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Online Travel Spanish Academy

Do you want to speak Spanish confidently in everyday situations while traveling to or living in Latin America? I learned how to and so can you!

Imagine no longer

just stumbling through your meal order at a restaurant, but rather getting to know your server and the local scoop on the town you’ve just arrived in.

Envision yourself at

a dinner party with new friends in Mexico City and you crack a joke in Spanish. Everyone busts up in genuine laughter and you finally feel like you fit in.

Picture yourself sitting

next to a woman on the airplane who is struggling to fill out the customs and immigration forms in English. You turn to her and in Spanish offer to help. Before you know it, her form is filled out and she’s sharing her life story and inviting you for lunch with her family next time you’re in Guadalajara.

You’re traveling to Nicaragua

with one of your non-Spanish-speaking friends. She starts to feel sick while in a remote town on the beach. Instead of panicking and not knowing what to do, you walk into the local pharmacy and are able to get her the medicine she needs to feel better in no time.

The job opportunity of a

lifetime comes up in Buenos Aires but they require conversational Spanish. You apply confidently and nail the interview. Argentina, new friends, and a whole lot of personal growth and development await you!

You spot a beautiful stranger

from across the coffee shop and there’s just something about them that makes you want to go over and say hello. They respond in Spanish and your palms sweat for a moment before you muster up the courage to dive into the conversation in Spanish. Three years later you’re setting off on a new adventure together.

You're back in your home

country and feeling outraged by the injustice happening at the border. You want to get involved but you’re not sure how. Luckily, a friend tells you about an organization looking for conversationally fluent volunteers to assist in family reunification efforts.

Your parents left El Salvador

before you were born and haven’t been back. You feel drawn to go explore your roots and even look up some of your cousins you’ve never met before to grab a beer. Your Spanish isn’t perfect but it’s enough for you to reunite with family, reconnect with your culture and begin to fill a lifelong void.

If you connected with any or all of the above, trust me when I say

"I feel you"

because I WAS you. And let me tell you, the single biggest life-changing decision I ever made was to really invest in my Spanish language skills. Once I began to live, eat and breathe Spanish all of a sudden my travels to Latin America shifted from fun, but superficial tourist experiences, to meaningful connections, lifelong friendships, new career opportunities, and a fresh outlook on life.

Chelsea's Spanish Language Learning Timeline

Found a coffee table book about Ajijic, México at my Grandma Jane’s house and made traveling to México by the time I was 20 a major goal.
Wanted to communicate with the kitchen staff at the restaurant I worked at better. Bought a knock-off version of Rosetta Stone and set my car radio to the local Latino station. Learned 5 words in Spanish.
Traveled to Guatemala alone for two weeks over spring break. Got lost, paid too much for a glass of water, and cried myself to sleep the first night. Decided to stay longer and take Spanish classes anyway.
Worked for a Guatemalan tour operator taking people on weekend excursions throughout Guatemala and El Salvador. Suffered major imposter syndrome with my Spanish and felt outside of my comfort zone at least 50% of the time I was awake. Got my heart broken in Spanish, for the first time.
Convinced Prescott College to let me finish my BA remotely from Guatemala. Worked at a popular bar in Antigua and became a certified ESL instructor. Finally started to feel confident in my Spanish skills despite still making tons of mistakes. Moved back to California in August.
Showed up unannounced at my local university. Managed to get them to let me enroll in the Master’s program despite having zero Spanish courses on my academic record. Started class three weeks later and was incredibly nervous before every class since I was one of the few non-native Spanish speakers in the program. Cried alone in the bathroom over my Spanish-induced anxiety.
Got promoted to Admissions Director at a private language school and cultural center in my hometown Sacramento, CA. Started taking adult students on trips to Guatemala working in collaboration with my former boss, Carlos, from Guinness Travel in Guatemala.
Got married in Spanish. Led adult Spanish language learners on trips to Guatemala with Ana Castillo “Chiva” and to Mexico and Perú alongside Dominique Cordero of Mariposa Spanish Lessons. Began public speaking in Spanish.
Quit my job in Spanish. Got divorced in Spanish. Started a business in Spanish. Started living life on my own terms, spending 70% of my day reading, writing, listening, and speaking Spanish.
Moved back to Guatemala and laid down roots. Lost my best friend and mentor, Carlos in a motorcycle accident. Battled depression and the ups and downs of solo entrepreneur life in Spanish. Registered Heart of Travel in Guatemala and made Ana Castillo my business partner. Kept studying Spanish on my own to overcome my insecurities speaking Spanish in a leadership position.
Traveled A LOT in Spanish, clocking time in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panamá, and Ecuador. Grew my business and was the only nonnative Spanish speaker of 8 members on the team. Raised over 30k for volcano relief and facilitated the distribution of immediate and long-term aid to victims of the June 3rd, 2018 eruption of the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala. All in Spanish.
Fell in love with a Cuban man in Havana. Struggled to understand half of everything he was saying. Bought a Cuban Spanish dictionary and consulted my Cuban bilingual bestie, Lidyz, for help. Heart of Travel had its best year yet and we were recognized by the Guatemalan Tourism board which came with lots of public speaking in Spanish and lots of sweaty palms. Got engaged in Spanish. Got pregnant in Spanish. Spent a night in the ER in Mexico City in Spanish.
Had a baby in Spanish. Went on a ridiculous political rant with my OBGYN in Spanish while under local anesthesia. Fell in love with my daughter in Spanish. Survived a pandemic in Guatemala. Watched my business almost crumble to the ground. Cried in Spanish. Took comfort in my family and friends in Spanish.
Finally finished that last remaining course to complete my MA in Spanish. Grew the confidence to publicly represent myself as a talented and qualified Spanish language instructor. Rebuilt the business with Chiva, Pam, and new hires Laura, Aurelio, Eimy and Nish. Made Spanish language learning and immersion trips our new focus.
Becoming the best version of myself and fully embracing my bilingual identity, including my occasional grammatical errors or pronunciation hiccups. Stepping into the greatest year of my life, professionally and personally, and feeling honored and grateful to lead you on your Spanish language learning journey!

