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!
Lindy Clay (UK 2022)
Hola Gordon, Cynthia, Ana y Blanca,
I want to say how much I enjoyed the course, the classes and the group interaction.
Thanks for all the hard work and trust that the next group will be equally successful.
I was probably a bit more backward in coming forward which is down to my lacking confidence in my speaking ability, but immersion is a no-brainer to help with that.
I just need longer!! 😂
The books look great which I hope to get stuck into soon, as well as the weekly group lessons which are very enjoyable.
Linda Dawson (Valencia 2022)
This is a well-designed course. There are so many opportunities to learn. The Lessons were a lot of fun and at the right level of challenge. The extracurricular activities were also highly entertaining. I really enjoyed the evening tapas and the conversations with the delightful and interesting young people who joined us. Inviting them to come and converse with us over supper was inspired.
This course has been really good for me because I had so many opportunities to speak and listen to my class companions. We were motivated by the teachers and consistently spoke Spanish amongst ourselves.
The group of people was phenomenal. I enjoyed the company of so many thoughtful kind and interesting people during the week I cannot recommend the experience highly enough
Myra Wiseman (UK 2022)
Thank you, Gordon, Cynthia, Ana and Blanca, for a wonderful week on the September 2022 immersion course. I had such a lovely time! I agree with just about everything other reviewers have written so, without being too repetitious, I’d just like to add a few words emphasizing what makes this course stand out from others.
I have been on several other intensive course in some of Spain’s many beautiful cities. This course was, without doubt, the most enjoyable!
Lessons were fun and informal with an emphasis on conversation and a relaxed atmosphere. The teachers were all very encouraging and enthusiastic. (Other courses have tended to be a bit more formal, relying on set texts with more emphasis on grammar but less on conversation.)
The big difference between this course and others is that accommodation, meals and activities are included. All the group stayed together in one of two hotels, had all meals together and enjoyed all the activities (Flamenco lesson, escape room and wine tasting) together. Everyone was super friendly so by the end of the week we all felt we had made 20+ new best friends! (Other courses usually don’t include accommodation and meals so there is less opportunity to get to know your fellow students and have fun.)
On my way home, I found that I was thinking in Spanish a bit. When I got off the bus near my house I said ‘Muchas Gracias’ to the driver. He looked at me blankly.
The meals were delicious – I couldn’t resist the desserts! I haven’t had to eat that much since I’ve been home so I’m saving a bit on my food bill and putting my savings towards my next trip to Spain!
Abrazos a todos los profesores,
Ben Smeaton (UK 2022)
I absolutely loved my time on the Spanish immersion course with lightspeed Spanish in September 2022.
The price was very reasonable for what was on offer i.e. hotel, all meals, classes every day between 10am and 13.30pm, afternoon activities in Spanish (some were additional extras) and the opportunity to practice Spanish after the evening meal with native Spanish speakers. I can’t think of how they could have made the course any better if I’m honest.
I have studied Spanish for around 3 years and believe myself to be at an intermediate to advanced level. I was relatively new to lightspeed Spanish having discovered them on YouTube and their approach to the lessons is the best I have encountered in my 3 years of learning. What helps, is that Gordon is a native English speaker who speaks perfect Spanish. This is particularly useful to Spanish learners who are native English speakers because Gordon has been there and got the t-shirt. He has learned the hard way and knows all the common errors native English speakers make and provides advice which will save you lots of frustrating hours trying to understand grammar concepts. For example, after 2 weeks of using it, I have gained a greater understanding of how to apply the subjunctive mood with Gordon’s “triggers” approach, than I did in a year of using the traditional methods of teaching. This is not an exaggeration! I no longer make stupid faces trying to figure out if something is an opinion, obligation, wish etc before I speak a sentence, I just use the subjunctive “trigger” and bam, there you have it. I just wish I’d discovered lightspeed Spanish sooner!
