time to get a little personal

Ok. I found a language immersion program in Santiago, Chile that is equivalent to the program I wanted to Seville. Teachers with college degrees and experience teaching foreigners, activities to become immersed in the culture, small class sizes, etc. I got a price quote from Paolo today- the program with a homestay for the housing is about $8700. So…cheaper than Seville, but not a ton cheaper.

I want on leaving in September. I figure, I want to go to the Southern Cone (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay) or Southern Spain. [North American] Summertime is 1) wintertime in Chile, and 2) extremely hot in Seville. So I figure, regardless of where I want to go, I should go in September.

I plan on investing my money in a couple of months so I have more money to put towards these moving abroad goals. A guy I know is a broker, a friend of my sister’s. In a couple of months, I hope to have more money to invest, hopefully 3 – 3.5K, whereas now I have slightly less.

Sometimes I feel really…I don’t want to say depressed, lest I appear overly dramatic, but really really uncertain and sad that I’ll make these plans work. I talked to my mom about my reasons for wanting to go abroad yesterday. When I was younger, I really wanted to go as an escape, like some fantasy because I was so unhappy here. Now that’s not quite the case. Once I quit school for speech-language pathology, I was trying to figure out what I wanted out of a career, and out of my future. Honestly, I didn’t know for sure what I wanted, and I still don’t know what I want, but I knew I always wanted to get fluent in Spanish. It’s a personal goal of mine, and a smart professional one, and I have no significant other, children, car, or mortgage, so I figured now’s the best time to try to accomplish this dream. My mom nodded and mentioned that I have been talking about getting fluent for years now. I know I’ve been looking up language immersion programs to do since 2005 or so, as a far-fetched-would-like-to-do-but-probably-won’t-actually-do thing. Now…it still seems far-fetched, and strange, and expensive, but I’ve got to make this work.

So yeah. I wanna leave in about 7 months. Wish me luck!

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~ by Revé on February 11, 2010.

9 Responses to “time to get a little personal”

  1. Hey hey, girl! You can do it!

    My personal opinion?

    I think paying that much money for a language immersion program is a total ripoff. If you want to get to Chile, and be protected, why don’t you try English Opens Doors, to get experience working in real world ESL, a paycheck and a host family to help you learn Spanish?

    That’s the program that I am working for, and right now they are looking for six month, four month and summer hires. And all you pay is for your airplane ticket and your health insurance.

    I think that you are setting yourself up to loose a great deal of money, for something that you can essentially get for free.

    Have you looked at goabroad.com or other places? I checked out the website of the company, and it doesn’t look worth nearly 9 grand. I found a place, called Tandem Chile (http://tandemsantiago.cl) that offers the same thing, for around 2,000 dollars for 4 weeks intensive Spanish (including homestay and arranging for conversation partners).

    Also, I think that going for longer than 4-8 weeks is quite possibly a waste of your time. You can’t get fluent in a classroom. You will waste all of your money, that you could have spent on things you actually need.

    I think you should look more carefully and seriously take into consideration that you should not be paying what amounts to half a year of State University costs to learn Spanish.

    Just my two-cents! I hope it works out for you!! 😀

    • I looked up English Opens Doors a little while ago, and it seems like it’d be a good program to do if I had a LOT more money saved up. According to what I read (correct me if I’m wrong), you only get 85,000 pesos a month, and have to pay several hundred to enroll/apply to the program. Room and board is covered, which is nice, but the stipend doesn’t seem like enough to allow you to actually do anything, at least not without using a lot of your own savings. I would rather teach children than adults, so from that aspect, it’d give me the type of real world EFL experience that I’m looking for, especially if I want to do the language assistant program in Spain next year, but the 6-month program’s deadline is the end of March, and I know I won’t have enough savings built up by that time. I might consider doing the 4-month program, we’ll see.

      I agree you can’t get fluent in a typical classroom. The language immersion programs are different in the sense that classes are 20 hours a week, completely conducted in Spanish, and you’re living in a Spanish-speaking country, with a Spanish-speaking family.

