FAQ

How long will it take to speak Spanish?


Every Spanish language student is different as it depends on the student’s goals for speaking the language, their schedule/time commitment and effort. As a base, you can start to speak, understand, read and write in about one or two years. Learning a language is an evolving skill and over time you will spend many years slowly improving.

Will I ever speak and sound like a native Spanish speaker?

You will be able to read and write like native speakers if you choose to and with continuous study. In terms of sounding like a native, if you learned Spanish as an adult, you will always have your native accent when you speak Spanish, but accents are endearing and unique!

I am traveling to [insert Spanish-speaking country] in three months, and I want to take a course to be able to communicate, ask for directions, etc. Will I be fine?

The Graf Method that Berges uses focuses on building a strong foundation of grammar that will be easily applied to higher levels of learning as you continue with studying Spanish. Skills are built slowly and methodically so you understand how Spanish works on a grammatical level, which will help you speak properly. Rote memorization is not one of our tactics to facilitate learning. After completion of our Level 1 class you will be able to speak in the present tense, read basic sentences, talk about yourself, home and activities, ask simple questions, and start a conversation.

How many students are in your classes?

Berges offers intimate classes, which can range from seven to 14 students depending on the level of study. Beginner level classes usually feature more students.

What age are your students, on average?

Most students at Berges are between 25 and 70 years old, although we have many students who are younger or older than that.

Do you teach kids/teens?

Berges does not instruct students under the age of 15 years old.

Do you speak only in Spanish during classes?

Berges teachers do not speak solely in Spanish during class, especially in Levels 1 and 2. Once you move to Level 3 teachers will predominantly speak in Spanish, and in the conversation courses, teachers speak Spanish at all times in every level.

I just want to speak, but I don’t care about reading/writing. Are your classes the right choice for me?

Berges’ Graf Method was created under the belief that writing and reading are vital to building a rudimentary understanding of Spanish. Reading and writing are a big focus in the Berges classroom, and as a student you will be asked to do reading and writing assignments regularly.

How are classes at Berges different from classes at other language schools?

Berges classes differ from other language schools because the curriculum builds foundational skills in reading and writing, which are used to complement speaking. By understanding the grammar, sentence structure and vocab, students will be able to build sentences for their own use in a variety of tenses and contexts.

Where can I read about the different instructors?

Please read about our instructors here.

Are you accredited/certified?

Berges Institute is not accredited or certified, as there aren't any federal or state licenses or accreditations for Spanish language schools.

Do you sponsor student visas?

We do not sponsor student visas because the Berges Institute program is not full time. A full-time program, which can issue an I-20 visa for study, follows an intensive schedule with a minimum number of hours per week. We currently don’t offer intensive programs or make our students commit to a certain amount of classroom time.

All the options I like seem to be full, do you have a waitlist?

We do have a waitlist, please use this form to contact us and we’ll put your name on the list.

Will I have to take a test at the end of each course? Do I have to pass it in order to register for the next level?

At the end of each course, an exam will be administered to assess your understanding. You should pass the exam before you move to a higher level.

I want to learn [insert Spanish-speaking country/region] Spanish, are any of your instructors from there?

Our instructors all teach the same program and sometimes highlight regional and colloquial differences. When you are in class, our teachers are more than willing to discuss the variances in vocabulary used in different countries and contexts. Please read about our instructors here.

Do you have intensive programs?

At this time, Berges does not offer intensive programs or workshops. We believe meeting once a week for 90 minutes is the best way to incorporate learning Spanish for those living and working in the city.

Do you charge any registration fees? Will I have to buy a textbook?

We only charge a one-time course fee (which you can either pay up-front or split into two installments; please contact us to take advantage of our no-interest payment plan). Textbooks are included and will be given to you on your first class (levels 1-5; our conversation classes utilize no textbook).

Do you teach medical/legal/business Spanish?

Berges does not offer specialized classes for professional Spanish in legal, medical or business fields. We focus on cultivating a strong knowledge base of conversational, everyday Spanish. Though, our teachers will be happy to share specific terminology in an area, if you ask and are interested.

If I want to do one-on-one Spanish lessons, how many lessons per week/month should I take?

If you are thinking of taking private Spanish lessons, we recommend twice a week, plus allocating 5-6 hours per week to study and review. If you have a very busy schedule, once a week might be better (you can always increase the frequency after a few weeks if you feel like you can keep up with a faster pace). Three times a week might be too much, unless you have plenty of free time to study/review.

Is it easier to learn Spanish if I already speak a second language? Is it even easier if that second language is a Latin-based one?

It is easier to learn Spanish if you speak a second language, whether it is a Latin-based one or not, because you already know how grammar, sentence structure and gender/number agreement are used in a language other than English, and that helps create an abstraction in your head. If, for example, you already speak French, Italian or Portuguese, you will find there are many similarities in verbs and vocabulary in Spanish and other romance languages, but you will need to put in hard work to learn the nuances of Spanish, cultural differences, pronunciation, and still memorize words and phrases.

Where are you located?

In New York City, we are in Midtown Manhattan. In Chicago, we are in The Loop.

What level is right for me if I had some Spanish classes and lessons in the past?

To determine what class you should take to start your Spanish-speaking journey, please take our free Online Placement Test.