What our Spanish Immersion Courses promise you.
If you are thinking of attending one of our very popular Spanish Immersion Courses then you may want to read some reviews that have been sent in from our previous students.
As you read them, pay special attention to the word ‘confianza/confidence’. The reason we say that is because this is the promise we make to all of our attendees:
If you attend this course, we promise that you will come out of it with more confidence.
Once you’ve read the reviews you will see that our Spanish Immersion Courses do just that!
Mandy Colman (UK)
Hello Gordon Cynthia and Aña sorry for the English but I want to be sure to convey all the right feelings.
Robert Maguire (USA)
|I’ve just returned from the June 2018 Immersion Course in Torrejon de Ardoz.|
If you’re on the fence about attending the course, I can’t recommend it highly enough, no matter your level. Go with an open mind and an open heart and you will have an unforgettable experience. All of the participants in my course improved, from the one with the least amount of Spanish to those with a much higher level.I had a few goals for the course. First, to reap the benefits of face-to-face instruction from the superb teaching team of Gordon, Cynthia, and Ana. The only disa ppointment in this category was that we didn’t have a lot of time with Cynthia. We saw her the first day and towards the end of the course. But, that letdown was more than compensated for by the skills of Gordon and Ana. They are helpful, knowledgeable to the “N-th” degree, and very passionate about teaching. And really, really nice, friendly people to boot.
My second goal was to see Spain again. I had lived in Madrid and Salamanca during my junior year of college and I loved my time in the country. Actually, until I returned, I didn’t realize how much I missed España. If you decide to take the course, I can’t recommend enough that you take a few days extra (or more if you can) and explore as much of the country as possible. I could easily have spent another wee k there. The first day I was in Madrid, I went to the Prado; the next day, I trekked to Avila; made a short trek to Alcala de Henares (birthplace of Cervantes) at the end of the course; and after the immersion course was over, I headed to my adopted city of Salamanca.
It was absolutely wonderful.
My third and final goal was to learn as much Spanish as I could. For the most part, that learning came in the form of improving my conversational skills. I already have a pretty solid foundation in grammar, having studied Spanish for nigh on 8 years, so my real progress came during the chat sessions that we had every evening with friends and family of Cynthia and Gordon. I really gained a lot of confidence doing that. I also pretty much made a point of sticking to Spanish the entire time I was there. Not always successfully, but for the most part yes. And I definitely got results from that strategy. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I understood and really surprised at how well I spoke.
All that progress came from just pushing through the discomfort, the fear that I would look foolish. The first day in Spain, when speaking with people on the street and elsewhere, I was lost. But I persisted and it just got better. I went on walking tours in Avila and Salamanca and insisted on the ones in Spanish. My “final exam” came in Salamanca when I went on a tour and understood 95% of what was said! I was quite proud of myself. I am no special super linguist. It all came from immersing in the language as much as possible.
My best advice for one and all is to simply speak Spanish from the moment the plane’s wheel touch the tarmac until you leave…and then keep on keeping on once you get home!
Other than the too easy classroom lessons, all the other parts of the course were spot on for me. A nice mixture of chats in Spanish and exposure to Spanish culture. And if you watch the videos on the website regularly, you will immediately recognize all the members of the Smith-Duran clan. This immersion course is definitely a family affair, which I like very much. Cynthia’s parents come to speak to the class and Cynthia’s sister came to all the evening chat sessions. Cynthia and Gordon are very lucky. They have a wonderful family.
A couple of housekeeping points. The hotel I stayed at, the Madrid Plaza, is perfectly adequate. It’s not a five star, but very quiet and clean. The staff is friendly and, of course, ready to “habla español”. Some folks complained about the breakfast, but I found it to be the standard European breakfast fare of rolls, cold cuts, fruit and pastries. Perfectly adequate.
For me, the big selling point for the Madrid Plaza is that it is only about 200 meters from the train station. I took full advantage of that. The first day, I jumped on the “Cercanías” (I guess I would call it the Spanish version of a commuter train line) to Madrid Atocha to get to the Prado. To my mind, very inexpensive, Euro 2.60. Takes about 40 minutes to get to Atocha and Chamartin (a station used to catch trains to other parts of Spain). Check out http://www.renfe.com/viajer… for more info.
