Level 2 Spanish Class Graduates with Pablo Neruda

"Graduation Day" - Level 2 Spanish Class - Warren Hardy Spanish - San Miguel de Allende
The Level 2 Spanish class at the Warren Hardy Spanish School in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is a turning point for most students in their journey of learning. Level 2 takes you to the high functional level so you can obtain information about past events. It teaches word order, the use of the Direct and Indirect Object pronouns, and the Preterite past tense.

In a dramatic moment, excerpts of a poem "The Word" by Pablo Neruda were read in the class in Spanish and English by Warren Hardy and Rocio Ruiz, the class instructor. The keyword in the poem excerpt was "verb" since the classes focus on "Power Verbs" and verb conjugations as the core foundation for learning Spanish.

Excerpts - La Palabra - The Word

Nacio                                                                   The word
La palabra en la sangre                                       was born in the blood
crecio in el cuerpo oscuro, palpitando,                grew in the dark body, beating
y volo con los labios y la boca                             and flew through the lips and the mouth

originan mi canto                                                  give rise to my song
porque el verbo es origen                                     because the verb is the source
y vierte vida: es sangre                                         and vivid life : it is blood
es la sangre que expresa su substancia               blood which expresses its substance
y esta dispuestoasi su desarrollo                          and so implies its own unwinding
dan cristal y cristal,                                                words give glass quality to glass
sangre a la sangre                                                 blood to blood,
y dan vida a la vida las palabras                            and life to life itself

Although classes are taught on site in Mexico, they are also available online. View our blog post :
"Ten Reasons to Study Spanish Online - Meet Web Tutor" and enjoy a 
discount on the in-depth courses.

A Rare Chance Meeting of Two Pilots in Spanish Class

Laurie and Claudia - Spanish Students - Pilots - Study Partners 
"In 1998 at the ripe young age of 41 I earned my Private Pilot’s License thanks to my husband who bought me flying lessons because I wouldn’t stop talking about it! He started lessons and got his “Private” while I earned my Instrument Rating allowing me to fly in low visibility exclusively by the instruments in the plane. We purchase a single-engine Piper Cherokee and we flew around the east coast of the US – just for fun – someplace for lunch on Sunday, vacations and visiting my uncle (a retired Air Force and Commuter pilot).

 Fast forward to 2017 when we decided to move from coastal NC (at sea level) to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico at 6000’. I had never flown in real mountains – kind of scary – so we were seriously considering selling our airplane…then a friend we met here in San Miguel introduced to an American flight instructor who lives in San Miguel. After 1.5 hours on Facetime with him, we decided to keep the plane and fly ourselves to Mexico!

After selling our house, cars and 98% of our stuff, on April 25, 2018 we loaded minimal bags and our 2 dogs in the plane and off we flew! Our new friend and mountain flying instructor met us near Houston and we headed for our new home. What an amazing experience flying over (and around) magnificent mountains and what an experience entering the country with masses of paperwork! But we made it and we love it here!

My husband is Mexican, and a US citizen, and for 23 years I escaped really learning Spanish – but no more! We live in Mexico now so I signed up for Warren Hardy Level 1 Spanish along with 40 or so other expats I didn’t know. One day on break a woman walked up and asked me “Are you a pilot?”. This just doesn’t happen so, in a surprised tone, I said “Yes, how did you know?” It turns out she was in a friend’s gallery here in San Miguel and told the owner she was here to take Spanish at Warren Hardy and my friend said “I think my friend Claudia is in your class and she’s a pilot.”

My classmate is also a pilot and let me tell you how unique this is! Only about 5% of licensed pilots in the US are female (and 30+% of those are airline pilots. Are you getting how wild it was for 2 female private pilots to meet in the same Spanish class in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico? Life is an adventure and you meet people that you will never forget. Laurie will be back early next year for more Spanish and I can guarantee we will get together and talk about flying….maybe in Spanish!" - Claudia 

"Spanish Classes are Fun and Extremely Effective" - Ann Kuffner

Ann Kuffner - Warren Hardy Spanish Student and Alumni 
Having attended many International Living conferences, I’ve often enjoyed Warren Hardy’s infectious Spanish mini-lessons. My intent was to one day take classes at his Spanish school, in San Miguel de Allende. That day finally came after my husband and I moved to San Miguel, in May of 2018. We’d lived in Belize – where English is the primary language - for ten years. We knew that living in San Miguel, our lives would be easier, and richer, if we spoke at least some Spanish.

