Spanish 101

Today we decided on our Spanish school and signed up for a week of one-on-one lessons – 20 hours each.  There is a plethora of Spanish schools in Quito and it can be a daunting chore to research all the options available and an even more daunting task to make a decision.  Our job was made easy because of a casual conversation over breakfast this morning.

After spending another day playing tourist yesterday, this time in Quito’s Centro Historico (also known as Old Town), we decided that today we must focus on finding a school and deciding on our accommodations.  We’ll share more about our afternoon in Old Town later, along with some amazing pictures.

Today we planned to spend the day researching and visiting the top three or four schools we could find that met our criteria: the school must be professional with a good reputation.  Originally we had thought we would stay in Quito to study Spanish for a month but we have since changed our minds (we’re allowed you know).  We are anxious to get out of this large city to start exploring the country side which is more our style.  So, we’ve decided to take a week, maybe two of lessons here in Quito before we move on.

Breakfast (included with our room) is served in a common dining room. Each morning we meet different people and exchange basic information:  Where are you from? How long are you in Ecuador?  (I love the reaction when I answer that question with – oh, for a while, not sure how long.) What have you seen/done? What are you doing today? It’s a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and there is no end to the interesting people we meet.

Today we met Tom and Lynn and their one year old son Kaj.  They are a young, thirty-something couple who broke free from their conventional lives in the US (their words, not ours) a few years ago and have settled on the coast of Ecuador.  Trained as scientists, they worked in the area of water quality before turning to property development.  They are currently working on a 30 unit condominium project.  They are having the time of their lives.  Near the end of our breakfast, we casually mentioned we were looking for a Spanish school today and they suggested we consider a school a friend of theirs had recently attended and had highly recommended.

After breakfast they emailed us the name of the school, we looked it up, called the school director via Skype and then headed over to check it out.  It was a mere ten minute walk from our hostel.  The school director, Andrew Kirby greeted us at the door and took us on a tour.  He explained how the school was created as a way to raise funds for the Yanapuma Foundation, a non-profit organization “driven by the enthusiasm of its national and international staff and volunteers to work towards the realization of its vision of marginalized communities achieving equity and well-being, ecological, social and economic sustainability, and developing a sense of the uniqueness of their culture and place in the global context.”

Andrew explained the school’s teaching methodology (a holistic approach focused on all facets of communication – speaking, listening, comprehension, reading and writing) and invited us to chat with present students while they took their morning break.  He described the volunteer opportunities that are available and he told us his story of how he came to Ecuador 7 years ago on vacation and has never left!

We loved the idea that our school fees would be used to better the lives of the locals through the many projects sponsored by this foundation.  We admired the lofty goals of this foundation and its core values.  We liked the comfortable, relaxed atmosphere of the classroom, and the teaching methodology in use.  We signed up right then and there.  Lesson #1 begins tomorrow morning at 9:00.

We haven’t decided on our accommodations yet.  We can stay in the current hostel, or do a home stay where you live with a local family.  We’ll figure that out next.

Category: Ecuador, South America
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3 Responses
  1. Neil & Michelle says:

    Wow! All sounds great – keep’em coming! I’d much rathehr read about your adventures then do my homework. A la prochaine (oops! French is in the summer right?).

    • Christina says:

      Hi Neil and Michelle, We’re glad you’re enjoying our posts. We had our first Spanish lesson today and our heads are full. And we have homework to do too! Right now Chris is in bed with his first case of gastro – he claims he isn’t trying to get out of doing his homework, but seems rather fishy to me. He’s not complaining now about all the drugs I brought. I’m sure he’ll feel better in the morning.

  2. Jolana and Kaj says:

    Awesome posts! Looking forward to armchair traveling the world with you guys :)