Speaking of trains, I was very impressed with the intercity train system. A BIG improvement from when I lived in Spain from 1975 to 1976. Modern, clean trains are the order of the day and I found them to be very inexpensive. It cost me Euro 38 for a round trip to Salamanca and about Euro 20 for a round trip to the beautiful city of Avila. I think those fares are very reasonable. And I love riding trains. No better way to see the countryside and meet people. www.renfe.com.
One final comment about the trains. When you arrive at the airport, be “adventurous” and take the “Cercanías” from the airport to Torrejon. It is easy as pie. And only costs Euro 2.60 to get to Torrejon. Jump on the train to Madrid Chamartin and then transfer to either the C2 or C7 headed towards Alcala de Henares or Guadalajara. Altogether it will take a little over an hour to 1.5 hours. Very easy and a lot cheaper than taking a Euro 20 (or more) taxi.
The bottom line? Go for it. You won’t regret it. It is loads of fun.
Matt Dallas Gordon (USA)
I just returned from a weeklong Spanish immersion class in a small town outside of Madrid with LightSpeed Spanish. The group was run by owners Gordon and Cynthia Smith, and their colleague, Ana. There were approximately 12 other people in the class, and it was a wonderful experience. I discovered Gordon and Cynthia over the Internet approximately five years ago, and since then I have watch their videos over and over. They’re excellent teachers, and I can now testify based on my personal firsthand experience that they are also wonderful people.
My fellow classmates and I stayed at the same hotel and we began each day having breakfast together before starting class at at 10 AM. We then studied until 2 PM, and then had a wonderful lunch before taking a break and heading out for an afternoon excursion.
It was essentially nonstop Spanish from morning until well into the night, and the classes and cultural experiences were all incredible. In addition to the formal learning in the classroom, Cynthia, Gordon, and Ana made sure that we were thoroughly exposed to the wonderful culture and people of the city, Including several members of Cynthia‘s family who were gracious enough to spend significant quality time with me and my classmates.
I give Cynthia, Gordon, Ana, and LightSpeed Spanish the highest recommendation possible. If you’re looking to take your Spanish to the next level, while also having an incredible personal and educational experience abroad, I highly encourage you to consider signing up for the LightSpeed Spanish immersion class.
Matthew Dallas Gordon
Eszter Kondasz (Hungary)
Yo recomendaría este curso a todos que estén hasta las narices con los libros de texto que no tienen nada que ver con la realidad. En mi opinión, este curso te dará una oportunidad para salir de tu zona de confort y finalmente atrever a hablar en español en la vida real. En un ambiente motivador, rodeado de gente amable y divertida es más fácil tener confianza y aprender español con eficacia y rapidez.
(Translated) I would recommend this course to everyone who is fed up with text books that haven’t got anything to do with reality. In my opinion, this course will give you the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and finally dare to speak in Spanish in real life. In a motivating atmosphere, surrounded by friendly and fun people it’s easier to have more confidence and to learn Spanish with efficiency and speed.
Michael and Veronica Robinson (Spain)
Although my wife and I live in Spain our general conversational abilities in Spanish are not up to the mark. It was for this reason we attended the Lightspeed Spanish Immersion Course. It was quite the best decision we have yet made in our endeavours to speak Spanish. Over the week our confidence grew on a daily basis.
Our three tutors are all highly professional and were nothing but encouraging the whole time. Each lesson was constructed to be both informative and enjoyable.
If you are looking to improve your Spanish conversational skills sign up quickly. You won’t regret it.
Ian Gray (Scotland)
El curso era una de las mejores experiencias de mi vida. Me gustaron el aula,
las excursiones, el hotel, Torrejon, la comida, todas las cosas. Me gustó mucho hablar con los nativos y con Jose Luiz sobre el fútbol. Ahora tengo muchos nuevos amigos, amigos de por vida. Los echo de menos.
