Concerns

Finances

How much is the course?

Our popular 15-hour courses are $339 full price – but there are great discounts if you either enrol early or enrol in multiple courses. Chatting with us about what your goals are can help work out the best price.

When does the Early Enrolment discount end?

The general Early Enrolment discount ends two weeks before course start – occasionally we also offer a Super Discount for enrolling four weeks ahead.

Can I pay by direct debit / instalments?

As classroom space is limited, we do ask for payment of course fees to be paid in full prior to course start. We’re happy to take payment in several instalments, so long as the balance is paid by the first class.

Please contact us if you'd like to discuss how to arrange this.

How much are your private classes?

Private Classes are $85 per hour for current students, and $95 if you're not enrolled. We also have different fees for Private Group classes.

Can I pay with cash / AMEX?

You can pay with cash, and yes, we do accept American Express cards.

Do you offer a group discount?

Yes, we offer a group discount for new students! Studying with friends is fun, and we think you get more out of it as you’ll find that you motivate one another. Here are the fees:

  • 15-HR COURSES:
  • 4 people, $290 each – total $1160
  • 5 people, $285 each – total $1425
  • 6 people, $280 each – total $1680
  • SPANISH FOR TRAVEL:
  • 4 people, $180 each – total $720
  • 5 people, $175 each – total $875
  • 6 people, $170 each – total $1020

The above fees are not subject to any other discounts. Payment needs to be made for the total in a single transaction.

If you’d like to go ahead, please provide details of the all students:

  1. Name and surname
  2. Email address
  3. Phone number

We will then create an order to be paid by a nominated person from their student login. 

Can I pay casually?

Sure! Do let us know your plans ahead of time so we can ensure there is space in the class for you. Casual class fees include the cost of materials, so we can send or print the necessary material for that day.

Unfortunately we can't provide casual classes for the first class of Elementary 1. These classes often fill up and we do get last minute enrolments, so we like to save our places for full-fee-paying students.

Another option, if you're interested in trialling Spanish without investing too much at first, is to check out our 8-week El Cheapo Introductory classes!

Can I transfer some 'credit' from this Term to next Term?

El Patio tries to stay as flexible as possible – however we have to draw the line somewhere to remain viable. For us, we're unable to transfer any course fees / classes between Terms.

When purchasing a course, you're essentially buying a number of hours within a timeframe, and unless there are exceptional circumstances, we're not able to consider extending that timeframe. Read our full Terms and Conditions of enrolment.

Concerns

Do you teach Spanish from Spain or Latin America?

The question about whether our teachers are from Spain of Hispanic America pops up fairly frequently. We’ve written this little article addressing this.

As a beginner, the relationship with the teacher, the quality of their teaching and the course content is much more important than the teacher’s background. Down the track there’s lots to discover in terms of differences from place to place (accent, vocabulary, etc), but the basics are the same regardless of where you travel or where your interests lie.

Our approach is to teach a general Spanish that you will be able to use anywhere you go.

We also run a Pronunciation & Accent Workshop which focuses in more detail on some of the differences in accent across the Spanish-speaking world as well as the different sounds of Spanish. 

Are your teachers native speakers  / where are they from?

Our teachers are all qualified teachers and come from many different countries.

The majority of our teachers speak Spanish as a first language, and we also have a number of teachers who are not native speakers – but who are qualified in teaching Spanish as an additional language, Spanish Philology or Linguistics.

Students often reflect that our non-native Spanish teachers are highly skilled at teaching Spanish. Often these teachers are able to identify and clearly explain concepts that are difficult because they're needed to overcome these challenges themselves. 

It can also be inspiring to see non-native speakers who have native speaker level Spanish. It's good to know it's possible!

We have a series of I Teach Spanish blogs done by our teachers on our website, so you can see for yourself who are teachers are!

Is learning Spanish hard?

Yes and no.

Learning Spanish is relatively easy for speakers of English because there are lots of words that are easy to recognise (because they share the same origin) and because both Spanish and English use the Roman / Latin script. 

Spanish pronunciation is also relatively straightforward. For example, compared to the pronunciation of Australian English, Spanish pronuncation is a lot simpler. 

As far as grammar goes, Spanish does get quite complex, especially when studying at higher levels, athough there are also many things that feel familiar too.

In general, learning any language is hard work, in the sense that it requires continued effort and application. However, if you do a little bit often, you'll find the whole thing more enjoyable and achievable – and you'll be surprised at how quickly you progress.

How big are your classes?

Class size depends on the classroom. The maximum class size at Melbourne is 15 students. At Northcote it's 12.

Most classes have around 8 to 10 students. And some groups are a lot smaller. 

We need a minimum of 5 students to run a course for the full 10 weeks. Any less that this and we need to shorten the course in some way for it to be viable. See the Terms and Conditions on Small Classes

Do you teach much grammar and writing? I just want to learn how to speak.

The general approach at El Patio is on communication and in class there is a definite emphasis on developing speaking skills. From the very beginning you are encouraged to speak as much as possible – so you'll definitely learn how to speak!

However, with language everything is connected. If you really want to speak the language well, you need grammar and writing too.

So in class you can expect to develop all language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.  

All together, you will learn how to communicate and express yourself in Spanish.

What happens when I miss a class?

If you can't attend, we email you with what was covered in class as well as the homework set. Catch-up classes in another class of the same level can sometimes be arranged if organised in advance – grab a timetable and email us or come and have a chat at reception and we can work something out. There is a limit of 3 catch-up classes per Term but if you need more we can usually accomodate this, no problem.

Around what age are the other students? I don't want to be the oldest...

The age-range of our students is from early 20s right through to retirement age and beyond. We have students of all ages at El Patio! The average age is somewhere between 25 and 40.

How long will is take before I'm fluent?

By the end of Elementary 4 students are able to talk about things slowly in the present tense and will have just started talking about things in the past. To really speak Spanish takes time – realistically, give yourself at least a couple years to get the basics in place. 

To give you an idea, the Lower Intermediate levels consolidate the past tenses and in the Upper Intermediate levels you really start being able to express yourself.

Fluency in a language is a long-term project. But it is possible! Many of our students have started in Elementary 1 and have gone on to become very fluent, some completing very high levels of study or living and working in Spanish-speaking countries.

Are your teachers experienced / qualified?

Yes, they absolutely are. 

We have very high standards when it comes to teachers. All of our teachers are qualified in either teaching Spanish as an additional language or in related fields such as Philology or Linguists. 

In addition, all of our teachers are required to attend classes as observers as part of the training process so that the get a sense of what our classes are like and what language teaching is like in Melbourne.

What teaching methods do you use?

Every teacher will teach a little differently and have a different teaching style. 

All teachers follow our programmes based on textbooks we have chosen, which means our levels are consistent. It also means that if you miss a class you can attend another from the same level fairly seamlessly.

In general the textbooks are all communicative, in the sense that there is strong emphasis in communication and in using language meaningfully to express yourself from the very beginning.

What are the classes like? 

Classes are a lot of fun! There's often wine and tapas in class (and if there's not, start bringing some along!).

Particular groups / classes will often stay together from Term to Term and so learning is also quite social.

The general vibe at El Patio is relaxed and friendly with very high quality teaching.

Expect lots of talking, interaction, laughing as well as trying out new vocab and grappling with complex things like verbs forms and tenses. It's a good combination and is what makes learning a language so great.

In a nutshell classes are fun and they're also serious: you can expect to learn the language well and have fun doing so.

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