A side from the excellent classes every day, the whole group was so well looked after. Cynthia was always asking if we had eaten well, what the hotel was like etc. Just generally making sure that everyone in the group remained comfortable and happy with arrangements.
Students on the course were grouped according to their level in Spanish, so there were groups for beginners through to advanced. My message is therefore, if you are beginner, don’t worry that you will feel overwhelmed or find it too difficult. Equally, if you are an intermediate or advanced speaker, you will be put into a group that challenges you. There was a noticeable improvement and increase in confidence in all of the learners by the end of course. Gordon, Cynthia and their team were all so lovely and welcoming. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Kara Brody (USA 2022)
Hello everyone, I wanted to spend some time talking about the amazing trip I just had with Lightspeed Spanish in Torrejón de Ardoz. Like others, I had wanted to do something like this for quite a long time but was always unsure; after all it naturally involves meeting abroad with people you’ve never met! I had also spent less time with Lightspeed Spanish than I had in my beginner and intermediate stages and I didn’t know if that would put me at a disadvantage. My Spanish is mostly a mix of Latin American countries and I was scrambling to get more exposure to European Spanish accents before the trip began.
In the end I decided to join in because an immersion trip like this combines traveling, language learning, and encountering other new cultures. Some of my favorite things! I had also always thought Cynthia and Gordon seemed like wonderful people to meet. I was right!
I came away from this trip with more than I ever even thought to get out of it. Not only has my Spanish improved, I’ve made lifelong friendships and connections. There wasn’t a single person on that trip I wouldn’t like to hear from in the future. You find a community in other people with a passion for Spanish and the world. I’ve been home for a few days now and I keep thinking about how much I want to be back in Spain!
You might think I simply dream of returning to Spain as a diversion from my daily life. But more than anything I miss Spain because of the atmosphere that Cynthia and Gordon created. It was an atmosphere of encouragement, laughs, learning, expansion, and ease. They brought with them two additional teachers (Ana and Blanca 🌻🌺) who brought their own unique and memorable approaches that I will never forget. Cynthia and Gordon are wonderful people who attract wonderful people to work with them. They made the classroom enjoyable and understandable. Rather than slow or didactic, the lessons were dynamic, engaging, and appropriately challenging.
The only advice I have for improving the program is to provide more encouragement for attendees to use their Spanish more. There were people of all levels together outside of classes (which were divided by level) and there was definitely a temptation to speak English to connect with people at the beginner levels. As an advanced speaker, I would ideally not have used any English at all. Although I have to admit I loved contending with the British and Irish on what really constitutes a cookie! Having Cynthia’s family members speak to us in Spanish during dinners was a big help in keeping people in Spanish.
Here are some of the things I’ve noticed about my Spanish over the last week and since I’ve returned home:
– I am more comfortable using my Spanish in all situations. In fact somewhat comically, I have to remind myself I’m not still in Spain and I don’t have to try to speak Spanish everytime I do something like go through a drive-thru.
– Having spent time talking to other students about their experiences and struggles with language learning has made me relax immensely. It has pulled out my humourous side which makes me believe that I’m being more myself and focusing less on my nerves.
– I didn’t have any mental trouble staying in Spanish for hours on end. Normally my brain hurts after an hour long Zoom class, but the immersion adjusted me quite quickly!
– In fact, now I feel the need to be in Spanish in order to seek comfort. In the past, I would seek comfort in English after a long day or during a long car ride, vice finding Spanish language content.
– I am filled with an intense motivation to continue inproving and fulfill my dream of speaking Spanish at a native level.
– I look at Spanish more like a normal and natural occurance, rather than my imperfect level of Spanish being an inconvenience to others.
– As partial as I am to Latin American Spanish, I was able to experience the richness of European Spanish first hand, and it’s found a new place in my heart.
– Words come to me more quickly and I’ve found myself attempting to use Spanish structures in English!
