Synergy Spanish Review: Best Way to Learn Spanish or Scam Course?
This Synergy Spanish review is a guest post created by my friend Marc, who used the course to improve his Spanish while traveling.
I tried to say, “I’ll be staying for two weeks” to the reception girl – three times. But my Spanish failed me. She looked at me with a perplexed look:
No. Eso no tiene sentido. / No. That doesn’t make sense.
She switched to English to help me out: “What are you trying to say?”
I gave up and used English like I always did.
For the past few months, I had been backpacking through Central and South America: Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Keeping me company was six other backpackers.
And my Spanish was the best out of the group…
So I knew more than “hola” and “cerveza por favor” – amongst a few other phrases.
The other travellers didn’t care to learn more. They didn’t want to get off the gringo trail and connect with locals. But I did.
I wanted to make new friends and explore different cultures. And I was tired of relying on locals who spoke English. I couldn’t do anything for myself. My dream was to travel freely and communicate with Spanish-speaking people.
But I wasn’t getting far using my tattered English-Spanish pocket dictionary.
Feeling dejected after the awkward conversation with the hostel receptionist, I sloped off to the common room. Sitting in the hostel common room that day, I felt like giving up on learning Spanish. I even thought about going back home.
To take my mind off my language-learning failures, I browsed the used books on the shelves. These were books left behind by other travelers over the years. Lack of luggage space limits forces travelers to leave books behind when they move on to the next city.
I looked at each book and pondered a few questions:
- Who bought it?
- Where did they buy it?
- Did they regret leaving it behind?
As I scanned the books I spotted a yellow paperback book subtitled: The Magical Key to Spanish. “Well, I could use a magical key to Spanish right now!” I thought.
I plucked it off the shelf and flicked through the pages. The book was falling apart. Somebody had done all the exercises in pencil and scribbled notes in the margins. I stopped on a page and did the exercise in my head. I worked it out and came up with a dozen Spanish words on the spot.
Wow! Better yet, I understood the technique. Feeling optimistic, I tucked the book under my arm and walked past the receptionist to my room.
Ignoring the other eight people in the room, I sat on my bed and devoured the whole book. I dog-eared every page. I erased the previous reader’s answers and did the exercises again myself.
A few hours later, I looked up from the book for the first time and saw that it was dark outside. I was hungry so I went out to find food and experiment with my new Spanish.
I asked some locals on the street for a traditional place that served typical Chilean food. When I got to the secluded spot, I ordered two courses, in Spanish, on my own, for the first time in my life.
I also told that waiter that I didn’t want any mushrooms in my churrasco.
For the next few days, I got around on my own using Spanish. I did a historical tour of Santiago – without other tourists. Then I bought a sim card for my phone. And I bought a bus pass so I could get around without Uber.
Was I happy with this progress in learning Spanish? I was thrilled. Things had clicked for the first time. But I wanted more. I was addicted to learning and improving as much as I could.
A week later, I was in the hostel common room again. I was playing pool against a Canadian guy who had been living in Latin America for a few years.
I raved to him about the book I’d found and how much Spanish I’d learned. He knew of the book and recommended an audio course that used a similar method, called Synergy Spanish.
I made a mental note to check out Synergy Spanish and see what all the fuss was about.
What Is Synergy Spanish?
In a moment, I’ll share with you my experience studying and using the program – a full Synergy Spanish review. But first, let me give you the break down of the course.
Synergy Spanish is a learning style developed by ex-English teacher Marcus Santamaria. The method breaks down sentences into small chunks. It then asks the listener to put them back together. It sounds simple but before you know it, you’re creating adult sentences in Spanish.
Let me stress:
You learn sentences from day one. You don’t learn Spanish in themes like you do in other popular courses.
Here’s the typical structure of a sentence that you’ll build using Synergy Spanish:
- Verb + Person + Time Expression…
- I’m going to see her tomorrow. / Voy a verla manana.
The basis of the method is converting English words and sentences into Spanish. For example, every English word that ends in ‘or’, is the same in Spanish:
- The doctor – el doctor
The actor – el actor
Think that learning Spanish could never be that easy?
Here’s a fact that might surprise you: we use a small number of common words for most of our daily communication.
What does that have to do with learning Spanish?
Well, this. To travel and interact with locals, you only need to master a minimal amount of Spanish words. Building your beyond that base depends on your lifestyle, interests, and long-term goals.
The Spanish words you’ll learn in Synergy Spanish were not chosen randomly. No. They’re based on conversational frequency.
Synergy Spanish teaches you more complex vocabulary using mnemonics.
What are mnemonics? They’re memory tricks that use alliteration and vivid images to help you remember.
Here’s an example in Spanish: the word for swimming pool is piscina. So imagine a toddler pissing into a public pool.
You won’t just remember it, you’ll never forget it.
Marcus Santamaria created four Spanish courses: Shortcut To Spanish and Synergy Spanish are the main two.
Each course comes in three versions: light, video, or video and CD.
The main courses are audio but with some video and ebooks for visual learners. You can access and download the materials digitally – via the members’ area of their website.
