by Alison Baglien, Greenheart Travel Language School Participant
….on the road again…after a wonderful Christmas holiday at home I’m one with the travelers again.
The next piece of my sabbatical is taking language lessons. I’m studying Spanish at The Amauta School in Cusco, Peru. The reasoning behind Spanish lessons is two-fold: to improve my very basic Spanish speaking abilities so that when I get to Ecuador in a month to volunteer and live with a host family it will be an easier transition, and to gain more knowledge in the hopes of at least being pseudo bi-lingual someday.
The Amauta School itself is a “combination of educational, social and adventure programs customized to suit the student´s preferences while enriching their experience with the surrounding ancient Inca ruins of Cusco.” And the school truly does do all of the above. Each week a schedule is printed of goings on both around town and around school. The school itself hosts weekly movie nights, salsa lessons, music/cooking lessons, lectures on the culture and much more. The school also has an in-house travel agency that is great at taking care of tours, trips, and treks!
Students were given the option of living with a host family in Peru or living in the school residences. I opted for the school residences because I wanted an atmosphere I wouldn’t feel as stressed about the language barrier….which hasn’t exactly been true. In regard to the other students, 95% of the students here can speak English either as a first or second language (many students here know at least three or more languages!). The faculty and staff speak only Spanish both in and out of class, which has been difficult at times but I think will help in the end.
There have been many moments where I’ve misunderstood or just answered “si” and have said things such as, ” I live in Africa, I don’twant to go anywhere with her (the girl sitting next to me in class), I’m bored of this class,” etc. Pronunciation seems to get me in trouble from time to time, but everyone in the class is in the same boat so we’ve quickly become friends and with that able to laugh at one another. With that being said, it’s incredible the amount of Spanish that has both come back to me and that I’ve learned in just one week! All in all living in the residence has been a great experience thus far, and I’ve met some really wonderful people!
Read more of Alison’s travels on her blog site Off Exploring…