I really enjoyed my 4 weeks learning Spanish at Casco Antiguo Spanish School in Casco Viejo. I learnt a lot, going from being a wobbly beginner to a still pretty wobbly intermediate speaker, but as we are living here now, I get lots of opportunities to practice and I will definitely go back for the odd week here and there to help me progress.
During my 4 weeks I had different classmates up to a maximum of 4. I liked learning as part of a group as it gives you a little bit of time to listen and write words down, and to think of what you are going to say next! The classes were a great mix of being taught grammar, having conversations about particular topics and doing exercises and games.
Also it was fun getting to know the other students, we were a real mix of ages and backgrounds. During my 4 weeks I was in a class with 3 nineteen year old boys; two from Brazil, one from England, two ladies of around my age (42) from the US and one older guy also from the US.
Our teacher Katy was particularly good at writing up interesting vocabulary on the white board as we went along, clearly explaining the grammar (almost entirely in Spanish!) and helping us generate loads of examples to get familiar with new verbs and tenses. She also set us a bit of homework everyday to help cement new knoweldge.
I loved going into Casco Viejo everyday, my kids are at school there at The Casco School, so it was fun for me to be able to go in with them on the school bus. The old city is absolutely charming. I love it's narrow cobbled streets and old buildings. And there's loads of little restaurants and bars to have a quick recovery beer in after class!
The language school puts on a daily evening activity from 5pm, bike tours, happy hour pub crawl, salsa lessons but as I have 3 kids I never got the chance to do this. Maybe I will one day!
What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I loved our trip to the Mola Museum in Cacso Viejo. It was a field trip one morning, We walked 5 minutes to a lovely modern museum and saw the fascinating multi-layered textile art made by Guna women - an indigineous group here in Panama.
We heard how the bright, complex patterns are made to ward off evil spirits by confusing them - and some of them certainly had that affect on me! Particularly the 3D video box where you can lie down and look at the patterns, I couldn't even go near it. All I can deduce is that I am probably a (not very) evil spirit - but bad enough to be repelled by Molas!