Painless Way To Learn Spanish

C’mon, you know you should get it done, and while we lied about it being painless, this is not so bad
BY: BILL LONEY

We all need to know more than how to order another round of beers. (Un otra rhonda, por favor). Well, we don’t have to know, but it sure would make our time down here more enjoyable. You wouldn’t have to read this paper, for starters, because you could read a real paper, in Spanish. That would broaden your horizons.

But it is a drag, going back into a classroom and memorizing stuff. Oofa. Brings back memories best left unremembered.

But there is a school that’s reasonably painless and even a little bit fun. It’s called Spanish in Cabo, with HQ in San Jose and a satellite campus in San Lucas.

It’s a busy place, with many American and Canadian students, all past their prime learning years, but still giving this language a go. They’re learning sometimes through classroom settings 1.5 hours at a time, but more often the students are going on field trips and learning boots on the ground, in the trenches, at the grocery store, Spanish. They shuffle down the aisles of Mega together reading labels and translating word for word such essentials as pnutbutter, jelly, and bread. (Yeah, those are easy ones, but like we mentioned, you’re past your peak leaning years so we’re starting you out real slow.) You also get to go around town to such places as the Saturday organic market, and the Thursday night art gallery walk.

Eduardo Satorno and his wife run the school, they have five Spanish teachers, one Frenchie, and a German. But 95% of their classes are for Spanish. 

 The school is run out of a two story house behind the Hangman, and they live next door. The kitchen of the house is used for group cooking classes taught in Spanish.

The Satornos are professional, accredited teachers, although the school itself can’t get accredition because there is no such thing for Spanish schools. If they could get that, they could affiliate with schools in the United States, so, they are jumping through the hoops to get their school accredited as a university. Both Satornos have a masters degree in teaching teachers. They have studied the methodology of teaching, and have been teaching language and history for more than 20 years.

They do get groups and individuals coming to Mexico to study, and they take groups from here, or those arriving groups to such places as the mainland of Mexico, like Mexico City and Copper Canyon for more field training. Beats sitting in a classroom.

This school even has outcall. Three times a week Eduardo travels to the golf community of Qurencia to teach a group of 14 friends and neighbors who are learning together. Then he spends another hour teaching another guy one on one. A slow learner, we hear. Individual and group lessons are both available. No, the guy isn’t really a slow learner, he’s just a richy rich guy who’s too snooty to sit with his neighbors. (We don’t want to embarrass him by calling him a slow learner.)

The class sizes are a maximum of eight students divided into six levels. The modular course of those six levels is a task-based approach using a book containing pages of exercises, a grammar summary, additional readings, and an audio CD. They test you first to see your level of proficiency, and assign you accordingly. They also can trail you back home, teaching you one on one via Skype.

If San Jose is a deal killer for you, there is also a satellite classroom in Cabo San Lucas at Plaza Nautica, right downtown.

There are many different packages, so of course there are many different prices. But to kind of give you a range, here goes.

The immersion program, if you’ve really got to get this language handled and like yesterday, is 25 hours a week for three weeks for $920. Less rigorous would be three hours a week for four weeks for a total of $200. Of course at this leisurely rate you’re going to barely be capable of ordering a pnutbutter and jelly torta by time you leave the country. Try something in between: A schedule that won’t fry your brain but will still demonstrate some progress.

Spanish in Cabo has a pretty good website at www.spanishincabo.com. Their phone number is 624 146 9975.  So call. So go. It’s not going to seep into your brain by osmosis.