Archive for language immersion

Language by Baptism: Parte Cuatro

Posted in Education with tags , , , , , , on July 6, 2017 by timtrue

Been a few days since I’ve posted. No photos this time. Rather, a quick update on progress. My perspective anyway.

Taking a step back, this program probably looks like a lot of other summer Spanish intensive courses you can find in colleges all over the United States. We’re cramming probably a year’s worth of something like a college course into four weeks, after all. We meet for five class hours a day: the first three to go through a course of study–grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and so on; the fourth for pure conversation; and the fifth for pronunciation and diction.

One big difference here, however, as opposed to taking a course like this in the states, is that we students are able to practice what we’re learning everywhere we go–restaurants, shops, libraries, churches, museums, etc.

A slight complaint is that SMA is actually a very English-friendly town, meaning I don’t have to speak in Spanish 24/7 if I don’t want to; and, believe me, sometimes, especially towards the end of the day, after five intensive hours of study already, it’s very difficult to keep thinking in Spanish. Mental exhaustion settles in. I really would rather communicate in English. So I do. Or, rather, I get lazy and revert to English a lot more often than I should.

Near the border, on the US side, there’s a common kind of dialect called Spanglish. Down here, it’s something like that around here in the late afternoons, only coming from the other side. Gringo-ish, maybe?

Another big difference is the cultural immersion. All around me are the sights, smells, and sounds of beautiful, warm, delicious Mexico. I took a field trip to Guanajuato last Saturday; will take another this Saturday to the only known archeological wonder in this area, La Canada de Virgen; and everyday simply walking to and from the school confronts me with it all.

Indeed, this is not just any old summer intensive Spanish course but truly an immersion experience.