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First day of Spanish classes in Mexico City

I’m going to skip ahead a bit and give an update on my Spanish class. It is, after all, the main reason I’m here.

My commute to class was simply to walk down four flights of stairs, so I left at 8:58 am and arrived a minute early to the 9 am registration. I had deferred taking a placement exam until day of arrival, so that was my first step. I looked at the exam questions with a blank stare for several minutes before realizing I was never going to write down anything if I kept trying to think of answers in English and then write them down in Spanish. Instead, I thought of anything I could in Spanish, and if it vaguely answered the question, I wrote it down. The director asked me a few questions in Spanish and then decided to place me in a beginner class that started last week. I had hoped to get placed with beginners from one to two weeks ago, so ultimately I got what I’d wanted.

The next step of the registration process is — as you might expect — payment. When I pre-registrated a couple weeks ago, I was quoted a price in U.S. dollars and was told I would receive a discount if I paid in cash. Also, the rent for the room was to be paid in cash. Somehow I assumed it meant all U.S. cash and was therefore prepared with the exact amount, less the stated discount, which both surprised and pleased the woman dealing with the financial side of the school.

This guy maths.

Photo taken yesterday while walking to Sunday Mass in Mexico City. It has nothing to do with this post, but I wanted to put it somewhere.

Photo taken yesterday while walking to Sunday Mass in Mexico City. It has nothing to do with this post, but I wanted to put it somewhere.

The classes are from 10 am to 2 pm each day, Monday through Friday, with a break at noon. The director told us the break would be 15-20 minutes, but the instructors seem to want a half-hour. Which is fine with me, as it gave me a chance to explore the famous Mexico City street food, something I missed out on during my last visit. More on that in a future post.

The first part of the day is a grammar lesson. Today, for example, we dug into reflexive verbs and continued with a particular group of irregular verbs that change from e to ie in certain forms. The second part of the day is conversation with a different instructor. Today he gave us some discussion questions, had us all break into pairs to converse with each other, and then had us all individually answer questions about how our partner answered the questions. He floated around the room to answer vocabulary questions, so the second part of the day, out of necessity, becomes vocabulary intensive. Today’s vocabulary focused mostly on what people wear.

In my class there are two students from the United States, two from Canada, two from Switzerland, and one each from France and Denmark. There are at least a half-dozen classes in progress at various levels from true beginner to advanced. Also there are students who are not following the “standard” course but are taking individual lessons. It’s quite a diverse group.