Frequently Asked Questions

As you go through my site I am sure that you will have questions that you would like to ask about my online Spanish tutoring service. Below I have compiled the most common questions that prospective students ask – and I have answered them as fully as I can. For anything not answered below please email: hola@rubenreguera.com

Getting started

Can I try a demonstration class before committing?

Yes. I provide a free 15-minute online trial lesson that is designed to assess your proficiency level in Spanish, discuss your goals, and to answer your questions. Simply book a time here and you can get started learning online with me.

What happens next?

During and after the trial you will have a chance to ask me any questions you may have about learning Spanish online with me. Then we can schedule your classes at the most convenient times; once you have confirmed and paid the fee then we are ready to get started.

What equipment do I need?

You will need access to a computer with a Skype or Google Hangouts account (both of which are free), an Internet connection, and ideally a good quality set of headphones with a microphone. You may also need a Spanish language textbook, which will be recommended after your trial.

Do I need a special keyboard?

No – most modern computers include support for multiple languages and you can easily change the keyboard language between Spanish and English as required.

How much are lessons?

Most of my students are looking for one-on-one, individualized tutoring that specifically addresses all their Spanish learning needs. The hourly rate for individual tutoring sessions of USD 47 – USD 50 guarantees you fully-prepared and tailored lessons that will accelerate your learning. I am a highly trained Spanish tutor with many years of teaching and tutoring experience and understand what my students need. I also have a track record of delivering results, as you can see from my testimonials.

Please note that the lower rate of USD 47 per lesson is available for booking blocks of 4, 6, or 8 hours. Mini courses and group lessons are available at lower rates. Please note that payment must be made in advance of the first lesson and that all prices quoted are in US Dollars.

How do I pay?

I accept all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard) and debit cards. You can also use PayPal.

How do I communicate with you?

With most students, I use Skype (which is free) for lessons and email for communication in between lessons.

Using Skype for lessons

I just received my sign up confirmation email – what do I do now?

You will most likely sign up following a free trial, after I have already assessed your proficiency level and we have discussed your language goals. Once you have purchased your first lesson, and received the confirmation email, you will need to schedule it in the booking calendar. If you don’t yet have a Skype account, you will also need to set one up by following the steps outlined in the next question.

How do I set up and use Skype?

In order to use Skype you will need a computer with a decent internet connection, a web camera, and, if possible, a good set of headphones with a microphone. Some computers have good speakers and microphones and these may be adequate. To install Skype and create an account now, go here. You can watch a video of how to do this here. Once you have set up your free Skype account you can make video calls to any other Skype users. Set up your username and password and then invite me to connect: my Skype username is: Ruben Reguera Spanish Tutor. If you have any questions about this please contact me on: hola@rubenreguera.com

I have a sound problem – what can I do?

Usually we can iron out any technical problems during the trial lesson so that by the time you start paid lessons you are ready to go. Sound problems may be due to a weak WiFi signal, faulty computer equipment, or Skype program issues, but they are usually easily solved. If not, then the lesson can be rescheduled when everything is working again. I understand that technical problems can occur – please rest assured you will never miss out on lesson time due to unavoidable technical glitches.

Do you have any tips for optimizing Skype?

  • Keep Skype updated –your PC may do this automatically
  • Use headphones/headset – this will reduce echoes and feedback in the sound quality
  • Make sure the light is optimized for me to be able to see you on the video – not a silhouette
  • Test your sound and audio quality regularly using Skype’s in-program diagnostic tools
  • Ensure a peaceful environment at class time
  • Don’t have too many programs running during your class – preferably only Skype, a web browser, and Microsoft Word (as needed)
  • If your WiFi connection is not reliable try to use a LAN cable to connect to the Internet
  • If you have a shared WiFi connection ensure that other parties are not hogging bandwidth by downloading movies during your class, as it will affect Skype call quality

Why do we use Skype?

We don’t have to use Skype – Google Hangouts is another option. Skype is suitable for most students because it is free, easy to set up and use, and the instant messaging feature allows real-time checking of written work and helps with answering any written questions you may have.

How do I type in Spanish?

In order to type in Spanish:

  • Windows users can go here and download the appropriate language pack for your version of Windows.
  • For the Mac OS watch this video for typing in Spanish.
Refund, reschedule, and cancellation

Can I reschedule a class?

