One of the first things that many of our clients are interested in finding out more about is learning Spanish in Cuenca. While there are certainly a number of people in Cuenca who speak some English, Spanish is definitely the dominant language. At the very least, you need to be able to give directions to taxi drivers, put in your order correctly at a local restaurant, and navigate the local shops and markets. Learning a few key phrases can also make a huge difference in being able to communicate with your landlord, your neighbors, and your future Cuencano friends.
There are several different approaches to learning Spanish in Cuenca. You can hope to pick it up as you go through life in the city, do home study with tapes and books, hire a private teacher, or enroll in formal classes. We’ve tried all four methods, with varying degrees of success.
You make the most progress with a private teacher. These teachers can do one-on-one or group lessons, and they tend to be more attuned to your personal needs. Most can tailor lessons to your schedule and history (if any) with the Spanish language. Many will even come to your home to do lessons, which makes it easier for you to keep to a schedule about moving forward. Some also offer language lessons blended with market tours or day trips around Cuenca to boost your connection between the words and practical, daily tasks living in Ecuador.
Formal lessons are probably the next best choice for making progress. They can help you settle into a routine once you arrive, and give you more concrete metrics about moving forward in terms of number of words learned or number of lessons completed. Classes are offered from a number of dedicated language schools in Cuenca as well as at the main Universities.
Spanish instruction in Cuenca ranges from $3 per hour for the cheapest private teachers all the way up to $25 per hour for edu-tainment courses that include cooking classes and private tours. Most of our clients pay somewhere between $5 – $10 per hour for their lessons, and they use a rich combination of private teachers and formal classes.
Naturally, progress varies based on your engagement with the language and the skill of your teacher. Even if you don’t quite manage the “singing Cuencano” accent, you can still give yourself the gift of vocabulary and the ability to understand a part of what people around you are saying.
We’re going to stop short of recommending any one school or teacher, since we’ve had friends and clients find some level of success with almost every provider we know. Reflect on your needs, and think about what you are willing to give to connect and settle in to your new home. This will help you choose a program of study that works for you and helps you connect with the Cuenca community.
If you want to get started early, why not begin with the most common 100 words? http://www.vistawide.com/spanish/top_100_spanish_words.htm These words cover as much as 60% of the average conversation, giving you a valuable head start on the language skills you will need to really feel at home here in Cuenca.Share on Facebook