Making the Most of Your Foreign Language School Experience (Part II of III: Maximize Learning)

Now that you have selected the language school that is right for you, find out:

How To Make The Most Out Of Your Language Classes

Learning a new language is tough work and your task will be more challenging if you don’t put into practice effective strategies that facilitate your learning. Based on my experiences studying Spanish in Guatemala, I have developed a list of must-know tactics that will maximize your learning both inside and outside of the classroom.

How Much Is Too Much? Maximizing Your Potential For Learning

Week one: Scrambled Brain. Guatemala -- April Beresford

Week one: Scrambled Brain. Guatemala — April Beresford

After consulting with the owners of several different language schools, it appears consensus recommends 4 hours of conversational language classes per day. If you are a beginner, any more than 4 hours will be excessive as your brain can only take in so much new information. Studying a little extra on your own every day is better than pushing too hard in a classroom, leading to burn out.

Lesson Planning For Conversational Classes

Make sure that you come to class prepared knowing exactly what you want to work on. Conversation classes are completely different than studying a language in high school or college. Your teacher will not take complete charge of what you learn and when. Instead, for the most part, you will lead the discussion and determine the focus of each lesson. Come to class having prepared specific questions concerning grammar, verb conjugations and topics of conversation that interests you.

Keep it Interesting

Learning how to communicate with locals is the best way you can position yourself to connect more deeply with the local culture.  I found it fascinating to learn about local values and traditions from my teacher. After we grew to know one another better, she would tell me funny stories of her childhood which we both found to be very entertaining. Remember that you will be chatting with this person for hours throughout the day. It won’t be productive for either of you if the conversation becomes dull. Continue reading

Making the Most of Your Foreign Language School Experience (Part I of III: Selecting the Right School)

Choosing the right environment for learning is one of the top priorities. Antigua, Guatemala -- April Beresford

Choosing the right environment for learning is one of the top priorities. Antigua, Guatemala — April Beresford

Part One:  Selecting The Best Language School For You!

The Best Way To Learn A New Language

April's Spanish School in Antigua, Guatemala

April’s Spanish School in Antigua, Guatemala

I hopped on a plane heading for Guatemala knowing that complete immersion is my best chance to fulfill my aspirations of learning Spanish.  I had pre-scheduled my language classes and arranged airport pickup through a reputable organization, so when I arrived in Guatemala all I needed to do was focus on was my education. I learned a lot throughout this experience and I am happy to share my knowledge to help support others in their quest to converse in a new language.


If this is your first time taking conversational language classes in a foreign land, I know how daunting it can feel.  I want to help set you up for success so you can tackle the language immersion experience, with efficiency and enjoyment.

How Do I Select The Best School?

Do your research online. You need to first define “the best” school, based on your individual priorities. For example, the more formal education and years of experience the teachers have, the more you will pay for their teaching skills. School’s located in larger cities will charge more because overall, the cost of living and running a business in this location will be greater. Is it a priority for you to study somewhere easily accessible and centrally located? Look to language schools in smaller, off-the-beaten-path towns to help you keep costs down. It will also minimize the opportunities to speak your native tongue therefore strengthening the immersion experience. Continue reading