Getting ready for your trip to South America

Photo: CC0 Public Domain

How to learn Spanish faster and be ready for your trip in Latin America

Clemens, from Germany, came to CASA Spanish in order to be able to travel around Latin America much more easily. This is why we think he had a successful Spanish experience during his trip.

In August of 2016, Clemens came to CASA Spanish through the recommendation of a friend to take one week of classes, but in the end ended up staying with us for 4 weeks. When he arrived he spoke very basic Spanish. Over his time in our Spanish School in Buenos Aires he formed his travel plans in Latin America. For three months he travelled through Peru, Chile and Bolivia and he told us he was able to travel around with ease and in each place he went he could speak to locals and make new friends.

But what’s Clemens’ secret to learning Spanish so quickly? Practice, practice and practice.

As well as living with a host family, what made his adaptation to the new sound of the language and the accent much easier was that Clemens from the first day asked us to speak in Spanish to him (slightly adjusted and speaking slowly of course) including when he still didn’t have sufficient vocabulary. At the beginning he spoke in English, but after a week he began to speak in Spanish, without worrying about small mistakes because ‘that’s why we’re all here at CASA’. His desire to learn the language and live in true immersion with his environment was incredible.

Today, 7 months after he returned to Germany he is back in Buenos Aires to work. He had various interviews which were all in Spanish and he soon found a job. His Spanish continues getting better day by day but he feels like it’s getting easier quicker than it did before. It’s for that reason that now he is taking part in out ‘resident program’ in CASA Spanish and we know that with time and spending time with Argentinians at work and in his day to day life he will soon be a true porteño. During the time that Clemens spent away from Argentina we stayed in contact with him (always in Spanish) and today we feel that a student hasn’t returned to Buenos Aires, but a friend.

The testimony of Clemens

Testimony of Clemens’ teacher, Rita

I met Clemens last year, he did three weeks at beginners level. Throughout his course he shared his classes with other students and he always got on with everyone. His performance with the language was excellent and his dedication was noted day in day out. It was a pleasure to have shared such fun and lovely moments with him.

Original Text: CASA Spanish – English Translate: Tom Trower

TripAdvisor certificate us!

CASA Spanish received the Trip Advisor Excellence Certificate

#ExcellenceCertificate #CertificadodeExcelencia

We are pleased to announce that travel website TripAdvisor has a 2017 Certificate of Excellence to CASA Spanish, thanks to having obtained excellent opinions steadily on TripAdvisor. The travelers gave their opinion on that platform and they are dazzled by the quality of our School. The whole team of CASA Spanish worked hard to achieve that quality and excellence.
Thanks Trip Advisor for this recognition but above all we thank all the students who chose us as their Spanish school in Buenos Aires, thanks to them, every day we renew our commitment to the best service we can offer. Their reviews strengthen our commitment and help to improve everything to make the study of the Spanish language the best of experiences.

This is a nice testimonial of our continuous strive to achieve students satisfaction. We are extremely proud of this achievement and are delighted that we have been recognised by Trip Advisor. We are still young as a company and will continue to make improvements for our students to ensure we cement our place as one the top Spanish Schools in Buenos Aires.

What our students said about us in TripAdvisor

Tyler from New Jersey, USA

I was studying in Buenos Aires with my university in April 2017 and I took Spanish lessons on the side with CASA. I absolutely recommend them!!! One of my biggest worries with a Spanish school was having to learn in a large group where I would not get a tailored experience. (I’d already been learning for a while, and did not want to start at a beginner level again.) CASA worked to assess my personal skills and weaknesses, and then assisted me accordingly. I had my individual Spanish sessions with Rita (who was awesome!) and saw a lot of Xavier around the office. These two are so welcoming and really made me feel at home in Buenos Aires. During breaks we shared mate (an Argentine beverage) and other snacks, and it felt like a cultural immersion experience blended with Spanish class. With this and their around the city experiences (i.e. Sunday BBQ or “asado,” tango classes) it really feels like a community in the city.
All and all, the people were amazing and I really feel like I learned a lot working with CASA. I would highly, highly recommend taking lessons here.

Elmar from Brazil

Estive na Casa Spanish por 5 semanas e só tenho elogios à escola. Em primeiro lugar, a localização é perfeita, em ponto central de Buenos Aires, o que permite explorar as principais atrações da cidade com facilidade após as aulas.
Xavier nos oferece um ambiente de total descontração, o que permite uma rápida integração entre os alunos das mais diversas nacionalidades. Ademais, Xavier está sempre interessado em nos fornecer dicas sobre Buenos Aires.
Minha professora Rita, sempre atenciosa, trata a todos com carinho e paciência.
Enfim, uma experiência altamente recomendável. Para quem estiver em busca por escola de espanhol em Buenos Aires, Casa Spanish é uma excelente escolha.
Em 2018, estarei de volta!

Amy from California, USA

My husband, 12 year old daughter and I took a week of Spanish classes while staying in Buenos Aires. Before arriving we had already been communicating with Xavier, who responded quickly to every email/question I had. Xavier was ready to help us with anything to make our stay in Buenos Aires comfortable and easy. Karen was our teacher, and she was excellent. Our daughter, who says language classes back home are boring, loved our class with Karen. She knew we needed to practice our conversation skills, and she made it fun!! I highly recommended this school!!

