Spanish-A Key to Opportunity

It has been almost two years since the concept of Homeschool Spanish Academy was born and we’re still chugging along.  Our journey has been a classic case of a roller coaster, in every sense of the word.  I feel like every day is going to be a whole set of different emotions, ups and downs, that just have to be dealt with, embraced, and ultimately enjoyed.

So, I know what you’re thinking, “How in the world did you get down to Guatemala?” It’s a long story, but worth sharing for posterity’s sake.  In short, I was working in the consulting industry at the time and was given an unlikely opportunity to work for an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) as the Principal at a school for impoverished kids, called The Scheel Center.

Prior to coming down, I actually didn’t know any usable Spanish and found myself in a precarious situation given my new accepted leadership position.  My good friend and predecessor suggested that I meet up with a friend of his to start learning Spanish via Skype.  After much procrastination, I began to meet, via Skype, with my virtual instructor from my company paid hotel room in the evenings about twice per week.

When I arrived in Guatemala in December 2009, after only 5 weeks of lessons, I was quite surprised at the amount of Spanish that I could understand and, more importantly, use.  I could get around town, find important landmarks, and get dropped off in the correct places and ask for directions. If I do say so myself, I more than survived, I thrived.

At some point, I thought to myself, “Self, if I did all of that in just a matter of 5 weeks, what could someone do in a span of a semester, 2 semesters, or… two years?”  It was this revelation that led to the birth of Homeschool Spanish Academy.

To be clear, there were many flaws in the system during my learning experience. Two of the most obvious examples; one there was no formalized learning structure or syllabus that allowed for proper tracking and progress, but more frustrating was that the connection kept dropping every 10-15 minutes.

Thankfully, through much creativity and perseverance, we were able to resolve all of the technical difficulties that hindered my sessions. For example, thanks to my background in telecommunications, networking, and IT solutions, we were able to create a system that boasts 99% uptime.  In fact, if the connection fails on our end, we give that class free of charge.

What’s even harder for me to believe, is how all of this has happened in just two years.  This time just three years ago, I never would have, or could have imagined where life would have taken me.  Even less improbable, who could have predicted that Spanish was the key to all of this opportunity?

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