Liz Collins Immersion February 2011

Maria’s aim was to stop me from doing a double translation ie. Listening to the Spanish, translating it into English then translating my response from English back into Spanish – no wonder it takes me a long time to reply!
She has a unique way of teaching how to learn and remember the verbs. I wish I had studied this method in the beginning...

In conclusion I really enjoyed ‘the immersion’ , I learnt a lot,and gained confidence. Am I still double translating? Yes, but not all the time and I believe that I have started to think in Spanish thanks to Maria.

Incidentally I am 68 years old and retired 4 years ago from a very fulfilling but responsible job that I had held for 18 years. My husband and I spend about 5 month in Spain each year and both want to speak Spanish well enough to do a lot more that ‘get by’.

As soon as I made contact with Maria she sent me a sample course and an M3 recording of an actual lesson – this gave me a slight inkling into the way she would be teaching me. The first thing that impressed me was that I had some homework (sent by Email) to complete, this would help her to determine my level, strengths and weaknesses before we even met! Also as some of the work was about me and my lifestyle so she had a good idea of the things I would like to do during the free time that would be built into the course.

The house is situated in a typical Spanish village in the centre of a very beautiful part of Spain, there is a local train which runs from Los Nietos, a quiet seaside village with a good beach but not much else, to La Union a historical mining town and the beautiful city and port of Cartagena. If you have a car La Manga and the Mar Menor are very near. I did not have a car but Maria took me out for a walk to the hilltop cannons near La Manga (she had discovered that I love to walk in the hills) as well as to La Union where I visited the mining museum also to Cartagena one evening.

Maria’s aim was to stop me from doing a double translation ie. Listening to the Spanish, translating it into English then translating my response from English back into Spanish – no wonder it takes me a long time to reply! She has a unique way of teaching how to learn and remember the verbs. I wish I had studied this method in the beginning as on the day I joined a small group for their lesson it was clear that, although they were not as advanced as I was, they were managing the verbs really well. The amount of laughter in the classes was a good sign as well, learning should be fun and the relaxed atmosphere certainly helped.

Every day we did some listening, some reading, some written work and some conversation and Maria recorded many of the lessons which she is Emailing to me so that I can go over things again in my own time, this is a very useful tool and is keeping lessons fresh in my mind. It was clear that she had used the homework to plan, in detail, the work to be done in every single lesson.

We spoke Spanish during the meal times and as an added bonus I learnt how to prepare and cook artichokes. The food was ecological and healthy which suited me fine but if you are a ‘meat and 2 veg’ person or have allergies or preferences do let Maria know and I am sure she will accommodate your needs.

In conclusion I really enjoyed ‘the immersion’ , I learnt a lot, gained confidence and am working through the notes and recordings so will continue to improve. Am I still double translating? Yes, but not all the time and I believe that I have started to think in Spanish thanks to Maria.

Liz Collins