
- Europe in Budapest, A guide to its many cultures, Terra Recognita Foundation
- many maps lying and nearly every cafe
- elvira.hu (hungarian train)
- bkv.hu (public transport of Budapest)

If you have any questions, write, I will try to answer them :)

Zsófi

Edited by Kisfroccs on 28 July 2011 at 2:58pm

4 persons have voted this message useful



ronsat
Diglot
Newbie
Canada
Joined 3443 days ago

12 posts - 25 votes
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 39 of 40
07 August 2012 at 11:44pm | IP Logged 
This year I went to Nicaragua for an immersion Spanish school. I spent two weeks in Granada at the Nicaragua Mia School (see their Trip Advisor Reviews) and a week at the Metropolis School in Leon.

In each of these schools the normal schedule was 4 hours of one-on-one classes in the morning - and some activity (cultural visit) in the afternoon.

The Nicaragua Mia school in Granada was great. They put effort and planning into their afternoon activities. I was happy with my teacher - as were the other students. And the homestay was good. In my case, my Spanish is good enough to focus on conversation practice - and the classes were interesting. The teacher did, however, introduce grammar topics - but at a level suitable to my ability.

The school in Leon wasn't quite at the same level. The teacher I had for several days was really good - pushed me to talk a lot. However, the organization level wasn't up to scratch. Part of the problem was that, at the time, there were only a couple of students, and so it was hard to organize the activities in a way that made economic sense.

Nicaragua itself was friendly and easy to get around on local buses. Not a lot to do or see compared to previous trips to Quito Ecuador and Arequipa Peru, but interesting nonetheless.
2 persons have voted this message useful



ronsat
Diglot
Newbie
Canada
Joined 3443 days ago

12 posts - 25 votes
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 40 of 40
27 May 2013 at 2:16am | IP Logged 
Colombia this year. I'm going to do two reviews, as I spent one week in Leticia and am now in Medellin for two weeks. This is the review of The Amazon Spanish School.

Leticia is on the Amazon - on the border of Brazil, and Peru is across the river. You can only get there by boat or plane - so it is isolated - and also fascinating.

This isn't the place to go for your 6 month immersion program to really nail down Spanish - but it is a really interesting place to go for 1-3 weeks that combines a good language school with a great learning experience.

Alejandra, who runs the school out of a hotel that she also runs - The Amazon B&B. The hotel is somewhat similar to a small Caribbean resort - but with simply incredible service to help you feel at home and select the right tours to go on - all in Spanish - though Alejandra does speak English, Swedish and some French. Have a look at the TripAdvisor comments to see the universal praise for how Alejandra makes each visit interesting.

My teacher was good, competent, patient with a clear love for the Spanish language. As in previous years, the courses concentrated on conversation, but she introduced lessons to address faults that I was making frequently.

It is more expensive than schools in Peru or Ecuador - but then Colombia is a more expensive/developed country - and the experience of seeing the Amazon wildlife and the indigenous settlements is well worth it.


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