Foreign Service Institute Language Course -
FSI Spanish

Speak Spanish like a Diplomat, learn with their courses, get a 80% discount of what you can pay elsewhere on the web...

Diplomats must have the best language training to be effective, and now, so can you... but at a reasonable price.

The US State Department's Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has taught many tens of thousands of US diplomats, FBI staff, DEA agents, and FSI workers dozens of languages for the last several decades.

With the gargantuan resources, expertise, skills, knowledge base and backing of the US government no expense was spared in the original compilation of these courses.

They are world famous.

Until recently you could get these courses for about $800 to $1000, but...

... now you can get them at a fraction of this cost...

Read on ...

You can buy your FSI Spanish, FSI French, and FSI German language courses here at prices up to 80% cheaper than equivalent Foreign Service Institute Language Courses sold on the internet and offline.

Their courses are very thorough, and very well established 'traditional learning' courses. They are arguably without peer, in terms of traditional learning.

And now, here at exceltra, the makers of the Award Winning 200 Words a Day! software programs, we can make available to you some of these wonderful time-tested courses...

  • Foreign Service Institute FSI SPANISH Language Course
  • Foreign Service Institute FSI FRENCH Language Course
  • Foreign Service Institute FSI GERMAN Language Course

We have put these recordings and the accompanying PDFs into the 200 Words a Day! player, making it much easier and user-friendly for you to manage.

An ideal companion to the accelerated vocabulary learning software of the 200 Words a Day! Learn Spanish CDs... (and French and German).

What are the two types of FSI Foreign Service Institute SPANISH Language Courses

There are two types of Spanish course offered by FSI.

  1. Basic - which are designed to be taught in a classroom, with a specially trained FSI Language Instructor.
  2. Programmatic Courses - which were originally released with accompanying cassette tapes containing the lessons. These are designed for either class-room or self-study or a combination of both.

The main difference between the FSI Basic Spanish course and the FSI Spanish Programmatic courses is that with the PROGRAMMATIC Course, the student was to do more pre-class preparation, in advance, using the cassette tapes that accompanied the material. This material is now in mp3 format, so that you will be able to play it on your computer or portable mp3 player, like a Sony Walkman.

The entire Foreign Service Institute FSI Spanish Programmatic course comprises 4 Levels

FSI Programmatic Spanish Levels 1 - Units 1-25

FSI Programmatic Spanish Levels 2 - Units 25-30

FSI Programmatic Spanish Levels 3 - Units 31-45

FSI Programmatic Spanish Levels 4 - Units 46-55

The Foreign Services Institute Spanish Course Method of Teaching

The language teaching method used in FSI courses is known as 'Guided Imitation.'

It follows two main concepts:

FSI Learning Concept 1: Overlearning

The course uses the technique of overlearning, which takes a small body of material, and thoroughly drills it, so that the concepts and dialogues taught are learned in a concentrated fashion. By concentrating on a small amount of material at any one time, this allows the student to 'overlearn' it, allowing it to become thoroughly ingrained, before moving on to the next concept.

Following lessons the FSI Spanish course review the previously learned concepts by incorporating them.

FSI Learning Concept 2: Guided Imitation of Sound and Patterns

The FSI Spanish courses try to emphasise the learning of spoken conversational Spanish - as it is really spoken in day-to-day useage.

For this reason the recordings are not slowed down, making it initially a little difficult for the language learner, and requiring a degree of repetition before the ear tunes in to the spoken phrases.

The FSI philosophy in this methodology is that slowing down the speech constitutes a form of linguistic distortion.

The FSI originally designed the courses to be studied under the tuition of a classroom teacher, so for the home-learner, some sessions with a native Spanish speaker as a teacher will be very beneficial.

The native speaker teacher used in the FSI's actual classes ensure that the student's are hearing proper pronunciation.

The 55 units of the course each involve 10 or so hours per unit, making the full FSI Spanish course (4 Volumes) a 600 hour course, designed to be studied over 6 months full time.

FSI Programmatic Spanish Level I

These courses follow Latin American Spanish, as opposed to a European Spanish dialect/accent, and are designed to take you to a minimum level of professional proficiency.

