Hi everyone,
long-time lingerer, first time poster. Anyway, been into Spanish very deeply the past few months, and am halfway through level 2 of Pimsleur Speak & Read Essential Spanish. In other words, of the total 3 levels, each of which have 30 lessons, I am on lesson 15 of level 2.

Now I didnt start with Pimsleur, and it took me a while to find, so I have only been effectively learning spanish for about 2 months - and I also have a teacher from Argentina who I meet with for an hour and a half each week to learn more and have conversations.

Anyway, my goal of learning spanish was because I will take a trip to live in South/Central America for 6 months or so, likely Argentina or Mexico, in April (I graduate from University then), and want to be ready to go with spanish, and able to learn more from the second I get there.
But it just hit me - since I do 1 lesson of Pimsleur per day (probably less during the school year), I will be finished by January latest. Furthermore, my Argentinian teacher is going back there in December.

So, I ask you, what do you recommend I do to keep sharp with it - preferably a more advanced course in Spanish to do for those final 4 months before I go - Ive found CD's much better then books.

As a sidenote, although I am only halfway through Pimsleur S & R E. Spanish, I dont think I know a very sizeable amount (although I do know all that was taught). I mean, Past-Tense is supposed to be the hardest, except all I have learned of it is the: A Hablado, A Visto, An Visto, Amos Dicho, etc. (Sp?). Not just those, but along those lines, the (I/We/They have/told me, etc.). By the time I finish this apparently 'Speak and Read Essential Spanish', will I know the past tense reasonably well? Regardless, like I said, Ill have roughly 4 months post Pimsleur to continue learning before I go. No Puedo Esperar!
Thanks for any feedback. Sorry for the ridiculously long post.

Hi Dan,
Several months ago I finished going through all of the Pimsleur lessons: Spanish I,II,II and Spanish Plus.
As it happens I have also been taking lessons once a week with a teacher from Argentina.
After finishing Pimsleur, I discovered the course now called Platiquemos. You can get it here.
You can also find a quiz there which will demonstrate to you how much more you need beyond Pimsleur.
Platiquemos is an updated version of a course designed by the Foreign Service Institute to teach Spanish to US diplomats. It is very much in the Pimsleur spirit, however, much more intense.
I bought the digital version which enabled me to
transfer the lessons to an IPOD so I can listen to the lesson while taking my walks. The digital version comes with written material in pdf format as well as the mp3s for the audio lessons. But I chose to purchase books that contain the printed material. Either way you will find it useful to look at the printed material from time to time. Sometimes the speakers speak very fast and it
is helpful to be able to check the dialogs and exercises in written form. Platiquemos does not coddle students quite as much as Pimsleur. Sometimes it is more like work.
Now I have finished about 3/5 of the Platiquemos course and I am pretty impressed with it. I definitely recommend it.
Best wishes,
PS Will you know the past tense reasonably well after finishing all the Pimsleur lessons? Unfortunately the answer is no. You will just have scratched the surface. And no, I don't think the past tense is the most difficult. As EL COJO MANTEQUILLA says
" La mayoría de los gringos que aprenden el español se mueren sin dominar el uso correcto del subjuntivo."
(Most gringos that learn Spanish will die without mastering the correct use of the subjunctive.)
Heck, I don't think I will ever get straight por, para, a, de, and en.