Upon deciding to travel firstly in Cuba by bicycle then onto Mexico & through Central America, I decided that it would be a good idea to study Spanish properly this time rather than get by on a word here & there as I had done on my previous trips to this part of the world.
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Deciding Where & Finding A School
My boyfriend Adam & I had being using the Duo Lingo app to teach ourselves some Spanish before our trip but had decided that if we were going away for so long, in countries that were Spanish-speaking it would really benefit us to understand the language in more detail.
We talked about going to Spanish school in Mexico after our Cuba trip but then figured we would need to communicate in Cuba too so why not start before then.
We also talked about going to Spanish school in the UK, however with not much time & the fact that it would be better to learn a language whilst in a Spanish-speaking country we decided on school in Havana.
So we just googled schools in Havana & came across a German run language school in Havana called Sprachcaffe – we booked a 3 week, standard course with them at £360 per person for 3 hours of lessons per day, Monday to Friday.
The first day was very bizarre, going back to school after years of not studying was a strange feeling for both of us.
First was the normal introduction in English of everything you needed to know & next was to test your level! It was slightly terrifying if I’m honest as 4 teachers sat all the new starters around one big table & asked questions in Spanish to determine which level you were at & which class you needed to be placed in.
Adam & I were both pretty bad & were put into the beginners class, one thing I would say is it certainly got us over those nerves of speaking another language straight away as you were just forced to do it & to be honest chucking us in at the deep end was the best thing they could have done!
We had rented an apartment which was around a 15 minute cycle from school & had our bikes with us so it was very easy for us to get back & fourth.
We easily got stuck into our daily routine of Spanish lessons & both found it amazing that only communicating in Spanish for 3 hours a day taught us so much. We also had the most amazing teacher named Aurora, who had the patience of a saint as it must be very difficult teaching basic words of your own language to adults anywhere between the age of 18 & 65!
We had homework set for us every day which gave us time to reflect on what we had learnt & let it really sink in.
There were also loads of other people at the school with us, mainly Germans with it being a German run school but people from so many different walks of life. It was fascinating talking with everyone & finding out why they had come to learn Spanish in Cuba.
At the end of 3 weeks we have both said that we learned more than we could have ever imagined & although neither of us are anywhere near being able to have a conversation at any great length we can both get our point across when asking questions & pretty much figure out how to string a sentence together even if some of the words are missing!
It’s basically given us the grounding & confidence to get out there & practice & as well as this we met lots of interesting people, had loads of laughs & made some great friends.
To anyone thinking of doing this or learning anything new no matter what age I really would advise you to just go for it! It’s never, ever too late to learn a new skill!