Honestly, I wish I’d done this years ago. But I’m also really glad I didn’t, because I’m so grateful for all of the people that I met and made friendships with. As a typically unemotional person, I felt emotional all day Friday knowing that we would have to part ways for a while. Nevertheless, I know I’ve made lasting connections with these four wonderful teachers and my compañeros en el aprendizaje. Buena suerte a las futuras generaciones de viajes de inmersión!!
Ann Walsh (UK 2022)
The course was a wonderful experience on so many levels. I feel very lucky to have been part of such a terrific intake. Although there were three groups, there was huge interaction between them socially, so we all got to know each other well.
Everything we did together was great fun and everybody was so supportive of each other. There was a huge age range amongst the students but this was no barrier to a great time being had by all. The teachers were fun, approachable, informative and enthusiastic.
Well done for keeping a smile on your faces when your language is being brutalised! There was a lot of variety in the classroom activities, important to keep interest and involvement. The activities were fun and, whilst the Spanish was a bit beyond me, it was good to listen and try and understand.
I was happy with the accommodation and the staff were friendly. The lunches and evening meals were excellent and plentiful. The Jool had the best food but unfortunately, for a few, the noise made conversation too difficult and they left before the food arrived. It didn’t bother me so much but it did make conversation rather challenging.
The evening chat times with your Spanish family is such an excellent way of setting the course apart from others. They were patient and encouraging. My only disappointment was not getting the chance to talk to all of them. I guess I’ll just have to return!
Julie Brockenshaw (UK 2022)
The immersion week I have just spent in Torrejón de Ardoz was very special. I had been thinking of doing something like this for a good while now and am so glad I finally took the plunge.
Choosing to do it with LightSpeed Spanish was a no brainer for me as I, like many others who have watched Gordon & Cynthia’s videos, have been encouraged by their prolific teachings, warm-hearted openness and humorous approach. To be able to experience this first-hand with the added bonus of the wonderful Ana and Blanca conducting lessons as well made the whole experience extra special.
I’m not going to lie, I did feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights at times. The variety of the classes is such that I couldn’t get my brain into gear quick enough to process some of the tasks but in retrospect, I feel it’s all part of the process. We all have strengths and weaknesses and the atmosphere is one of total encouragement.
The shared meal times and extra-curricular activities were a very enjoyable and informative part of the week for me. The opportunity to speak Spanish with members of Cynthia’s family in the evening was very much appreciated.
Because people are at different stages in their Spanish language journey, it helps that the classes are at different levels but, I would encourage everyone to take advantage of speaking Spanish as much as possible otherwise it can be too easy to over-use English. This course provides an ideal opportunity to push through your comfort zone in a supportive and encouraging manner.
Another fantastic experience is the friendship side. From the off, everyone was eager to connect and make positive strides in their learning journey. I honestly feel I have made life-long bonds.
Thanks to all at Team LightSpeed Spanish for making this such a wonderful and encouraging experience.
To anyone still on the fence – there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. ¡Adelante!
Ann Jordan (2022)
I was anxious to join in the course because everyone sounded quite fluent in our chat group.
Gordon reassured me not to worry. The teachers were all very reassuring that at the beginning we will feel apprehensive, and then by midweek we will start settling down. They were right.
The lessons were current and the way they were delivered were varied so you never know what’s coming. In fact, there was really nothing to worry about as the teachers were all lovely and helpful.
The accommodation was better than I anticipated. It was always clean with a helpful staff and the best part is that there was an air conditioner! Everything was within walking distance, the language school, the accommodation, the restaurants.
I am also glad that Gordon and Cynthia’s books were available to buy. I have 2 of their books already and found them to be very useful that I bought 3 more.
Having spent the week with the teachers and the others in the immersion who I share a passion for Spanish has inspired me to keep studying and to improve. Hope I could carry on once I start my new job.
Marie Fryers (UK 2022)
I have just come home after a brilliant week on the Lightspeed Spanish (LSS) immersion course, and I am so pleased that I decided to go along.
