#1 11-4-2016 7:28 AM

pammy_robertson
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Spanish Immersion Courses

I am having some thoughts about doing an overland Central America trip possibly continuing into south america (if I don't blow all my funds)

I'm thinking leaving in Jan and initially I thought to start in Mexico (its cheap to fly into) and work my way down. I'd love to do some Spanish immersion classes maybe with a homestay but don't want to blow my budget and eat too much into my timescale. I saw a few forum posts but they are from about 6-8 years ago. I am open to anywhere but ideally don't want to backtrack and it makes sense to start with the immersion course before I start travelling. So the ideal location would be maybe Mexico... but I worry it may be expensive/touristy. Guatemala? or Do I go the opposite direction and study in Columbia, Panama or Costa Rica and head north? Also I think I would prefer not to be in a major city, maybe somewhere a little laid back where I can spend my freetime at the beach snorkelling or exploring the rainforest.

My current Spanish is fairly appalling, so I am also not sure how many weeks I need to take part for. Obviously I need the basics and to gain confidence whilst travelling.

Anyone with any good links or advice I would be really grateful. cheers in advance. smile

 

#2 11-4-2016 7:52 AM

Paulovic
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Re: Spanish Immersion Courses

The posts you found might have been mine? I went to Costa Rica to do a Spanish course back in 2009 (so posts are about 8 years old). I am affraid I can't help you on that.

I do know it's not possible to travel overland from Panama to Colombia (or vice versa). It's a jungle out there, no roads crossing the border and the further East from Panama City the less safe it becomes (Mariën area).

You have to take a boat or the airplane between the two countries.

Anyhow... I am very envious! This must be an amazing trip you're gonna make!! big_smile

 

#3 11-4-2016 7:58 AM

fransglobal
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Re: Spanish Immersion Courses

I agree with learning in a smaller place. Cartagena in ColOmbia is supposed to be good.  It is definitely one of the nicest cities in South America,  though that's not difficult. It is tourist though. Both Panama and Costa Rica are very Americanised and not necessarily the best places to learn Spanish.

Antigua in Guatemala is a very popular place to learn Spanish and is a lovely place. Very touristy though. Quetzaltenago in Guatemala is supposed to be a less touristy place to learn Spanish.

 

#4 11-4-2016 8:00 AM

pammy_robertson
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Re: Spanish Immersion Courses

Yeh I know you can sail from Panama to Columbia. This is what I am thinking. It's all budget dependant.

How was your course experienced my Costa Rica? Would you recommend it?

 

#5 11-4-2016 8:06 AM

fransglobal
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Re: Spanish Immersion Courses

ColOmbia smile

 

#6 11-4-2016 8:07 AM

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Re: Spanish Immersion Courses

Haha typo

 

#7 11-4-2016 11:02 AM

Paulovic
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Re: Spanish Immersion Courses

pammy_robertson wrote:

Yeh I know you can sail from Panama to Columbia. This is what I am thinking. It's all budget dependant.

How was your course experienced my Costa Rica? Would you recommend it?

I'd say, scroll trough the first 32 entries of my 5 months Latin America 2009 blog.
http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/80804/summary

I was (of course) a bit younger back then. There was a possibility to choose for a host family or a room in a student house. I had a wonderful time. Most students were between 20 and 35 years old when I was there. We met in the evening, went to visit places together. Después una semana hablé Español muy bien. wink But I stayed 5 weeks at that school. I'd recommend it, it's in a silent town near San José. But Costa Rica is a small country, so within a few hours you drive to both coasts Caribbean and Pacific by bus.

I think Costa Rica is slightly more expensive though than other Central American countries. Of course all I am talking about is how I experienced it back in 2009. smile

If you have some more questions that I might be able to help you with, don't hesitate and ask me.

 

#8 11-4-2016 3:33 PM

cynthiasmiller
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Re: Spanish Immersion Courses

I did two Spanish courses in Mexico and I loved them both.  One in Mexico City and one in Guanajuato.  The course in Mexico City is one of the cheapest in the world, so it's  a good option if you're looking to save money. 

The course I did in Guanajuato was better overall.  They were slightly more expensive, but I thought they were more organised, offered more, their teachers were better, and I thought Guanajuato was just a better location for exploring and doing things in my free time.

I was in Oaxaca for a little bit, though not for a Spanish language course.  I know they do Spanish courses there too, though I don't have any experience with them, so I can't give my opinion.  I can say that Oaxaca is just as nice a place to explore as Guanajuato.

Try spanishabroad.com.  They're a great website for comparing schools across countries.

 

#9 11-5-2016 4:53 AM

kvom
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Re: Spanish Immersion Courses

Be aware that Spanish dialects/vocabulary vary pretty widely. 

Nicaragua is likely the cheapest option when combined with relative safety.  Here's an interesting website with price comparisons.

http://nssmga.net/Spanish_Schools_Nicaragua.htm

 

#10 11-5-2016 5:41 AM

margunn
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Re: Spanish Immersion Courses

I took Spanish lessons in Guanajuato,Mexico last year. It's a great city, not to big,coulorfull houses and beautiful surrounding, but no beach. First I did 1 week in Instituto Tonali. Dont recommend that school,they don't have much activities after classes and all the other students was Japanese. Nothing against Japanese people,but they where theier own little group. Then I changed to Escoula Falcon http://escuelafalcon.com
Did 2 weeks there. Relly enjoyed that school. I lived with a very lovely cople in a homestay.

I have also taken Spanish lessons in Costa Rica and Guatemala,but that's 6 years ago.  In Costa Rica I went 1 month to CRLA outside of San Jose   
http://www.spanishandmore.com.
This is a big and very professional school,but a bit expensive.  They have a lot of activities. 
When I got  Guatemala  some months later i took 2 more weeks in  Quetzeltenango (Xela) at a school called Kie Balam http://www.kiebalam.com Of all the Spanish school I have been to,this is by far my favorite.  It's quiet small,when I was there we wher only 6-8 students. Really got to know them, both the other students and teachers. There is many activities, excursions and comunial meals we could take part in. We spend time at the school in our free time to. I was there in Easter.  If you have the chanse to be in Guatemala for Easter that something I really recommend, it was spectacular.Didn't like my host family that much though.

And yes,you can sail from Panama to Colombia 😀. Its amazing and apsolutley worth the money (unless you get sea sick 😉). One of the best travel experiences I ever had.

 
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