FAQ

WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT FROM OTHER LANGUAGE SCHOOLS?

1) Strommen was founded in Los Angeles 15 years ago by a language teacher, for language teachers.  We are LA’s largest community of language learners. We aren’t a big corporation looking to maximize our profits. Rather, we want our students to have a great experience, an affordable rate, and to attract and retain the best language teaching talent possible. Happy teachers = happy students.

Students can attend free events like foreign movie night to meet the rest of the community and practice language skills in a social setting even if you are taking private classes.

We also have a mission: Help the world to communicate. This is why we offer free ESL classes to our community, as well as other initiatives like free translations for afghan refugees and amazing free language learning resources on our blog.

WHERE DO THE CLASSES TAKE PLACE?

Our language classes can be anywhere. Our teachers have locations that they choose in their local area (sometime their home office, or a nice French cafe) that way you can usually meet someone in your neighborhood instead of driving across town to a dull classroom. Classes can also be at your home or office, or online.

WHAT IS ON YOUR LANGUAGE BLOG?

The goal of our language blog is to provide free learning resources for the world. Our language blog has tons of great articles for Spanish, German, Italian, and French language learners. We welcome you to use our free language resources even if you are not a student or teacher with us. 

What are your teachers’ qualifications?

Strommen has a very rigorous selection process in which we select only the most professional, dedicated, and talented teaching professionals. These are teachers that have years of experience and a proven track record. At the Strommen office we personally vett all applicants by having them teach sample classes, check their qualifications and ensure that they are professional. While many of our teachers have degrees in the field or even university-level teaching experience, at Strommen we believe in having many different kinds of teachers for many different kinds of students. You can read more about individual teachers in their profiles.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND COMPANIES LIKE ITALKI, PREPLY AND VARSITY TUTORS?

Students that use companies like Preply are usually attracted by the very low rates. We have seen teachers on their platform that charge as little as $5 per hour. Have you heard the expression “you get what you pay for?” Our clients are usually based in LA and are more concerned with using their limited time efficiently and effectively. Don’t waste your time trying out inexperienced instructors that live abroad – work with the very best language instructors here in LA that are even trusted to work with film and TV stars for performances. While our rates are higher, our students are always paired with qualified local instructors and our company follows CA laws. Additionally, even if your classes are online, It is important to also have a personal connection with your teacher where you can talk about local issues and even meet up in person at one of our movie nights. Most of the time our students are paired with teachers in the same neighborhood of Los Angeles.

SHOULD I BUY ROSETTA STONE OR OTHER LANGUAGE LEARNING APPS?

No, save your money and use Duolingo for free. Then call us when you want to learn how to speak with other humans! Joking aside,  languages have always been about human to human interaction. Software can help, but nothing beats the real thing. As a Strommen student you will have access to many free resources and events to help you along the way.

WHY NOT USE A TUTORING SITE LIKE WYZANT OR FIND A LANGUAGE TUTOR ON CRAIGSLIST? 

Our students are mostly adults that have a passion for the language. Sites like Wyzant and other tutoring sites have little or no screening process. You might as well go on craigslist. Strommen interviews all of our independent teachers in person to get a sense of their teaching style, personality and professionalism. You also have the benefit of Strommen keeping your tuition payment safe – if your teacher leaves for an emergency, or stops teaching, we are here for you and will assist you in getting a new instructor. At Strommen, we only accept the best language teachers. Read on for more info about out teachers’ qualifications below. You will also get the full support of the Strommen staff.  Strommen teachers also provide the most flexible policies and the best customer service.

HOW MUCH CAN I LEARN WITH A PACKAGE OF 10 HOURS?

We compare 10 hours of 1 on 1 classes to a semester at a traditional school. If you focus and dedicate yourself we have seen some students achieve great things in as little as 10 hours. Alternately, if you need a little extra help in the beginning, with private classes you will never get left behind. 

HOW MANY HOURS A WEEK OF LANGUAGE CLASSES SHOULD I TAKE?

Most of our students take 1 hour per week at a minimum. We recommend 2 hours a week to make faster progress. You a will make a plan with your teacher on your first class that fits your goal, budget and pace. Keep in mind that 1 hour per week is often enough to make significant progress, especially when you have HW (optional) or other tasks assigned between lessons. 

How often can I meet?

We recommend meeting as much as possible but we know that many of our students have busy schedules. We can make a plan to help you achieve your goals around any schedule. If you ever feel that your teacher cannot accommodate your schedule make sure to let us know and we will make sure that you get what you need.

