Study Spanish with Violeta!
by telephone or Skype from Mexico
There is no easy way to learn a language. Enjoyable ways, yes. Easy, no. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to pick your pocket.
A language consists of its grammar and its vocabularly. You know both, or you don't know the language.
Why study by telephone? Pour yourself a stiff drink, sit down, call Berlitz, and ask what they charge for one-on-one lessons with an experienced teacher. When you have recovered, consider: With Violeta, you don't have to drive to wherever Spanish lessons are given. You can study from a log cabin in Wyoming, if you have internet. There are no phone charges, as we have various all-you-can-eat phone services. Homework is easily done by email, any desired books are available on Amazon, all sorts of resources are available online (see below), and you pay with PayPal (you don't need a PayPal account, just a credit card).
Studying by phone is not a wild or experimental idea. It works, providing that the student does. It was a wild idea a while back when a friend visited us, decided he wanted to learn Spaniah, but had a complex schedule in the US that prevented using a commercial school. And there was sticker shock. Let's try it, said Vi. Anonther friend came aboard (who traveled a lot, so Vi got calls from places like Chiang Mai and Upper Volta). The first and more advanced now reads Spanish newspapers online, watches movies in Spanish, and would have no trouble navigating Buenos Aires solo. The second is about three-quarters there.
Graduate, University of Guadalajara, with fifteen years of experience teaching Spanish to foreigners, including Americans, Japanese, Germans, Koreans, consular officials, Jesuits, and me. She could teach Cervantes to a lawn chair.
Format and Substance of Lessons
Highly flexible. Left to herself, Violeta tends toward a mixture of conversation, grammer, and reading. If you are studying grammar, say, in a university, she can provide practice in conversation with corrections. When you are ready to begin reading newspapers, she will assign newspaper stories dealing with whatever interests you. For example, should you be interested in the drug cartels, she can assign stories from El Diario of Ciudad Juarez. She will teach at your pace. And she's pleasant.
She teaches in Spanish. If you are a beginner, she will help with vocabulary: If you don't know what "perro" means, she will tell you "dog." But very quickly, it becomes all Spanish. After a bit you think, "Wait. I just spent an hour talking to a Mexican, without a word of English. Who woulda thunk it?" Yep.
No problem. Lessons can be made up at mutual convenience of you and Vi. Advance warning appreciated, but not essential. She also may occasionally miss a lesson for the usual reasons of traffic jams, illness. asteroid strikes, and so on. If you need to go to remote parts of New Guinea for six weeks, you can stop and start again on return if not eaten by the New Guineans.
Frequency of Lessons
Up to you. Generally people with jobs will find a lesson a week plus homework quite enough.
Time Zones (We are in the green zone.)
The web offers many sites of use to students. For example:
A good Spanish-English dictionary
Spanish newspapers online
El Diario of Juarez
El Informador Guadalajara
Radio Stations Online
Radio UDG, the station of the University of Guadalajara. It has news, coverage of the arts, and such, usually in very clear Spanish.
The rate is twenty dollars an hour, preferably payable by PayPal in advance. You can pay by the lesson or by the month, the former being preferable for the first few lessons so that you are sure you want to continue. Checks, wire transfers are possible but awkward and, in the case of mail, slow and not entirely reliable.
Because this is Mexico, the PayPal page comes up in Spanish, but you can switch it to English with the button in the upper right corner.