“A different language is a different vision of life.” – Federico Fellini
Something I hear almost every day from expat friends is how much they want to learn or improve their Spanish, but (and there is always a but) they can’t seem to find a good teacher for them.
As we all have different needs and wants, not to mention different ways of learning, it is nearly impossible to find a one-size-fits-all scenario. This also holds true with regard to what we hope to accomplish by speaking the native tongue.
It can feel like it’s all a bit much and may make you feel like throwing in the towel, but don’t! By asking yourself a few simple questions, you can figure out what your learning preferences are, and from there you can decide the best way forward with regard this whole language learning conundrum. Whether you enjoy learning with others or prefer to be one-on-one, Affordable Mallorca is here to help light the way!
I Like a Group Setting #
If you are the kind of person who doesn’t like the spotlight shone on you constantly, group lessons are probably the best way for you to get the most out of your time. There are four primary options at differing price points. A brief of each rundown follows:
There are dedicated university courses on the island. Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB) offers a four-months, 120-hour winter session, and in summer they have an intensive 60-hour course. The courses are identical to the classes taken by exchange students and must be registered for in advance. The cost is €400 for 60 hours and €800 for 120 hours.
Address: Cra. de Valledemossa Km 7.7, Palma 07122, +34 971 173 469
2 - Private language companies – There are several of these on island. We will list a few of the better-known ones with excellent track records.
- International House is great because it really is for adults. Sixteen is the minimum age, though typically, the clientele is older. Class sizes are limited to ten and they run Monday to Friday from 9h30-13h30. One week will cost you €240, so it’s not the cheapest option, but for more than three weeks of lesson, the rate goes down incrementally. Of note here is that they sometimes offer a two-week class being run by student teachers that only costs €40. Though the classes are professionally run, the teaching may be a little erratic as the teachers are new, possibly nervous and being monitored by a mentor.
Address: Carrer Mateu Obrador 7B, Palma 07011, +34 971 726 408
- Berlitz offers group lessons with no more than six students per class, as well as one-on-one tutoring. Group lesson are €220 per week with discounts applying after the third week. Private lessons start at €28.80 per hour up to €36 per hour. Lessons run an hour and a half.
Address: Carrer del General Riera, 1, 1ºd, Palma 07003, +34 971 758 217
- Escuela de Lengua Española (ELE) offers two courses and is affiliated with the University of Salamanca. One is a semi-intensive course with six lessons per week (two per day) is held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Each lesson runs fifty minutes and costs €81 for one week. And the other is an extensive course running for one month and costing €225 for 16 lessons. Students receive four 50-minute lessons per week.
Address: Carrer Bisbe Maura 31 Bajos, Palma 07005, +34 971 908 877
3 - Government sponsored
The government sponsored classes take place at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas (EOI) and are a more economical option at €185, though as they are subsidised, they often fill up quickly. Pre-registration is in April, though if you miss that deadline, there is another registration in September, where any unfilled spots can be taken. Classes are twice a week in the evenings and vary depending on your level.
Address: Carrer d’Aragó 59, Palma 07005 +34 971 421 314
4 - Meet ups
These can be found on Mallorca-focused Facebook pages. Look for the pages from your home country (Brits on Mallorca, e.g.) or on local parent or town sites. There are loads of people wanting to practice Spanish, and Spanish people who want to speak better English. For the price of a coffee and croissant you can get an hour or two in with others in the same boat as you and teach as well as learn.
I Prefer One-on-One #
For the person who likes a more intimate learning experience, has less flexibility in their schedule and needs specific hours on their terms or who simply doesn’t do crowds one-on-one is the way to go.
1 - Private teacher
Priciest of the one-on-one options, this involves actually finding a teacher. Sites such as tusclasesparticulares.com can point you in the right direction and find a list of private tutors in your area. The cost varies, but mostly runs about €15 an hour and many teachers offer the first lesson free. Private tutors can also be found on the local pages of social media sites.
2 - Spanish friend to practice both languages
This is the same idea as the meet up, only you pick one friend and you practice together. Whether you are both expats who vow only to speak Spanish when together or one Spanish/one other language speaker is up to you. You can combine it with a walk, too, so you can get a bit of physical as well as mental exercise.
3 - Online classes/games
Duolingo is an increasingly popular and fun way to get your daily dose of Spanish in. You can do it in your spare time, for as little of as long as you wish, as many days a week as you like. They do have incentives for those of us who are more competitive with weekly “races” against other Duolingo users.
Kahoot is another site. My tween daughter likes this one because you can choose a topic to learn about, such as common phrases or food, and then you choose from several options. The chosen topic is then made into a game, either against others or a clock, where you are asked questions and required to answer correctly. It’s a bit more hectic but a lot less monotonous!
So, no matter how you best like to learn, there are options for you! Now, it’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it. Suerte!
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By Stephanie Horsman
10 September, 2019