      I’ve done research on how long it’s supposed to take to get fluent doing one of these programs, and it’s supposed to take a while, but probably *not* as long as I want to go for. Right now, I want to go for 24 weeks, but I could probably make do with 16 or 20 weeks. I also think I underestimate how well I know Spanish now, which is why I want to take classes for so long. 16 weeks is probably plenty of time, but I worry it’s not. I’m also sure that there are programs that are probably a LOT cheaper, especially if I’m not as picky as to who is teaching me (in terms of their level of education and experience), I just need to do the research and find them.

      • Yes, you are completely right about paying for the program. But the 4-month is only 400 dollars, and, as you stated before, your room and board is paid for.

        When I lived in Chile, I spent a total of 600 dollars in 6 months. The country is pretty cheap…especially outside the capital.

        As far as English Opens Doors goes, I think that it would save you so much money. You’re already going to shell out 9,000 dollars…why not save that money that you would spend on these courses and use it to cover some of your expenses in Chile?

        I mean, I don’t really know you, but I always feel like I need to help out my fellow “blackfolk”, lol 😀

        I understand that you would like a language immersion program, but I think ultimately you might regret going that long, and spending that amount of money.

        Anyway, I hope that it works out for you! I am really excited to continue to read about your adventure…whichever route you take! 😀

    • Do you think I could get fluent in Chile in 4 – 6 months? That’s really my biggest concern about not enrolling in a language immersion program, but I am thinking about other options. I am thinking about English Opens Doors more and am like, “Well…if I’m teaching from 8 – 4pm (or whenever school is in Chile), take a Spanish class for a few hours a week, make some Spanish-speaking friends, maybe it could happen in 4 – 6 months…” And, worst case scenario, I could enroll in a language immersion program after I’m finished, and hopefully for a shorter period since my Spanish would have gotten better in that period of time I was in Chile.

      You’ve definitely given me something to think about lol.

    • I just looked up the 6-month program. I don’t think I’m eligible because I don’t “have experience living or travelling in another country, preferably in the developing world.” Ah man…I was seriously considering doing this too lol. Maybe I can do it next year.

  2. September does sound like a good time to go to either region. Southern cone should be springlike by then, not that it gets really cold there but it won’t be too hot either. The weather in Seville will still be nice and warm too!
    I agree sometimes programs charge too much but I would want a somewhat structured program as well. They can offer a nice social network and easier transition.
    Planning to move abroad was for me at least a bit overwhelming so I can see where you’re coming from with deciding which direction to go in.From your posts, it sounds like you’re doing the research, so I’m sure that will pay off. Good luck with making a decision!

    • I think I could probably find programs that are a lot cheaper if I did some more research, and if I were less picky as to who is teaching me. There’s this website called Volunteer Latin America and I was emailing someone from there a while back and they told me that I can find language immersion programs as cheap as $60 a week, I think it was (unfortunately I’m having trouble finding these programs online lol). I do worry about the quality of the program if it’s so cheap, and what comes with the program, but really, my goal is to learn Spanish. Also, I could possibly enroll in one of these programs for a while, and if I wanted a better program later, enroll in one for a few weeks.

  3. I agree completely with annuayim. That is way too much money to spend on a Language Immersion Program. I know another blogger who studied Spanish here in Santiago. Her blog is http://marissasbigadventure.com/. Maybe you could contact her and ask about what school she used.

    Have you taken any Spanish before? I took it throughout high school and college, but I only became fluent when I went to El Salvador for 3 months. Annuayim is right, you can’t get fluent in a classroom. Although it helps if that classroom is in a place where the language is spoken, I really think maybe you could take less class and live the language more. But that’s just me…everyone learns languages differently!

    • I emailed that blogger. The program she went to is actually the program I was considering, but I think she said she could get me a deal on my homestay (I think that’s what it was), instead of going through the school. Either way, thanks for the link 🙂

      Hmm. Maybe I should find a program that has class for fewer hours a day. Right now, I’m looking at programs that run for 4 hours a day M-F (some have 5 or 6, which I think is unnecessary, given how long I want to stay).

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