Universidad EAFIT offers the largest Spanish language program for foreigners in Medellín with over 500 students each year. The school touts its program as the largest Spanish language program for foreigners in Colombia.
I have been taking Spanish classes at Universidad EAFIT for almost a year now and highly recommend the program.
Since I am studying Spanish at EAFIT this also enabled me to receive a Colombian student visa good for a year, which I received in August last year.
With the student visa, I am no longer limited to the six months per year restriction which comes with the tourist visa. I can now stay for a full year.
Last year, I prepaid for six Spanish classes at EAFIT and applied for a student visa.
The detailed process I followed for my Colombian student visa I received last year is documented in the comments to How to Get a Colombian Student Visa.
The Spanish program at EAFIT
The Spanish classes at EAFIT follow the Cervantes Institute Common European Framework for learning Spanish. The Spanish program at EAFIT has 14 levels.
Each Spanish class level at EAFIT is 38 hours and is taught in either an intensive four-hour per day format or a semi-intensive two-hour per day format.
Intensive Spanish classes
- Classes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday to Friday
- Four hours a day for a total of 38 hours over two weeks
Semi-Intensive Spanish classes
- Classes from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday to Friday
- Two hours a day for a total of 38 hours over four weeks
The number of students in the Spanish program at EAFIT fluctuates from month to month. Currently there are nearly 50 students in the program. Since the school is offering 14 levels in intensive and semi-intensive formats, not every level is necessarily available each month.
The number of participants per class ranges from two to 10 students. EAFIT reserves the right to not offer a class when it does not have the minimum number of students required.
For example, the last Spanish class I completed at EAFIT was the semi-intensive level 8 class as I had to skip level 7, as it wasn’t offered that month. I am now enrolled in the level 7 semi-intensive class.
My experience at EAFIT
I am currently taking my sixth class in EAFIT’s Spanish program.
When I enrolled in the Spanish program last year I took a free placement test, which put me initially in EAFIT’s Spanish level 3 class. You don’t have to start out in the level 1 class if you already know some Spanish.
I have to occasionally travel for my US-based job so I have been taking Spanish classes at EAFIT every other month for nearly a year. I normally take a class one month then skip a month to enable traveling for work.
EAFIT’s campus in Medellín is a nice green campus with many conveniences including a food court with several restaurants/cafes, one of the largest libraries in Colombia, gym, swimming pool, bank, travel agency and medical center.
All the Spanish classes I have taken at EAFIT have been in Building 11, on the west side of EAFIT’s campus. The classrooms are small and outfitted with laptops, televisions, whiteboards and air-conditioning plus the building has free WiFi available.
My six Spanish classes at EAFIT so far have only had two to four students in each class, much fewer than the maximum of 10 students which EAFIT indicates is the maximum class size. This small class size enables more individual attention from the teachers.
My experience is that it takes an additional one to two hours of study outside of class per day in addition to two hours in class daily for the semi-intensive classes. Since I live in Belén, where few speak English, I am able to practice what I learn in class on a daily basis.
The combination of taking Spanish classes at EAFIT, immersion by living in Medellín, having a Colombian girlfriend and using Spanish daily definitely has helped me accelerate my learning Spanish.
Calendar of 2014 Spanish classes
EAFIT has classes throughout the year, which start on a regular basis. The university doesn’t have class during holidays, which are frequent in Colombia. The Spanish program also shuts down from early December to mid-January.
The following is the schedule of EAFIT’s Spanish classes for the remainder of the year:
Each Spanish class at EAFIT currently costs 910,000 pesos ($484). You can receive a 7 percent discount if you pay in advance for six classes or a 3 percent discount if you pay in advance for two classes.
Class material is not included in the class cost and the series of books for the Spanish classes are sold in the bookstore on the EAFIT campus.
The most recent set of books I purchased is entitled Maravillas del Español volume 3 (includes a text book and work book), which is used in EAFIT’s Spanish class levels 6, 7 and 8. The cost for volume 3 was 110,000 pesos ($58).
More about Universidad EAFIT
Universidad EAFIT is a private Colombian university based in Medellín. The university was established in 1960 by a group of business leaders in the city to establish an academic institution focused on business administration.
The university now offers programs in five schools: Management; Sciences and Humanities; Economics and Finance; Engineering and Law. The university has over 11,000 students.
EAFIT offers 19 undergraduate programs, three doctorates, 21 master’s degree programs and more than 60 graduate certificate programs, as well as continuing education programs, language courses and more. The university also has satellite campuses in Bogotá, Pereira and Rionegro.
Universidad EAFIT was recently ranked #77 in a list of the best universities in Latin America according to the 2014 QS Latin America University Rankings, moving up from being ranking #89 in 2013.
How to get to EAFIT
Universidad EAFIT’s campus in Medellín is conveniently located in the Aguacatala barrio of El Poblado, near the Aguacatala metro station.
Building 11 on the on the west side of the EAFIT campus, where all of the EAFIT Spanish classes I have taken were located is only about a five-minute walk from the Aguacatala station.