 

Fact-Backed Reasons to Learn Spanish!


Meet the team

Throughout your Spanish language journey, you will be supported by our talented and diverse team!

Pam Aguilar

I am all about music, my favorite hobby is listening to music while working or basically anywhere and anytime in my life lol. Some of my favorite artists are: Jorge Drexler, Mac Miller and Gustavo Cerati. My favorite destination is Argentina, all the way from Jujuy to Ushuaia. My favorite Spanish word is “¡Hay que hacerse cargo!” which means “We have to own it!”.

Ana "Chiva" Castillo

I consider myself a very active person, that's why I love reading as much as I love listening to music while I´m thinking about travelling, lol! My favorite book is “El Desayuno de los Campeones” / “Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut. My favorite destination is Las Islas Galápagos in Ecuador, mostly because I love the sea life and I think that swimming with turtles is at the top of my list. My favorite Spanish word is “Otorrinolaringólogo” / “Otolaryngologist”.

Chelsea Glass

One of my hobbies is listening to music (ask the rest of the team lol) and I would say The Eagles or Juan Luis Guerra are a must in many of my playlists! Besides music, I love watching tv and I would say that some of my favorite tv shows are: The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Dexter, and Jane the Virgin. I also have some favorite authors like Malcom Gladwell or Isabel Allende (Chilean writer). My favorite destination is México because they literally have everything, from the food to all of their people being so nice and they really do know how to celebrate things. My favorite Spanish word is “Chuchito”, which is a Spanish word for a Guatemalan dish, Chuchito.

Luis Miguel Sosa

Hi! As a creative asset for Heart of Travel I love listening to music while working! And of course, one of my favorite songs (always in my playlist) is Sweet Child of Mine from Guns n´ Roses. My favorite destination would be The Netherlands, especially Amsterdam. I´ve always been drawn to their culture. My favorite Spanish word is “¡Candela!”. A very Cuban expression (slang) used for a lot of things, especially people, situations and even hints or suggestions.

Laura Castillo

When I am not designing or being creative I´m just enjoying my couch and watching a good movie. Some of my favorite movies are “A Walk to Remember” and “Inception”, and I know they´re on opposite ends of a genre but I just love watching movies lol. My favorite destination is Perú. I love the lamas and their landscapes. My favorite Spanish word would be “¡Pilas!”, which is a Spanish word (slang) for “do your best” or encouraging someone to their best or work harder.

Aurelio Porras

I love music as much as I love tech! I would say my favorite song of all time is “Have it all” by Brian Johnson. My favorite destination is Colombia, just because it's beautiful lol. My favorite Spanish word is “Fe” which means “Faith”.

Nish Comte

Marketing and creativity involve so much reading sometimes! That's why one of my favorite hobbies in the world is reading. My favorite book is “Ensayo sobre la Ceguera” by José Saramago / Blindness by José Saramago (a Portuguese writer and Nobel prize winner). My favorite destination would be México, especially Oaxaca. I would love to learn everything there is about mezcal and for the food. Plus, I love tacos. My Spanish word is “¡Chilero!”, which is a Spanish word for “awesome” or “cool”.