(Translated) The course was one of the best experiences of my life. I like the classroom, the excursions,, the hotel, Torrejon, the food, everything. I liked talking with the natives a lot and with Jose Luis (Cynthia’s father) about football. Now I have many new friends, friends for life. I miss them.
Kathy Field (USA)
En la clase de inmersión de Lightspeed Spanish, tuvimos la oportunidad de aprender el uso del subjuntivo, frases, vocabulario y más. Después de dos horas en la clase, íbamos a la plaza o a otros lugares para hablar con la gente nativa, y practicar lo que habíamos aprendido. Tuvimos más oportunidades de hablar español durante la semana con los primos y los padres de Cynthia, su tía, y la gente que vive en el pueblo. Estos fueron las mejores clases de español que he tenido en mi vida, porque los maestros son muy graciosos, nos presentan la información de una manera muy fácil, y nos explican como podemos hablar con más confianza en nuestras vidas.
Os recomiendo que hagáis este curso si queréis mejorar vuestro español.
(Translated) In the LightSpeed Spanish Immersion class, we had the opportunity to learn the use of the subjunctive, sentences, vocabulary and more. After two hours in the class, we would go to the square or to other places to speak with native people and to practise what we had learnt. We had more opportunities to speak Spanish during the week with Cynthia’s cousins and parents, her aunt, and the people who live in the town. Those were the best Spanish classes that I have had in my life, because the teachers are very funny, they present the information to us in an easy way, and they explain to us how we can talk with more confidence in our lives.
I recommend to you all that you do this course if you want to improve your Spanish.
Joy Hood (England)
El curso realizó y, en realidad, superó mis expectativas, porque a diferencia de otros cursos a los que he asistido, en los desafíos había diversión. Todo el grupo hablaba español fuera de las clases excepto cuando nos era necesario para tratar de explicar lo que intentábamos decir. ¡Los otros fueron de gran ayuda y por supuesto los profesores!
(Translated) The course achieved and, in reality, exceeded my expectations, because, unlike other courses which I have attended, in the challenges there was fun. All the group spoke in Spanish except when it was necessary for us to try to explain what we were trying to say. The others were a great help and of course, the teachers!
Donna Chen (Canada)
Yo quisiera deciros, a los profesores y a los estudiantes, que la experiencia fue inolvidable para mí. Después de pocos días de conoceros, me sentía muy cómoda y podía relajarme y disfrutar el ambiente, aunque tuve nervios el primer día cuando los profesores nos mandaron a la calle a hacer ‘La Encuesta’. Ay, Madre Mía. ¡Qué me temblaban mis rodillas! Pero al día siguiente mejoró. Entonces, el viernes llegó y el curso terminó antes de que nos dieramos cuenta.
Abrazos a todos y gracias a vosotros por una semana muy agradable. Y abrazos también a José Luis, a Mercedes, a Guillermo, a Leti y a Ana. Tenéis una familia muy cariñosa y me gustó mucho conocerla.
(Translated) I would like to say to the teachers and to the students that the experience was unforgettable for me. After a few days of getting to know you, I felt very comfortable and I could relax and enjoy the atmosphere, although I was nervous the fist day when the teachers sent us to the street to do the survey. Goodness! My knees were trembling! But the next day improved. Then, Friday arrived and the course finished before we realised.
Hugs to everyone and thanks to you all for a very pleasant week. And hugs also to Jose Luis, to Mercedes, to Guillermo, to Leti and to Ana. You have a very loving family and I really liked meeting them.
Brenda Olsen (Scotland/Norway)
¡Qué semana de maravilla! Asistí al primer curso de inmersión de Lightspeed Spanish – y lo recomiendo de todo corazón.
Sabia de antemano que todo estaría muy bien organizado. Quiero decir que ya conocemos a estos chicos de LSS! Así que, lo sabía:D
Gordon es muy creativo y sabe EXACTAMENTE qué, cómo y por qué él quiere que aprendamos. Las actividades están desarrolladas perfectamente para estimular y mejorar nuestras habilidades a la hora de hablar en español.
Disfruté muchísimo las clases por la mañana con Cynthia y Gordon. Ana también es un encanto. Una buena profesora y una persona muy amable y abierta. Fue un gran placer poder conocer a Ana también.
