As Medellín progresses, more and more foreigners are traveling here, but a language barrier remains.
Unlike places that have been popular with tourists for years, many of the people here — paisas — have yet to perfect their English.
That’s actually a good thing. This is a great opportunity for you to learn a new language by taking Spanish classes in Medellín
Now you just have to pick a place to study, the best place, a place you will get your money’s worth by doing more than just learning a language.
You want a place where you’ll have the opportunity to really immerse yourself in the culture, either through trips to beautiful pueblos or by living with a local family.
All of this is available at the Centro Interactivo de Español, the Interactive Spanish Center, or CIE.
Now about two years old, this Spanish school is conveniently located near the Envigado Metro Station, and the school’s 10 certified teachers can accommodate up to 80 students per month.
Travel writer Phyl Doppelt took 4-hour intensive Spanish classes in Medellín this Spring when she was here for the Live and Invest Overseas conference.
She said CIE gave her an incredible experience and introduction to the warm people and culture of the city.
“I am so glad I had the opportunity,” she said.
The certified teachers, a couple of whom have taught Cirque de Soleil performers, offer a variety of courses:
- Survival Spanish: 2 hours per day, 5 days per week, for $140 USD per week or $530 per month.
- Standard course: 2 hours per day, 5 days per week, for $100 per week or $380 per month.
- Intensive course: 4 hours per day, 5 days per week, for $200 per week or $760 per month.
- Interactive lessons (includes city tours and interaction with local people): 4 to 6 hours per day, 5 days per week, for $310 per week or $1,180 per month.
- Immersion program (includes living with a local family): 4 hours per day, 5 days per week, for $440 per week or $1,670 per month.
- Business Spanish: 4 hours per day, 5 days per week, for $300 per week or $1,140 per month.
- Spanish + yoga, volunteer, Latin dance or Colombian culture: 4 hours per day, 5 days per week, for $240 per week or $910 per month.
- Private lessons: 2 hours per day, 5 days per week, for $180 per week or $690 per month.
- Private lessons: 4 hours per day, 5 days per week, for $360 per week or $990 per month.
The immersion program is my favorite option. I improved my listening and speaking skills immensely by living with a family that spoke Spanish all the time, in a neighborhood where hardly anyone spoke English.
Now let me tell you why it is worth the money.
If you want to take Spanish classes in Medellín, you’ll pay more at a university and there’s no guarantee you’ll have the kind of small class size that is more conducive to retaining information.
You might run into the same problem with class size at a bigger language school, while a smaller school might already be full or adapting to a larger number of students.
At CIE, there are no such issues.
I learned in my strategic marketing class during my master’s degree program at The George Washington University that smart shoppers take a specific approach in finding the best value.
That typically means not picking the cheapest or most expensive option, the smallest or the biggest option, but something in the middle that offers the best services for the best prices.
That is the Centro Interactivo de Español.
Blaine Harrison, a Canadian, took 80 hours of intensive Spanish classes in Medellín during his month here.
“It was exactly what I needed to navigate in a Spanish-speaking community,” he said.
This grasp of the language is especially helpful when you travel to pueblos outside Medellín, where even fewer people speak English.
That’s why the school offers tours as well.
Here you can go on a coffee tour or take a horseback ride to the famous Cueva del Esplendor.
Another tour is to what might be the most popular pueblo in Antioquia: Guatapé, where most of the buildings are colorful and covered with artwork.
On the way you’ll stop in El Peñol, where you can climb the 700-plus steps of La Piedra, a monolith made from a meteorite that hit the earth hundreds of thousands of years ago.
You’ll have no shortage of activities when you take these Spanish classes in Medellín, as CIE will introduce you to the famous nightlife scene, growing gastronomy options and intriguing history of the city.
The latest promotion is a weekly language exchange that will allow you to practice your Spanish with Colombians taking classes (English, French, Portuguese and German) at CIE’s sister school, Idiomizar.
“This is why it’s the interactive Spanish school,” said Lucas Rave, one of the paisas who founded the Centro Interactivo de Español.
I just wish it were already open when I got here three years ago.
This post was brought to you in partnership with Centro Interactivo de Español.