I know it takes a little clicking around the site to actually get to this page, so first of all, I want to say thank you for visiting our site and to congratulate you on finding us. If you want to learn Spanish, you are at this moment exactly in the right place.
I want to use this space to share a little about the beginnings of 1To1Languages.com. These beginnings are very humble and go hand and hand with my own personal story.
I am originally from Bogota, Colombia. For reasons that only the universe knows completely, I moved to New York City in 1999. Fresh out of college, where I studied engineering, I took English as one of my motivations to move to the Big Apple (economic reasons were the other component of my decision). Having study very hard in my last three semesters of college, I had become a very methodical and disciplined student. Those qualities gave me very good academic results in the last part of my college experience.
Once in New York City, I set myself a personal goal of learning English in six months, but six months went by and my English did not improve as much as I thought it would, even though I was literally obsessed with the language. I was interacting with TV, videos, audio cassettes and all the books I could get my hands on for an average of 8-10 hours per day. To make the story short, I studied English in a Language school for 2.5 years and it was only in my fourth year in the U.S that I started to finally be able to speak fluently in any situation. I would say it was after a total of six years of what you can call a pure "immersion" experience that I was able to really feel comfortable speaking English.
Now the question is why a college level brain would take six years to learn a language? The answer is simple, yet very meaningful: lack of practice
Living in New York City, most people I was surrounded by were either Spanish speakers (who would only speak Spanish to me) or English speakers whom I did not have much in common with. Bottom line, I did not have too many native English speakers to practice my English with. So even though my ear was trained, my writing was decent, my conversation was just not progressing at the same level.
That experience gave me a first hand understanding of what it really takes to learn a language fast. It takes discipline and hard work (as on any other academic enterprise), but it also takes the right method and there is nothing and let me repeat this: nothing that can compare with interacting one-on-one with native tutors. When you work with a native tutor, you get to hear their pronunciation and since it is a two-way conversation, you are also forced to talk so you are working on your listening, your brain and your tongue. All three at the same time.
A clear understanding of that concept combined with the technological edge we have the privilege to enjoy today (namely Skype, Google Talk and inexpensive access to broadband Internet) made the 1to1languages project a reality.
I have put together the knowledge collected from my own experience with the professionalism of college-educated teachers to create a product we are very proud to offer the world since 2005. Throughout the past four years we have gained invaluable insight and feedback and have compiled a long list of additional ideas for using the Internet to teach Spanish in more effective ways. Some of them we have implemented already. Some of them will take more time and resources but with time, we will get there.
It is my personal privilege to have you visiting our website. I hope you appreciate our proposal and if you become or are already one of our students, we thank you for enrolling and I personally wish you a quick and fun journey to fluency!
Freddy A. Poveda
posted in New York City - May 2009.