Below is a list of frequently asked questions! View the answers by clicking on the questions.
How to get started
What do I need to get started?
All you need is an internet connection, head/earphones, microphone, webcam and Flash Player (the last 3 items are built into most computers).
We recommend all first-time students to run this quick technical check here which ensures compatability with our learning system. Please ensure you scroll down the page and accept any prompts to update your system as this will allow ease of communication with your teacher during your lesson. If you experience any difficulty, please get in contact with us here.
Can I study anywhere?
Yes! Spanish Marks allows you to study from anywhere with access to an internet connection.
Can I study at any time?
Our private one-to-one classes are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! All you need to do is give us a 48 hour notice to arrange your lesson.
Our group courses have set timings. We have many courses running throughout the year and so you can choose a timing suitable for you at check-out.
For the free introductory lesson, we will make every effort to accommodate your timing preference however, there may be more timing restrictions for the free lesson than for the other lessons.
What time zone do you use?
We work in UK Greenwich Mean Time Zone (GMT) (UTC+00:00), so when scheduling your lesson please use this time zone.
I have not received my confirmation email, after registering for lessons.
Confirmation emails should be received within 5 minutes. However, some email accounts have privacy filters causing messages to be sent directly to your junk mailbox. Please check your junk mailbox and if our email is there, please add the email address to your contacts. If the email is not in your junk mail, please contact us directly here where we can assist you further.
Free introductory lesson
What is the free introductory class?
We recommend all first-time Spanish Marks students have this free 50 minute lesson before starting a course or private lessons. It enables our teachers to assess your learning level so that they can facilitate your learning experience from the level that most suits you in your next class. It also gives you the opportunity to test your webcam and microphone.
To take the free introductory class, simply fill in our quick registration form. We will then email you within 48 hours with details of lesson timings and how to start the lesson.
What happens after I register for the free lesson?
Once you have registered for your free lesson, you will receive a welcome email from us. If you do not receive this within 5 minutes, please check your junk mail. Please take the time to read this as it will prepare you to get the most out of your lesson.
Within the next 48 hours we will activate you on our system, which will allow you to login into your personalised online campus. We will then also send you a separate email with proposed timings for your first lesson and an explanation of how to start your lesson.
If I don't take the free introductory lesson before purchasing lessons, am I still able to use the free lesson later on?
No - the free lesson is designed for first time students to Spanish Marks.
Although you cannot take the free introductory lesson after buying lessons, our loyalty point system does mean that you can earn points whilst learning, and redeem for free lessons in the future.
How long are the lessons?
Our private one-to-one lessons are 50 minutes long. The group sessions consist of two back-to-back 50 minute lessons, making each weekly session 1 hour 40 minutes in total.
What type of Spanish do you teach?
We teach Latin American Spanish. There are very minor differences with Spanish from Spain and Latin America and what you learn will be understood by Spanish speakers across the world.
Our teachers come from Guatemala in Central America. Guatemalans speak clearly and have a fairly neutral accent which makes it easy to understand. This is one of the reasons as why it is one of the most popular countries in the world to learn Spanish.
Will I need to buy study materials?
No, all the materials you need are included in the program and will be shared with you during your lesson.
Will I be given homework?
Yes - at the end of each textbook chapter your teacher will assign homework exercises. This will enable you to get the most out of your lessons as it consolidates what is taught. Your teacher will go over your answers in your next lesson. Please note that depending on each student's pace of learning, you may spend longer than one lesson on each chapter.
How can I view my progress?
After each lesson, your teacher will write a feedback report in the My Learning area within your online campus. You can also find previous lesson material in the My Learning area. Being able to access teachers' assessments and previous lessons is one of the greatest benefits of Spanish Marks, as it allows you to focus on weak areas.
How many students are in the group courses?
Our group courses have a maximum of 3 students. The small group sizes means individual teacher attention can still be given. Group courses will go ahead even if only one student signs up.
What if my teacher is absent?
Spanish Marks considers it important that students' learning schedules are not interrupted and therefore makes every effort to find substitute teachers in cases of teacher absence.
Can I change teachers if I'm not satisfied?
If, for any reason, you are unsatisfied with your teacher, please give us 24 hours notice to organise another teacher to take your class. Please note that this is only possible for the private classes, and not group classes.
Do I need to know any Spanish in order to start my program?
It is not necessary to know any Spanish before starting your lessons. We have specially designed lessons for students of all levels. In addition, all our teachers can speak English and are trained to teach students of all levels.
What is the loyalty point system?
We like to reward our students for their enthusiasm for learning Spanish, which is why we offer loyalty points as you learn. Every 100 loyalty points gives you a free private lesson. An outline of how many points you can earn is here:
Each Single private lesson = 10 points
Each Block of 10 private lessons = 50 points
Each Group course = 100 points
Do I need to know a lot about computers?
