(Synergy Spanish founder with Mexican wife, Elena, and family)
In the process of getting ready to visit a friend in Costa Rica for a few days, I wanted to be able to BASICALLY communicate in Spanish, you know just simple day-to-day conversations and interactions: I wanted to be able to greet someone, ask how they were, ask about their family/friends, understand their responses and comment on them, be able to handle simple transactions like ordering food and buying things, dealing with police/medical personnel if I had to, etc. etc.
So, on the enthusiastic recommendation of a friend of mine, I purchased Synergy Spanish (see their site here) because it’s designed to teach you exactly what I need in the time frame required (about 3 weeks is what I had) and it’s only $49, which is a big plus because I’m on a limited budget at the moment: they only use 138 words over 68 audio lessons (the lessons are only 10 minutes each), so it only takes about 1-2 weeks to complete depending on how hard you want to work, and the key is the WAY in which you’re taught to combine those words AND the fact that those 138 words are the most commonly spoken verbs, nouns, and adjectives in colloquial (everyday conversation) Spanish.
I REALLY liked the method they used, and I was very impressed, overall, with my level of proficiency that I gained after my 3 weeks of study with it–upon speaking with a Mexican friend of mine a few times, I found that I REALLY was able to hold a basic conversation about simple everyday subjects, such as when we were cooking together and I needed to ask her where she put the butter or salt, or how long to cook this, and oh how is her brother doing, etc. etc.
So, it does in fact do exactly what it claims to: it gets you able to communicate effectively at a basic level using normal everyday speech so that you can handle most typical conversations and interactions. It won’t make you fluent like a native in 3 weeks, but then nothing will, so it’s not for people who are looking to work for years or something to try to get truly fluent, but instead for someone who’s going into a Spanish-speaking country soon (or perhaps has a test in a Spanish class coming up in a few weeks, I suppose) and needs a really effective crash course…I guess I would say that, given the short amount of time you’ll spend on this course (a few weeks at most), nothing else out there will likely get you to the level of proficiency in Spanish in that very short amount of time that Synergy Spanish will–if you’re going for fluency and have an hour a day for 6 months to devote to it, I’d personally recommend Platiquemos, that’s what’s next on my list–but if you need to learn Spanish FAST, then this is it.
Click Here to go to Synergy Spanish’s Website and try out their free audio lessons (samples taken from the actual course), free sample chapters from the e-book that comes with it, and free flash cards.