Before I went on the course, I had lots of nervousness. It was my first time travelling alone, other than for work, and my first time attempting to speak Spanish more than my usual hour a week practice. I wondered whether I would discover that my Spanish was too basic, and I was worried that I’d be completely out of my depth. I wondered whether I would gel with the other students. Just a week later, I am reflecting on a brilliant learning experience that was beyond my expectations. What stands out for me is the welcoming atmosphere, and feeling of safety that was created by the LSS team.
Ahead of arriving in Torrejón, we’d connected via Telegram, and Gordon had shared videos of the routes from the bus to the hotel, and the academy. And, I’d virtually met a few people ahead, so we quickly connected once together face to face. The classroom experience was great fun. My worries about my level of Spanish were quickly dispelled as we were put into groups according to our current abilities.
Then, with a diverse group of people, and a mix of teachers including Gordon and Cynthia, I heard different questions being asked that I hadn’t thought of, which helped me learn and we supported one another massively. There was lots of opportunity to practice speaking Spanish, including meeting with native speakers over dinner who came along to chat to us all. Just a delightful, joyful time and a week full of great memories. I made new friends, I practiced Spanish, I ate wonderful food, I danced and laughed so much.
My confidence in my ability to use my Spanish grew enormously. I feel like I’ve accelerated my learning journey and I know loads of lovely people from around the world with the same passion of language learning as me. Thank you LSS, and thank you to the amazing class of September 2022. You’re all fabulous. x
Louise Carlisle (Ireland) May 2019
Firstly I must thank the three of you for a wonderful week. It was a challenge at times and I know at one point the enormity of what I didn’t know hit me. However, you are a supportive bunch so that helped! My normal outlook is always positive so I did try to focus on what I did know and what I was learning.
The week is well organised and I appreciate that this does not happen by chance, so thank you for all the work you put in. Ana sent some information before some of the classes and that was helpful. We may have been lucky but we had a lovely group of people! Generally we mixed well throughout the week and I enjoyed getting to know so many from the group . It was good to learn from others who were more advanced, always good to sit beside Gary 😂
I did go to bed thinking in Spanish, Yda and I complained to each other that we couldn’t get to sleep as there was so much brain activity going on! Louise and I did speak Spanish on our few days travelling and people did understand! Amazing. It was hard to stop talking in Spanish, as Jan said, withdrawal .
So back to normal class today. El profesor, Hugo, es muy amable. I did feel more confident in speaking so that is only a good thing. Those past tenses and pronombres might kill me tho ‘😀 Lightspeed has set me on my way. Thank you so much for a fabulous week. My children were impressed that I wrote a haiku in Spanish, thank you Ana! You are an inspirational group. Abrazos 🤗 Louise (irlandesa) !
Gary Mason (UK) May 2019
To Gordon, Cynthia and Ana
Thank you for one of the best weeks of my life. This experience has changed my life for the better in terms of overall outlook and where I want my Spanish to be. I met some wonderful people and managed to talk to native speakers in Spanish about a huge range of subjects (even politics and I know nothing about politics in English), Which is something I never thought I would be able to do.
If anyone has any doubts about this course, all I can say is that the Lightspeed Spanish team are amazingly talented as teachers and some of the warmest people I have ever met. The lessons are fun, interesting and always different. The activities are equally fun and talking with natives on an evening is priceless.
I will always remember this experience as a turning point in my life and my Spanish journey and look back fondly.
Thank you once again and I hope to be back next year
Yda Visser (Los países bajos) May, 2019
A week has passed since our group immersed in Torrejón.
And it was fantastic! Like Jan said on whatsapp I think we all suffer from’ sindrome de abstinencia’ – at least I know I do!
It was a week I will always cherish thanks to you guys. Thank you so much for your lessons, your support and the way you organised the days with a nice mix of hard work, humour and interactions with local people.
It has given my motivation a boost and I have become a socio member, because I WANT to learn more!
After Torrejon I went to Alicante and in 4 days I had more interactions with people than I had ever before.
