Today we are chatting with Pablo, a sweet and empathetic teacher at Academia El Sur. His Argentinian accent makes his roots from Buenos Aires highly noticeable. He is telling us about his relocation to the Netherlands, his experience as a teacher at Academia El Sur, and many other things. Keep reading to get to know Pablo and Academia El Sur better!
Hello, Pablo. You are the second person we interview for El Sur Talks. How are you feeling?
Hi! I am feeling great, thanks, especially now that I am being interviewed. Although, I must admit that I am a bit nervous as this is my first interview.
For the people who do not know you, tell us more about who Pablo is.
I come from the lovely city of Buenos Aires (Argentina) where I was born and raised. In 2012 I decided to jump into this adventure of living abroad and, even though at the very beginning it was not that easy, now (after 10 years) every day I think of how worth it was.
I am a normal and simple person (of course, I have my temper, so watch out!) who likes easy things such as walking in nature, watching films and series, and playing PS4. I also love summer with sunshine and warm/hot weather.
Now, tell us a bit about the beginning of your career as a teacher at Academia El Sur.
In April 2013 I had an interview with Pere (Academia El Sur´s director) which went great, and in May I had my first student. I started with a private lesson for a single student (B1-B2) and shortly afterwards I was responsible for full courses from all levels, which I loved!
I worked at El Sur for 7 years and I must say that it was a great experience where I met a lot of great people, both students and colleagues. I also made some friends.
How would you define your teaching method?
I am a teacher but also a student, as I am studying Dutch, so I know exactly what it is like to learn a new language. I am aware of all the insecurities and frustrations you get while doing it, but it is a good journey. I would say that I know what the students’ needs are because I sit on both chairs, so I first listen to the students and understand their needs.
Then I check what the weakest points are, and we work on them together. Therefore, I would define my teaching method as understanding and listening to my students.
What do you think makes Academia El Sur a highly valued language school?
Lots of things. The teachers, in the first place, then the materials which El Sur works with (books, exercises, etc.). Also, the approach, quality, and organization of each lesson. Finally, the way in which Academia El Sur engages with its students.
What are for you the easiest and hardest aspects of learning Spanish?
Learning a language, and not only Spanish, is not an easy task and every person has his way and pace. In my case, for instance, the easiest aspect is grammar, because I love it and I learn it quite fast. However, some people´s strength is listening. I know that the better your Spanish is, the more complicated it becomes.
If I have to mention something difficult about Spanish, I would say it is the “subjunctive”, but nothing is impossible. If you are willing and open to learning new aspects of a language, it will come. Another challenge when learning a foreign language is finding time to learn.
What is a good practice you can recommend to learn Spanish?
Being in contact with the language by listening to the radio or watching tv, doing online exercises, etc. I always recommend this to my students. If you want to learn a language, you need to be exposed to it daily. I know sometimes we do not have the time, but a little bit every day is enough.
I always suggest spending a minimum of 30 minutes learning a language daily. The key is to be in contact with the language you are learning. This works for me in Dutch.
Favourite food, song, movie, and destination of the Spanish-speaking world
I am a big fan of the food we have in my country (Argentina), but I love Spanish food as well. These are my choices:
- Food: Milanesas con papas fritas (schnitzels with fries)
- Song: I’d go for “Piensa en mí” by Valeria Lynch (a super famous Argentinian singer)
- Movie: El Secreto de sus Ojos (Ricardo Darín – Soledad Villamil – Guillermo Francella)
- Destination: I haven´t been to many places, but I´d love to visit Barcelona and Madrid. I highly recommend Buenos Aires, as it has everything you needç
Why do you think Dutch people are interested in learning Spanish?
Something that caught my attention was the fact that there were so many Dutch people who love learning languages, especially Spanish. The reason? I have no idea, perhaps it has to do with the climate or food, but I think it’s an awesome fact that they simply want to learn my language, even though it’s difficult.
Thank you, Pablo. It has been a pleasure. We hope to speak with you soon again.
The pleasure was mine and thank you so much for letting me be part of these interview sessions. I felt comfortable, and you are great. Thanks, Academia El Sur, for having me here.