Yes. It is easy to reschedule a lesson with me: simply use the online calendar to book a more convenient time. You will receive an email notification of the rescheduled class. Note that if you cannot attend a lesson, you must cancel within 24 hours or it will be charged as normal; a no-show will usually be charged as normal too, though I always take into account the circumstances.

Can I cancel a class?

You can cancel a scheduled lesson or block of lessons if you provide a minimum of 24 hours notice. I will refund the money within 5 working days. Most students prefer to reschedule rather than to cancel lessons (see the above question), and you can work with me to ensure that you find a convenient time to learn.

My online Spanish tutoring lessons

How does your online tutoring work?

Booking up for Spanish tutoring is easy – simply schedule your trial class here. During our interactive classes on Skype or Google Hangouts I will tutor you using a variety of resources, focusing on the aspects of Spanish that help you achieve your main language goals. We will refer to textbooks as well as online resources and links to demonstrate learning points. To accelerate learning I will also write on an electronic whiteboard, sharing explanations and making notes. This becomes a shared screen on which you can learn new expressions, grammatical formations, vocabulary, and so on. We also use email and instant messaging to exchange materials, homework and/or comments.

How is learning online different to traditional learning?

Most students find learning online better value, more flexible, and more convenient than other ways of learning Spanish. The flexible scheduling set up can help you balance family and work life while you learn. By learning online with me you get the one-to-one interaction with a professional, native-speaking Spanish teacher, and you can access classes from wherever you are in the world, at almost any time. It is the modern way to learn and all branches of education are increasingly benefiting from being connected 24/7.

How will you assess my level?

I am experienced at assessing proficiency levels and, once we have discussed your language goals in your free trial lesson, I will recommend the most appropriate text book for you.

What textbooks do you recommend?

For private tutorials, it is not necessary for students to purchase any textbook as I will provide all the learning materials you need in class. However, if you have already purchased a textbook and prefer to work with that, I am happy to do so. Wherever appropriate, I can also recommend extra materials and textbooks to you, in order to accelerate your Spanish learning progress.

For students booking a mini course there is a recommended textbook from the Aula Internacional series. Although students do not have to purchase the textbook, I highly recommend it in order to get the most out of the course. However, please note that I am not affiliated to any textbook provider and all recommendations I make are based on my independent opinion and are for the learning benefit of each student.

How will you assess my progress?

Ongoing evaluation will usually take the form of informal, constructive, real-time feedback throughout each lesson. More formal language evaluations can be arranged. After each lesson I will also provide you with a document with feedback, activities, homework, and strategies to assist you in your learning and to keep track of your progress.

Will you set homework for me?

Yes, at times. While I can be flexible and understand that you want to work at your own pace, my job is to get you mastering Spanish. So it is important that what you learn in class is practiced and ‘internalized’. Additional homework is a good way of doing this and you’ll find that its benefits are well worth the extra time you invest.

What level of success can I expect?

I am a highly experienced, highly trained, native-speaking Spanish teacher with a Master’s degree in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. My online tutoring method uses proven ways of helping you learn, but your success will also be dependent upon your levels of motivation and commitment. If this is all in place then you will be very successful at Spanish, as most of my other students have been.

Can I record my lessons to re-watch later?

Yes. As well as the Skype or Google Hangouts instant messenger ‘chat’ record for reference and practice after each session, you can also record your class. Although Skype doesn’t have a built-in ‘record’ feature you can install software or an add-on to save the video of your classes e.g. Supertintin Skype Video Recorder. Additionally, after each tutoring session I will share a Google Drive folder that covers the content and activities of each lesson.

Outside of class, what would you recommend to improve my Spanish learning?

Good question. Other activities and resources can help you accelerate your learning. This includes watching TV and movies in Spanish (using subtitles), setting targets for learning new words every day, reading Spanish books or online texts, listening to Spanish audio (and songs), and spending time with Spanish-speaking friends, if possible. Of course nothing beats actually traveling to Spain or another Spanish-speaking country and immersing yourself in the language.

I am taking another Spanish class – can I also study with you?

Yes! When learning a new language it usually helps to learn from as many sources as possible – as long as they are professional, reliable, and well-informed. You can never get enough practice. My private online classes can be tailored to supplement an offline class if necessary.

Business Spanish tutoring

Can you tailor a course specifically for my job or industry?

Yes. I am qualified to teach Spanish for Business and if you have special language requirements unique to your role or your industry I can help you master the necessary vocabulary and phrases by tailoring a program for you.

I have an upcoming business trip where I need to speak Spanish - can you help?