No te preocupes por nada, si te sientes que no hablas muy bien. No hay nadie que vaya a obligar a alguien que haga nada si no se siente cómodo haciéndolo. ¡Siempre sólo te animan durante el proceso. Además, trabajas mucho en parejas, es decir, en equipo con los demás compañeros de clase. Las actividades nos ayudan a salir de nuestra zona de confort y es una función importantísima. Claro, es bueno para nosotros, y vale la pena, absolutamente. Ha aumentado, sin duda, mi confianza a la hora de hablar en español y notaba la diferencia enseguida.
El curso de inmersión ha avivado mí pasión por el idioma español aún más. Quiero hablar con más fluidez y quiero darles las gracias a Gordon, a Cynthia y a Ana por la inspiración y el apoyo. Y gracias a mis compañeros de clase por toda la diversión y la compañia. Un abrazo fuerte, Brenda
(Translated by Brenda)
Mags Varey (England)
Did the course meet my expectations?
Yes, absolutely. The course was better than I had anticipated and I enjoyed every minute. The group size was about right – any more than ten would have been too big and the classroom was not large enough to accommodate more.
What did I like best?
Hard to say. There wasn’t anything I thought was a waste of time or not relevant. It was useful doing all the grammar bits, especially the direct and indirect pronouns which I never understand. You also covered lots of really useful stuff that would be use everyday. Ordering food/drink, paying the bill, asking directions, approaching people in the street, going to the Dr. etc. I enjoyed the mix of theory and exercises, including the exercises outside which added another dimension to the experience.
The course was full-on which again I enjoyed. I have a friend who has been on another course and they had lots of down time to relax. I came on the course to learn – I can relax at home! – so was pleased we were fully occupied.
Having Guillermo, Leticia, Ana, Mercedes and Jose Louis involved was a master stroke. Another opportunity to speak to different people and listen – listening and understanding what people say to me is my biggest difficulty. They were all lovely people, attentive and interesting.
Well, I think my comments above spell it out. Three excellent trainers with the skills needed to encourage students, explain theories in a simple manner and patience with students when we didn’t grasp something.
The restaurant for lunch.
Great to be in the Plaza Mayor for lunch and coffee each day. I would have preferred to have eaten outside at lunchtime given we spent quite a lot of time in the classroom but understand that could have been problematic with a group of 10/11 people. Food was fine for me – understanding the menu was the biggest challenge!
Again for me it was fine. My room was at the back and therefore quiet and cool. Breakfast more than adequate and the staff were friendly and helpful.
Many thanks again to you all. I now have to do a short presentation about the course for my college friends. You might get some business from them!
Katharine D’Arcy (England)
Hi Gordon and Cynthia!
I just wanted to drop you an email with some feedback on the course.
When we had to fill in the form on Friday my brain was so ‘fried’ I couldn’t really remember what we had done, let alone how I felt about it!
With the benefit of 2 days back home I can see how extraordinary the experience was. I’m still thinking in Spanish all day, finding subjunctives everywhere and mulling over pronouns/word order etc obsessively.
I loved everything we did, although the reading aloud in class, being recorded and then having to listen and watch yourself is probably the most excruciating experience I’ve ever had. My toes are just about uncurling now! However, for me it was the most valuable exercise of the course. It just reiterated everything you’ve ever said about pronunciation.
The other activity which sticks out in my mind was Ana’s tips on how to read Spanish without looking at the dictionary every other word. I tried this with Harry Potter on the flight home and I was amazed at the difference it made.
I read out loud this morning and intend to carry on every day.
It’s only now we’re home I can see clearly how amazing it was to actually speak in Spanish from getting up and going to bed, with only the odd bit of English slipping in, and understanding a lot of it.
Finally, the other students; well what a lovely group, everybody was so helpful, funny and friendly. It was great to meet you both, the teaching from you and Ana was perfect, as I knew it would be from the videos.
Finally, we want to come next year in October if you still have spaces. By then I hope to be ‘una crack’ !!!
