At first, it seems like a typical day.
You wake up, wash your face and put on a pot of coffee.
You call for the kids to get out of bed.
You pick up the paper and start reading the headlines.
But there’s something decidedly not typical about this day, too.
It’s all happening in Spanish!
Then a Spanish immersion program might be for you! It’s an excellent way to learn a language—and there’s no doubt that becoming fluent in Spanish will definitely enrich your whole family’s life.
Wait. I’m feeling some doubtful vibes coming off you.
Oh, I get it.
You think it’ll be too tough to find Spanish immersion programs that welcome toda la familia (the whole family)?
Think again. There are lots of Spanish immersion programs that’ll take care of all of you, and they’re located in amazing places!
Let’s check some out!
Why Spanish Immersion Works
Spanish immersion works because it provides an ideal setting for language learners.
Imagine being surrounded by Spanish language and culture, day and night. Most immersion programs provide a combination of coursework and cultural activities so learners get focused language practice as well as natural, spontaneous practice in their daily lives.
You’ll find your language skills will grow rapidly when they’re needed for basic communication—like ordering food in restaurants or asking basic street directions.
Many programs even offer homestay options, which means your family becomes part of a bigger, Spanish-speaking family! The family welcoming you into their home becomes your “adopted” family for the duration of your stay. Many of the host families speak limited English, so you’ll be using and hearing Spanish 24/7.
Sounds great, right? But perhaps a little intimidating, too. If you want to give your family a leg-up before a Spanish immersion experience, FluentU is a fun and helpful tool. It lets you immerse yourself in authentic Spanish from home, on your schedule.
FluentU takes real-world videos, like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
The videos are organized by genre and learning level, so it’s easy to find ones that work for you and your kids. For example, you could start young kids off with this cute animated song while you take a virtual trip to a soccer stadium before a game.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store for iOS and Android devices.
Spanish Is a Family Affair! 5 Immersion Programs for the Whole Family
Spanish Abroad, Inc. (Spain, Mexico or Guatemala)
Spanish Abroad, Inc. is a well-respected Spanish language immersion company that caters to learners of any age—from very young children to retired individuals. They have programs across Latin America and Spain and will design customized programs for learners if necessary.
Some of their popular programs are in San Sebastian, Spain, Playa del Carmen, Mexico and Antigua, Guatemala. Let’s check them out!
The San Sebastian Spanish Abroad family program is situated on the northern Cantabrian coast of Spain, in a modern city near several beach resorts. The program is perfect for families that consist of at least one adult and one child of seven or older. Family programs are available in the summer months.
If you want to stay with a host family the program will arrange accommodation, and you’ll get breakfast and dinner provided daily. If you want a bit more privacy, there are some apartments available for attendees.
The Playa del Carmen Spanish Abroad family program is for kids of six or older. Classes start any Monday (except holidays) so it’s a super flexible option.
Private instruction for children is available in addition to classes. And the school provides a discount on engaging a private tutor if there’s more than one child in the family.
Local host families are ready to welcome immersion families into their homes. Some provide complimentary bicycles for families to use to explore the area! Most homes are within walking distance of the school. As with other Spanish Abroad locations, there’s an option to live in a private apartment, as well.
Spanish Abroad in Antigua is a real treat! Antigua is a world-famous language-learning city, home to many language schools and constantly teeming with students from around the globe. It’s no surprise that Spanish Abroad would choose this beautiful location for one of its schools!
Antigua is a colonial city with cobblestone streets and an active volcano in view of whole city so when classes are out, there’s so much to do and lots to explore!
Family immersion courses are available year round. They accept adults (ages 16 and up) and children older than five.
There’s a host family option, which allows the added benefit of a fully-immersive environment. If that doesn’t suit your family, there’s the possibility of hotel accommodations or an apartment within a 20-minute walk from the school. Whatever you’re looking for lodging-wise, the school is prepared to assist you.
CPI (Costa Rica)
CPI (Centro Panamericano de Idiomas, or “Pan-American Language Center”) is a private language school with three locations in Costa Rica: Heredia, Monteverde and Flamingo.
The Heredia campus is situated in a suburban setting surrounded by volcanoes. It’s picturesque and gives a clear idea of what daily life in a small Costa Rican town is like.
Monteverde is a nature-lover’s paradise. It’s a center of biodiversity and ecotourism, and offers mountain hiking, butterfly watching, horseback riding, zip lining and lots of other outdoor activities in addition to Spanish language learning.
Flamingo is on the Guanacaste coastline, where white-sand beaches and mangroves beckon learners as soon as classes are done for the day!
There are Spanish classes for every age group. Young learners (4- to 6-year-olds) attend a program teaching elementary vocabulary and age-appropriate topics. For older children, up to 12, classes teach basic communication, vocabulary and grammar. Adolescents and parents spend their classroom hours in adult learner classes while the younger kids are in their classes.
They’ve got everyone covered!
Local host families can accommodate families of up to six members. If you want a more independent arrangement, there are furnished apartments available for families as well.
La Mariposa Spanish School (Nicaragua)
La Mariposa (the name translates to “butterfly”) provides intensive instruction in an eco-lodge setting. This immersion experience provides one-on-one language classes, organic meals and the opportunity to volunteer while on-site. There are also cultural lessons (such as dancing and cooking) in addition to language lessons.
Plus, a special building project made it possible for the school to accept students with disabilities at this small school set in the countryside.
Accommodations include the eco-hotel (an environmentally friendly space relying on solar power, organic gardening, rain water collection and more) or a homestay with a local family.
The campus is an hour from colonial Granada, Pacific Coast beaches and the Masaya volcano. There are so many interesting spots to visit when classes aren’t in session—including exploring the nature reserve five minutes from the main building. It’s home to native flora and fauna—and indigenous wildlife including bats, iguanas and parakeets.
Ailola’s Spanish for Families Program (Argentina)
This program is located in bustling Buenos Aires. Native speakers teach not only the language but also local culture and they customize each program for every individual family.
There are 20 hours of Spanish lessons each week. If parents and children aren’t on the same language level, then separate lessons are provided.
Buenos Aires is a city so there are cultural activities in abundance for immersion families! When classes aren’t in session, take a city tour or visit Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aries)—called MALBA by the locals. Try some tango classes, bike tours or scout out the ecological reserve.
Your family is welcome to homestay with an Argentine family for the full immersion feel or has the option to stay at a local hotel.
Intercultura Costa Rica (Costa Rica)
Intercultura Costa Rica has an excellent program that’s designed for families with kids. Adults participate in Spanish classes with other adults while kids, ages eight to 17, attend language classes and take part in activities with other children.
The children’s program encourages conversational fluidity in an authentic, relaxed setting. There are lots of activities for children outside the classroom, as well. All take place in Spanish and include environmental hikes, treasure hunts, sports, storytelling and crafts. It’s geared like a Spanish camp for young learners, but if you desire more traditional study, there’s also an option for private classes.
Homestay is available with local families who have their own children. This option is encouraged so children can get the true immersion experience. However, there are hotels, apartments and vacation villas that’ll also accommodate families.
So you see, study abroad isn’t only for college students. A Spanish immersion abroad program can be an epic experience for families, too!
Go for the Spanish. Go for the food. Go for the culture.
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