Learning Spanish in Buenos Aires: Define your Objectives First
Are you visiting Argentina as a tourist or living here as an expat and want to learn Spanish? The very first thing you should do is really define why you want to do so. By understanding your objectives first, you will be in the position to choose the appropriate course of study and avoid pitfalls.
Objectives can be broken down into a few different categories. One simple way to get started is to look at each and see which applies most to you as a student.
Objective: Order Bife de Lomo and Malbec, travel, ask for directions, be prepared in case you need help
Recommendation: Focus on vocabulary and the very basics of grammar (regular verbs in the present tense) before your trip. Prepare a small ‘cheat sheet’ with phrases and vocab. When you arrive, hire a tour guide for a couple hours who can not only give you a layout of the city, but will also walk you through specific examples of how to use your Spanish. Ride the bus or a taxi together, but you do the talking. Go to a café, but you do the ordering. Ask your guide to correct you. Most importantly, have fun and don’t stress too much. Keep your cheat sheet with you when you’re on your own.
The Expat who doesn’t depend on the local job market
Objective: Make friends with Argentines, maneuver your way through Argentine beaurocracy to pay bills, etc, keep up on local current events
Recommendation: Hire a professor or take a class that focuses primarily on Spanish conversation. Get to know the present, past and future tenses. Read the local newspaper in Spanish every day. I recommend starting with a tabloid like Cronica (http://www.cronica.com.ar/), because the writing is especially basic and the content is juicy. Circle words you don’t know and start making a vocabulary list with flashcards. Talk about the current events you’ve learned about in class or with your private tutor. If you take taxis, always engage the driver in conversation. You will start to understand the basics of what’s going on in Argentina and you’ll have some fodder for discussions at parties. If you have a private tutor, show him or her your utility bills and rent contract. Ask for help with understanding the details of each. Keep attending class on a regular basis to refresh and build on your Spanish. Insist that your Argentine friends speak to you in Spanish and correct you constantly. Find an intercambio partner.
The Expat who is planning on working at an office in Argentina
Objective: Learn business Spanish, know how to read through a legal contract, become comfortable with business customs and etiquette
Recommendation: First become familiar with the steps related to the category above and then take a formal class on business Spanish. Become familiar with the conditional and subjunctive tenses. Once you’ve mastered the tabloids, switch to reading a business paper like Ambito (http://www.ambito.com/). Finally, take the time to really understand Argentine business culture, because it is unique and could be quite different from that of your home country. Most people want to practice their English, so see if anyone at your office is interested in meeting occasionally for an intercambio. That way you can learn the ins and outs of the company and get help with things you don’t understand.
Objective: Learn to read literature and academic texts, be able to write essays that would be acceptable at the University level.
Recommendation: Attend an upper level Spanish course at a university like the UBA. Read Borges and other texts in Spanish, while building your vocabulary. Start with easier reads and work your way up. If you hire a professor, make sure it is someone who has taught at the University level and has experience with your field of study.
This article is brought to you by a very good friend of Good Morning Buenos Aires and here is his information:
My name is Fernando Romero and I am passionate about teaching Spanish. I am a native Argentine studying full time at the Joaquín V. González teachers college to be a high school teacher of Spanish Language and Literature. I am currently looking for students who would be interested in helping me gain more experience as a private Spanish tutor. As I am still studying and relatively new to tutoring, I am offering an especially low hourly rate for my students. I am located in Belgrano, where I meet with students at my place or a nearby café. I ask my students for a clear understanding of their objectives for learning Spanish and then tailor private classes accordingly.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
and my cell phone is 15-6414-7597.
Short URL: http://goodmorningba.com/?p=2449