Rosi Andrade, owner of a guesthouse in Caimari and teacher of Spanish as a foreign language, about the adventure of learning and her trick with the salt shaker.
Most of us associate learning a foreign language with cramming vocabulary and grammar. But it doesn’t work that way, only. The much more exciting part is learning about the culture, customs and routines of the people who speak the language. And actually getting to know them. Spanish teacher Rosi Andrade inspires students with passion, ingenuity and a beautiful smile. Her husband Andy is a teacher, too, together they introduce the concept “Live with your teacher” on Mallorca. I met Rosi for a coffee and a freshly squeezed lemonade in their lovely small guesthouse in Caimari.
How did you come up with the idea to work as a teacher and run a guesthouse at the same time?
I love to meet people and take care of them, that’s why I studied tourism and hotel business. But after years of working in a large international hotel in Ecuador I realised that this is a rather artificial world. You never get close to the people. So I re-trained to become a teacher. And started teaching Spanish as a foreign language in Barcelona and Bogotá. I have always tried to invent real life situations at school. And some students stay with a family while they take classes in order to practice their language skills. But it was only on Mallorca and here in our Casa Caimari that I focussed on the concept of learning literally 24 hours a day. We all tend to learn much better when we are emotionally involved.
Like learning the language of your partner in a relationship?
(Laughs) That’s definitely the best way but maybe not always an option. So we try to go for some adventure. And I love to provoke interaction among my students. For example, we have this funny breakfast strategy. There is only one salt shaker in our pantry. But of course, salt is always in high demand. So the people have to ask each other: Would you pass the salt, please. Or even better: Por favor, ¡dame la sal! And just like that people start talking to each other, and it’s not singles and couples in the room any more but one community.
Interaction among students is one thing but the concept to „Live with your teacher“ goes far beyond that, I suppose?
This is going to be exciting and I’m really looking forward to it. Starting October, Andy and I will offer a two-week-course that includes 24 hours of learning each day. Guests staying at our house get the opportunity to share their whole day with us, from breakfast to nightcap. We’ll do different social activities, like hiking or cycling, and we’ll cook a meal together every day. In the afternoon there’ll also be language classes, and of course you have to do homework afterwards. No question, it’s strictly Spanish-speaking all day. So students and teachers alike might be un poquito cansado in the evening. But the way you are tired and happy after climbing a mountain. And while you are sleeping your brain can rewire the new vocabulary and grammar.
Being so engaged with your students, do you also learn from them?
Oh yes, always. If you are an openminded person you always pick up something new when you meet someone. And since we have guests from different countries you learn a lot about their habits and routines, their strengths and their weaknesses. For me, there’s nothing more fascinating than people.
You have been living in big cities all over the world. What is your favorite place on Mallorca?
We love Caimari, for us it is the most beautiful place on the whole island. It’s a small village but the people have a big heart. They made us feel most welcome from the moment we arrived. We still don’t know whether we found our casita or whether it found us. But we know that we are very happy here. And for our guests the location in the center of the island is the perfect starting point for all kinds of activities, too. We have a lot of hikers and cyclists here and even hosted an Olympic climbing team, recently.