First things first: I can’t say enough good things about Baja Spanish School in Ensenada (www.spanishschoolbaja.com). My two weeks of Spanish Immersion were un gran exito (a great success).
Sunday afternoon arrival at this small and intimate school found me welcomed by the Director and then seated at a round table with a few others to take the written placement exam. I moved along with ease through about the first 7 or 8 pages (of 10 or 12) until hitting a wall. But…. hey… that’s why I was there; to learn. I did work at my exam for a lot longer than the other folks and the next day it turned out that I had been placed in a more advanced section. I was the only one at my level. Can you spell s-ue-r-t-e (l-u-c-k)? Yes, totally private sessions the whole time. However, even the more beginning class was very small – only 3 students. That is one of Baja Spanish School’s policies.
Remember my anxiety about a Home Stay? My hostess, Diana, met me (along with another younger (much younger!) student at the school after our placement test and led us by car to her home only 4 1/2 blocks from the school. She was a gem. Warm, welcoming, outgoing, fun. The accommodations were spacious if not luxurious. Her home-cooked food was tasty and healthy. Four or five types of fruit every morning for breakfast along with a dish such as heuvos con nopales (yum!), huevos rancheros….All served family style so we could eat as little or as much as we desired without fear of offending. With my young housemate, 20-year old Tanner, now my new best friend, we walked to and from school, as well as for 30-45 minutes every day after comida (our main meal at 2:30) – exploring the city, getting some physical exercise and exercising our budding Spanish as well.
So what’s the bottom line I know a lot more than when I started: more vocabulary, more about the right verb form to use.…They worked on my pronunciation as well.
Now…. you will not mistake me for my bilingual friend, Irene. I can chat about more things, but there’s still too much hesitation for my taste – as I try to think of a word or a verb tense. It’s a process…. and it takes more than two weeks. I knew that, but, yes, I was hoping for miracles. I did keep my resolutions and made some new ones – the most important being to speak ONLY Spanish when with my bilingual friends now that I am back home. And to head back to Baja Spanish School early next year for a weekend or weeklong opportunity to continue on my mission. No, you will not mistake me for a truly bilingual person. Not yet. Mañana.
To reach this great school call 646-190-6049 in Mexico (760) 298-1302 US