Or you can get the CDs and a printed workbook delivered to your door.
It’s up to you.
A cool bonus with Synergy Spanish is that you get 90-days email coaching from Marcus. If you ever get stuck, or have any doubts, shoot him an email.
He also offers a 60-day, 100% money-back, guarantee if you ever decide that Synergy Spanish isn’t for you. But I doubt you’ll take him up on that offer.
Back to the course structure. Shortcut to Spanish is the beginner course and where you should start if you are at ground zero.
After that, you can take the “Shortcut to Informal Spanish” course. This builds on what you learned in the first course.
Next is the Synergy Spanish course which is their flagship course. Over 68 audio lessons, you’ll learn to talk about yourself and introduce yourself to new people.
After they offer the “Synergy Spanish Conversation Accelerator Course” – which really takes your learning to the next level.
My Experience with Synergy Spanish
I tried other courses before, but Synergy Spanish was the first to show me how much Spanish I already knew.
It was the first Spanish course that showed me how to bridge the gap from the English I already knew to the Spanish I was trying to learn. I started with the Shortcut Spanish course and then moved on to Synergy Spanish.
I also liked how Synergy Spanish repeated words I used in the last session. We tend to forget foreign vocabulary if we don’t use them often.
So I felt I retained more Spanish using this method. I didn’t have to revise anything because I knew I would hear the same words again.
I listened to the course while jogging and walking. The course forces you to produce Spanish not listen passively. I tried, but I was too self-conscious to say Spanish words out loud while I was walking around.
And yet the audio lessons are great for busy Spanish learners who are always on the move.
The course gave me easy wins in the beginning. My confidence grew as I found myself creating longer and longer sentences.
I went to Mexico and had the opposite experience that I had in Chile.
People spoke broken English to me until THEY realized that I knew Spanish. Then we switched to speaking in Spanish.
A complete 180-degree turnaround.
Synergy Spanish Review
Now, I’ve hyped the course up a little bit already, but I wanted to dive deeper into this Synergy Spanish review and show you exactly where Synergy Spanish lives up to the hype and a few spots where it needs work.
Pros of Synergy Spanish
Easy For Beginners
The Synergy Spanish method is less intimidating for older learners and complete beginners. The course teaches you in baby steps at first. Then it starts moving faster, using more complex structures.
As such, this is the ideal course for newbies to Spanish language learning. You can study with Synergy Spanish for a few months and feel confident in your abilities as you start traveling.
They use zero grammar terms, no abstract concepts in the course. Never in the Synergy Spanish course will you hear grammar terms.
They are avoided at all costs. You’ll only learn sentences and words that you can see yourself using one day. That makes the perfect for someone who needs a quick “survival guide” to Spanish.
Marcus Santamaria does the explaining in English. This helps you understand what is going on. He gives you time to think before giving your answer. Then a native Spanish speaker gives the correct answer and models pronunciation.
It Just Works!
Some Spanish language courses don’t actually work. You pay a ton of money spend 30 minutes or an hour each day studying the program for a few months. Then you realize it didn’t help. You didn’t learn how to speak Spanish.
This program is different. That’s why I’m writing this Synergy Spanish review. The course actually works – fast. And you will speak Spanish if you put an effort into learning from Marcus.
Cons of the Program
Compared to Rocket Spanish there are fewer dialogues and no writing. But that was ok with me. I don’t want or need to write much in Spanish apart from the odd text message to a friend. I wanted to learn Spanish to improve my social life, not for any professional advancement.
The other disadvantage of having no dialogue is that you might go through the course and be able to speak a lot of Spanish with an ideal accent…
But you might not catch what comes back from the other person in the conversation
People who learn quickly might get annoyed with the speed and progress. But if you need a few minutes to think through what you want to say, the pace of the Synergy Spanish course will suit you.
But I prefer a course that makes sure you understand something before moving on to another topic.
Should You Buy Synergy Spanish?
I don’t need the Synergy Spanish learning system anymore.
But that’s the sign of a good course. Everyone should graduate and move on to the more advanced material.
But I still use what I learned in Synergy Spanish every single day while living and traveling in Latin America. It gave me a strong foundation.
Who should consider investing in Synergy Spanish?
If you’re a university student who wants to master complex grammar and syntax, Synergy Spanish isn’t for you.
You’ll want to keep looking.
But if you want to get a grasp of real, day-to-day Spanish (not classroom Spanish), then consider trying out the course. They offer a free trial if you want to test before you invest.
Synergy Spanish Review: Ideal Spanish Learning Program
Overall, you will learn Spanish if you study with Synergy Spanish. No doubt about it!
Plus, at only $67 USD – Synergy Spanish is much cheaper than both Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur so it’s worth giving it a shot.
You don’t need to know a large number of Spanish words to be able to speak fluently. Knowing a few key phrases and words is enough. You can use them over and over in different combinations to say a variety of different sentences.
Synergy Spanish taught me that, which helped me learn Spanish for traveling in record time.