“I had the time of my life”
un abrazo y un beso.
Lewis Richardson (UK) May, 2019
To all the team at Lightspeed Spanish
Gordon, Cynthia, Ana, friends and family of you all and everybody helping behind the scenes
Crikey!! that was a rollercoaster of emotions at the highest scale ever. There was Fear, joy, excitement and a thousand other emotions rolled into one, I don’t even know how to process what happened last week but seriously guys thank you so much. What you are doing is magical…I’m tearing up just writing this…it’s been crazy good….big love to you, your friends and family. You’ll be in my heart forever
I know there has been a huge shift in my Mind of how I think my Spanish is. Now I have a better gauge, a true gauge of where I am and where I want to be. I’m excited and confident to crack on with it now…this will accelerate my learning and the wanting to learn 10 fold
Heather Roper Marshall (UK)
A brief message, in English for total clarity 🙈. I just want to say how much I enjoyed the week with LightSpeed. It delivered everything I’d hoped for and more. When I initially discovered LightSpeed I used to say to myself ‘I’d like Gordon and Cynthia to teach me ‘ Then I discovered you did immersion courses THEN I saw there was one in the school holidays. I booked immediately, one of my better impulsive decisions. 😂
You, Cynthia and Ana are fantastic teachers, clear, fun, knowledgeable and supportive . The lessons were relaxed, yet challenging, all three of you have a skill for getting the best from your pupils. I don’t say this lightly having been in education for nearly 18 years and having studied both Spanish and other subjects in an adult learning environment.
The course was well organised and you guys were always there if we needed you. The information ahead of the course was clear and you were always available for any questions .When I arrived at the airport you guys were ‘waiting’ in the WhatsApp group to guide me to hotel.
The evenings with the native speakers were ‘fenomenal’, such lovely, energetic and confident young people willing to listen and help.😊 The restaurants and staff were lovely in particular Liberty Bar. The hotel was clean and the staff were helpful .
I feel frustrated I’ve had to come home just as I was growing in confidence, I needed longer. My Spanish and my confidence has grown in the 5 days I was there. I cannot believe how much. Before I would be so scared to speak in case I wasn’t understood or I couldn’t understand the response but now I just go for it. I initiated conversations with the hotel staff, the taxi driver and heard myself saying to a Spanish girl in the airport who had no English ‘it’s ok I speak Spanish ‘ 😂😂😂😂😂
A huge thank you to all three of you 😊.
Mandy Colman (UK)
Hello Gordon Cynthia and Aña sorry for the English but I want to be sure to convey all the right feelings.
I cant thank you enough for last week. I went in with an open mind ready to embrace everything and for me it was a perfect combination. The course content was very challenging at times and much less so other times. It was informative and fun. I loved it all. You are all wonderful teachers unique in your own style and delivery and work so well together. I loved the variety of lesson content as it kept me interested all the time. On the course in my hearing a question was regularly asked between students “who do you like the best as a teacher?” I must say all the many compliments were equally apportioned !
As well as you all, I met some other wonderful people on the course with whom I hope to stay in contact. They were an added bonus for sure.
Please thank your fantastic family and friends. Meeting them was just one reminder why I love all things Spanish. Everything about the whole week including the hotel, food etc was great and I cried in my hotel room when it was over!
When I pulled my self together 😊 I started reading the Subjunctive book. Thank you for cutting the crap. ! So insightful and it’s helpful to read something written by someone you can trust who’s been where I am and so convinces me I can get to where you are (Eventually!!)
I’d love to come back for sure. Please feel free to use any of the above.
Very best wishes
Robert Maguire (USA)
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)
What a wonderful week! I attended the first week of the LSS immersion course and I can whole-heartedly recommend it.
I knew beforehand that everything would be very well organised. I mean, we know these guys Cynthia and Gordon! Gordon is very creative and knows EXACTLY what, why and how he wants us to learn. The activities are developed specifically to improve our oral Spanish abilities.
