Synergy Spanish by Marcus Santamaria is a fast track course to teach beginners a little more than entry level Spanish, just enough to build the foundation for further studies.
Is it for you?
If you visit the Synergy Spanish website, you’ll see that they’re targeting the middle-aged. Yes, the course has a specific audience and no, age has nothing to do with it–as long as you’re a basic-learner. However, the method is fairly travel-oriented and not much suitable for general application. So yeah, that marketing strategy of theirs needs a bit tweaking.
To put it simply, this course is for you if you fall in one of the following categories:
- You’re just starting out with no background in Spanish whatsoever and would be happy with basic conversational Spanish and a little more. For example, “What time is it? Oh! I didn’t realize it was that late,” and a little more
- You’ve tried other courses/conventional classes/methods of learning and nothing worked-out for you
- You’re planning to visit a Spanish-speaking town as a tourist and want to learn enough to get you by. E.g., ordering in a restaurant, small talk with the locals, etc.
- You want a speedy method to go from zero to conversational level
What you get?
The basic package ($67) includes 68 audio lessons, fast start action guide, and an iPhone/iPad/Android App.
Costlier packages ($97, $145) also include 68 video lessons (including the same content as the audio, except you get to watch the instructions, duh) and 90-day email coaching. You can get exact details on thier website.
- Based around a core of just 138 words that you can combine to say over 88,000 phrases.
Instead of learning intensive grammar rules and lists of categorized words like you did in school, you learn carefully selected words that maximize your ability to form the most required sentences.
- 90 days of email coaching support
The business is run by just one Spanish teacher (Marcus Santamaria); and if you get stuck at any point in the course all you need to do is drop him an email and he’ll help you out.
It’s a personal touch that you won’t get with a Michel Thomas or Rosetta Stone.
- Assuming you’re the right audience (see above), I didn’t find any cons with the course as such. The approach was not something I adored though!
- “You don’t Have to Speak Perfect Spanish” was the key theme throughout the course: err, no thanks. But as I mentioned earlier, if you’re the targeted learner (tourist, just have to clear that basic Spanish test and then I’m done, etc.) go for it.
- There are no interactive sessions or forums if you like that student-community feel.
Synergy Spanish can be a suitable language learning program for a certain type of learners. It can be a great way to learn basics of a new language fast–Be prepared to learn by means of rote and lots of vocabulary memorization, and these basics would be enough to carry a conversation with native speakers or get you around in a foreign country. Marcus doesn’t promise to make you fluent in the language, so the course meets its advertising claims.
However, my take is that if you’ve decided to spend time on learning the language, don’t go for shortcuts; if you’re doing it do it right! But again we can’t say what works best for whom. One way would be to check-out the free demos available on the website, and see if Synergy Spanish is the right choice for you.
P.S. Vocab memorization sucks.