Learning Spanish by Immersion

In order to make best use of the opportunity I have to experience the life and culture of Ecuador I am spending my first month here studying Spanish. I have already tried to get some fluency by completing Duo Lingo and many levels of Rosetta Stone, but this has never given me the confidence to speak, or the ability to understand others speaking the language at normal speeds.

I am studying at the Atahualpa Spanish School in Quito, and living with the Director (Martha) of the School and her husband (Vicente), and one other Student.

My classmate is called John and he is from Chicago. In addition to classes every day, we try to speak only in Spanish both in the house and on trips out. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are classes where we often speak about our situation in England and United States, and listen to Martha and Vicente explaining what happens here in Ecuador. It is a baptism of fire.

Our Teacher is called Lusmila, and while she is very patient, she is working us hard and we are making significant progress. Lusmila only speaks to us in Spanish (although secretly she does know a lot of english words!) I wish I had learnt French this way when I was originally in School.

This is John and I enjoying a class of Spanish. It is really nice having company in the class, and John often helps me to understand what our teacher is trying to explain, and sometimes I reciprocate.

We are hoping that in a few weeks time we will have a working knowledge of Spanish, and the ability to converse reasonably confidently in the Present, Past and Future Tense. Building our broader vocabulary to the point of fluency is probably a task for the future.

In the afternoons we have activities with our Teacher. These are usually trips out with our teacher, and are opportunities to use our language learning in the context of real life. So far we have visited Modern Quito and the touristic area of “La Mariscal”, the Old City of Quito with it’s many churches, markets, and plazas, and the Ichimbia Park. I guess I have many photos so here is a gallery of our adventures.

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