Why You Should Learn Spanish Online with Native Speakers at HSA.
I travel to Central America every week from the comfort of my home. How do I do that? Because I learn Spanish online with native speakers in Antigua, Guatemala. It is as amazing as it sounds—a linguistic, educational, and cultural immersion right from my PC.
During my weekly journey, I meet new people, learn about Spanish grammar, get educated on real-world language usage, learn about Guatemalan holiday traditions and food preparation, and—of course—I practice español. I don’t think it could get any better than this, outside of quitting my day job and getting on an airplane!
Homeschool Spanish Academy (HSA) is a bright light in my weekly routine. They are a school unlike any other and I will tell you why.
Time to Maintain Spanish Fluency
I began my search two years ago for a convenient way to keep up with my Spanish skills after years of not actively practicing it. I had become fluent in Spanish in my 20s after having obtained a Spanish minor from university. I furthered my studies of the language abroad while living with Spanish-speaking families in Spain and Costa Rica. These experiences were such a highlight to my educational journey and the memories are with me always. However, my life soon took a different path—a demanding job in corporate America, marriage, and two kids—pushing my language skills to the wayside. My fluency suffered and, in many ways, I had to start over and refresh my Spanish reading, writing, and comprehension skills.
How do you build fluency in Spanish when you have a busy life? You look for ways to learn Spanish online with native speakers.
Why I Chose Homeschool Spanish Academy
Many online Spanish language companies offer a free trial class before you sign-up and pay for classes. This allows you to meet a teacher, get a feel for the curriculum, and see if it is a good fit for you. Before signing up with HSA, I took free trial classes with four separate online Spanish companies.
I chose Homeschool Spanish Academy without question. Why?
During my trial class, the teacher was well-prepared and organized, she was friendly, and the curriculum was structured. My teacher engaged me right away by asking questions. Since I hadn’t spoken Spanish in so many years, I was nervous to begin again. Yet, my teacher put my nerves at ease and made me feel comfortable right from the start.
Later on, she explained to me how I could take a placement test to determine my current language fluency level, which would ensure that I began my classes at the appropriate level.
Compared to the other companies I took trial classes with, HSA was Spanish-focused and the teachers were reliable, professional teachers.
In comparison, one of the companies I spoke with had the teacher guessing my language level, instead of testing for it; while HSA has you take a CEFR placement test to specifically determine your Spanish level (not in your first class, but when you are ready to do so).
My HSA teacher was formal, professional, and committed to a high-quality learning experience. Conversely, in one of the other free language classes I took, the teacher was drinking coffee on her balcony, and I couldn’t hear her properly above the wind blowing over the microphone. I got the impression that she was more interested in her coffee than in our conversation.
Another free trial class I took was with a teacher in Spain. While I am fond of Spain (having spent a summer in Salamanca), I found the class times to be incompatible with my time zone. Also, Spain has a unique accent and uses vosotros in place of ustedes (with its own set of conjugations for every verb). At the beginning, my personal preference for HSA was due to two main factors: I liked how Guatemala is on Central Standard Time, which is convenient for North American students, and I enjoyed how the teacher spoke with a clear accentuation and dialect.
Another reason I liked HSA is that their prices were the most affordable and the quality of education was unmatched.
Customized Classes Just for Me
For the first year or so, I wanted to focus on a conversation only. Since the classes are customized to each students’ needs, I was able to do this via the “Free Style” format. Over time, I wanted to drill down on specific grammar rules to improve the quality of my speech. I took a placement test and began taking the structured classes complete with homework, grades, and due dates. I chose not to earn credit for my classes, since I am taking them for personal enrichment, but it’s worth noting that HSA is capable of giving you foreign language credits for high school if you choose!
Why You Should Learn Spanish Online with Native Speakers at HSA
Now that I have been a student with HSA for almost two years, I understand even more about the company than I did during my trial class. Here are the top reasons why you should choose HSA over another online program!