No, as long as you have a basic computer user level you should experience no problems with the Spanish Marks system.
Do I need to install software?
We have designed our system so that it is not compulsory for students to install software onto their computers. However, our lessons tend to run more smoothly for Windows users if you download this free app.
In addition, we recommend all first-time students to run this quick technical check here which ensures compatability with our learning system. Please ensure you scroll down the page and accept any prompts to update your system as this will allow ease of communication with your teacher during your lesson. If you experience any difficulty, please get in contact with us here.
If you wish to conduct lessons from an iPad or tablet, please download the following free apps:
What happens if there are communication problems during the class?
Spanish Marks cannot be responsible for breaks in communication arising from technical issues with the student's computer or internet connection. In the event of a fault with our system your teacher will arrange for you to be credited with extra time if necessary.
Payment and cancellation policies
Will I be required to pay in advance?
Yes, all classes must be paid for in advance and can be bought through the Prices page, or once you have logged in.
Can I reschedule my classes?
All private one-to-one classes can be rescheduled, free of charge, if a 24 hours notice is given. If you fail to notify us with at least 24 hours notice you will be billed for the class as normal, and it will not be possible to reschedule that specific class.
If your cancelled class was originally meant to be during the time bracket of 12pm-6am, you must reschedule within that time bracket on any other day.
Due to the nature of group classes which have other students in the lessons, these classes cannot be rescheduled.
What is the cancellation policy?
Once lessons have been bought, we cannot provide a refund. Private lessons can however be rescheduled, with a 24 hours notice.
What happens if I am running late for a lesson?
If you can still make the lesson and there are minutes remaining on it, you can still attend it. If you are responsible for your own lateness, we cannot extend or change the date of the lesson.
Why is there an extra £2 charge on private lessons taken from 6am-12pm?
Since our teachers are based in Guatemala, the timing difference means we pay them extra for lessons taken during this time.
Will you respect my privacy?
Yes, Spanish Marks takes the privacy of our student's personal details seriously and will not give, sell or rent your details to third parties.
How to contact us
How can I get in contact with the Spanish Marks team?
How old do I need to be to participate?
We accept participants of any age. However those under the age of 18, must be accompanied by an adult who takes full responsibility for them before and whilst on their placement.
What are the departure dates?
Departure dates are flexible and can be tailored to your requirements.
How long are the projects for?
Project length of Volunteering and Group Trips can be tailored to your preferences. However, please note that the longer you volunteer for, the more responsibility you can get.
For the internships, we ask for a minimum 3 month commitment as this will enable you to gain more responsibility and often the flexibilty to pursue your own projects.
What type of support is available?
Pre-departure: Our team based in the UK will provide extensive pre-departure support from Day 1. We will assign you a personal placement advisor who will keep in regular contact with you via telephone and emails, helping you prepare for your trip. There will also be an opportunity to meet our UK team face-to-face, in a pre-departure meeting held in London. This will be an opportunity to discuss any questions you may have, and you will also be given information packs about Guatemala and your project.
In Guatemala: we have an on-site team based in Quetzaltenango, in Guatemala, who will meet with you in a welcome induction event once you have landed. Please note that this will be held in the city of Quetzaltenango and particpants must make their own way there (although advice can be given about getting there). Our in-country team will show you around your neighbourhood and help you get set up. During your placement, you will have the support of a supervisor at the host organisation, who will guide you in your project and perform regular reviews.
Is accomodation included?
Whilst accomodation is not included in the placement cost, we can organise options for you including homestays, at cost price with no added fees.
Do I need to know Spanish in order to take part?
Volunteering & Internship Placements: different placement options will require different levels of Spanish, with some having English speaking staff, and others requiring intermediate/advanced level speakers. Please note that whilst there are opportunities for those who do not know any Spanish, knowing some Spanish will help you get the most out of your placement. For this reason, we include 25 pre-departure Spanish lessons for those who take part in the volunteering or internship placements.
Group trips: it is not necessary to know any Spanish as you will have English-speaking tour guides.
What types of organisations do you work with?
We are connected to over 700 organisations in Guatemala who are all socially-aware and passionate about the development of this country. The types of organisations range from charities, social enterprises, NGOs and local businesses. All the organisations have been fully-vetted and offer well-structured placement opportunities.
Where are the host organisations based in Guatemala?
The host organisations are based throughout Guatemala, from the Highlands to the beaches and villages. Your placement advisor will work with you to understand if you have any preferences to where you would like to be based in Guatemala, and tailored options can be provided.
How many hours a week are the volunteering placements?
We work with organisations which have both full-time and part-time placements, and can present you with options for either.
Any other questions?