All the best
Scott Hibbert (United States)
Ruth Garret (UK)
The hotel was very good. The staff were friendly and happy to chat. My room was comfortable and clean with shower gel, shampoo and soap topped up daily. The breakfast was basic…coffee, toast and fruit (an apple or pear) which was less than I would normally eat at home and sometimes it seemed a long wait for lunch. Perhaps I should have had some churros at the coffee break!
Restaurant and Tapas Bar
The restaurant at lunchtime was very good indeed. The menu del día varied from day to day and all the staff were very helpful and friendly. The last evening we went to a different one and here the staff were friendly and came to chat to us and the food was good. It was absolutely brilliant that we had Cynthia’s cousins come in to talk with us every evening. They are such intelligent, amusing, kind and caring people. The only problem was that because we were sitting round a table it depended where they sat if you had the opportunity to speak to them.
The Tutors and Teaching
I had experienced Cynthia and Gordon’s teaching in videos on YouTube and in Ser Socio and knew beforehand that they are both excellent teachers and they didn’t dissappoint. Gordon knows the pitfalls and difficulties we experience as adult learners and has a knack of simplifying grammar and giving tips to remember it. I enjoyed Ana’s style of teaching too.
The Tasks and Excursions
All very well thought out to get us speaking to the natives. The first task was great fun….finding 3 cafés with only the address and a photo to go on (no map). The only way to find them was to ask locals for directions. This task gave my confidence a real boost.
The second task was to create a survey with a partner and then take it out on to the streets.
The dance class was brilliant! What fun! I was so busy trying to learn the merengue that I didn’t even notice that all the instructions were in Spanish!
I enjoyed the visit to Miercoles …to find something unusual to buy and talking to the stall holders.
The excursions to La Casa Grande and El Museo de La Ciudad de Torrejón de Ardoz were both very enjoyable wih knowledgeable guides to show us round.
Feeling more confident with speaking I did a little excursion of my own to buy a bra! Not easy. All different styles and sizes and I had to ask for what I wanted because they were all in boxes benind the counter. I was able to explain the type of bra I wanted with no problems. The assistant was so kind, and even complimented me on my Spanish (bless her). Of course I made mistakes, but I didn’t feel anxious about them.
I consider myself to be very fortunate to have been part of a very caring and supportive group of people.
Just a thought
Just wondering if Gordon would consider fitting in an extra session of Hypnotherapy right at the beginning of the course for participants who feel particularly anxious?
I enjoyed the course very much. Having Cynthia’s parents come to talk to us at the Academy was a fantastic bonus and way over and above my expectations. What wonderful people they are. It was also great to see Sebastian and Damian…and even Douglas!
I am now feeling so much more confident when speaking Spanish and my mind is much calmer when doing so. I don’t feel so anxious or the need to beat myself up over mistakes I make, and this is new to me. I am also able to speak more spontaneously than previously. Thank you so much LightSpeed Spanish for a fantastic experience.
Diane Gruver (USA)
I want to tell you again what a wonderful program you have created. I just can’t imagine how you can improve on it as for me it was absolutely perfect, but I’m sure you will continue to use your creativity to come up with new ways to make learning Spanish fun and exciting.
I just returned Monday night from my Barcelona experience with International House. The school offered a good program with good teachers but it just wasn’t a thorough program like yours. We studied 3 hours, 10-1, were on our own for lunch, then at 3 met with our teacher for an excursion conducted in spanish. I also went with the group on the weekend day trip up the Costa Brava to Girona and Tasso del mar.With students staying all over the city, most with family, the group never really clicked. I just loved our group in Torrejon, we clicked and had a great time.
Gordon, thanks again for such a wonderful experience. You’ve got a great product I truly believe in and will continue to promote you and your school. I told all the students at Intl House and this week I’ve been telling the students in my 2 NJ & 1 NYC classes.
I wish you well and have to say I’ve known you/Cynthia for a long time now and I’m so very happy for you and all you’ve accomplished through your hard work and natural talents for teaching, you should be very proud of yourselves. I hope to return to your school in the future and for now I plan to check into becoming a “ser socio”. Abrazos y besos a todos,