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El Patio is Melbourne's most popular language school!

What makes learning at El Patio so great:

  • Outstanding teachers
  • Over 100 classes per Term
  • Friendly school
  • Flexible timetable
  • Face-to-Face, Online, and Hybrid delivery
  • Our lessons are fun!

Scroll down for class times!

What are our classes like?

You're going to love our classes and teachers! El Patio has over 20 years’ experience specialising in Spanish, with courses for everyone – from beginners through to fluency. All our teachers are qualified professionals. Classes are small (5–14 students), rigorous, and fun!

We offer three class formats:

  • Face-to-Face (in person in our centres)
  • Online (via Zoom)
  • Hybrid (Online and Face-to-Face at the same time!)

Read a full description here.

Students say...

​"After becoming frustrated at my lack of progress with their competitor, I received a recommendation for the classes at El Patio. Since enrolling I have never looked back, the teachers are knowledgeable, the students are great, the classes are fun, and my Spanish quickly improved enough to converse confidently with the locals when I arrived in Latin America."

- Angela Hayhurst


"Love El Patio! Been going for a few years now and have been consistently impressed by all the teachers and facilities. Hybrid (face-to-face and online) classes are working incredibly well."

- Geoff Lynch


"I have been studying at El Patio (Northcote branch) for quite a few years and love it. As a retired teacher, I know good teaching when I see it, and the teachers at El Patio are absolutely wonderful - caring, professional and fun. The class I am in has developed a great sense of unity and camradarie and I love going to it."

- Kathy Chambers


"I love the hybrid classes! It gives me the option to still go to class if I get home late from work, am super tired or am sick (important coming into winter/flu season). The flexibility is such a great thing and the setup of the classes seems to be working really well."

- Upper Intermediate 5 student


"Noryan is great with Zoom and I don’t think we miss anything from face-to-face interaction."

- Lower Intermediate 5 student


"The teachers are excellent and the lessons are well paced, not too fast or slow. I'd previously tried learning Spanish with a well-know language app, but found it slow going and not useful for real life. I've learned more in 5 lessons at El Patio than I did with 3 months of daily app use. So happy I've found this place."

- C. Angus

What you Learn...

En estos niveles de Upper Intermediate (1-6) vamos a trabajar con las siguientes estructuras verbales - entre otras muchas:

Upper Intermediate 1

  • Opinar y aconsejar con el infinitivo
  • Hablar de los hábitos y las costumbres (el verbo SOLER)
  • Hablar de normas y obligaciones (usos de SER y ESTAR)
  • Relatar hechos pasados con perífrasis de tiempo

Upper Intermediate 2

  • Describir la situación o las circunstancias en las que se produjo un hecho (pretérito imperfecto de estar + gerundio)
  • Expresar una acción pasada anterior a otra acción pasada (pretérito pluscuamperfecto)
  • Verbos y expresiones con preposición

Upper Intermediate 3

  • Expresar deseos, fiestas, celebraciones (presente de subjuntivo)
  • Planes y proyectos (ojalá que + subjuntivo)
  • Describir carácter y relaciones personales (subjuntivo)

Upper Intermediate 4

  • Describir problemas (imperativo afirmativo y negativo)
  • Aconsejar/recomendar (condicional simple)

Upper Intermediate 5

  • Describir (la impersonalidad)
  • Expresar opiniones (contraste indicativo - subjuntivo)

Upper Intermediate 6

  • Formular hipótesis sobre el futuro (indivativo y subjuntivo)
  • Ciertos usos de SE

Textbooks are required for all Upper Intermediate levels

Welcome to the Upper Intermediate levels!

This is where your Spanish really starts to take shape.

In the Upper Intermediate levels you really expand the range of what you can talk about. In Upper Intermediate 1 you learn the futuro simple, in Upper Intermediate 2 you see the pluscuamperfecto and then in Upper Intermediate 3 the present subjunctive is introduced for the first time.

The Upper Intermediate levels are also where you really consolidate the past tenses you learnt in the Lower Intermediate levels.

Where am I up to?

Together, the Upper Intermediate levels form the B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Click here for more information about the CEFR.

And click here for an overview and detailed explanation of all our levels.

Before joining your course, study up on:

The key topics seen previously in Upper Intermediate levels

Depending on where you jump in to the Upper Intermedaite levels you’ll need to consider what has been seen before and do a little bit of extra study these topics beforehand.