Joaquín Avich

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Mafer Girón

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Eimy Calderón

I studied languages so that´s why reading is such an important part of my life. My favorite book is “La Tregua” / “The Truce” by Mario Benedetti. My favorite destination would be any Guatemalan volcano, especially Atitlán and Acatenango, and on the other hand I also love Laguna Lachuá in Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. My favorite word in Spanish is “Espontaneidad” or “Spontaneity”.

What Our Students Are Saying

Listen to what Chelsea’s former private students have to say about their experiences learning with her!

“I think what I really appreciate the most is Chelsea’s understanding of learning Spanish and the process that she went through herself to reach the incredible fluency that she has”
"As passionate as Spanish can be, a passionate student really needs a passionate teacher, and I really found that with Chelsea."
"The conversation practices are wonderful, and everyone who I speak to is always so kind and patient, and it's such a great way to practice and feel more comfortable in Spanish...!"

Fears & FAQs

Is there a refund policy for this course?

Once this course has began on January 11th, 2022 there are no refunds provided. In the event, you can no longer commit to the course due to verifiable health, familial or professional obligations please let us know and we will provide you with credit applicable to future courses or select Heart Travel trips.

If after participating in at least 50% of the course you’re truly not satisfied with your experience and results then we will discuss your case on an individual basis to process a refund and/or credit applicable to future courses, travel, or merchandise. Please note that you will have to demonstrate effort put into the course by showing up to calls and moving through the course content in Teachable and Quizlet and participating in the Discord Community Group.

Will I receive a grade for this course?

No, this course is not designed to provide you with a formal letter grade at the end of the course, rather you will be provided with constant feedback and support throughout the entirety of the course. However, you’d like to request a formal letter grade or written recommendation please let us know at the start of the course.

How is this course geared towards travelers?

Every aspect of this course was designed with traveler’s needs and interests in mind and this is reflected in the vocabulary and grammar points focused on as well as the content provided in the workbook and instructional videos. Not only will you learn how to navigate common travel situations and scenarios in Spanish but you’ll also learn more about history, culture, and everyday life in various Latin American destinations. Additionally, there are travel tips and useful information sprinkled throughout this course so who can travel safely, responsibly, and have a blast on your next trip to Latin America.

I hear a lot about “Castilian Spanish” that’s from Spain right? What type of Spanish is taught in this course?

The term “Castilian Spanish” can mean the variety of Peninsular Spanish spoken in northern and central Spain, the standard form of Spanish, or Spanish from Spain in general. In short, Castilian Spanish is associated with Spain. Historically, many Spanish language learning programs have focused more on Castilian Spanish and there is often a degree of prestige associated with Castilian Spanish. However, and with no disrespect to Spain or Spaniards, but this feels antiquated and exclusively considering the amount of native Spanish speakers living in the Americas. Recognizing this lack of educational materials focusing on Latin American Spanish, our program seeks to reflect the linguistic diversity found throughout Latin America and prepare students for travel or relocation to Latin America. This means vocabulary and grammar structures used in class will be modeled after the Spanish spoken in Latin America and you will hear voices from Guatemala, México, Cuba, Ecuador, and other Latin American countries. That being said, we will include vosotros in written materials and remind students of certain Castillian tips and tricks to be aware of.

It’s important to note that we will be teaching and using the pronoun “vos” (not to be confused with vosotros) in our lessons and we will also be mentioning the newer “inclusive language” that is becoming popular in many areas and incorporating it in some of our lessons and exercises.

I love the idea of the community aspect portion of this course. Are there any rules I need to be aware of?

We trust our students to be kind, mature, and thoughtful individuals and we believe in asking questions, freedom of expression, and even a little healthy debate. That being said, we do NOT tolerate hate speech or discrimination of any kind, bullying, profanity, explicit or pornographic content, the spreading of dangerous misinformation, self-promotion, or spam. If you post something that qualifies as any of the mentioned above it will be removed by the group admin and you will receive a warning in private. If you continue to violate these community guidelines you will be removed from the Discord community group and your commenting privileges on Teachable will be revoked.

Likewise, if a fellow student is making you uncomfortable please reach out to us right away so we can address the situation.

Can I get high school or college credit for taking this course?

At this moment, we unfortunately are not accredited. However, we hope to be in the future! Until then, we are happy to write a letter to your educational institution (or employer if applicable) detailing the nature of the course to see if they will approve it in exchange for credit. We have done this before for our trips and had travelers get university credits or trip payment assistance from their employer in the past!

