Many people ask me what advice I would give to people thinking of moving to Bogotá; among other things, I always say – learn Spanish… or at least learn enough to be able to get by. There aren’t many people in Colombia who speak good English – and certainly not in supermarkets, hospitals, cafés and other places where you will want to be able to communicate with people on a daily basis!
Some people have asked for some recommendations on where they can study Spanish. I spoke Spanish before moving to Bogotá so I haven’t had any experience of learning Spanish here, but I have asked around and put together a list of different options within Bogotá.
Where you choose to study should ideally be close to where you are living, as you may be attending classes five days a week, and traffic in Bogotá is no joke! I will also say that your experience of Spanish lessons (as with any subject) will often depend on the teacher you get. For this reason, many students end up going private, with a teacher recommended to them. This often also affords greater flexibility, as some teachers will come to you.
Private Spanish teachers in Bogotá
I have a list of private Spanish teachers, (contact me for the full list) but these three have been recommended to me personally by their students, and also have their own blogs:
Alejandra Velasco – http://edublogl2.blogspot.com.co/ (firstname.lastname@example.org) $40,000/hour
Sara Correa – http://www.bogotaspanish.com/ (email@example.com) $25,000-30,000/hour
Laura Martín – https://espanolambulante.blogspot.com.co/p/clases-de-espanol-en-bogota.html (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Language schools in Bogotá
Nueva Lengua offers Spanish courses in Bogotá, Medellín and Cartagena. They offer a wide range of Spanish courses combined with other activities that you might be interested in, such as Spanish with Dance, Volunteering, Music and even Scuba-diving! (but not all activities are available at all locations 🙂 )
Cost: This price-list gives a break-down of what’s on offer and at what price. It also has a comprehensive testimonials page, where you can see what former students from all over the world thought about the course they took.
Location: It’s located in the area of Bogotá that I used to live in, and which I’m very fond of, at calle 69 with carrera 11A, in Quinta Camacho neighbourhood (close to Chapinero, Rosales and El Nogal).
The Whee Institute is a new addition to this post (Jan 2017), after a couple of people commented that they had enjoyed the Spanish courses and made good progress there. The courses incorporate both cultural and Spanish language teaching, and you can choose between group classes or private one-to-one classes.
Cost: The prices are in the mid-range category. For group classes: 1 – 3 weeks (15 hours/week) – 440,000 pesos/week. 4 weeks or more (15 hours/week) – 418,000 pesos/week (at the time of writing). In both classes this includes a free weekly dance class and unlimited coffee(!). Check this page for a break-down of the different course options that are available and the up-to-date price-list.
Location: In the quaint neighbourhood of Teusaquillo: Diagonal 33BIS A # 15 – 16, Bogotá. Email: email@example.com
This is a university with a good reputation in Colombia, and the courses are priced reasonably. I know a number of people who are doing Spanish courses and although I’ve heard some mixed reviews, people seem generally happy with them – they say the classes are communicative with a good balance between communication and grammar.
There are a number of different sub-levels (cycles) within the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced levels, and each cycle lasts for 40 hours, 2 hours a day for 4 weeks. There are other courses on offer which offer more flexibility, and a combination of private and group classes. See the website for more information.
Cost: Group classes (40 hours): $450,000 Colombian pesos ($USD 180 at the time of writing)
Location: Carrera 13 with Calle 75. El Nogal neighbourhood, in the affluent north of Bogotá.
International House offers intensive group courses in Spanish at all levels which are from 9am – 1pm Monday to Friday. The average number of students per class is 4 or 5, with a maximum number of 8.
Cost: $USD 220 per week for up to 4 weeks.
$USD 200 per week for 4-12 weeks.
This price includes the classes, level-testing, certificates and a programme of social and cultural activities.
Location: Calle 10 with Carrera 4 (in the Candelaria, Bogotá’s historical centre)
Learn More Than Spanish prides itself on offering more than just Spanish lessons; you can combine your Spanish learning experience with guitar, cooking, dance or yoga classes! The courses also include cultural activities and visits to local parks and museums, offering an immersive experience. I cannot attest to their methodology, and prices are not given on the website as courses are tailored to your needs and preferences. You will need to get in touch with them for a quote. They offer accommodation close to the language centre.
Location: Carrera 13 # 77-44, 5th floor
OR Salamina (a rural town in Colombia’s coffee region, between Medellín and Manizales)
At the well-respected Universidad Nacional you can do:
– A two-month 80-hour course Monday to Friday from 6-8pm for approximately $USD 300 (at the time of writing).
– An intensive 4-week 80-hour course for 5 hours a day Monday to Friday for approx $USD 470
EAFIT University (now only in Medellin)
EAFIT was recommended to me by a colleague. They employ the communicative method of teaching Spanish and are the only institution to be certificated by the Instituto Cervantes de Espana (the Cervantes Institute would be the Spanish equivalent of the British Council), a testament to the quality of the course. Unfortunately, as of August 2016 I have been informed that Spanish classes are no longer offered at the Bogotá campus; this may still be an option if you’re planning to spend some time in Medellín though.
Other Spanish-learning options which may be worth investigating include:
Places to avoid:
Based on a number of bad reviews from different people, I’d avoid:
More Spanish learning options in Colombia:
Colombian Spanish has put together a more extensive directory of places to learn Spanish in Colombia, which will be useful especially if you’re not planning to stay in Bogota.
Have you ever studied Spanish in Colombia? Is there a particular language school you’d recommend? Please let us know in the comment section, or message me via the Contact Form!