19 Apr Where to Practice Spanish and Get Free Lessons in Cuenca, Ecuador
If you’re like us and have a goal to improve your Spanish language skills, spending time in a Spanish-speaking country is a great start – but you still have to be diligent about practicing.
There are a number of tools we recommend for learning Spanish that you can use on your own, at home or abroad. But really taking advantage of local resources can make a big difference in your language learning. Here are the places we came across in Cuenca, Ecuador to learn and practice Spanish:
1. Take Spanish lessons at a school
2. Enjoy free classes and organized conversations
There are three places we encountered in Cuenca that offer weekly Spanish practice geared for expats.
A Pedir de Boca – Here, the local chef teaches two hour lessons for free in the back of his restaurant on Benigno Malo. Beginners meet on Wednesday, and more advanced Spanish learners come on Thursday 3-5pm. Lessons are conducted almost entirely in Spanish and he does his best to adapt to the fluctuating group in attendance each day.
Zona Refrescante – Here you’ll find weekly Spanish conversation meet-ups over lunch on Wednesdays from 12 to 2pm. It’s mostly expats and a few locals, coordinated by a former Spanish teacher from the States. Find the “Spanish Club” room reserved in the back of the restaurant. Usually there are about 8-10 booths full of people. Most order the almuerzos for $4 (Cuenca/American style food, including soup, segundo, juice, and small dessert) but you can also order off the menu.
Cuenca Coworking – This co-working office hosts a weekly Spanish-English exchange with structured activities for all levels of language through their Talk and Learn program. They meet Wednesdays at 6pm on Los Laureles and Avenida Ordoñez Lasso.
3. Live in a homestay
If you take classes through a language school, most likely they will be able to arrange a stay for you with one of many host families around Cuenca. If you’re on your own, you can find some through Airbnb, including our host: Yolanda. This is a great way to get immersed in the language – and often at least one meal per day is included in the deal.
4. Meet with a language exchange partner
Many Ecuadorians are eager to improve their English, and some are willing to meet on a weekly basis where you can both get a little language practice. Spend the first half of your time conversing in Spanish and the second half in English, or vise versa. You can agree to prepare lessons for each other, or be more impromptu and just ask each other questions. Check the CEDEI school or your host family for potential contacts, or put up a listing on GringoPost.com.
5. Hire a private teacher
If you’re dedicated and have the means, there are a number of native Spanish speakers who will come teach individual lessons at your house or another agreed-upon place. From what I recall, $10 per hour is a reasonable tutor fee, give or take. Recommendations can sometimes be found on GringoPost.com or by asking around within the expat community.
Did we miss anything? Tell us in the comments below!
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