Four days after coming back home from all our summer vacation travel, Stephen was waking up early to attend his first Spanish classes since moving to Ecuador. Yes, he had picked up a few words here and there, but this was the first time that he would attend an intensive Spanish course specifically designed to help him learn Spanish quickly.
The class was set up by a nearby university in the city of Quito as a three week intensive class in Spanish, reaching the needs of various Spanish language learners at their personal level of learning. The Alliance Academy International offered to provide the class for free to any of the teachers or staff (or their children) who wished to participate. Stephen said that about 20 people showed up for the free rides from school to the location of the Spanish classes. The only thing that they had to pay for was the meal plan (if they chose not bring their own food from home).
Classes began on Monday, July 27 with classes taking place from 8am to 3:30pm. Stephen described his “placement exam” on the first day of class as a joke. He couldn’t answer any of the questions or understand anything that was being said to him. Eventually, he gave up and asked to be placed in the lowest level possible.
For the past week, Stephen has been learning the very basics of Spanish in a setting where most of the discussion takes place in Spanish. Every afternoon, Stephen comes home with a stack of notes and picture cards to help him review what he has learned that day.
Although the class is quite a challenge for him, Stephen is already beginning to grasp some of the words and phrases he has been hearing for the past year of living in Quito.
He is hoping to have a basic understanding of the language by the time he finishes this crash course. He has two weeks left with his final class taking place on August 15th. This basic understanding will help him as he begins preparing for the new school year next year.