Spanish Class

At 6:50 am the alarm goes off and I quickly shower to wake up. As I drink my coffee and eat granola and yogurt, I’m looking over the vocab list we’ll be tested on today. I finish reading out loud Hebrews chapter 7 in Spanish for phonetics class homework. I then hop on my bicycle and zip across town to the Base for school starting at 8:00 am. It’s not my day to lead the devotion, so after Don David walks us through translating two Spanish worship songs and then leads us in singing them, I get to sit back and be encouraged and challenged by a classmate of mine. He shares on Ecclesiastes 3, there’s a season for everything, and I’m reminded how unique and transformative this intensive season of language learning is, in Spanish.

Phonetics class with Ale is first. We break words into syllables, read more scripture, annunciating vowels properly, and the constant reminder of “No gringo” in the pronunciation. Grammar is next with Paulina, who patiently reminds us of our English grammar so that we can understand the corresponding Spanish grammar in today’s lesson. Perfect preterit using past participles, not for the faint hearted but understood slowly with her examples and corrections, and hopefully implemented into conversation in the next few weeks as my mind grasps the concept of this new tense. After the one-two punch of phonetics and grammar it’s off to the dining hall for almuerzo, the mid-morning meal. A square meal today, as always, in the comedor, they never miss. Eggs in red sauce with black beans and tortillas, even some ginger tea to top it off. Back to the classroom after the hour break for vocabulary. Adán ensures we have proper pronunciation of our list and then it’s time to drill. The final 10 minutes is quiz time.  We must make sure we’re progressing. The last class of the day is laboratory, time to tie it all together and implement it in conversation. Short prompts and questions from the workbook incite a conversation guided by Irma, who walks us through the challenging process of expressing our thoughts, experiences, emotions, and opinions, all in Spanish of course. Using what we’re learning, Irma fills holes in our vocab, pauses us to correct our sentence structure, and affirms us as we little by little can convey more meaningful information. 

1:00 pm comes and we’re done with school. Some students stay for tutoring, some head to the town 10 kilometers up the road to run errands, buy groceries, or pickup laundry. Everybody heads somewhere out of the sun to pass the oppressive midafternoon heat. Amidst the continuous vocab lists, grammar rules, and verb conjugations, real life is still lived. This afternoon I’ll help a bit with some of the construction projects at the Mission Base. This evening will be dinner and a game night with a few locals who have an incredible amount of patience for my language learning. Grammar homework will be completed, verbs will be conjugated, more vocabulary will be memorized, and throughout it we’ll remember and be grateful for this distinctive season at the Roca Blanca Spanish School. 

David Nelson

David Nelson

Spanish School Director

Students learning Spanish

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1 Comment

  1. Sara

    As a 56 yr old I am amazed with the amount of material I have learned in just a few months. I’m so grateful for this school and look forward to returning for a final season.

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