CAN I TALK TO MY TEACHER OVER THE PHONE BEFORE WE MEET?

Here at the Strommen office, we can help you choose the perfect language teacher. We know all of our teachers well and can provide information that will ensure it is a good fit. After we set up your first class you will have your teacher’s contact info and you are more than welcome to get in touch before the first class. Remember, our teachers are professionals – and they like that we help them to set them up with serious students so they don’t have to.

DO YOU OFFER FREE CLASSES?

Strommen only offers free ESL (English Second Language) Classes in Los Angeles to those members of our community that cannot afford them. These free classes are paid by Strommen. Our foreign language teachers are professional and fully vetted, so they have no need to offer discounted or free classes to prospective students. Would you work for free?

WHY IS IT SO EXPENSIVE?

Our teachers set their own minimum rates. This helps us ensure our teachers are happy. The rates are actually low for 1 on 1 and it allows our teachers a living wage. If you find a lower rate, keep in mind you get what you pay for! Our hand-picked teachers are the best in LA and our entire staff is dedicated to your success and enriching your learning experience. Check out all the benefits of learning a language with Strommen here.

HOW DO I PAY?

You can pay by check or via credit card by phone or on our website here. All of the info for payment will be in your new class confirmation email. We are currently developing a new system that will allow you to save your credit card info to make payment even easier. 

CAN I TAKE A CLASS WITH A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER?

Of course! As long as you feel that you are about the same level and have similar goals, we can set up a semi-private class for you. The rate is also lower if you take classes with a friend or family member. It is only $25 more to add one person (per hour), or $15 more per person if you are family members.

DO I HAVE TO BUY MY TEXT BOOKS? IS IT INCLUDED?

Yes, you will have to purchase some materials. But at Strommen we don’t sell texts, we just point you in the direction of the best deal online. All of that info will be in your confirmation email. Keep in mind, we recommend waiting until after your first class to purchase texts as our teachers have their own preferences.

HOW MANY HOURS A WEEK SHOULD I TAKE LANGUAGE CLASSES?

All of our classes are customized to your goals, availability, budget, interests and level. We recommend taking more than 1 hour per week, but most of our students meet once per week as this often provides the best value and often our students are busy professionals. The first class is also usually 1 hour long, but if you feel a longer format is better for you, you can always make your class longer. When meeting once per week we highly recommend doing self-study and homework throughout the week to keep the pace of your progress up.  If you don’t want to do any work on your own time, you should to schedule more classes.

WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF PRIVATE LANGUAGE CLASSES VS. GROUP CLASSES?

A private class is tailored to your needs, level and schedule. In a group language class the pace is either as fast as the most advanced student or as slow as the least advanced.
At Strommen the curriculum advances at your pace, whether fast or slow, in the areas you need help with. In a group class the schedule is fixed. If you miss a class, you end up behind. There is a trade-off for convenience and price. Our private classes, which are actually pretty affordable, can be cancelled and rescheduled with 24 hours notice and you never miss a class or get left behind.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE ME TO GET FLUENT?

There are 10 strommen levels. Level 0 means you are just getting started and level 10 is completely fluent (and well educated at that!). It is hard to say exactly how long it will take you as private classes advance at your pace, however we estimate it will take about 10 hours for each level. Your teacher will help you to access your current level, as well as your target level and help you to make a plan to get there.

CAN I REALLY LEARN AND FOCUS IN A COFFEE SHOP OR PUBLIC LOCATION?

Our teachers meet everywhere! We think that practicing your skills in a public environment will give you real-world experience and confidence. Our teachers choose the locations carefully to ensure they are suitable for class. If you want to change the location or have any feedback make sure to let us know!

CAN YOU TEACH MY KIDS? DO YOU WORK WITH CHILDREN?

Absolutely! We have teachers that specialize in teaching younger students. We currently work with students at elementary schools like Mount Washington, preschools like Camelot Kids, and high schools like New Roads to provide language classes. We also specialize in in-home classes for kids of all ages. See our Kids section for more info. Please note that classes for students under the age of 18 need to be scheduled at your location, and we ask that there always be parental supervision.

DOES MY PACKAGE OF HOURS EXPIRE?

We offer different payment options. You can pay per hour if you aren’t sure you want to commit to a longer-term program. Our packages of hours usually expire in 1 year from the date of purchase. Even with the 20 hour package, that means that you can take as little as 2 classes per month without the package expiring. We need to set an expiration on packages because our teachers expect students that pay a lower rate to be more regular and take more classes. A package is a good way to motivate yourself to actually commit and follow through with your language study.