It’s good to remember that although a lot of new grammar is introduced in these levels, there’s no expection that you be an expert at it all immediately. 

Throughout the Advanced levels (the levels that follow the Upper Intermediate levels) there are many opportunities to consolidate the main ideas introduced here.

For example, the present subjunctive, first seen in Upper Intermediate 3, is something that takes a long time to bed in. You don't feel real confidence with it until after having studied other aspects of the subjunctive mood in the Advanced levels.

The sunjunctive infamous – probably due to the fact that it’s unfamiliar to many of us. In reality, it’s not extraordinarily difficult once you get a sense of it and have the opportunity to put it into practice.

The Upper Intermedaite levels open your eyes to new possibilities grammar-wise. Enjoy the adventure.

Also study up on topics from lower levels:

The present tense

By now, you should be feeling fairly confident with the present tense. 

If not, take a detour and spend some extra time on it, the basics are always good to get right.

Some uses of the present tense we've seen so far are:

1) to describe actions happening now (present continuous: ESTAR + present participle (-ing)

2) to express intentions / plans for the future (IR a + infinitive)

3) to express obligation (TENER que + infinitive)

4) to create impersonal expressions (se puede + infinitive / hay que + infinitive)

The Spanish Verb System – an El Patio resource
Regular verbs in the present tense – an El Patio resource
Irregular verbs in the present tense – an El Patio resource
Verb Wheel for Spanish irregular verbs – very useful (and fun!)
Spaleon verb conjugation trainer – for the present tense and beyond – ESTAR + gerundio – IR a + infinitive
Trent University – TENER + que (exercises)

Get dexterous with the past tenses

Some time soon, you'll be able 'flip' between past tenses for any one verb. If he estado isn't right you can quickly try estuve or estaba.

This kind of dexterity takes a lot of hard work, especially if you're learning in a country where the language is isn't spoken and don't often get to observe native speakers making these subtle choices in their own speech.

So be kind to yourself (it can be tough-going), and also put in the time to do the hard work.

Musicians practise scales and rock climbers do finger-strengthening exercises. If you're learning a language, nothing will help you more than learning your verbs!

El pretérito perfecto

The pretérito perfecto is a compound tense (made up of two parts – the auxiliary verb HABER and the past participle). Learning this tense inside out will help you immensely when you come to learn another compound tense – the pretérito pluscuamperfecto – in Upper Intermediate 2.

Be completely familiar with the pretérito perfecto – the forms of HABER and the regular and irregular past participles. – the pretérito perfecto – the past participle – the past participle (quiz)

El pretérito indefinido

We first nutted out the pretérito indefinido in the Upper Elementary levels and explored its irregular forms in more detail in the Lower Intermediate levels.

Of all the past tenses, the pretérito indefinido has the most irregularies. Thankfully there are patterns even in the irregular forms.

Learn the verb patterns and endings for the regular verbs and memorise the irregular forms. – the pretérito indefinido (part 1) – the pretérito indefinido (part 2)
Trent Universitythe pretérito indefinido (exercises)

El imperfecto

Compared to the pretérito indefinido, the pretérito imperfecto is a dream, with only three irregular verbs IR, SER and VER.

The tricky thing to master is not so much the form itself but the kind of time this tense expresses and how it differs from the pretérito perfecto and pretérito indefinido.

Check out the El Patio resource that shows these three past tenses side by side.

Perfecto, indefinido, imperfecto - an El Patio resource – the pretérito imperfecto
Trent University – the pretérito imperfecto (exercises)

Direct object pronouns, indirect object pronouns, reflexive pronouns

Learning to distinguish the direct object pronouns (me / te / lo / la / nos / os / los / las) from the indirect object pronouns (me / te / le /nos / os / les) and the reflexive pronouns (me / te / se / nos / os / se) is a long-term project.

It's good to keep in mind that native speakers of Spanish get these little words confused too – but don't let that stop you!

Trent University – The direct object pronoun (exercises) – Verbs like GUSTAR – Direct and indirect object pronouns used together – Reflexive verbs
Trent University – Reflexive verbs (exercises)
Trent University – Reflexive verbs (ESTAR + present participle, IR a + infinitive) (exercises) 

Happy studying!

We hope you enjoy your course.

If we can help with anything please get in touch.

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