I’ve taken some Spanish classes before but they are all so boring and focus heavily on grammar. How is this program different?

Slightly unpopular opinion - but grammar matters! I see so many learners looking for ways to dodge the inevitable and many programs catering to this trend. However, I truly believe that while grammar is NOT everything and does not need to be perfect to communicate effectively, you still need to learn the general structure of the language. Even as native English speakers we are taught grammar in elementary school making our spoken English not only “acquired” but also learned. What makes our program different in regards to this topic, however, is that we don’t teach grammar in a boring and overwhelming way. We give brief but thorough explanations and then provide you with ample opportunities to study this grammar point as much or as little as you’d like. You will then utilize your newfound grammar knowledge and skills in a variety of dynamic vocabulary, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and writing exercises.

Also, remember that learning Spanish is not the only thing that this program is about. We are also here to teach you about Latin American history, culture, and current events as well as responsible travel practices. Therefore, grammar does not represent a dominant majority of the content seen in this course but we will have 3 - 4 grammar classes (25 - 40 minutes long) per unit.

Is the course taught entirely in Spanish?

No, not at the Basic I level. Due to the virtual nature of this course, there are certain classroom tricks that are harder to execute in pre-recorded videos. Therefore we utilize a fair amount of English in the first two units (out of five) in order to arm you with the basic vocabulary and listening comprehension skills to understand instructions and explanations in Spanish. As the course progresses there will be less and less English. However, English can still be heard throughout the course even at the end of the Basic II series.

I’m on the fence because Maestra Chelsea is not a native Spanish speaker and I’ve heard it’s better to take classes from native speakers. Is this the right course for me?

Maestra Chelsea here! This is such a great question and I’m even going to let you in on a little secret. I have put off promoting myself as a Spanish instructor for years for this very reason, despite having had numerous non-native Spanish-speaking professors while pursuing my MA. My insecurities about my Spanish were something I struggled with for a long time, however, over time I have come to embrace the ways in which not being a native speaker actually helps me to be a better teacher. What makes me different is that I truly understand and relate to my students’ struggles. This allows me to explain certain aspects of the language in ways that many native speakers cannot. That being said, I DO believe that exposure to native speakers is an important component of learning the language which is why I won’t be doing all of the talking. Maestra Chiva and Assistant Pamela are both native speakers who will be featured in the videos and voiceovers. Likewise, you will hear from other native speakers from all around Latin America to expose you to different accents, vocabulary, and cultural norms reflected in language. Therefore approximately 75% of the content in Spanish is coming from the mouths of native speakers, primarily from Guatemala, Cuba, México, and Ecuador.

I’m not very tech-savvy, will I be able to navigate the learning platform?

Yes, however, it might take a few days to get used to it. Don’t worry though, we are here to help walk you through it and can even jump on a one-on-one call if needed. Additionally, on the first live call, Maestras Chelsea and Pamela will show everyone how to use the course, plus there will also be a tutorial video posted in Teachable that you can revisit at any point during the course. The four platforms you’ll need to learn how to use in order to fully participate in this course are Zoom, Teachable, Discord, and Quizlet

The program looks amazing but it sounds like a heavy time commitment, what will be expected out of me?

Great question! Once you’ve purchased the course you’ll have lifetime access to the pre-recorded videos, PDF workbook, Quizlet exercises, and any extra content hosted on Teachable. Therefore you can study at your own pace and get started whenever you want once the course goes live in January 2022. However, starting January 11th, 2022 we will have 90-minute group calls once a week for 8 weeks which we HIGHLY recommend participating in or watching the replay. Likewise, you will have access to the Discord Community group for 3 months, starting on January 11th, 2022. In order to get the best results, we recommend dedicating 6 hours a week to your studies for the first 8 weeks as this course is designed for people who are truly passionate about learning Spanish and committed to doing what it takes to achieve results. Of course, everything is optional and you’re welcome to study and participate as much or as little as you’d like. At a bare minimum, we’d suggest having 3 hours to dedicate to your studies a week, even if it’s broken into shorter study sessions.

I know ZERO Spanish, is this the right course for me or will I be in over my head?

Yes! This course is a good fit for a variety of learners including total beginners as well as folks who studied Spanish at the high school or college level but who feel like they didn’t retain much. The truth is that many Spanish courses are somewhat dry and their main focus is getting you through the course. Here we truly want you to learn and apply your Spanish in real-life scenarios! We will start out with the basics so if you’ve never heard a Spanish word in your life that’s just fine. However, even if you’ve had some previous experience with Spanish this course may still be a good fit for you as review and practice truly make perfect. Plus, we aren’t just teaching your Spanish but this course is also loaded with history, culture, and travel tips that your previous Spanish courses likely didn’t include.

