Arriving in Montevideo with very basic Spanish it seemed like a good idea to enrol in a language course as soon as possible!
I wanted find a 1 week (or longer) intensive course to get me up to speed but also ongoing to have 2 hour classes twice weekly to help me along afterwards. Additionally I was hoping to find a group course for the 1st week so I could meet a few people.
I found two schools near our new apartment in Punta Carretas; both of which I visited prior to choosing. They both offer much the same courses at similar premises but one is not only cheaper than the other but also more friendly – guess which I picked!?!
The school’s details are provided at the end of this article and their website can be found at La Herradura – Spanish School. The director is called Fernando Pessano and if he is not available a very helpful woman called Virgina (also a teacher) will normally be present. The premises are located in a barrio/district named Parque Rodo – a 5-10 min cab ride from Punta Carretas (about US $3).
The immediate advantage this school has over the others I called is that they can speak English – an asset when the thing you want to pay for is the ability to speak Spanish. Other schools could not (or were not prepared to) have a discussion about courses in English. Teaching at La Herradura is all in Spanish and is an immersion course but to agree the pricing and courses you want in English is a useful way to be sure its correct before you start to learn!
The pricing structure I was offered was very competitive and was broken down into:
- 1 week superintensive (3 hours individual time) = US $250
- 2 x 2 hours classes per week = US $19 per hour (discounted further due to 4 month commitment from myself)
In addition to the competitive rates they are also prepared to accept payment in monthly installments in advance so you can break the costs down over time.
Unfortunately at the time I wanted to start (and wasnt flexible on dates) there was no group class available, they did however offer 3 hours per day for one week of one to one tuition – in hindsight I think I learned better in this environment. Prior to commencement of the course they also offer a free level evaluation exam to ensure you get the right level of education.
I have an the whole been extremely satsified with La Herradura. The teachers are all extremely friendly, approachable and more importantly knowledgable – both of the Spanish language and Uruguay/Montevideo in general. The school has been very flexible in accomodating awkward time constraints I imposed and accepts US dollars or Uruguayan pesos.
The superintensive 1 week course was certainly very hard work and I left each day exhausted; however I felt my Spanish improve markedly by the end of the week and no longer felt embarrased to go to shops/restaurants and speak in Spanish – I had removed some of the guess work for my audience as well! 😉
The twice weekly 2 hour classes have been running for 2 weeks now and it is the right choice for me. Having a Spanish speaking girlfriend and some Spanish speaking friends I am fortunate enough to have Spanish speakers who are easily accessible for practice and just want some guidance from the school as I learn the language by living in it.
The twice weekly classes also ensure I dont get lazy because I always have homework (1 hour max) to do for each class so I can never take too much time off from the language – exactly what I need to keep me motivated and on track!
In addition to the language courses the school also runs excursions to various locations in Uruguay, social events and courses (for example Salsa, Tango etc). They do also offer accomodation for those people wishing to stay in the city only for a short time. I have not yet attended any of these classes/functions and have never stayed in the accomodation but they look perfectly reasonable from walking past.
The contact details of the school are:
Address: Joaquim de Salterain 1240, C.P.11200, Montevideo, Uruguay
Phone: +598 2 4097894
If taking a taxi to the school – tell them it is on the corner of Joaquin de Salterain and Guana (esquina de Joaquin de Salterain y Guana).