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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be in México City soon and would like to learn Spanish. In your opinion, which way is better, school or tutor? And do you have any recommendations for either?
 

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Only you can know the answer to that one. Some people do well with intense sessions, one on one with a tutor, while others thrive in a classroom setting where there is less individual pressure.
 

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Tutor.

My wife learned Spanish in intensive one to one sessions in around 5 months. The tuition was so good that she was discussing highly technical topics in Spanish with her peers after that and to this day speaks quite a good level of Spanish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Tutor.

My wife learned Spanish in intensive one to one sessions in around 5 months. The tuition was so good that she was discussing highly technical topics in Spanish with her peers after that and to this day speaks quite a good level of Spanish.
what was the cost of the tutor?
 

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My last choice would be school. My second choice would be a tutor. My first choice would be to immerse yourself in the local culture, cutting off ties to the English-speaking world. I took a volunteer position in a small health food store in Mexico, and learned Spanish to a high level of fluency in three months. In off-hours, I would find every excuse to talk Spanish with locals at restaurants, in the parks, in local businesses, etc. Why pay, when you can get it for free while having more fun – you learned English by living it and practicing, remember!
 

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My last choice would be school. My second choice would be a tutor. My first choice would be to immerse yourself in the local culture, cutting off ties to the English-speaking world. I took a volunteer position in a small health food store in Mexico, and learned Spanish to a high level of fluency in three months. In off-hours, I would find every excuse to talk Spanish with locals at restaurants, in the parks, in local businesses, etc. Why pay, when you can get it for free while having more fun – you learned English by living it and practicing, remember!
Spanish grammar is complicated, people without formal preparation may mange to get by, but will not make justice to the language of Cervantes.
 

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If you have the money for a private tutor, find a good one (there are a lot that are terrible) and go that route. I learned in schools, had a blast and made tons of friends including many locals. But frequently the classes moved too slowly for me and I was always glad when there was no one else at my level so I could get privates for classroom costs. The more advanced you get the more this happens. My opinion is short: schools are good, tutors even better.
Of course I haven't heard or read the Spanish of stevenvillatoro - and he very well may speak and write in a manner that makes La Academia Real del Español proud - but I have listened to many "learned it on the street" folks and their grammar usually lacks quite a bit as jlms points out. However, stevenvillatoro's point that practice with native speakers being the most important thing is absolutely true. Speak Spanish with everyone, all the time, no matter whether you go the classroom, tutor or self-taught route. Good luck!
 

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Of course I haven't heard or read the Spanish of stevenvillatoro - and he very well may speak and write in a manner that makes La Academia Real del Español proud - but I have listened to many "learned it on the street" folks and their grammar usually lacks quite a bit...
The proficiency with which one can master a second language depends on one's aptitude, goals, dedication – but most importantly... the ability to 'detach' completely from one's ingrained knowledge of his/her first language. You must nearly divorce yourself of English sentence construction, verb conjugation, vowel and consonant development, etc. First languages come easily to us, because we start from Point Zero with no prior language knowledge. Second languages present difficulties for most people, as a result of attempting to memorize, translate, and compare, i.e., trying to 'fit' the second language into what we already know from our first language. That creates inevitable struggle and failure to comprehend. I arrived in Guanajuato at 38 years old with no knowledge of Spanish, and today can speak with near-native fluency and virtually no English accent. I have achieved this by rigorously continuing to distinguish Spanish language nuances at greater levels of awareness. To the new student of Spanish, I would give these goals: (1) be willing to appear foolish – have it be 'okay' to make mistakes, (2) have fun while learning, (3) seek to understand that all levels/ranges of society do not speak the same Spanish. What good does it do you to learn a high-register textbook Spanish if you can't understand and speak street Spanish with ease? One must eventually become comfortable in all domains of society, and to distinguish what Spanish is appropriate in any given context or situation – but that is a natural process of learning. I ensured that I engaged every range of socioeconomic type, from street vendors to people at adjacent restaurant tables, to professionals... without such diversity you cannot hope to make fundamental distinctions that will be important as you advance in your abilities. I have never taken a Spanish class. Upon arriving in Guanajuato, I began to read Spanish-language newspapers and magazines, watch TV, sit with new friends to translate songs, hang out with street vendors and shopkeepers to ask them about their lives, and I took a job working in a health food store where speaking English was not an option! The point is that there are infinite paths to reach your goal, all predicated on your desire. How you get there is fairly irrelevant. Take your time, be extremely patient, and keep it fun. Language is a never-ending endeavor in which one generally is confronted with 'what's missing' rather than what's been achieved. Especially at the beginning, one is in a sea of confusion and mistakes – let that be okay, and know that it's a natural process. I used to feel that my head would explode, and I had to take a break. That's the way it is, until the magical day comes when you first give up trying to fit Spanish into an English-only brain. Best of luck!
 

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Tutor.

My wife learned Spanish in intensive one to one sessions in around 5 months. The tuition was so good that she was discussing highly technical topics in Spanish with her peers after that and to this day speaks quite a good level of Spanish.
hey, I know it's a long time since this post but if you had any way of knowing how to get a hold of a worthwhile tutor I'd very much appreciate it. I'm living in Mexico City and some of my options are way too expensive. The frida Kahlo school, for example, is an intensive course of two weeks for 500 USD!
 
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