Spanish Language School Guide: How To Get Most Spanish Out Of Your Dollar
Congratulations on your decision to study abroad Spanish! Yes, one of the best way to improve your Spanish is to immerse yourself in the environment and live the language. But the other side of the coin is that the study abroad experience requires a huge commitment on your part. For example, money. Depending on how you do it, it could cost you a small fortune. In order to harvest the great return of improved Spanish, you have to invest in yourself, right? But what if you can optimize the investment by getting the most Spanish out of your dollar? This article is about that. More specifically speaking, there are 3 ways to obtain maximum amount of Spanish by studying abroad. There are: 1) Picking the right country to study Spanish in, 2) Picking the right airline, 3) Not signing up with the language school agency.
Out of the 3, Picking the right country holds the utmost importance because it will determine significant portion of your study abroad expense. Of course, the countries determine the available touristic resources, difference in how the Spanish is spoken, etc, but we'll focus on monetary issue today. Let's say that you are looking for an one-on-one class in Spanish because you've already taken some high school and college Spanish class with 30 other students and that didn't give you much opportunity to practice. As you know, Spanish is spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries and thus, you now have a huge selection. And cost of the study varies significantly from one country to another. For instance in Spain, the individual class in Spanish for a week runs around $850-$900. If you want more complete immersion living with a host family, there goes another $350-$400. If you are going to study for 4 weeks, it's a safe bit to budget around $6000! On the other hand, there are less expensive options in Central America. In Guatemala, you can find both the one-on-one Spanish class and homestay within $150-$250. You definitely don't want to ignore this enormous range of difference.
Another huge expense is the transportation fee. Since most of us will be going to the destination country by air, we'll look at how you can save on airfares. But, first of all, let me just tell you that since I don't work in travel industry, I don't have the insider's secret. I don't have the travel wisdom of a nomadic super backpacker either. All I can give you is a few web sites where you can begin shopping around for your airfare. They are: Economy Travel , Airline Consolidators and Best Fares. If you have been buying tickets from places like Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity, you will see the difference. I guarantee it.
Finally, another way to cut the cost of your Spanish learning experience is to go direct to the Spanish school by skipping through the language school agencies. When you search for Spanish schools on the web, most likely, those agencies are the ones that you will encounter first. They come up on the top of the search engine list and they offer lots of options too. After all, that's their job. They are the "advertising agency" for Spanish school. They charge tons of money from the individual Spanish schools and from you too by marking up about 10%-20% on top of the tuition you pay to the school. Yes, some of them do offer fairly nice information of the countries and schools and we should use them to familiarize ourselves about the potential destinations. But it's not rare that those agencies have problems communicating your needs to the school (My friend had to wonder around the street of Guatemala with all his luggage because the agency didn't notify the arrival time to the school) and there is no point paying extra $50 for the "introductory packet" from the agency when you sign up with them because that's the copied one from the Spanish school. So, once you find out the name of the school you are interested from the agency, just go to Google or Yahoo and type in the name of the school to go to the school's home page and sign up directly.
In conclusion, I'd recommend that you use the language school agency to learn about the going price of tuition in various Spanish speaking countries and when you find a school of your interest, go to their web site to register directly with them. Finally, use the discount airfare web sites indicated previously as a reference point to shop around for your best airfare. With this little bit of research, you are well on your way to get most Spanish out of your bucks!
About the Author: Based on his previous study abroad experience of learning Spanish, Gen now dedicates his time bringing together the students, the Spanish teachers and the host families in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Please visit Spanish Language Schools Guide