Years ago, I’d attended Spanish immersion programs in Antigua, Guatemala, and then in Merida, Mexico. Both are delightful Spanish Colonial towns. But the Spanish classes were frustrating since they were conducted entirely in Spanish. That approach was intimidating. But Warren’s teaching approach addresses how those of us who are no longer “youngsters” learn. And, his concept of focusing on “Power Verbs” first totally makes sense.

I’ve now completed the Level 1 Power Verbs class and am almost finished with the Communications Skills class. From Day 1, I was thrilled with the approach used at the Hardy Spanish School. We were allowed to ask questions in English in the first class. What a relief! That significantly reduced my stress while learning! The classes are fun. For me, the three hours fly by quickly. Each student is paired with a partner of a similar level. Given my past Spanish studies, verbs and words came back to me quickly. So, I ended up with three different partners during the first class, which sped up my rate of progress.

The flash card approach used in classes is extremely effective. As Warren explained, our elder brains best absorb new knowledge through repetition. Working on exercises with a partner, we zipped through the verb cards, prompting one another when needed. Patricia - our excellent teacher - and her assistants wandered during the exercises. They corrected our pronunciation and answered questions. Partners switch every few minutes, so time moves fast.

Another benefit, the Hardy approach puts significant emphasis on pronunciation. We drilled on our pronunciation every single class. This is critical to progress. Through personal experience I had learned that if you use the correct word, but your pronunciation is not correct, you often will not be understood. 

My husband and I bought a new house in San Miguel. So, I had to put my Spanish to the test immediately. We hired a variety of contractors to work on projects at the house, preparing it so that we can move in. Many locals in the Centro area of town speak English. But few local contractors speak English. After a few weeks in the Power Verbs class, I managed to communicate with our contractors, with some assistance from Google translate!

Next week I’ll start the Level 2 Verbs and Pronouns class.  It will be great to tackle past tense. After that comes the Storytelling class… By the end of 2018 I should be able to hold a decent conversation in Spanish with my new neighbors!

The Search is Over for The Best Colonial Town

San Miguel de Allende - Photo from International Living
by Ann Kuffner,
Student, Warren Hardy Spanish School
Correspondent, International Living
Each morning I’m gently coaxed from a satisfying sleep by the resonant toll of church bells, accompanied by a chorus of twittering birds. This is one of many aspects of living in San Miguel de Allende that delights me each and every day.
Over the years my husband and I visited a series of Spanish Colonial towns scattered throughout Central America and Mexico. After visiting San Miguel de Allende in Mexico’s Colonial Highlands in late 2016 there was no need to look further. We discovered a vibrant and cultured town full of beauty, energy, and creativity.
The historic buildings are draped in deep, earthy tones… Apache orange… blood red… moss green…umber brown…and bright yellow… They’re complemented by bursts of pink, coral, aqua, and lavender from the bougainvillea and jacaranda that line the streets. No wonder it’s been a favorite destination for artists for decades.
Multihued ribbons and flags snap in the refreshing breeze. (Average highs here range from 73 F to 88 F.)
It’s said that the use of bold colors in Mexico began as a means to live close to God and—like so many of Mexico’s regions—San Miguel is steeped in traditional festivities. The use of vibrant colors in Mexican society also reflects the general attitude to let go and savor life.
Many of San Miguel’s colors reflect the natural environment. The town’s blessed with intense, bright light and cobalt blue skies, reminiscent of Sante Fe, New Mexico… In the markets and on the street, vendors sell red, orange, and yellow peppers… red and green chilies… purple plums, and blackberries. Street-corner flower stalls overflow with splashy roses and gigantic lilies.
In September of 2017 we got serious about our move here. We rented a place with the idea of checking out property to buy. We were already comfortable in Mexico and compared to the U.S. the cost of living in San Miguel is a steal.
Another key reason we chose Mexico is its outstanding, low-cost healthcare. Our experiences with Mexico’s medical system were positive; the medical services reasonable.
Our initial plan was to rent for a year. But we quickly learned that prices were rising. Then we stumbled upon a property that was under construction. We were confident it would increase in value, once completed and furnished. It was an empty canvas we could make our own. The price was within our budget. So, we took the plunge.
As a UNESCO World Heritage town prices for resale homes in the center usually run over $500,000. In contrast, our house was priced under $300,000. It has 3,500 square feet, three bedrooms, four bathrooms, three terraces, and stunning views of a nearby lake and the surrounding hills. We bought from a Mexican builder, so our home was priced in pesos. The result is that it was considerably lower than other resales in the area.
Our new house is nearly ready but for now we’re renting a charming Mexican-style townhouse in the popular colonia of San Antonio. We can walk everywhere or grab a cab for $2 to $3. We’re exploring the town from the inside out. It’s a perfect spot to live while we plan the decoration of our new place.
These days I’m immersed in colors, considering a color theme for our new home. Being Mexico, I’m leaning towards big, bold, beautiful colors to enhance the many blank walls. Admittedly, it’s intimidating… I’ve been constantly scanning Mexican design books…flipping through real estate brochures…
It’s such fun to be starting here at this point in our lives…a new country…a brand-new home…a clean palette…and a vibrantly colored future… Now it’s time for me to return to paint chips and color therapy…

