I’ve been studying Spanish for 12 years, starting in my local adult education center, then later a private tutor, and then many weeks in schools in Mexico. I met Laura while vacationing in Oaxaca some years ago and immediately began Skype lessons with her. When I started studying with Laura, my Spanish vocabulary was good, and I knew all the rules, but I just couldn’t speak it easily. My lesson plan had one major goal: become fluent. With Laura’s tutoring, I am now able to carry on a conversation on just about any subject, being able to speak and understand without trouble. Yes, I still make mistakes. Some day, I’ll feel comfortable with the subjunctive and not have to think about the conjugation. I strongly recommend studying with Laura to anyone who wants to learn Spanish! Phil Sego, Cambridge, MA
I have studied Spanish with Laura Olachea for 150+ hours over the past three years. She is a gem. Laura is intellectually cultivated and impeccably credentialed. She is creative, experienced, and astute as a teacher–not to mention relentless in instantly correcting every last mistake I utter in Spanish. Fortunately, Laura is also funny, warm, and engaging, so we laugh a lot, even when I´m murdering the language (which isn’t all that often now, thanks to her). I should also mention that a friend of mine just returned from a trip to Cuernavaca (late 2009). Private instruction there costs more than twice Laura´s rate. She´s also more than competitive with her counterparts in Oaxaca. As Laura states elsewhere on this website, she works with you to develop a personalized curriculum that focuses attention where you want it focused. And she hosts frequent gatherings at her place where students can mingle. That way you can connect with others and be part of a virtual student body, even though you?re receiving private instruction. Every year I vow to visit other parts of Mexico–and every year I end up in Oaxaca studying with Laura. Laura has a cat named Chispita, which means, more or less, “Little Sparky.” Actually, I think that should be Laura´s nickname, since not only does she light up her classroom, she also makes sure that you get a charge out of learning Spanish. So what in God´s name are you waiting for? Peter von York, California, USA
What a delight it was to find Laura! I have been studying Spanish for about 5 years and this was my 5th trip down to México to travel and study. Laura is enthusiastic, organized, patient, and experienced. And to top this off she has a great sense of humor. It´s obvious that she loves her work and cares about her students. I looked forward to my lessons every day and would return to Oaxaca to study with Laura in a heartbeat.
Susan Hall, health educator, California, USA
I have been studying with Laura Olachea since 2006. During that time my Spanish has improved significantly. As a former ESL teacher, I really appreciate her knowledge, professionalism and enthusiasm. I would recommend her without hesitation. Patricia Parsons, Toronto, Canada
I have studied Spanish with Laura Olachea for four years. My stay in Oaxaca is generally three weeks. Due to Laura’s teaching methods, I can now converse easily with Oaxaquenos. Since I have minimal opportunity to speak Spanish at home, I have to maximize my study time in Oaxaca. Laura challenges me and corrects my spoken Spanish in a manner that’s instructive, but does not stop the flow of the conversation. My fluency improves with each lesson. Laura is a creative and energetic teacher. Oaxaca has much to offer: ruins, colonial architecture, markets, artisans, and great food. I, however, return to Oaxaca each year primarily to study Spanish with Laura Olachea.
Linda Tuxbury, Polson, MT
I had the good luck to work with Laura for several months during my last stay in Oaxaca, and I can’t wait to get back there to continue my Spanish lessons with her. I really can’t imagine a better tutor. Laura is always warm, welcoming, and full of energy and good humor. She loves teaching Spanish, and it shows. She is very flexible–adept at designing an overall lesson plan and crafting individual sessions that are perfectly matched to one’s needs and wishes. I think it would be fair to describe her as a master teacher of Spanish, someone who is able to bring out the very best in students from beginners to those who are nearly fluent. Laura jet-propelled my progress in Spanish, and made it fun. I’m willing to bet she’ll do the same for you.
