Instituto Cervantes Library

biblioteca madridAnother great library is the Instituto Cervantes Biblioteca.  In order to receive your card you fill out a quick form and they make a copy of your NIE (you don’t need to be enrolled in their school).  You will receive an email letting you know when your card is available for pick-up.  This library is great if you are attending school or taking Spanish classes AND they have a large selection of films.  It is also a great quiet little hide away where you can use the wifi and is never super crowded.

I hear their spanish classes are great but a bit costly like most classes in Madrid.  However, if a class is backed by instituto cervantes then it is supposed to be quality.  I just couldn’t  vouch for it but their library is great!

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Private Lessons

Taking Spanish private classes is just as bad as giving private English classes. With English classes most students burn out by the end of the year and start flaking. It is the same when taking Spanish private lessons. My teacher started to flake/burn out maybe 2-3 months in. At first she made excuses for canceling the day of class (she was in grad school). But then she stopped canceling and even stopped making excuses. I suffered many occasions when I had to convince the roommate to let me in when in the end my teacher had flaked once again. She sent me emails saying she messed up but it kept happening so I just ended it, like she should have done months ago. I really hate the weird passive way some people choose to deal with situations here. If you are not comfortable or able then just end things with your client. We will find other means. I’ve had a few awkward moments of seeing her in metro stations and her veering the other way thinking I didn’t see. What did I do wrong? Is my Spanish that intolerable? Maybe you are better off spending the big chunk of money at an academy where they will always show up and deal with you than trying to save a few bucks with flaky unexperienced private tutors, this can go both ways. Respect each other’s time.

Néctar saved my life

So I’ve been sick but still forcing myself to go out and take care of business.  It was cold and rainy out and the chill just wasn’t helping me feel any better.  Luckily, I stumbled across Néctar, a great lil restaurant/ tea house in Cuenca.

The owner knew exactly what I needed; a huge glass of té de jengibre.  It was perfect.

This place is great!  and if you are in Cuenca you should definitely check them out.  They have a great vegetarian menu, their pastries are to die for and it is super affordable.  It is also just a really comfortable environment and they have WIFI.   The wife lived in the US for 10 years so if your Spanish is terrible you definitely won’t starve here.

They also have an intercambio group on Saturdays at 3PM, the people are super friendly.  Stop in, maybe we’ll run into each other because I definitely plan on frequenting this place.

Néctar @ Benigno Malo 10-42. Entre Gran Colombia y M. Lamar.

Spanish Classes in Cuenca

So much has happened over the weeks that I had no time to write.  We are taking Spanish classes now and I am very happy with the school.  We thoroughly researched our options and visited multiple schools but the best of the bunch is Amauta.

Most of the schools offer the same perks like salsa dancing, city tours, cooking classes and so on.  But Amauta was best for us because 1. We wanted to take classes together.  Most schools won’t allow couples classes; they will offer them on their listings but they will make you take a placement test and even if you are at the same level (which we are) they will place you separate because that means more money.

2. Amauta does not make you buy a useless text book.  Most schools make you buy their text book which is usually sub-par.  Amauta gears each class based on your interests, job, why you are traveling and what you want to learn.  Eventually they may have a book of their own but they are very student focused and gear the class on your needs.

3. The teachers are young and down to earth.  Another thing I liked was that some weeks we had a new teacher due to scheduling.  This was good because each teacher brought a new style to the table.  For instance we had one who was amazing and conversed with us over matters of worldly interest; she asked us questions about our personal lives and beliefs which really helped prepare us for normal discussions in the real world.  We also had a teacher who was super grammar focused; she taught us much of the basics to get by.  And another teacher gave us more vocabulary and continued to review any weak areas in grammar and discussion.

4.  The school has some knowledge in helping you obtain a visa extension.  This appealed to us because we only came into the country on a 90 tourist stamp.  But we knew we would probably want to stay longer if possible.  The school helped us compile what we needed for the process and brought us to the place we needed to go.  The rest was up to us but it was more help than any other school would offer.  Ecuador Tourist 12-IX Visa info here.

5.  It is in a good location and the atmosphere of the place is very comforting and welcoming.  And the people are wonderful. Also it is the best for your money, especially if you take the 4 hour classes per day for each week you get a discount.

If you are looking for a language school in Cuenca, then Amauta is the best of the best.

Here is a link to their website:

http://www.amauta.edu.ec/programs/04_school_cuenca.htm