So, you have made the decision to take Spanish lessons in Puerto Rico. But to maximize your learning experience you need to be prepared. Sacha Delgado, founder of the Institute for Spanish Language Acquisition (I.S.L.A.) in San Juan, gave us some basic tips you should do before; during and after you attend an immersion program in Puerto Rico or in any other country.
1. BEFORE you take Spanish lessons in an immersion program
Before you enroll in any immersion program you should already have some basic Spanish knowledge in order to accelerate your conversational progress. “The more knowledge the student has before coming to the program the better, because they will be able to progress more during that time period. A student who knows nothing, is going to be more limited in what he/she will learn. And it will make the immersion experience a bit more frustrating because they will have communication difficulties,” she said.
Sacha strongly suggests that, if your knowledge of the Spanish language is zero, you should take a basic Spanish course at home first. There you can learn things such as the numbers, the colors, the alphabet or the Spanish verbs forms ser and estar. An institute, college, private tutor or even a software such as Rosetta Stone Levels 1 and 2 will do the work.
2. DURING your immersion program Spanish lessons
Being abroad is fun, but remember that you are there to study. Yes, you are a student and you need to bring your materials to class. It seems obvious, but Sacha’s experience shows that students need to be reminded over and over again. Bring your materials such as a notebook, pens and a Spanish dictionary.
In addition, if you have the opportunity to add a private Spanish lesson with your teacher, do it! At I.S.L.A, they offer the option of one additional hour each day as part of one of their immersion program packages. Adding extra hours with a private tutor will help you concentrate on your particular language challenges, doubts and questions.
Finally, change your mindset to Spanish. In an immersion program in Puerto Rico expect that “everything is going to be in Spanish” so don’t be surprised when the teacher and your host family speak to you in Spanish.
3. AFTER your Spanish immersion program
When you finish your immersion program and return back home, plan on looking for a way to practice. “Become part of a group in your community where you will be forced to speak Spanish,” Sacha suggests. For example, you can volunteer or you can find Hispanic groups close to you through Meetup. If you don’t have that option, look online on Skype where you can meet with a Spanish-speaker where he/she can practice English and you Spanish.
Read more about learning Spanish in Puerto Rico in the articles Top 9 Reasons Why People Learn Spanish in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Learn Spanish Puerto Rico: Immersion Program ISLA.
Leave us a comment and tell us what other tips you would add.
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