Learning Spanish in Santo Domingo – a good choice

Two students – not sooo young any more

We are two students of Spanish, but we are no longer very young. We have both retired recently. We feel like improving the command of Spanish. Just for our pleasure and to communicate better, when traveling in Costa Rica or later in other Spanish speaking countries.

We have quite a bit of collareral knowledge, because Spanish is not the first language we have learnt. We would like to study Spanish by talking, reading, learning more words and repeating specific topics based on OUR books. We look for one teacher for the two of us.  We would also like to live with a family.

What we absolutely do not look for are tests, exams and graduations. We learn Spanish for our pleasure and therefore we are intrinsically motivated. We will feel when our command of the language improves.

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We selected the Don Quijote school in Santo Domingo

We contacted four schools and then selected Don Quijote, an affiliate of a much larger organization. The school is located in the suburb of Santo Domingo above busy San José. We selected Don Quijote, because they listened to our requests and replied to them in detail.

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We arrived in Santo Domingo in Semana Santa and felt at home

When we arrrived in Semana Santa,  our homestay family gave us a hearty welcome. For four weeks, we have now lived in two small and cosy rooms with separate bathrooms and enjoyed the hospitality and the well balanced cooking of Charo. We felt at home. The location was ideal – in a small and quiet street, just five minutes from school and two minutes from the bus station to San José or Heredia. Whenever we returned from a visit from San José, we breathed deeply… much fresher air and much more tranquility in Santo Domingo. This was an excellent choice.

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Working in a family atmosphere in the Don Quijote school

The Don Quijote school is in a spacious villa.

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Carlos greeted us with a friendly “adelante”, when we entered. Gabi, the manager, welcomed us. Her friendly smile fills the spacious common rooms with the kitchen.

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Michel shows us round… we love the beautiful garden surrounding the villa.

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We work following our agenda

With Eli we work for three weeks following our agenda: A lot of conversation (exchanging about Costa Rica and Switzerland, always being corrected), reading, repeating grammar (such as prepositions, reflexive verbs, pronomina… and of course the subjuntivo) and enhancing our vocabulary (such as cooking, cars, animals and plants etc). Thank you, Eli, for answering all our questions patiently – we only stopped asking, when we understood the topic “our way”. And thank you, Gabi, to have kept all tests away from us.

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Other activities

The school offered other activities beyond “dry” learning. Every Tuesday the students and teachers cook and eat together. Once it was empanadas, once stuffed paprika and once we prepared Älplermagrone – this was the idea of Ursula and the Costa Ricans and the students loved it – muy rico. This is how I explained the recipe to all of them, before we started to cook it.

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The recipe is based on Betty Bossi. She has an equivalent in Costa Rica: Tía Florita.

The students regularly meet in a bar to have a chat and once we shared breakfast at school. The students mostly speak Spanish with one another though “short cuts” using English or French might be tempting.

Once a week, Michel takes new students to San José to introduce them to the city. And Jorge, the school driver that fetches students at the airport, offers great tours for up to four persons… we have participated in quite a few of these tours.

I can recommend this small Don Quijote affiliate of Santo Domingo

This is a small school. It provides a good environment for one to one lessons. I observed one student that came as an absolute beginner and after a week he was able to have a conversation in Spanish. I can recommend this small school. If only more students would come here to benefit from it.

What I can also recommend is this little restaurant called the “Gentle Cat”. It is just across the street of Don Quijote and offers good Costa Rican food at reasonable prices. We sometimes recovered forces here after an intensive morning.

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Our three weeks have passed quickly. Now we will soon start to travel and look forward to applying what we have learnt – communicating in Spanish.

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