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Learning Spanish / Latin American

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Learning Spanish / Latin American

1. Posted by Em_Meagher (Budding Member 3 posts) 10y

I am considering spending time living in South America and learning Spanish. At present I am just planning a four week holiday around the end of February 2007 however may even extend this depending on options and feedback I receive. (I am prepared to possibly quit my job, leave Australia and live in South America for up to a year)!!

I was hoping someone might be able to give me advice on a few points as follows:

1. Which country would be more suitable for a single 29 year old female to immerse herself in the culture, and begin to learn the language, yet still meet lots of people and have a fun exciting time!? (P.S I love beaches but it's not a necessity)!

2. I would be happy to teach English as a part of a program where I learn Spanish at the same time - is anyone aware of some good, reliable programs?

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 10y

- you're flying intercontinental for only a week's holiday??
- which country to pick depends on your taste. I'd say that Chile and Argentina are the least 'south-american', in that their cultures are more european than andean/amazonian. That said, both Buenos Aires and Santiago are terrific, and you'll have a good time in either. Since BsAs is by far the cheaper option, that would be my advice
- if, on the other hand, you're in for something slightly more challenging, consider Lima, or Quito. La Paz is not such a good idea, now that the situtation in Bolivia shows signs of growing unstable again
- I don't know much about Brazil. If you like beaches, that may be the direction you want to head for
- institutional tandem language programmes to the best of my knowledge are not offered anywhere. If you'd like to have some native speaking to you, best post a proposition in a university building, since not many students can afford to pay for English class, you might get some response
- in any case, forget about teaching English as a living. In any south-american city, there must be several thousands of foreigners trying to do that. If you harbour another talent, best put that to use :-)

enjoy, drop me a line if you decide for Buenos Aires,
Niels (Amsterdam)

3. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 10y

Niels, I think she said 4 weeks...

I would vote for Buenos Aires rather than Santiago. I know lots of people who stayed in Santiago for a longer period of time to study Spanish, and most of them say "well I didn't like the city so much but the rest was cool". Whereas people who stayed in Bs.As. only say "SOOO AWESOME!!!". It is actually one of the coolest cities I've ever been to, and I would say that Argentine Spanish is easier than what they speak in Chile (I don't even know if it's Spanish, it's too rapid to really find out...)

As for the beaches: why don't you try Venezuela?!? It's a hidden treasure, I tell you. I know about a Spanish school (it's also a hostel) with 3 or 6 months programs (or shorter) including volunteering and trips to the rain forest/mountains. I didn't take the Spanish course but I stayed at the hostel and got to know the students there, so I know it's good. Send me a message if you want to know more about them!


4. Posted by Em_Meagher (Budding Member 3 posts) 10y

Awesome - thanks for you advice guys - it's much appreciated. I will definitely look into my options some more...

Post 5 was removed by a moderator
6. Posted by tazzaa (Budding Member 22 posts) 10y

I studied Spanish in Quito for a week with, you can stay as long as you like in week long increments (most people go for 6 weeks) and you stay with a Ecuadorian family (usually one of the teachers from the school), since it's a school there will be others there doing the same thing as you so lots of social stuff.

Ecuador is meant to be one of the better places to learn Spanish because the people speak slower and I agree after being in Chile!

7. Posted by kikay (Budding Member 37 posts) 10y

In terms of studying Spanish, I've heard that the best places to go would be Colombia and Mexico as the accents there are "purer" (Don't ask me to explain that! I was just told by my former Spanish teacher.) and therefore, easier to understand/grasp by a non-native Spanish speaker. Are you dead set on going to South America to learn Spanish or is Central America an option, too?

Brazil is gorgeous, but hardly the best place to go to if your goal is to learn Spanish as the official language is Portuguese. However, I think there are numerous Spanish schools over there, too.

8. Posted by 77Soph (Budding Member 2 posts) 10y

Hello there,

I sort of have a related query. I'm planning on travelling, solo, through Bolivia this August after a GAP style tour in Peru to get me started. My spanish is sketchy and extremely basic so I was thinking of either doing a week in a language school in La Paz or Cusco. Any particular language school recommendations or warnings?