Most of the kids I’ll be teaching speak almost no English. In Lima, they speak Spanish. In Cuzco…I’m not sure. Spanish is the national language, of course, but the local indigenous language, Quechua, is also apparently spoken widely. I’m going to take my chances with Quechua, but I definitely can brush up on my Spanish. I’ve had 5 years of it in high school and college, but it’s been awhile. So here’s my strategy!
Rosetta Stone – you’ve seen the ads! And YES, I too want to meet an Italian model like that hopeful Midwestern farmboy. How that’s going to happen by learning Spanish and going to Peru is unclear. I’m using Rosetta Stone and I like it. Using mostly point and click on your computer, I’m relearning vocabulary not by rote memorization which I did long ago, but through repetition, dozens of little modules. You can choose if you want a balanced approach, or want to focus on speaking, writing, reading. I’m almost through Module 2. It’s kind of expensive, about $700 for the full thing – fortunately, I have a wonderful friend in Heather Lockert who has lent me her’s (for more from Heather, see today’s other post on Medical Preparedness).
Books – I’m also going through three useful workbooks. Spanish Verb Tenses, Practical Spanish Grammar, and Advanced Spanish Grammar. I like the approach and being a visual learner, they are a good complement to Rosetta Stone.
Dictionary - For now, I’m using my Droid with the Word Magic Translator app. I’ve been warned that the Droid will be a prime target for pickpockets, so I’m not sure if I’ll be carrying it with me as I cruise around. Might have to get a regular paper back book too.
Radio – I’m also listening to Peruvian radio on the internet, especially Music from the Andes. I certainly don’t understand everything yet, but I think it’s important to get my brain, and listening bits of it, familiar with sounds and cadences.
Approach – For awhile, I’ve been aiming at learning with these materials about an hour a day. That has actually been….spotty. However, I’m inspired by the realization that I will be on the ground, in the classroom in just 6 weeks, so I need to get my butt in gear. So, 45 minutes with Rosetta Stone, 15-30 minutes with the books.
Do any of you have any more bright ideas about how I can learn Spanish faster / better?