The Foreign Service Institute FSI Spanish course is structured using five 'learning modes', these being:

  1. An Introduction
  2. Dialogue
  3. Grammar Practice
  4. Variations
  5. Application

What is in the Foreign Service Institute FSI Programmatic Spanish Level One Course - Units 1-25

Units 1 to 25 of Level 1 emphasise word structure and phrase structure.

Units 1 - 15 introduce the concepts of Spanish genders, masculine, feminine, and plurals.

Regular Verbs in the present tense are introduced,as the irregular verbs ser, estar, and haber. Also covered in these units are Spanish adjectives, possessive forms, pronouns including possessive pronouns, the present perfect and present progressive verb forms.

The following units expand the student's vocabulary and then develop Spanish verb conjugation and useage.

... equivalent to the first year of a college level Spanish course...

At the end of Level 1 you will have completed tasks and learning of a standard similar to the first year of a college-level Spanish course.

The FSI Spanish Language Programmatic Courses were originally designed for students with a cassette tape player, but of course nowadays the CD-Rom audio is more common, and that is the format in which we offer their courses. Foreign Service Institute research with 200 students found that their students' language learning performance was superior when the student had the opportunity to preview and pre-learn material prior to class.

Their units are designed with the assumption that the daily routine would be that the student would do 2 hours of study prior to 6 hours of lessons with an instructor.

The whole of Foreign Service Institute FSI Spanish Language Course 1 will involve around 100 hours of study.

The courses are broken down into 'units'.

A 'unit' requires about three to five hours for an average to above-average student.

The Units' lessons are structured broadly as follows:

  1. Observation: Firstly you will observe the language, by listening to recordings in action and dialogue.
  2. Practise: You will then practise the dialogue learned.
  3. Variations: Cover variations of what has been learned.
  4. Application: You will then apply what has been learned in 1-3.


The last section of each FSI Programmatic Spanish typical unit (the Application section) is a summary of the unit, allowing you to review a summary of the Spanish lesson.

It also incorporates lessons and concepts from the two previous units, allowing review, re-study and consolidation of recently learned materials.

It can also serve as a useful 'Test-your-Level-of-Knowledge' function. By working on these exercise, you can determine if you have mastered this level already.

So for example where a student has already studied some Spanish, s/he can find their level by trying these various 'Application Exercises'.

This volume emphasizes word structure and phrase structure.

It covers connectors, verb conjugation, and focusses more on the student's ability to perform sentences using the proper connectors and relators, rather than memorising vocab.

Later units will go into further depth on verb conjugation, and further build vocabulary.

Given that there are just over 400 'words' in this volume, the rate of learning is about 4 words per hour, or around 30 words per 8 hour day. Which of course does not compare to the modern learning techniques of the 200 Words a Day! system, but during this session one is concentrating on building a solid grammar base.

As well as the present tense, the past tense is introduced, so the student becomes as competent in the Present tense as well as in the Past. Also taught are the imperatives, and the Present Subjunctive is introduced.

FSI Programmatic Spanish Level Three - Units 31-45 (available soon from us)

FSI Spanish 3 which includes Units 31-45 introduces nominalized verbs and adjectives, numbers, past progressive and present subjunctive verb forms, days of the week, months, and colors.

FSI Spanish 4 which includes Units 46-55 goes in to the subjunctives, conditional tenses, passive voices, and more advanced Spanish language forms.

Foreign Service Institute FSI Programmatic Spanish II (available from us soon)
Spanish Programmatic II - Contents

FSI Spanish Programmatic Course Volume II contains just under 1,000 words and includes 150 Spanish cognates; the total for both volumes (FSI Spanish Programmatic I and II) is a little more than 1400 words.

Starting with the first unit in Volume II, instruction at the Foreign Services Institute itself is done exclusively in Spanish. The use of English is prohibited in the FSI Spanish classroom at this time, during the actual FSI-run courses, when training is carried out under the auspices of the Foreign Service Institure language training schools.

For the home-learner using the FSI CD-Rom courses, a number of sessions with a good teacher are most helpful. If you can book yourself some sessions with a good Spanish language teacher to work through the course, or parts of the course with you, this will be most helpful.