reproduced from  International Living 

Celebrating Being Best Friends After Meeting at the Warren Hardy School

Marly Swick and best friend Anne Kresl James sharing a moment after class in July 2018 

"I came to San Miguel first for the writer's conference to teach a workshop in 2013 and my second day in San Miguel I came to my first class at the Warren Hardy School - Level 1 - then I bought a house on the way out of town after six weeks. I was still teaching as a writer and professor of creative writing at University of Missouri. After I retired two years later I could live in San Miguel full time. Over these years I've taken about five classes at Warren Hardy. What happens is that I'll take one and then some time go by and then I forget what I learned in that one and so I have to repeat it, and so my advice is to keep going and not let these gaps occur. So now I'm taking the Story Telling class with Rocio with my best friend Ann whom I met here at Warren Hardy School. Many many people here make best friends."   - Marly Swick

"I came to San Miguel four years ago for a month, and the first thing that I did was sign up for a class here at Warren Hardy with my daughter. In that class I met my best friend, had a lot of fun, and learned the basics. Warren and Tuli were extremely gracious and helpful with answering questions and sharing information, not only about learning Spanish but also about San Miguel and Mexico in general.

Six months later I moved here permanently, and started studying Spanish again. Warren has designed a program that makes learning Spanish fun. Since then I have taken seven classes, some of them repeats due to the fact that I travel a lot in between classes and don't practice enough. It always feels like home when I walk in the door. The teachers are excellent and everyone at the school is very friendly. My favorite class is storytelling with Rocio, so over a year later I am taking it again. The difference now is that I am going to stop traveling so much, enjoy more time in Mexico, and I have a real desire to learn to speak Spanish. Rocio is an amazing teacher, and Warren's method is very practical and effective. I can finally say that I am determined to learn Spanish, and I'm not leaving Mexico until I do!"

- Anne Kresl James

Alumni Story Updated: Spanish Training Helps with Immigration Crisis at Border

This is a licensed stock photo for purposes of this blog. It is not one of the families mentioned in Flora's letters. 
Flora, an alumni and former student of Warren Hardy
Spanish sent us a letter in July and followed
up in August 2018. We just updated this
blog post with her recent letter.

July 26 2018 

"We have received a wonderful testimonial recently from a woman that is working with immigrants at the border. She talks about having taken Level 2 Spanish and how she is able to speak with these people and how much it means to her. Photos are not allowed at her location, so we are using a stock photo for this blog post."- Warren Hardy

"Dear Warren and Tuli,

I wanted to write to thank you with all my heart for excellent foundation and language skills I learned over the years at your school.

