The four months that I spent in Latin America were some of my best memories from my epic Career Break, and one of the highlights was definitely learning Spanish and using it daily. Now that I’m back home in Singapore, I started Spanish lessons with Las Lilas Spanish School to try and keep my hard-earned pidgin Spanish from disappearing completely – here’s a review of Las Lilas Spanish School for anyone who’s looking to pick up or maintain Spanish in Singapore.
I am far from fluent but I managed some decent basic communication while in South America thanks to the daily immersion, but back here in Singapore where I mostly speak English, I could feel that tenuous grasp on Spanish start to slowly slip away, so I thought the best way would be to find a Spanish school in Singapore to keep in touch with the language as well as to try and improve my shoddy grammar.
Why Las Lilas?
There aren’t many recent Las Lilas Spanish School reviews online, but when I polled my friends about a Spanish School in Singapore to check out, Las Lilas was by far the top recommendation to check out. Las Lilas Spanish School is one of the pioneer Spanish schools in Singapore since 2005 that specialises in teaching only Spanish. They also employ teachers who are native Spanish speakers from Spain or Latin America, which offers a more real-world look at how Spanish is used instead of purely book learning.
This post has been updated in Nov 2018 after about a year of studying Spanish with Las Lilas. I first wrote this review while at A1.3 and am currently at A2.2. I reached out to the school about working together so while my Spanish Lessons with Las Lilas were sponsored, the opinions and reviews here are all my own – here’s a low down about what a typical Spanish lesson is like with Las Lilas from my own experience. And awesome news: I have a discount code for new students who might be interested in signing up for their own Spanish classes at the bottom of the post.
Las Lilas Spanish School is located on the 8th floor of The Bencoolen, an office building right next to Sim Lim Square and Hotel Ibis – click to see the Google Map Location. I like that it’s convenient and central – it’s a short walking distance from Rochor, Bugis or Bras Basah MRT. I usually park and hang out at Bugis+ before walking over to class.
For new students who might have some Spanish background already, Las Lilas conducts an entrance test to decide which level to place you in. My entrance test started off with a Spanish multiple choice questionnaire, followed by a one-on-one interview in Spanish (of course) with one of the teachers. It was pretty nerve wrecking to pull out my rusty Spanish, but ultimately I was placed in level A1.3 instead of the complete beginner A1.1 level.
I had covered some of the things in A1.3 before in my other school, but I thought this was a good fit because my foundation is still pretty weak so the revision was definitely welcome.
We used the AULA Internacional as a textbook and workbook for all the lessons – AULA 1 for A1 classes and AULA 2 for A2 lessons. You can buy the book from the reception because it’s convenient, but if you are a bit more prepared than I am and want to save some money, I suggest getting your book online. Get your book via the publishers Difusión (free shipping because it’s over 20 Euro, but be prepared for a wait), Amazon or Books Depository.
Besides the textbook, there is usually a separate Las Lilas handout given for each level to supplement the book teachings, and my teachers often distributed their own prep materials to help us as well.
Most of the Spanish classes in Las Lilas are conducted in 2-hour sessions over a total of 10 weeks, and there are classes on weekdays as well as weekends. For those in a rush, sometimes they conduct intensive sessions where you finish your 20 hours over 2 weeks of class every weekday night – that’s how I learned Spanish in Panama which is pretty hardcore but ultimately I think it depends on your learning style and how much time you can afford to spare.
The class size ranges from 4-12 students, but most of the time my classes were around 6-8pax. Classes at beginner A1.1. level are the most packed of course as it is the taster course for most people to decide if they really want to pursue learning Spanish.
The higher level you take, unfortunately the less options there are when it comes to class schedules as there are less students, so it sometimes involves a bit of negotiation to determine the date/time of a new class as they need a minimum of 4 pax to open a class. I’ve been quite lucky as I spent the last 3 levels with mostly the same classmates progressing at the same pace as me.
Classes in each level are conducted by the same teacher, though there are substitutes occasionally. As with any school each teacher has their own style of teaching, though so far it’s been quite friendly and informal. If you are particular about your teacher, consider asking to sit in or check out some of the other classes besides your own to see which teacher’s lesson style suits you best. There is a feedback form as well distributed during each level so you can give your teacher some comments as well. If you stick to the same time slots as you progress, there is a good chance you can keep the same teacher as you move up the ranks as well.
Lessons are a mix of reading, listening and writing exercises, conversation and even some role play and games in Spanish. My current teacher is a big fan of games that involve conjugating in Spanish, and I’ve also practiced my bargaining skills in a pretend market amongst many activities. Some teachers use more English than others in their teaching, while others were more insistent about speaking Spanish all the way, but they are all quite bilingual.
Las Lilas also has a Virtual Campus where you can access more study and practice materials based on your level. They are working on revamping the app version of this, but I’ve tried some of the listening and grammar exercises where you can check your answers immediately, and it’s definitely useful in picking up some extra practice.
Besides classes, Las Lilas Spanish School does organise some of its own activities. They had an Open Day with little bits of Spanish culture like trial flamenco lessons, culture talks and even paella for sharing. And at the end of each term, there is a Spanish karaoke session which is pretty fun as well.
There aren’t that many opportunities to interact with people outside your class at this point, but I know the school is looking into planning more activities in the near future. It’s not the most social of places, but I’m comparing this to my time at Habla Ya, but that was a much more touristy crowd. A large percentage of the Las Lilas students are locals using their Skillsfuture credits to learn a new language :)
All in all, I’m quite happy with my Las Lilas Spanish classes and hope to continue working on my Spanish in the near future! It’s definitely harder work now that I’m not using the language as much as I was in South America, but I hope to improve my grammar and conversation level for when I eventually return to that region. I’ve had quite a positive experience overall.
Las Lilas Spanish School Discount Code
Use the code TOT5LLS to get 5% off your course fee. Note that this only applies for brand new students to Las Lilas, as well as those not using their Skillsfuture credits. Or if you are emailing them, just quote my blog name ‘The Occasional Traveller’.
Hasta luego mis amigos. If you see me around, drop me an Hola!
My Spanish lessons were sponsored by Las Lilas Spanish School.