Our Spanish language immersion in the south of Spain has been a great opportunity for me to talk about what is really important when you want to bring your kids to another culture.
I can share overall that planning a Spanish immersion is not as difficult as I used to think it was. I guess it is because now we have been on our sixth immersion and we’re very accustomed to think creatively to give our child the best opportunity he can have to improve his Spanish in a very short period of time.
By now, I have a perfect way to plan your next Spanish language immersion, so I thought why not give you that simple map you could use over and over?
6 Steps To Your Perfect Spanish Language Immersion
This little process that I’m going to share with you has served me very well and you can think of each step as a small piece to conquer.
Start by thinking about how much time you have. Is not the same to go on an immersion for one week that is to go for a full month. I recommend a minimum of a full week.
Once you know the length of time that you are willing to spend in a country or Spanish region you’re all set to think about a specific date. Think about holiday vacations and all dates that are related to your kids School holidays as they present the best opportunities to travel.
Be prepared to spend a lot more money for school holidays because you get hammered with the prices everywhere around the world.
I would love for you not to have a budget however, the reality shows that thinking about how much you are going to spend in advance in relationship to the length of time is the way to go. This is because the experience and the proficiency your children will be gaining can justify the cost.
Just remember this: The longer you stay the more you could end up paying and also the more your kids will learn the language. The Spanish immersion becomes an investment not expenditure.
When thinking about the budget, expect to spend on four main things, airplane tickets, lodging, exploring the surrounding areas and structured Spanish learning.
We live in the United States and this explains why going to a different country sometimes requires us to spend on two airplane tickets per person to reach a Spanish-speaking region of a country.
Tickets to South America and Europe are pretty expensive therefore going to Central America and the Caribbean become very attractive choices because they cost way less money.
Lodging can get pretty expensive nevertheless, if exchanging homes is an option explore it. It makes life much easier and rich because you end up having a great contact in the visiting country.
I know everybody may not feel comfortable exchanging homes however, it is a simple and very viable option that can save you thousands of dollars.
Exploring the surrounding areas of the town you chose to go to can add to your expense because this determines if you need to rent a car, buy entrances to museums, shows, tourist attractions and so forth.
Lastly, is the cost of learning structured Spanish. This encompasses an activity that your child is going to spend at least five hours doing, immersed in Spanish either through sports, camps and structured learning like in a school exchange.
Country – Region
You can analyze this point at the same time you are setting your budget. Once you know the date and the budget, choose a country and specifically a region. Go ahead and involve your children.
Start by giving your children a marker and a map so they can pinpoint the country they want to visit. My son loves to keep the map after we have gone to the area or region. I think it serves as a great memento.
Spanish is prevalent in one country in North America and all trhoughout Central and South America, some islands in the Caribbean and Spain therefore, you have lots of countries to choose from. See the map below.
Once you have pinned out the dates and location look at the weather at the particular time of the year you’re going to go. This will help you with packing, seeing available summer camp opportunities or any classes that your child can take while enjoying the culture at the same time.
Opportunities to Learn Spanish
Start using our friend Google to find Spanish language immersion opportunities. Do a search for camps, exchanges, town sponsored summer activities for children, sports and particular classes that your child is interested in.
A perfect example is when your child loves baseball and you’re going to the Dominican Republic. Try to find a school or a training facility for children where they can commit to at least five hours of daily training. The best part is that the training is going to be all in Spanish and you can couple it with your child’s love for the sport.
Another great way to find out the best bargains in each town you’re going to visit is by making friends in that particular town through forums, Facebook pages, and even home exchanges.
I have found town sponsored camps in Spain for as little as €50 for two weeks. The extra bonus is that while our son is at camp my husband and I can use these five hours to visit nearby towns or enjoy our time as a couple.
Having a schedule is particularly important. You can think of the whole morning being devoted to the structured activity for example from 9 to 2 PM, and then your exploring time afterwards.
If your experience is going to be longer than two weeks, think about leaving the first or last week just for having fun, laying around, traveling to contiguous cities, enjoying your time freely and doing non structured Spanish learning activities to tie the fun to the learning experience for your child.
And this brings me to the next point, which I have found to be marvelously helpful and encouraging for my son to learn Spanish.
This is simply a great trip that you plan ahead and it could be over the weekend or for a full week to a nearby place or places, a historic Monument, or simply have time to relax without any scheduled activities.
When he visited the south of Spain we made sure to have a week of exploring towns like Granada, Córdoba and Málaga. This was exciting, because every day we took the car, saw different routes and ate different foods. You can also fit in beach time since this a favorite pass time for everybody.
Follow these six simple steps and you will be on your way to planning your perfect Spanish language immersion. Also, let me know what you thought about this article by leaving your comments below.