I first moved to Medellin in October 2015, and the primary reason for the move was to try and learn Spanish. I remember a Mexican friend of mine showing me a video (see below) about the differences in the slang and style of speaking amongst different Latin America countries. I came to the realization that I wanted to try and learn a dialect of Spanish that could serve me in a number of different places.
While Antioquia certainly has its share of colloquial phrases, the internet community seems to agree that the local accent is relatively neutral. That is, if one learns Spanish in Medellín, it should be understood by people from various other countries. Conversely, I have heard numerous times that Argentines and Chileans have such an accent that learning in those places may not make one’s Spanish easily transferable across borders.
From velocity of speech to accents to local slang, Spanish varies greatly from country to country and even regionally within countries.
With this in mind (and the incredible weather forecasts, and testimonials about the friendly nature of Paisas), I moved to Medellín in October 2015 and started at Toucan Spanish School.
My first eight weeks in Colombia, I studied at Toucan Spanish School in El Poblado. Initially, they arranged a home stay for me with a Colombian family and classes every day for four hours. While the teachers and the classroom experience were great, what I enjoyed even more were the tours and extracurricular activities they provided. Toucan quickly became the center of my social life, as each night after class I would go do something with my fellow students or professors.
Almost all of the staff that worked at Toucan while I studied there are no longer with the school. While this may seem natural, given the time that has passed, the manner in which they left their jobs speaks to some issues with ownership. Many excellent teachers, including ones I studied with personally, were offered renewed salaries at half their previous rate of pay, or less. Staff were forced to decide between longer hours with less benefits, or resignation. Some of the staff have gone on to start their own schools or run their own Spanish learning programs.
Another school I have heard many good things about is Colombia Immersion. I am familiar with the school because I used to go to their language exchanges on Friday nights in Envigado, and they were always a great place to practice and meet people. The students who were attending the school always seemed pleased with the level of instruction, and I have read numerous positive reviews online. My understanding is they also have a lodging option, to live onsite.
Recently, some of my friends have told me that they have had great experiences with a new company called Learn Spanish Now. They offer both individual and group lessons, and have a very creative teaching method. While I haven’t personally used the company, the fact that several different friends have raved to me separately about the quality of classes makes them worth mentioning here. Check out the following videos to see what you think:
I recently compiled a list of some common places to study Spanish in Medellín. Note that most of these I don’t know much about, so these listings are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as recommendations. Check out the Medellín Advisor policy regarding recommendations in the Contact section.
|Institute||Location||Contact||Price (COP)||Total hours||Price/hour (COP)|
|Learn Spanish Now||Medellín||321 762 9059||550,000||20||27,500|
|Elefun Spanish school||Calle 45 F #70A-48, Estadio||304 273 2082||560,000||20||28,000|
|EAFIT University||Carrera 49 #4Sur-50, El Poblado||(4) 448 9500||1,390,000||38||36,578|
|Nueva lengua||Calle 12 #30190, Medellín||(4) 366 0359||1,145,372||40||28,634|
|Colombia immersion||Carrera 40 #40dSur-49, Envigado||(4) 334 7555||575,000||20||28,750|
|Whee institute||Medellín||317 560 9775||470,000||15||31,333|
|Spanish adventure||Calle 20 #21-64, San Carlos||310 514 5721||740,000||15||49,333|
|Total Spanish||Carrera 37 #8-05, Parque Lleras||(4) 589 8473||560,000||20||28,000|
|Toucan Spanish||Carrera 41A #10-28, Parque Lleras||(4) 311 7176||575,000||20||28,750|
|Blink||Calle 12 #43d-104, El Poblado||(4) 312 2842||749,000||22||34,045|
|Centro Catalina||Calle 7D #43A-106, El Poblado||310 761 2157||299,000||25||11,960|
|Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB)||Calle 78B #72A-109, Laureles||(4) 448 8388||1,327,000||40||33,175|
|Centro Interactivo de Español||Calle 10 #42-28, El Poblado||350 472 6143||475,000||20||23,750|
Side note: When you see a listing (here, or on google) that says (4) and then a 7 digit number, you’ll need to actually dial 034 and then the seven digit number, if you are dialing from a Colombian phone number.
I hope that this list can provide a useful starting point for investigating the best Spanish program for you. Note that this list is not always comparing apples to apples, as although I tried to include group rates where possible, some of the schools listed only have prices for private lessons. Additionally, some of the schools include extras within these prices, such as food or lodging. Readers are encouraged to contact the schools directly to discover the best option for themselves.
Have you studied at any of these schools? Did you have a positive or negative experience? Leave a comment below and tell us about it. Other readers will appreciate your insight.
Additionally, if you or someone you know is a private Spanish tutor, and you’d like to have your contact information posted on our website, please contact us.