1. Engaging and Awesome Teachers
My class schedule varies each week, as I choose each class based on availability. In other words, I don’t have a set schedule with a specific teacher, rather I enjoy classes with many different teachers at the times that work for me. What’s impressive is that in every class I’ve had, the teacher picks up where the last teacher left off. No time is wasted! Every teacher I have worked with is amazing—they’re friendly, attentive, and engaging. They ask questions to encourage me to use Spanish and they motivate me to complete my assignments on time (which would be extra helpful for school-aged Spanish learners).
2. Affordable and Class Availability
Compared to other programs, HSA is still the most affordable option for me with a wide array of class times to make it as easy as a click of a button. Some companies ask for double or triple the price without the wide array of class times or teachers to choose from. There are even Spanish classes around that charge over $45/hour. With HSA, the prices are affordable and you will pay a fair wage to the teachers in Guatemala.
Another benefit is that you can always find a time that works for you. HSA’s class schedule is as follows (in UTC-6 time zone):
- Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 07:15 am – 6:30 pm
- Tuesdays, Thursdays: 7:15 am – 5:30 pm
- Saturdays: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
(It’s important to note that Guatemala’s time zone coincides with Central Standard Time during the winter, but during summer—due to daylight savings time—CST is one hour ahead of Guatemala’s time.)
3. Individualized Attention
The 1-on-1 classes focus on my specific needs, including topics of conversation that I wish to cover. As I’m the only student in the class, the individualized attention gives me an opportunity to build my confidence and improve my language skills since I’m not competing with another student for attention. What’s more, I needn’t sit through grammar instruction on areas that I’ve already mastered; instead, we focus only on what I personally need for achieving Spanish fluency.
4. Customized Courses
Did you know that HSA offers options for group classes (such as an entire classroom) or individualized classes (1-on-1 and 2-on-1 classes) for preschool to adult? Homeschool Spanish Academy creates and designs customizable courses and curricula based on your preferences or those of your school. The programs accommodate any level of Spanish and any school requirements.
The Benefits of Online Classes by Professional Spanish Teachers in Guatemala
According to our article on the 6 Compelling Reasons Why Your School Should Outsource Spanish Class, you or your student will benefit every day from learning Spanish online with native Spanish speakers. Here’s how:
- Connect emotionally to Latin America, which allows you to expand your heart and mind toward countries other than your native one.
- Gain access to a Spanish-speaking certified teacher who lives in Guatemala.
- Learn better and faster Spanish by having conversations online with native speakers.
- Earn foreign language credits transferable to university, if you are in high school.
- Get personalized attention and instruction within smaller group settings.
- Remember more lesson material through interactive, dynamic classes.
- Participate in a safe learning environment, where all teachers have had double background checks (local and federal level).
- Experience Spanish instruction online from the best of the best native Spanish-speaking teachers around (less than 1% of applicants to Homeschool Spanish Academy become certified teachers with us).
- Enjoy smooth instruction via state of art fiber optic internet with multiple redundancies ensuring a quality internet connection.
I Love My Spanish Classes at HSA and You Will Too
One day I will travel to Guatemala, but until then, I connect to the people and culture while I learn online with native Spanish speakers. This is because we have conversations about everyday things including Guatemalan politics, weather, frequent earthquakes, home life, kids, and family. I feel close to Guatemalan culture, filling me with a strong and loving appreciation for it, and my teachers reciprocate this feeling when they show interest in my American culture.
You will benefit from learning online with native Spanish speakers at HSA too! As stated above, less than 1% of applicants secure a job at HSA. This means you are working with the best of the best! Further, the teachers are friendly, helpful, encouraging, and will meet you at the Spanish level you are currently at, with no pressure to exceed your preferred pace. The teachers are friendly, helpful, and open-hearted. One reason for that is because Guatemalan culture builds neighborly and caring characters of its people.
Spanish Immersion Leads to Fluency
I hope this inspires you to take a free trial class with HSA! The teachers are supportive, encouraging, and they will meet you at your level. Join me and thousands of other students who experience Central America from the comfort of our home.
Contact: Homeschool Spanish Academy
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