... more in Spanish in FSI courses...

By Unit 31 of FSI Spanish Programmatic II, more and more of the written instructions are in Spanish, until Unit 41 where all materials are in Spanish.

Weaknesses of the FSI Spanish Courses

The main weakness of the FSI Spanish course is that there is no Accelerated Learning component. It is a very detailed and thorough course requiring lots of 'traditional learning' effort. So it takes longer... but then again so are virtually ALL other major language courses.

However given that we have no equivalent, and there is no 'accelerated learning' equivalent, this is a great course. We are developing our own Excelerated Learning* content, but that is likely to be a 2007/2008 launch. (*excelerated learning is a play on the words accelerated and excel as in excellent...!)

A second criticism is that the material is a little dated, having been produced in 1967, and the attitudes are somewhat chauvinistic, being a reflection of the attitudes prevalent 4 decades prior to today. My advice is to look past this, and look at the value of the in-depth material, which is still very relevant to today. It is certainly a 'tried and tested' course.

A third criticism is that the material's sound quality is not the sharpest. The originals have been digitally remastered, by taking out a good deal of the background hiss, so the sound quality is better than most of the FSI tapes available on the market.

It is important however to repeat the good bits. They are very thorough, and the material is very good, and probably without peer.

However, we can offer the exact, same FSI Spanish course for a mere $US47. With a 365 day money-back guarantee.

Where is the catch? How can we give away these FSI courses like this?

Well, originally there were only a small number of suppliers providing these courses, and they have harvested a bonanza!

Now that we have gained access to the raw material provided by the FSI, and with a bit of good legal advice from a specialist attorney, we are able to bring the prices down to a level, more attainable to the average person. The material is exactly the same as that made by FSI.

So, here's what you get with the Foreign Services Institute FSI Spanish Programmatic I

  • The course that trained thousands of US diplomats and Foreign Service Institure personnel, FBI, DEA personnel
  • CDs with the entire Foreign Service Institute Programmatic Spanish Course I
  • Very thorough and detailed.
  • The FSI Spanish Programmatic I course superceded, and updated the FSI Spanish Basic course and includes all the material, and was made suitable for HOME STUDY.
  • 610 pages of Student's Manual in pdf format (portable document format) that can be loaded on to your computer.
  • 146 page Instructor's Manual is also included (146 pages of the 610 pages)
  • Over 100 hours of study material... equivalent to a full year at college.
  • 12 hours of audio in mp3 format.
  • Listen in the car, on your computer, iPod, Sony Walkman.
  • Pronunciation taught by native Spanish speakers.
  • Sentence structure, grammar, phrases, for Basic, Conversational Spanish.

Elsewhere this course - FSI Programmatic Spanish 1 - sells for up to between $250-300 on the internet, but here you can get it for an 80% discount at $47

As I said, this course sells on the internet for anywhere up to $250-$300 (and there are 4 Volumes in the series - this is Volume 1 of 4).

You can buy it here by clicking on the link.... and paying just $47, in the 200 Words a Day! format ... so ....


Your order will be processed and shipped immediately.

Kind regards,

Kevin Crocombe
200 Words a Day! Excelerated* Language Learning

(*excelerated - before you write to me about my spelling, excelerated is a play on the words excel) and accelerated, to give accelerated excellence in language learning! - if you get my drift.)

P.S.: Elsewhere on the web, the FSI Spanish Course 1 sells for up to between $250 and $300.

P.S.: Remember there is a 365 day Money Back Guarantee on all purchases.

What computers will our CD-Roms run on?

200 Words a Day Windows software Our CD programmes are suitable for the following operating systems: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millenium, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.

For Apple Macintosh users, here is what Jan has told us: "I have a IMac and installed Virtual PC for MAC Version 7 with Windows XP home edition and your programme runs very well on it." - Cheers, Jan.

Enjoy your language learning.

200 Words a Day! Award Winning Educational Software
Excelerated* Language Learning Systems and Technologies
Foreign Service Institute FSI Spanish Language Courses

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