Let’s just say that I know my language courses. I know what works….and unfortunately, I know with certainty what doesn’t work.
I busted my ass taking 4 years of both Advanced Placement German and French in high school, and have only managed to retain some swear words in German and some mysterious and yummy-sounding (albeit probably totally corny to anyone who actually speaks the language well) pick-up lines in French. I got straight A’s each of the three semesters I took of Spanish in college, yet a few years later when my kids went to a Spanish Immersion elementary school, I had a hard time getting through their preschool homework. And when I landed in Buenos Aires for the first time, I swear to you that what was coming out of these peoples’ mouths, and rapid fire at that, did not even closely resemble the basic Spanish that I thought I knew. I understood nothing, NOTHING!, and certainly had no words or phrases to offer that any local person seemed to actually understand.
So what did I do? Paid my kids in ice cream for their translation services, of course. That seemed both logical and easy, and everyone was happy. That is until my then 8 year old daughter negotiated our first lease, and only too late we found out she somehow worked both a kitten and a 2 day old baby chicken into the deal for us. I’m not joking. It was time for me to learn some Spanish, for real this time. I realized that I was en route to becoming one of the expats that I never wanted to be – the ones who don’t actually speak the language of their new country, and for no other reason than the fact that they are lazy and maybe a little scared and overwhelmed. That reason is not good enough. Actually, no reason is good enough for me as to why expats do not speak at least some of the language of their adopted country.
It was at this time that I had heard of an expat from the US who was revolutionizing how Spanish was taught. He had made a course called Bueno Entonces Click here to visit General Linguistics. that was…fun? Engaging? As in really and truly engaging, not just with a fancy slogan on the website or box with the marketing people saying it was engaging? And on top of that, this course worked? Nah. Too good to be true (said the skeptical girl who had already paid hundreds and hundreds…and hundreds more… of dollars on other courses that couldn’t manage to hold her attention past the first few days). But the slogan ‘Rosetta Stone Meets South Park’ certainly had my curiosity piqued.
Long story short, I took an optimistic leap of faith and got the course. It was somewhat comforting to know that it was at least less expensive than most. So I started week one. And I laughed. And I laughed some more. I instantly recognized that this really was different. THIS was the Spanish that I had been hearing on the streets. This was practical. And the way it is set up, it is almost like a TV sitcom that you get sucked into, and you actually want to come back week after week to see how it is all going to turn out.
Bueno Entonces Click here to visit General Linguistics. is set up in 30 classes, around 40 minutes each. It follows the adventures of a totally ignorant, jackass-yet-lovable British student and his super cool, hot, ridiculously patient Spanish teacher as he acclimates to his new life in Buenos Aires. It’s relevant – through their interactions you learn about culture clashes, pop culture, and words and phrases that are actually used out on the streets. None of this formal book Spanish that makes you stand out like a gringo even more. (Never once in real life have I heard anyone in Latin America greet me with something so clear and formal as ‘Buenos dias, señora. Como esta? Me llamo ____, y usted?’. Maybe I’m just hanging out with the wrong people, but regardless…)
I got so into this course, it was like my version of the sitcom ‘Friends’ or something – I couldn’t wait to see if these two went out, how his other dating adventures went, etc. But at the same time, they somehow manage to stick grammar lessons and tons of vocab (over 30,000 words) in there.
It is set up so that every Spanish word appears on the screen so you can see how it’s spelled, and it is color-coded so your brain naturally picks up if it is a noun, verb, or adjective. Simple symbols help you to learn if what you are hearing is street slang, formal or informal speech, and past or present tense. Also super helpful is the fact that they let you know when a word or a phrase is specific to one Spanish-speaking country. Anyone who has traveled through Latin America can attest to the fact that Colombian Spanish has very different vocab than the Spanish in Mexico or Argentina.
Basically, I stuck with the course. That in itself was miraculous based on my past experiences with language courses. I loved it. I still love it. Trust me, I don’t lead that boring of a life where I get super pumped up and excited about language courses all that easily. But I have seen Bueno Entonces work for so many people, from teenage kids to my retired parents.
I will put out a warning: it’s definitely not for everyone. If the Spanish you need is more for a conservative office job, you may be better off with Rosetta Stone or a more formal course like that. Bueno Entonces has been called the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ of language courses. It is fast-paced, can border on the humorously vulgar at times, and is for people wanting ultra-practical street Spanish that will get them through real-life, day-to-day situations such as going to the store, dating, through town, to the bar, etc.
They offer two ways to buy it, either by instant download (currently $147 for the 30 class course, Click here to view more details, or you can wait to have a 6 DVD set shipped to you for $199, Click here to view more details and it works on your TV, PC, Mac, and includes a version for most mobile devices. Either option includes a 68 page Study Guide, a slang dictionary, and unlimited lifetime toll-free and online support. Best of all, it’s guaranteed for 90 days, so if you don’t feel that it’s all that I said it was supposed to be, you can return it. But you won’t, this I know. Instead I have a feeling that you will enjoy the course to no end and then email me a thank you in Spanish.
To buy Bueno Entonces now, head to Click here to visit General Linguistics.