I really want to learn Spanish but I don’t have anyone to practice with and I get really shy when I try to speak Spanish, especially with native Spanish speakers. Can this course help me overcome my fears?

Yes, definitely! Learning a new language is overwhelming and for many people, the fear of making mistakes or having a bad accent holds them back. This is a natural reaction but together we will work to overcome this. Our course isn’t just about teaching you grammar and vocabulary, rather we also work on building the motivated mindset needed to learn a language and get comfortable in the uncomfortable and unknown. Likewise, our community group in DISCORD will give you support as well as opportunities to practice your Spanish with peers.

Content Covered in Basic I and Basic II

Basic I

ABC’s & Pronunciation Tips & Tricks
Greetings & Introductions in Spanish
Geography and Latin American History
Question Words in Spanish
Colors
Numbers
Days of the week
Months of the year
Subject pronouns - including vos and gender neutral pronouns
Present tense regular verbs
Ser & Estar
Religions
Professions
Descriptive adjectives
Household & Hotel Vocabulary
Airport & Train Station Vocabulary
Buildings & Places
Prepositions of time and location
Food Vocabulary
Kitchen & Restaurant Vocabulary
Making Reservations
Checking In
Ordering Meals

Basic II

Review and reinforcement of all concepts seen in Basic I
Posessive Adjectives
Posessive Pronouns
Articles in Spanish
Irregular Verbs in Present Tense
The Verb “Haber”
Telling Time
Traffic & Transportation Vocabulary
Asking, following and giving directions
“Voy a” to express future plans
Parts of the body vocabulary
Common illness and injury vocabulary
Hospital and medical care vocabulary
Getting help abroad in the case of an emergency
Prices & Purchasing Vocabulary
Market & Artisan Goods Vocablary
Market tips and etiquette
The verb “gustar”
Discussing daily routines
Discussing likes and dislikes
Making future plans

Spanish Immersion Trips with Mariposa Vagabunda

 

For those of you ready to put your newly polished Spanish skills to the test we will be offering an optional Spanish Immersion trip after completing our 8 weekly group calls.


These trips will be offered in collaboration with Maestra Dominique Cordero of La Mariposa Spanish lessons and are the perfect combination of structured classroom time and fun adventures! These trips are open to the public but students in our program will receive a special student rate!

Plans & Prices

Bundle (B1 and B2)

$699

24 hours of live Zoom Group Calls with Maestra Chelsea & Assistant Maestra Pamela (16 ninety-minute calls).
35+ hours of pre-recorded video content.
6 months access to Discord community group managed by Maestras and Heart of Travel Community Manager.
80+ Interactive Quizlet Sets.
250+ page workbook.
250+ page workbook.
Links to supplementary resources such as podcasts, books, films, TV shows, blogs, and other learning resources!

6 payments of $119

VIP Add-on - Plus $159

Six 40 minute conversation practice sessions with native speakers via Zoom
Two 1-1 calls with one of our teachers (45 minutes)
T-shirt from Heart’s Artisan shop

Single - Basic I

$379

12 hours of live Zoom Group - Calls with Maestra Chelsea & Assistant Maestra Pamela (8 ninety-minute calls).
18+ hours of pre-recorded video content.
40+ Interactive Quizlet Sets.
125+ page workbook.
3 months access to Discord community group managed by Maestras and Heart of Travel Community Manager.
2 Curated Spotify Playlists in Spanish.
Links to supplementary resources such as podcasts, books, films, TV shows, blogs, and other learning resources!

3 payments of $129

VIP Add-on - Plus $99

Three 40 minute conversation practice sessions with native speakers via Zoom
One 1-1 call with one of our teachers (45 minutes)
Travel mug from Heart’s Artisan Shop

Single - Basic II

$379

12 hours of live Zoom Group Calls with Maestra Chelsea & Assistant Maestra Pamela (8 ninety-minute calls).
118+ hours of pre-recorded video content.
40+ Interactive Quizlet Sets.
125+ page workbook.
3 months access to Discord community group managed by Maestras and Heart of Travel Community Manager.
2 Curated Spotify Playlists in Spanish.
Links to supplementary resources such as podcasts, books, films, TV shows, blogs, and other learning resources!

3 payments of $129

VIP Add-on - Plus $99

Three 40 minute conversation practice sessions with native speakers via Zoom
One 1-1 call with one of our teachers (45 minutes)
Travel mug from Heart’s Artisan Shop