I really enjoyed the morning classes with Cynthia and Gordon. Ana is an absolute delight. A proficient teacher and a very friendly, open person. It was a pleasure to get to know Ana too.
Do not worry at all if you feel that you do not speak Spanish very well. Noone is going to force you to do anything you don’t want to do. It is just gentle encouragement all the way. In addition, you work a lot in pairs, that is, in teams with your other classmates. The activities help to move us out of our comfort zone and this is a very important function. Absolutely vital and so totally worth it. Without doubt, my confidence in speaking Spanish spontaneously grew and I noticed the difference very quickly.
The immersion course has fueled my passion for the Spanish language even more. I wish to be able to speak with more fluency and I wish to thank Gordon, Cynthia and Ana for their inspiration and their support. And thank you to my classmates also for their company and all the fun we had together.
A big hug, 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)
OK, here’s the full review since I couldn’t write it on Friday because Cynthia scolded me, telling me to hurry up (yes, I’m kidding)!!!!!!
I don’t want to rehash completely what I wrote in that review, but I’ll summarize and expand some.
1. You folks did not misrepresent yourselves at all. I can’t tell you how refreshing that is since I work in a field where I have to assume people are lying to me (or telling a partial truth). Your videos of what to expect in the course were on the money. I don’t think anyone went in there with the unrealistic expectations of become fluent in one week. Rather, as Gordon stated, the goal was to expand the comfort zone….mission accomplished.
2. How was that mission accomplished? From my perspective, by providing some grammar lessons for everyday speech – and perhaps most importantly, giving us such a wide exposure to the language as spoken by the population. Namely, the Casa Grande, the museum, the dancing, the folks in the bars and the flea market, as well as talking in short conversations to folks in the Plaza Mayor. All of these excursions not only exposed us to the language as spoken by others, but to the culture so as to put it into some sort of perspective. Great job. I have to say that at NO point was I bored.
3. Logistics: Gordon, the email below was also right on the money. For example, I would never have known that I had to put my bag in the compartment of the bus had you not said so. That saved me a potentially embarrassing moment. The fare was 2.60 each way and the trip took less than 20 minutes – great info. The only, and I mean only, other thing that I suggest you put in future emails like the one below is that the electrical chargers (phone, razor, computer, etc) from North America are not compatible with the electrical outlets in Spain. Fortunately for me, the guy at the front desk, Jorge, found a spare that had a USB port.
4. Instructors: Great job all around. I really can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be to try to create a curriculum compatible for people that you’ve probably never met, and all of whom have different skill levels with the language. So again, great job.
5. My personal take-away from the course: In all my years of education from kindergarten through law school I failed only one course – you guessed it – Spanish 1. That was back in 1976, I think. Your course was the first formal training in Spanish that I’ve had since failing it decades ago. I’ve done the computer self-taught lessons of Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone and Fluenz. But none of those have any interaction with another person or feedback from a Spanish speaker. Your course made me realize the value of interacting with another human being and I believe that I’ll take some courses.
6. Lastly: Know this, no matter what you do, no matter how many suggestions from students that you try to incorporate (including mine about the chargers, of course), YOU ARE NEVER, EVER, GOING TO PLEASE EVERYBODY – so don’t try.
Thanks for the experience, guys. I truly appreciated it.
p.s. (of course there’s a “p.s.”):
Gordon: Great suspenders
Cynthia: You have a great family dynamic. Your mother very obviously loves her grandchildren, and they her. It’s heartwarming to see 3 generations of such a strong family unit.
Ana: After that health care exercise when we got into a discussion about occupations you asked me, almost apologetically, if you had offended me. Seriously? Do you know how badly layers are chastised? As I said, nobody likes lawyers until they need one. We are the butt of endless jokes. You absolutely did not offend me. I know you don’t know me well personally, but based on what little you do know of me, do I seem like a sensitive type who offends easily? Not hardly. You did a great job!
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,