Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spanish Schools In South America

I received an inquiry on Spanish classes in certain countries in South America so I decided to write about my experiences with the various Spanish schools I have attended during my stay here. I have taken Spanish classes in: Colombia, Ecuador and Peru so for now those are the areas I will focus on.

In Colombia I lived in Cali where there were not as many tourists or expatriates so there were not as many Spanish schools as say Bogota or Medellin. Don't get me wrong, there were still Spanish schools but the choices were limited and private classes were a bit pricey for me so I didn't end up taking any classes in Cali, I took classes in Medellin instead.

Medellin, Colombia

I took classes at Medellin Language Academy which I have just learned changed their name to Toucan Spanish School. They have both group and private classes, since I am on a strict budget I ended up taking the group classes just because the private classes cost more than my set budget. The group classes were kept very small so on average I was taking classes with 2 or 3 other students. Here is a break down of their cost and some additional information:

Group classes (20 hrs/week) - 400,000 Colombian pesos/$194.72
Group classes (10 hrs/week) - 220,000 Colombian pesos/$107.09

Private classes (20 hrs/week) - 800,000 Colombian pesos/$389.43
Private classes (10 hrs/week) - 400,000 Colombian pesos/$194.72

Conclusion - The school was very flexible in terms of how many hours or specific times you wanted to take classes. I liked their teaching method and even though I prefer private classes, the small group classes were small enough for the instructors to give each student needed attention. Would I recommend them? yes I would.
Their website can be found here for more information.

Quito, Ecuador

Simon Bolivar Spanish School

I took classes at Simon Bolivar Spanish School and since their rates were pretty good I was able to take private classes which really accelerated my learning. A breakdown of their costs is as follows:

Group classes - $5.50/hr per person
Two students (maybe a couple or two friends who want to share classes) - $6.00/hr per person
Private classes - $9.00/hr NOTE: this is where I say it never hurts to ask for discounts.

Since I knew I was staying in Ecuador for a while and I was going to be taking many classes, I asked the school if they could give me a discount and lower the rate for the private classes. The administration gave me quite a good discount and I was able to save quite a bit of money while taking the private classes. I don't want to say that the discount is guaranteed so I don't want anyone assuming that the school can change their rates if asked. It never hurts to ask though so you can try, you may be lucky.

Conclusion - I really enjoyed my classes at the school especially since I had a very good teacher that made classes more fun and interesting. The school was very flexible with their hours so you could select how many hours you wanted to take classes each day and the time you would be available for classes. Would I recommend the school? definitely!
Their website can be found here for additional information.

Cristobal Colon Spanish School

Currently I am taking classes at another Spanish school in Quito. I am taking classes at Cristobal Colon Spanish School, I wanted to try a different school and this one had lower rates, came highly recommended plus it happened to be close to where I was living. Their rates break down as follows:

Private Classes - $7.50/hr
Group Classes - $5.50/hr
Skype Lessons - $9.00/hr
Classes in your home/apartment - $11

I am taking the private classes and I was able to talk to the director to give me a discount since I am taking many classes. Once again, it never hurts to ask but I will not say a discount is guaranteed by the school.

Conclusion - I really do enjoy my classes at Cristobal Colon, their schedules are flexible and the one on one classes really do help in advancing faster as you learn at your own pace. Would I recommend the school? definitely!
Their website can be found here for additional information.

Cusco, Peru

I took classes at FairServices in Cusco, classes in Lima were pricier than I had expected so I decided to go with Cusco. The classes offered in Cusco were cheaper but still pricier than Ecuador which I was surprised at. The rates at FairServices were as follows:

Registration Fees (one time) - 125 Peruvian Soles/$43 
Private classes - 30.08 Peruvian Soles/$10
Group classes - Not sure about the cost but you can get information by contacting the school

I chose FairServices because I really liked the fact that they are working with single mothers offering them an opportunity for a better life by training them to be Spanish teachers and paying them fair wages. The teachers got half the cost of the classes while the other half went to the school administration, at the end of each week of classes you would actually pay the teachers directly so  you would know for sure that they are getting their fair share.

Conclusion - I liked the teaching methodology at FairPlay, they had two teachers assigned to each students. One teacher focused on teaching grammar and vocabulary while the other focused on helping with conversation as a way for the student to practice speaking Spanish and enhance their conversational skills. I only stayed at the school for 2 weeks because my budget wouldn't allow me to take more classes, I did ask for a discount but I was told that the school doesn't offer any because they want to ensure that their teachers continue getting their fair share of working wages. Would I recommend the school? definitely!
Their website can be found here for additional information.

That's it folks, I hope this information will be of use to someone out there. I have to say that so far Ecuador has been the cheapest place to take Spanish classes and there are plenty of Spanish schools to chose from. I have heard Bolivia is even cheaper but I have yet to visit the country but that's in the works, stay tuned!


  1. Wewe hujachoka kurandaranda....hebu rudi nimekumiss videadly sana...

  2. Hi J,

    I think your readers will find the post helpful in choosing a school. Medellin is also a great city for nightlife, food and the people are very welcoming. Your readers should check out Laurleles and Envigado area's while there. I also started in Medellin, I took Spanish classes in Medellin in Colombia Immersion. Rather than group or individual classes it has both, in an immersion environment. This means everyone lives and learns together and has the same goal of learning Spanish. I would highly recommend it.

  3. Hi J,

    I just read your blog. I really like it - especially with all the images you have added. Well, not in this post but your others ;-)

    I took Spanish lessons in 2014, too. Quito is such a great place and I used the time also to travel. Unfortunately I didn't have enough money to visit the Galapagos islands which are really expensive. I also think that Ecuador is a great destination to learn Spanish. It's pretty cheap compared to other countries. Maybe only Guatemala and Bolivia might offer some better deals. I took lessons with Ailola Quito but I don't remember the price. I had 20 lessons per week and paid per week and not per hour. For me the price was very good and I liked it very much there.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks for stopping by to check out my blog. Yeah Ecuador really has some cheap Spanish classes which do come in handy if you are on a budget but still want to learn Spanish. Too bad you couldn't check out the Galapagos but hopefully one day you will.

  4. Hi J,

    For your readers that are looking for a different Spanish School experience in Medellin I would recommend Colombia Immersion. I have been taking Spanish Classes in Medellin there and it mixes Spanish Classes with actually living with your fellow students in an immersion environment. The only danger for your students is never wanting to leave Medellin.

    1. Thanks for adding this useful piece of information, I believe the best way to learn a language is full on immersion. It worked great for me and a year later I can proudly say I speak Spanish at an advanced level.