Studying Spanish in Ecuador – review
We went through a very rigorous research before deciding where should we start our travels. The main reasoning behind it was that we wanted to go to school and study Spanish before we commenced traveling.
Having been in Chile on 3 weeks holiday in February 2017 it gave us the idea and brought us back to reality as it was obvious that without basic Spanish we are screwed and that South America isn’t as cheap as we hoped 😉
Our criteria for Studying Spanish in South America was:
Because price is a big one, we had to automatically exclude countries like Argentina, Chile, Uruguay which are among the most expensive in South America. We didn’t plan to go to Latin Amerika this time where the classes are supposed to be the cheapest so places like Guatemala, Honduras etc are out of the question. The only remaining options were Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
The worst thing for us that can happen is to get a rain for 3 weeks straight. It happened to us when we travelled in Vietnam and we really didn’t enjoy it - at all.
Given we were starting our travels in South America at the end of September when the rainy season starts in Peru and Bolivia, it was starting to be tough decision. We also didn’t really want to start our travel in Columbia as we wanted to acclimatise in SA before getting there.
Ease of the accent
Ecuador has the clearest accent of all the South American countries, prices are good, people friendly, weather in Quito is pleasant all year around. It was decided!
Finding a school
I’ve read so many tripadvisor reviews until I came down to 3 schools:
La Lengua - school of our choice
Simon Bolivar - big institution, if we didn’t chose La Lengua that’s where we would probably go
Cristobal Colon - they had so many positive reviews that in the end I found out that they offer free classes if you leave positive comment for them on tripadvisor.
The reason why we chose La Lengua was first based on reviews I’ve seen online but mostly because of the of communication prior to commencing the study.
They didn’t want any upfront payments, there was no admin fee to join the school and once we met the team we knew we made the right decision. Ligia the director was in constant touch with us and had the first 2 hours with us.
From then on we were with Mao, who has more than 20 years of teaching experience, is patient and knows exactly how to get you talking even if you know nothing.
She was truly accommodating, she danced for us, sang with us just to make the lessons interesting.
We had 2 on 1 classes, 20 hours per week and paid $260 USD, we felt it was a very good price for the quality we were getting.
The week at La Lengua gave us strong bases of vocabulary, grammar and a confidence that it can be done.
The school also offers trips and classes to Amazonia and other
Second week of our Spanish course was with Pucara Spanish School near Otavalo.
This was a bit of coincidence as I found their accommodation in rural village of Pucara and really liked it and only then realised they offered Spanish classes.
These were taught in the cottage or in school in near village of Cotacachi. This has become true expat center with many Americans coming here for retirement.
Katy (Ecuadorean) and her husband Lionel (Swiss) are super nice couple, they came to pick us up from Otavalo, had a massive basket full of fruits + stuff for breakfast ready for us and when we asked where it’s possible to have dinner, they shared with us what they cooked that day. That’s what I’m calling a warm welcome.
On Monday in the cottage the lectures started with Katy who coincidentally used to teach at La Lengua ;)) She has brought books for us to keep. 4 hours of 2on1 Spanish for 5 days straight is hard. Katy loves what she does, has put a lot of thought into the exercise book she has created and knew exactly what Spanish phrases travellers will need on the road.
We have covered 4 tenses: present, present progressive, future and past simple. Perfectly sufficient for our travels.
We have also covered all the main topics from food, accommodation, directions, how to resolve issues, complains, talk about our resume etc.
What really worked for me is the homework we got everyday. All in all, we were doing good 6 hours of learning every day.
On the side note, every time Laty and Lionel had a journey to town they would offer us a ride, explained how to get to points of interest and were awesome hosts. We loved our time there, waking up in the rural village with llamas, dogs and chucks around us.
You can check out the video we have done for Pucara BnB and Spanish School as a way of paying for our classes.
We have been to La Lengua and Pucara Spanish School in Ecuador in October 2017. If you have more up to date information about studying Spanish or these 2 schools, please share them in the comments. Thank you