A Defining Moment - First Day of Spanish Class

San Miguel de Allende - Home of the Warren Hardy Spanish School

About Warren Hardy Spanish School Founded in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in 1990, the school has become an institution in a city where Spanish instruction is an industry. The educational objective is to develop student’s skills to the conversational level so that they can progress to the fluid and fluent levels by practicing Spanish with native Spanish speakers.

Two students share their experience of the first day of class and the "Cortesia", or social protocol, taught at the beginning of the class and with a free online video on YouTube. 

July 2 2018 

from David Brown, new student, Level 1 Spanish

"When I did a firewalk with Tony Robbins about ten years ago, I walked across hot coals for ten feet without getting my feet burned. It was one of those defining moments that I will never forget. 

Experiencing the first Level 1 Spanish class at the Warren Hardy School for the first time was also a defining moment in my new expat life here in Mexico. And after three hours my feet are doing just fine, as well as my mind and heart. 

Today, after completing the class, if I could choose certain keywords to describe the experience they would be fun, wow, engaging, and surprise.

The teaching method allows for humor being used by the teachers, including some of Warren Hardy's memory shortcuts for learning certain Spanish verbs.  When you are paired with another student, the exercises become fun, as mistakes are allowed, and smiles happen.

The teachers and two assistants kept the class engaged every minute. If we weren't listening to the teachers' pronunciation and instruction, we were engaged with our student partner in doing the listening and speaking exercises using flash cards.

This brings in the "wow factor", which includes the element of surprise. Most if not all of the students in the class are over the age of 55, and may not be used to being in a class, especially to learn a foreign language. Many, including myself, may have had the feeling that this will be a grueling and challenging class, and that three hours may seem like an eternity as we are bombarded with new words, verbs, and ways of pronunciation. The wow factor for me and the surprise was how the teachers made the process of learning very easy, and how we were speaking some basic Spanish sentences right away in three minute exercises.

When the class was over, I was also surprised that the time went by so fast, ninety minutes after the break.
David Brown
Confessions of a New Student 

I have to confess that I might have had an edge before this class even started. I obtained the workbook and the online study course and was studying the material for the past two weeks.  Since I knew this class would be intensive with three hours three times a week including homework, I wanted to get a head start.  I also have studied Spanish in past years, so that has helped. One of the most fascinating aspects at the beginning of the Level 1  workbook and course are the social protocols including greetings, and how the culture here in Mexico has a built-in expectation of courtesy in communications, even with strangers. In all the past years that I had traveled in Mexico I never knew about the social protocols, and did not use them. Within the past month before class started I have been practicing some of these already and it is one of the most rewarding experiences of being here in Mexico. This has also been a defining moment for me, as not only was I practicing my Spanish before class even started, I was "living the language" by using certain greetings in Spanish with local Mexicans here in San Miguel de Allende. The way that most responded with a return greeting showed me that they may have appreciated how I showed my respect for their culture by using these social protocols. They may have even been surprised themselves as they may not have been used to being greeted by foreigners.

The Warren Hardy teaching method emphasizes the social protocols (Cortesia) right at the beginning of the class, and in the workbook and online course, inviting students to start using these forms of greeting right away whether they are visiting or living in Mexico."


Discovered on YouTube - The Online Learning Free Lesson About Cortesia (Respect)
Todd, also a new student in the Level 1 Class today, shared about how he discovered the free Warren Hardy video on Cortesia, and as a result decided to take the class.

"My wife is from Guanajuato as so is my mother-in-law. We live today in Vancouver but have purchased a home here in San Miguel and expect to be living here in one year. So as we traveled here every month to check on the progress of our house, I began watching videos on San Miguel de Allende on YouTube and came across the Warren Hardy free videos.

One video that really stood out for me was the one on the Cortesia, and I watched it over and over until I felt good about speaking 
the phrases. So I started greeting people and the response that I get truly breaks open the warmth that the people have here. I think they are looking at me thinking 'this guy is cool', and he is one of us, rather than 'here comes one of the gringos, stumbling around like a bull in a china shop'. And so I practice it over and over and use it every chance I get. If I walk into a restaurant and see a group of people eating I'll say "buen provecho", and the reactions that you get are always wonderful. So I have found that learning the cortesia and practicing it have been very very valuable."