Robert Adler, Santa Rosa, CA
“What luck I found Laura by chance while I spent a delightful month in Oaxaca City. A big part of the reason my stay was “delightful” was because I found Laura to be my teacher. Laura doesn’t just teach you Spanish. She treats you as one of “hers”. She takes a lot of pleasure in finding what it is you want to learn and does all she can to give it to you. Laura is outgoing, friendly and sooooo good-natured. After only a few lessons with her, I was invited to a Rosca de Reyes party she gave for all her students at that time, just after Christmas. She exudes such enthusiasm and excitement for everything she does and gives to her students. She is well-educated, loves languages and literature; and if you want, she’ll give you lots of feedback to correct your grammar, pronunciation, or other aspects of Spanish that you’re struggling with.”
Jane Montgomery Arlington VA
Let me begin by saying at Laura is an amazing teacher and that I owe my growing skill in Spanish to her remarkable skills. I began studying Spanish in 2008, studying 6 hours a week at well known language schools in Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende for 3 – 4 weeks at a time over 4 years. In spite of this time and effort, my ability to speak and to understand was still minimal and I would return to Mexico each winter discouraged at having lost much ground. The breakthrough in my competence and confidence with Spanish came when I was fortunate enough to begin taking private classes with Laura 3 – 4 hours a week in 2012. Over the past 3 years my learning has been remarkable. I can now spend a whole day conversing in Spanish, with lots of mistakes, but nonetheless able to understand and to communicate.
As others have said, Laura is a gifted, dedicated, highly experienced and knowledgeable teacher. Her enthusiasm for teaching, for her students’ learning, and for life in general seems boundless. She makes learning fun and every class is filled with laughter, which always helps the learning process. She is patient, never critical, yet very precise, giving immediate written feedback correcting your errors, which you can take with you to study after class. She never seems to tire and her enthusiasm is infectious. Another breakthrough for me came when I began to take Skype classes with Laura a few times a month during the months when I was not in Oaxaca. This continuous exposure to Spanish made a huge difference to maintaining my learning rather than losing a great deal every time I returned home.
I cannot recommend Laura highly enough. I guarantee that if you take one class you will be hooked! I have found that classes via Skype are just as satisfactory as face-to-face with the added benefit that I do not have to leave my home. Laura will work out a learning plan with you, depending on your needs, and will give you homework if you request it but will not insist on it if you do not want it. Just the experience of talking and listening one-on-one for an hour at a time has a remarkable impact on learning. I must say that I did not expect that I could become proficient in another language in my 60’s so have been happily surprised and am eternally grateful to Laura, who makes every student feel special and valued whatever their level of competence.
We are a retired couple from California who have been visiting Oaxaca since 1998 and who now spends winters there. Each of us has two classes per week with Laura by Skype. When we first became students of hers several years ago, there was a waiting list, and eventually, after she is settled into Queretaro, there will be one again.
She is remarkably good at what she does, which is maintain a 55 minute conversation on your level of Spanish complete with immediate written corrections. She is intelligent, well educated, intellectually curious, very well traveled, and endlessly entertaining. Her effusive personality and infectious enthusiasm and her optimistic positive attitude, not only make learning more fun but also more effective. She is also very witty, so you might spend a lot of your time laughing. She also has excellent taste and her recommendations for sites, restaurants, hotels, etc. in DF or anywhere else in Mexico are always trustworthy.
You will also get an excellent education about Mexico, its politics and its cultural quirks. In Oaxaca, she arranged bus tours with local guides to historical and archeological sites, and villages known for certain holiday celebrations. The holiday celebrations she shared with large groups of students in her home were like annual conventions. She was a wonderful social nexus that will be sorely missed in Oaxaca.
Mark recently had a book of translations published of the poetry of Ramón López Velarde, the Mexican national poet. As is stated in the book’s acknowledgements, it would not have been possible without her indispensable contributions.
Nancy And Mark Jacobs
30 Jul 2014 – 10:16 am