Work Abroad but earn in USD

Monday, April 18, 2005

Learning Spanish On The Cheap

If, like me, you're heading to Argentina and you're serious about integrating into soceity, learning Spanish is going to be a priority. If you've been reading this blog since the beginning, you'll know that there are plenty of language schools in Buenos Aires. You can read my previous post on this issue if you want to learn more about them.

If, like me, you're busy and don't have time to take group classes, this could be a pretty large on-going expense. With the influx of foreigners into Argentina, language schools have raised prices and the going rate for private lessons is about $15-20 USD per hour. If you're like me and plan on doing 8 hours a week for the long-term, this is going to add-up quick. At $17.50, the price would be $560 USD per month.

You might be thinking I shouldn't be complaining about $500-odd dollars a month, but the businessman inside won't let me sit idle when I could cut costs.

Money Saving Idea For Group of 5-10 Expats

For $560 USD in Argentina, I could probably hire my own full-time Spanish teacher. The thing is... I don't need 40 hours a week of Spanish instruction. Scratch that... I probably do need it, but I'm not going to use it. I want to learn Spanish, but I want to have a life also. The thing is, I'm willing to bet there are 5 or 6 other expats out there who would like to improve their Spanish as well and would want 4-10 hours a week of private instruction.

Suppose 5-10 of us who were interested formed a pool. The pool could hire a Spanish instructor for, say, $500 or $600 USD / month. For the sake of example, let's say $600 since we'll be making this poor teacher travel all over town to each of our houses or offices. For $600 a month, we're buying 40 hours of instruction per week or 160 hours per month. Of course, we'd have to work the schedules out between everyone in the pool, but I'm certain that's something that could be accomplished.

By doing this, the group of us would cut our hourly cost from $17.50 USD to $3.75. That $560 monthly expense for 8 hours a week of instruction has just now dropped to $120 per month, a savings of $5280 per year.

Contact Me If You're Interested

As always, contact me if you're interested in something like this. We'd need a "group contract" or some other set of rules that everyone agreed to so that no one took advantage. We'd need to specify what happens when someone needs to go on vacation, cancel a lesson, or wants to leave the pool. Everyone would also probably have to pay a certain amount up-front. We don't want someone coming in the pool and then backing out after 1 week. There'd be a certain amount of logistics to work out, but that's not something that can't be dealt with.

I'd be happy to have my HR department to conduct the search, but we'd want to give everyone in the pool an opportunity to interview the candidates. This teacher would be teaching all of us, so we'd want to all be comfortable with the person we end up hiring.

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Blogger said...

I did the Pimsleur Spanish I, II, III and IV series before I moved here and it was great. I memorized about 10-15 words a day for a year or so before I moved down here.

I did intensive classes for only two months before I got so busy that I had to stop. Fortunately/unfortunately (depending how you look at it) my company has grown so quickly that I don't have time to study Spanish as strange as that may sound. All my employees speak English, my lawyer speaks English, my accountants speak English, my real estate lawyer speaks English, most of my clients are from the USA and the UK.

I went to Lenguas Vivas and they were pretty good. It was dirt cheap at around 400 pesos for a month's worth of classes. It is 4 times a week and 3-4 hours a day. The downside is that I was way ahead of the rest of the group so it was very slow for me.

I used a private tutor for a month and that was pretty good as well but it can be expensive if you aren't doing it as a group like the author mentioned. Her contact email is:

Good luck.

5/15/2005 02:55:00 AM  
Blogger maskow said...

Have you put a group together to hire an instructor for lessons in Castellano?

I'm up for joining if I'm not too late.

Even if I'm a little wouldn't be too bad. In some ways, I'm kinda others, I could use some serious review.

Lemme know

10/24/2005 12:33:00 PM  

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