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How many hours per day should I learn spanish for?

Melbourne, Australia
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How many hours per day should I learn spanish for?

My bf and I are travelling to guatemala in March and will be attending the cooperative school in san pedro to study spanish for 3 1/2 weeks.

They offer options of 4,5 or 6 hours per day (morning classes) to study spanish. I haven't learnt a language since I was at school 15 years ago (beginner italian) and am worried 6 hours per day might be too much to take in at once. My bf on the other hand is definite he wants to do 6 hours a day and get as much learning done as possible (he speaks intermediate french also, so ? may be easier for him).

I hear that you also get home work at school each day, which may take up a couple of extra hours per day. I have never learnt spanish before so will be starting right at the beginning, we will be doing a home stay with a guatemalan family while we are there.

Can anyone here suggest what they think a good balance might be for me in terms of learning as much as I can in 3 1/2 weeks but not being too bamboozled at the same time?

Gracias!

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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1. Re: How many hours per day should I learn spanish for?

4 hours is about as much as my brain can handle, then I volunteer or explore the other 1/2 day and spend the evenings studying and interacting with my host family. I'd start there and then increase if you feel you're ready. Please tell the folks at the Coop that Stacey says hello and misses them. Happy trails!

New York City, New...
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2. Re: How many hours per day should I learn spanish for?

I would also vote for the four hour course - there will be two parts to your Spanish study: the formal classroom part and the informal real world part. And you will want a balance between the two. I did an intensive 6 week Russian language course in Russia and we had four hours of classroom instruction every morning. It was very solid, and I learned a lot. But where everything fell into place was in the afternoons, walking around the market or the streets of the town we were staying in where I was forced to think in Russian, on my feet. Applying that day's lessons in real world settings was a critical part of the learning process, that is where I had those "aha" moments. And like Hopefulist, I found that I could not take much more than four hours of classroom study at a time.

SanDiego
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3. Re: How many hours per day should I learn spanish for?

4 hours and trust me, at about hour 2.5 you will be looking at your watch!

You have a host family which will help you a lot!

If you are hell bent on more than 4 hours, have the 5th hour be a private lesson where you have the teacher explain all the stuff that baffled you before.

And here is my best beginner advice...

They will drill you to DEATH on the following things, when they do throw up your hands and walk away, as an English speaker it is sooo subtle you will not get it AND if you make a mistake no one will care. After a year of learning Spanish, these things will make more sense.

Here are the topics to steer away from

Ser y Estar

Conocer y Saber

Por y para

And reflexsive drives me crazy, but as a beginner suffer through it as it sets the stage for learning about direct and indirect pronouns , which turn out to be really common in espanol! Duh!

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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327 reviews
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4. Re: How many hours per day should I learn spanish for?

In Guatemala, the schools all typically offer 1-on-1 instruction, which saves me - when I need a break I can head to with my teacher to a local museum or ice cream shop. :-)

5. Re: How many hours per day should I learn spanish for?

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