I am sure you are aware of the detained and separated families at the border. Several hospitality shelters here in the border area are receiving families released by ICE.  Last week I volunteered at a Lutheran Church in Las Cruces that had received families from Honduras.  They had arrived the night before and were on their way to family members in the U.S. who had bought bus or plane tickets for them.  Each adult had an ankle bracelet monitor.  I was given the job of going over the exit list with each adult making sure each had what he/she/the family needed for the journey: a watch, clean clothes, diapers for baby, a shower before leaving, light jacket for the plane, filled water bottle, backpack, lunches, and most important "Los Papeles" for the authorities. 

I used my Spanish all day; thanks to you I was able to converse with the refugees and their children. The only other Spanish speaker on site was the director of the border corps who was making the travel reservations for them.  The other volunteers were kind and attentive to all, but they couldn't converse or answer questions.

I can't emphasize enough or thank you enough for my Spanish skills.  I learned so much about the journey that the group of twelve made over 15 days by foot, hitchhiking, and train to reach the Juarez/El Paso entry where they were immediately put into detention. Thank goodness they were not separated.  

 I return on Wednesday when another group arrives; it will be a group that has been separated. They will be newly reunited next Tuesday evening, so the situation will be entirely different and surely more traumatic.

I never thought when I was faced with "The Great Wall of Spanish" (level 2) that I would ever be able to master the preterite or converse in anything other than present tense, that I would be able to use the language for such a meaningful endeavor.  

Warren, you once said that eventually we would develop our Spanish personality.  I know I will use mine with the work I am doing at the shelter.

My gratitude goes out to you for being a master teacher, for offering the best curriculum ever, and for giving me the gift of Spanish.

¡Gracias por todo!"

Update - August 2018

I arrived at the Lutheran Church the morning after refugees from El Salvador and Honduras had been released from the detention center. The sign across the door read “Bienvenidos.”  They had slept on air mattresses, been given dinner and breakfast, clean clothes, and new shoes.
 Now they were preparing for their departure to various cities where they had family or friends who had purchased tickets for travel.   Each adult was wearing an ankle bracelet monitor and had to make sure it was charged.
My conversational Spanish skills enabled me to take on the job of going over an itemized departure list to make sure each person or family was completely ready one hour before leaving the center.  The list included questions and instructions such as:
¿Ha desinflado usted su colchón? /Have you deflated your air mattress? 
¿Hay agua suficiente en su botella para el viaje?/Is there water in your bottle for the trip?
¿Necesita una chaqueta ligera?/Do you need a light jacket?
Puede llevar este reloj durante el viaje/You can wear this watch during  the journey.
¿Necesita usted los pañales para el bebé?/Do you need diapers for the baby?
¿Tiene usted sus papeles?/Do you have your papers (forms from immigration)?

Later we chatted in Spanish, and they told me stories of the arduous journey north.   Carmen said it took her group from El Salvador twenty days to reach El Paso. Back there her teenage son had been pressured to join a gang. Fleeing violence in Honduras, Luis told me their journey to the U.S. border took fifteen days of walking, hitchhiking, and riding the trains. They all said it was too dangerous to stay.

All day I said good bye to each family in turn: mothers, fathers, and children.  They hugged us with much emotion, saying “Muchas gracias. Gracias por todos. Ustedes son muy amables.”  I replied, “Estaré pensando en ti.” They had a long hopeful journey ahead.  In ten days each would have to report to an immigration official to request asylum.  ¡Que le vaya bien! 

Level 2 Spanish Language Grads

"These folks just crossed the great wall of Spanish. Congratulations to all!"
- Warren Hardy 
July 2018 Graduates - Level 2 Spanish Class - Warren Hardy Spanish School - San Miguel de Allende
Online Study - Video - Web Tutor Video Course
Power Verbs is the Ultimate Spanish course because it quickly and painlessly teaches you all you need to know to get around in Spanish.
It is based on the brilliant concept of combining a Power verb form like: I need to the infinitive of another verb.  Ie. I need to speak. I need to buy. I need to use.  This simple formula of: Power Verb + the infinitive of another verb + a noun + a time frame, will empower you to say hundreds of sentences to confidently express your needs and wants in Spanish
Can't take a local class in San Miguel de Allende? Need to study at home? Check out our WebTutor Video Courses.   WebTutor Video Course