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Boomers and Seniors Learn Spanish Online with Live Instructors


Boomers and seniors have embraced learning Spanish online by videoconferencing with Spanish tutors in Guatemala. Speak Shop is responding by offering anyone 50 years or older a 50 percent membership discount.

Boomers and seniors learning to speak Spanish are seeing real advantages in working one-to-one with personal Spanish tutors via the Internet. These adult students love the convenience, personalized curriculum, and fun of conversing with a native Spanish speaker in Central America using online videoconferencing.

Students have used Speak Shop, a seven-year-old company, to take more than 20,000 lessons online from Spanish tutors in Guatemala. Using their personal computers, students reserve a 50-minute lesson that fits their schedule and then videoconference with their tutor using the free software application, Skype.

Carol Griffin, a 70-year-old student, said, “Before Speak Shop I tried group classes at our local community center and CDs to learn Spanish. I love Speak Shop because the one-to-one classes really focus on my level, interests, and needs. My tutor, Rebeca, is patient, encouraging, and always fun to work with.” Carol and her daughter, Margo, who also learns Spanish at Speak Shop, recently traveled to Guatemala to meet their tutors and be immersed in the Spanish-speaking culture.

“It was incredible to meet Rebeca and Mayra,” said Margo who had never thought of going to Guatemala before taking Spanish lessons through Speak Shop, “They are wonderful people, and my mom and I are already talking about returning someday.”

Guatemala is a world-renowned destination for learning Spanish. Hundreds of Spanish immersion schools comprise one of the country’s primary tourism industries. Speak Shop tutors have been teaching Spanish for 10 to 25 years at these schools. In addition to teaching Spanish language skills, they are able to explain culture and customs from an insider’s perspective and can customize the lesson on any number of topics to match each student’s interests.

Speak Shop has seen a spike in boomer and senior students. This trend may be due in part to an interest in preventative health care. A 2010 study from the Rotman Research Institute and York University found that being bilingual may delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who spoke only one language.

Americans are finding it increasingly useful to be able to speak Spanish both at home and abroad. Spanish is the second most common language spoken in the United States and the second most common language spoken by native speakers in the world. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Latinos are the largest minority group in the U.S. and 1 of every 6 Americans, about 50 million people, are Hispanic.

In Guatemala, Spanish tutoring is a seasonal business, and Speak Shop enables its tutors to work throughout the year. “Speak Shop is a blessing because I am able to work from home and better able to provide for my family,” said Claritza Morales, 2010 Speak Shop Tutor of the year.

From now until Mother’s Day (Sunday May 8th, 2011) Speak Shop is offering adults age 50 and older the Unlimited Monthly Membership for $19.99—a 50% discount off the regular monthly price of $39.99 (lessons purchased separately). Details are available at

Speak Shop is using 21st century technology to re-establish the benefits of learning Spanish from a human instructor. Speak Shop is a Certified B Corporation founded in 2004 to increase access to cross-cultural foreign language education and to generate economic opportunity for people in developing countries. For more details watch a demonstration video: