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Published March 27th 2017
baile de la salsa romántica (romantic salsa dancing) (by Farolito)
Spanish is the ideal choice for a second language to fully enjoy holidays in Spain, South America and parts of the USA. It's also one of the easiest for Australians with its straight-forward pronunciation rules. In Melbourne, it's easy to find opportunities to practise the language of Latin America, starting with these top 10 options throughout the city.
El Patio - 2/152 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne and 114 High St, Northcote
The courses at El Patio range from a quick travel and interest (1.5hr x 5-week) and general language (1.5hr x 10-week) to the rápido (3hr x 5-week) and intensive (3hr x 10-week). They also have summer and Easter 2-week intensives with modules for conversation, travel, verbs and general language. The travel and interest course with up to 8 students starts at $184 with 4 terms per year. There are online modules for only $10. If you like exams, you can receive Common European Framework of Reference certification at the beginner, independent and proficient levels. Enrol at El Patio.
Lyceum - Level 8, 131 Queen Street, Melbourne
The Lyceum focuses on practical language skills, simulating everyday situations in role-play exercises during each lesson. After completing 60 hours (4 terms of ten weeks) in the beginner and elementary courses, you'll be able to immerse yourself more fully when you visit Spain and South America, with the confidence to plan outings, explore towns and cities, shop, make bookings and chat socially with the locals. If you're keen to learn more, you can progress to the intermediate and advanced courses to discuss Spanish culture, literature, news and current affairs as you master the grammar and improve your vocabulary. Melbourne has a strong Spanish community and your teachers can guide you to local clubs, festivals, restaurants, bookshops, television and radio programmes to conveniently practise your new language. Each term of 15 hours tuition begins at $298 with discounts for intensive courses. Enrol at Lyceum.
The Spanish Cat - CBD, St Kilda, Fitzroy, Canterbury
Although you can try smart phone translation apps, we haven't found a babel fish for seamless conversation. Until sci-fi becomes reality, the Spanish Cat teaches the foundation skills to converse with Spanish speakers coherently. You'll learn the grammatical rules as well as the vocabulary to enjoyably travel in parts of the world where English is scant but Spanish language thrives. Each course includes textbooks and the flexibility to change levels or class times (day or evening, weekday or weekend) without charge. Courses start at $169 for 8 weeks. Enrol at Spanish Cat.
Centre for Adult Education - 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
The CAE has traveller (6 weeks, $249), elementary (9 weeks, $319), intermediate (13 weeks, $468) and expert (13 weeks, $468) courses with each class of 2 hours taught by Maria-Luisa Rodriguez. There is also a 'Last Minute Language for Travellers' 4-hour single session for $99 to quickly learn the practical and cultural basics for an enjoyable holiday in Spain or Latin America. Enrol at CAE.
Farolito - 2/39b Caroline St, South Yarra and Ashburton Community Centre, 160 High Street, Ashburton
All the instructors at Farolito are native Spanish speakers with impressive qualifications and teaching experience in South America and Spain. The class size average is only 5 as they teach the range of communication competencies (speak, listen, read, write) according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. There are courses for children aged 3 - 9 and teenagers. The Spanish for Travellers 5 x 1.5hr course is $200. There are also 4 levels of beginner, 11 intermediate and a range of cultural language courses covering art, literature, grammar and folklore starting at $200 with single session workshops at $20. Enrol at Farolito.
inLanguage Boutique's most popular offering is the Travel Course with 5 weeks x 1.5hr for $175 with materials included. They also teach beginner, intermediate and advanced classes (15 hours starting at $275), intensive workshops (3hr x 4 days for $220) and one-on-one private lessons ($70/hour with discounts for bulk bookings) with mid-morning, afternoon and evening options. Enrol at inLanguage Boutique.
The Travelling Koala - 442 Auburn Rd. Hawthorn
Just like a travelling koala, the teachers at the Hawthorn classroom focus on Australian students and our needs when learning a new language. Instead of a generic approach, lessons are personalised with real people and real situations to comfortably link our knowledge of English with Spanish, making learning and memorisation simpler. The TK has 10-week 15-hour classes at the introductory (for travellers), beginner, intermediate and advanced levels starting at $220. Enrol at The Travelling Koala.
Spanish Amigos Language Group
If you're searching for friendly Spanish-speaking locals and fellow English-speaking learners to chat with, this Meetup group is ideal as you each hone your vocabs. Meeting each Thursday evening with coffee, you can indulge your love of Spanish and Latin American culture with like-minded souls. RSVP at Meetup.
Nancy, a native Ecuadorian, teaches Spanish from her home to small groups of 6 or less with courses which are fun and personalised for real, practical conversations. Using her experience as a CAE instructor and language school teacher in Ecuador, Nancy has developed methods to bridge the gaps between the many commonalities in English and Spanish, making learning more intuitive and less challenging. Enrol at Nancy Del Rocio.
The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology offers 2 beginner level courses teaching the basics of Spanish language and culture, aimed for those planning travel or considering job or business opportunities. You'll learn to converse with content for greetings, social situations, numbers, place names, relationships, restaurants and shopping. The courses use the Nuevo Ven 1 (Libro del estudiantes/Student Book) textbook. The RMIT schedules Spanish courses based on demand with the next start date and price to be confirmed. Signup to the mailing list at RMIT.
Where do you feast on crispy croquetas or savoury empanadas as you learn to speak Spanish? We'd love to hear your comments.