Anita from Hong Kong

I had 10 hours of private class with Fede last November. He speaks perfect English and was patient and flexible with my learning pace and needs.
Xavier, the owner, was great too. Apart from showing me options of what to o in BsAs, he found me a private salsa/tango teacher with classes conducted at his school. All added up to an unforgettable time in BsAs.
The tuition fee is reasonable and the school location is good. What more do you need?

5 MUST-SEE LATIN AMERICAN FILMS

So you have finished your spanish class and you want to practice your listening skills, well, a good option is to watch some latin american films. Below we have provided some options available to you.

1. The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina 2009)

el secreto de sus ojos

If you are here in Buenos Aires, this is a must see. Winner of an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, The Secret in Their Eyes, takes place in two time periods, the present (1999) and the past (1974), during one of the most turbulent times in Argentine history.

The story surrounds a retired judiciary employee and a judge, who worked on a murder case 25 years previously. The film looks both at the mystery surrounding the murder, the era in which it happened and the former love between the two main protagonists.

The film stars Ricardo Darin, probably the most famous actor in Argentina, and is directed by Juan José Campanella, a double Oscar nominated Argentine director.

The film is beautifully shot and Campanella builds suspense expertly. It will not only help your Spanish but also give you an insight into the circumstances that preceeded the military coup in Argentina.

2. The Motorcycle Diaries (Argentina, 2004)

Everyone has heard about Che Guevara, the revolutionary who fought for leftist movements all over the world. But what drove this middle class doctor from the suburbs to become a Marxist In 1952, Ernesto Guevara left home for a trip of a lifetime with his friend Alberto Granada. Their aim was to undergo a motorcycle trip throughout Latin America, that would finish up in However along the way, a young Ernesto Guevara experiences the poverty and exploitation that dogged South America during the 50’s (and later). To an extent it is a coming of age film, at this point “Che” doesn’t exist, no arms are raised and no guns fired, but the Ernesto at the end is not Gael Bernal Garcia and Rodrigo de la Serna play the travellers perfectly and the film does not solely show their political views but also allows for the daily annoyances that creep up in any big journey (such as the motorbike breaking down and the pair being short of money). However the star of the show is the cinematography from Eric Gautier. The social injustice is shown in stark contrast to the natural beauty that South America has to offer. It’s hard to watch this film without getting excited about your next journey.

diarios de motocicleta

3. No!

No!

Another film starring Gael Bernal Garcia, No! looks at the 1989 referendum in Chile, which was to decide whether Pinochet should stay in power or the country should be opened up for democratic elections for the first time in 17 years. To give the film an authentic 80’s feel, it is shot through a low resolution camera, which might remind you of old home videos. That might sound a bit annoying but you will find it interesting Although the history of the Pinochet government is dark and the issues surrounding the referendum were very sad, the film is reasonably upbeat. Garcia plays Rene Saavedra, an advertising agent, who is commissioned to produce adverts in favour of restoring democracy (and removing Pinochet’s absolute power). The advertising sub committee thinks the advert should draw on the torture and death that Pinochet has caused. However Saavedra disagrees and instead goes about producing an upbeat campaign that focuses on the opportunities a new Chile would have. The film successfully ties together humour, cinematography and suspense and at the end you will be wanting to find out more about Chile’s recent history. Oh that and you will be humming the song “Chile la alegria ya viene…..”

4. The Milk of Sorrow (Perú, 2009)

The Milk of Sorrow is a beautiful yet haunting Peruvian film that will stick with you for a while. Produced by Claudia Llosa (niece of Mario Vargas Llosa), it holds no punches and looks at the Peruvian military’s strategy of dealing with the Shining Path uprising. Milk of Sorrow is considered a disease in Peru, that children of rape victims suffer. The trauma experienced is said to pass from mother to child via breast milk, and so the suffering continues to be exhibited in the next generation. The main protagonist in the film, Fausta, is suffering from the “disease” and has to deal with the sudden death of her mother. Confused and scared, Fausta takes drastic steps to avoid ending Wonderfully writing and acted, Milk of Sorrow was nominated for an academy award for Best Foreign in 2009, only to lose out to The Secret in Their Eyes. The film will again leave you wanting to find out more about Peru’s recent past and give you an insight into the scars it still displays

la teta asustada

5. Pan’s Labryrinth (Mexico, 2006)

Pans Labyrinth

This Spanish/Mexican film is a dark fantasy, set during the Spanish civil. Ofeila is the step daughter of Vidal, an aggressive military leader and Franco supporter. Ofeila is also able to see fairys who offer her eternal life in return for completing 3 tasks. The story twists back a forth between Ofiela’s fantasy life and the grim reality of living during the Spanish Civil War. The story is perhaps best summarised by Rotten Tomates who state: “Pan’s Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable”. Being a fantasy, many questions are left unanswered, with writer Guilermo del Toro claiming it took him 20 years to finish the story. In the end you will probably be left discussing with your friends the true meaning behind the film. One thing that won’t be debated is the beauty that the film displays, something which lead it to being nominated for an Academy Award.

Read our next list of Latin American Films