If you have a pressing need to learn Spanish for a business trip, I would recommend booking an intensive course with me that will accelerate your learning. Given time and availability, it is usually possible to reach your professional objectives with the language.

Booking lessons with me

At what times are you available?

I am available from Monday to Saturday every week. You can book classes with me at anytime indicated as ‘available’ in the booking calendar. If you need to book classes outside of these times then please discuss with me and we may be able to come to an arrangement.

Do you teach on weekends?

I teach on Saturdays. Please check the booking calendar for availability as Saturday is a popular day and you may need to book early to avoid disappointment.

Do I have to commit to a set time/day every week?

No, it is up to you to book lessons at your convenience – you will see in the booking calendar the dates and times when I am available and you can choose accordingly.

How long are lessons?

The length of lessons is really up to you. You can arrange classes for 1 hour, 1.5 hours, 2 hours, or longer. Normally students book at least a 1-hour lesson at least once a week, but this will depend on availability and the timescale for achieving your language goals.

Do you run group classes or only one-on-one classes?

You have the choice of one-on-one tuition or learning as part of a group. For group classes, you will need to create the group – for instance a group of 2 or 3 family members or friends studying together. Find out more information about this on the Private Tutoring page.

How will I know how many lessons to take?

This will be determined by your unique learning requirements and the pace at which you progress. One of the benefits of learning Spanish with me is that I continually assess your progress as we go. After establishing what you want to achieve with the language I plan the way for you to get there as quickly as possible. There are no shortcuts, but my learning strategies will not waste any time. At least one class per week over a period of a few months is typical for most students; some take classes as often as every two days. Classes can be rescheduled or cancelled as per the policies outlined above.

How long until I’m fluent in Spanish?

Everyone learns at a different pace so it is difficult to generalize. On average it takes around 50-60 hours to cover the basics; and another 50-60 hours to get to intermediate level. Fluency will be accelerated if you have opportunities to speak Spanish outside of class – for instance if you are living in a Spanish-speaking country or have Spanish-speaking friends you can talk to. Much depends on the strength of your motivation to learn too.

Can you customize lessons?

All lessons are essentially customized, as they are focused on helping you with your unique language needs. However, if you need to learn Spanish for a particular industry, a particular role, or a highly specific usage, I can usually design a program specifically for this purpose.

About me as a Spanish tutor

How are you qualified to teach me Spanish?

I have a BA Hons in English Language, Literature and Linguistics and a Masters in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language, as well as a Masters in Cross-Cultural Communication & International Relations. I am also qualified to teach Spanish for Business and have years of experience in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language (since 2007). As a native speaker I am able to not only help you master the language but also provide detailed cultural insights that a non-native speaker generally cannot. This is why my tutoring should be considered a ‘premium’ service for students committed to really mastering Spanish. Find out more about me here.

What teaching methodology do you use?

My Spanish teaching methodology has focused on three of the most influential components of Second Language Acquisition: Experiential Learning, Intercultural Competence, and Interdisciplinary Teaching. Lessons are highly interactive and I specialize in teaching the structure, logic, and nuances of Spanish as a second language. Depending on your goals, we will focus on conversation, pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, spelling and writing, phonology and orthography, or other aspects of the language as required.

I am a real beginner – can you help me?

I teach Spanish to learners of all proficiency levels from Beginners to Advanced. Even if you have no previous experience of speaking Spanish, I can help you learn. I am fluent in English, so beginner lessons are easy to arrange, and I have personally designed material for beginners to use in conjunction with the appropriate textbooks. We will start with an introduction to the alphabet and the sounds of the language, and then work towards your personal language goals, as communicated in your initial trial lesson.

Do you have a strong accent?

I grew up in the south of Spain and have a standard Spanish accent that might be described as ‘neutral’. Having taught around the world, my pronunciation is clear and easy to understand, and you can expect to learn a similarly clear version of classical Spanish.

Do you teach face-to-face?

Yes! Although the main focus of this site is online Spanish tutorials, much of my past experience has been in face-to-face teaching. If you live in my area I can provide in-person tutorials at any location convenient to you – this includes coffee shops, at your office or home, or in a public library, etc. Please note that face-to-face tutorials incur a $5 per hour/per person surcharge on my standard hourly fees. Most of my time is currently spent either in Barcelona (Spain) or in Adelaide (Australia) but contact me on hola@rubenreguera.com to find out where I am now!