South America Living

Learning Spanish with ‘Learned by Me’ Language Program

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Matt Brandewie who is an intern with the ‘Learned by Me’ online Spanish language learning program.

In a perfect world, I’d be fluent in Spanish. I am a Spanish major and I have studied and lived in Spain for almost 6 months. The only thing is that I’m not. Or at least I don’t think I am.

I can read most books and write most papers without the need to look up translations on Google. I can even listen and understand others when they speak the language. However, the reason I don’t consider myself fluent is because of my ability (or lack thereof) to actually speak the language.

Webcam View of Learned by Me Student Taking a Class via SKYPE

Webcam View of Learned by Me Student Taking a Class via SKYPE

Don’t get me wrong, I can speak Spanish. I am just incredibly slow and uncomfortable when I do.

I have no idea why I don’t speak with ease, or even where I went wrong. It could be due to the lack of speaking I’ve actually done in the classroom. It could just be that learning a second language is very difficult for most non-native speakers.

Or it could just be due to a lack of effort that I’ve actually put into learning the language. For all I know, it could be all of the above. Whatever it is, I do know one thing. My Spanish speaking skills improved drastically from living with a host family in Spain.

My host family only spoke Spanish and the one-on-one communication I had with them really sky-rocketed my ability to speak. This kind of interaction and learning opportunity really isn’t offered in the classroom.

About the Learned By Me Spanish Language Program

A fairly similar learning opportunity is offered by a startup company known as Learned By Me.

Learned By Me provides a distinct opportunity to learn Spanish by connecting those that want to learn the language to native speaking teachers living in Ecuador.

It provides one-on-one lessons over Skype that last 45 minutes and only costs $15 per session.

I’m going to be honest. I am currently working as an intern for Learned By Me. Think of this post as a true endorsement of Learned By Me from someone who has been trying to learn Spanish for the last 8 years.

First and foremost, it gives the ability to take lessons from anywhere and at any time. The fascinating part about this is that it provides this convenience while being much less expensive than other tutoringoptions, and all tutors provided are very qualified. They are either Spanish professors that teach at universities or teachers at top language immersion schools, both of which tutor in their free time.

Learned By Me is able to make lessons so inexpensive because of the difference in cost of living between the United States and Ecuador. In this sense, everybody wins. Lessons are made inexpensive to those being tutored, tutors get paid adequately, and everyone helps the current problem of underemployment in Ecuador (unemployment: 10.7% vs. underemployment: 47%).

One crucial element of Learned By Me that’s distinct from a Spanish class or a language learning software is the teachers themselves. The fact that they live in South America and have a completely different culture from us provides a second layer of learning that is rarely offered in other avenues of language learning.

When people are learning a language, not everyone is at the same skill level and people have different desires of what to learn. For example, there is a huge difference between someone that’s preparing for a vacation in a couple weeks and someone that plans on moving to South America in a year.

Every lesson provided by Learned By Me can be customized to suit the skill level and needs of the student.

So I just threw a lot of information at you expressing the benefits of Learned By Me and why it’s so great. But as important as that information is, in addition What Learned By Me is doing is connecting people from all around the world.

If you are gearing up to travel down to Bolivia, Ecuador, or Peru, or if you plan on moving or retiring to Chile or any other beautiful country in South America, and you need to learn Spanish, there’s no need to worry because Learned By Me has got your back, you just go have fun.

Other Language Articles:
When to Admit You’re Hopeless at Learning a Foreign Language

Photograph courtesy of Matt Brandewie, all rights reserved.

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