Venezuela is a picture of diversity, from its varying climate to the racial mix that makes the country a veritable melting pot of humanity and culture. For many, Venezuela’s tropical location, rich history, and central location make it a natural place to study abroad. In Venezuela, Spanish is the primary language, with indigenous dialects also spoken and English a minority language (but one in great demand). Therefore, Spanish language students in Venezuela get an amazing immersion experience in a fascinating country.
Geography & Demographics
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (yes, that is what the country is officially called) is in South America, bordered in the north by the Caribbean Sea, in the east by Guyana and Suriname, in the south by the Amazon Basin, and in the west by Colombia. Like other countries in Central and South America, Venezuela is a former colony of Spain, so expect its influence in different facets of life in Venezuela, from the language, choice of names, and mode of governance to architecture, food and religion.
Studying in Venezuela
Although there are a good number of programs with a variety of courses for study abroad in Venezuela, Spanish courses receive the most international participants. The World’s Best Language Schools offers great Spanish programs year-round at its Venezuela campuses in Playa Colorada and Merida. What makes the experience better is the school’s proximity to spectacular beaches and beautiful natural landscapes. The courses include excursions for those who want to explore Venezuela’s great outdoors, from spelunking in deep caves to kayaking or canoeing in the Orinoco River.
Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, is a bustling city full of skyscrapers, restaurants, shops, museums, libraries and universities. The venerable Universidad Central de Venezuela, or Central University of Venezuela, was designed by world-renowned architect Carlos Raul Villanueva. It was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2000.
Jakera, an adventure travel organization, offers a terrific mix of academic and extracurricular pursuits through its traveling classroom. If learning Spanish on the go while diving into adventure is to your liking, this may be your ticket to a meaningful study abroad trip to Venezuela.
Jakera offers three types of Spanish language programs. The first involves the traveling classroom concept, where students explore lush jungles and snow-capped peaks, while learning Spanish through interaction inside and outside the class. The second is a marriage between a study-abroad program and a volunteer program, where students go through an intensive Spanish course for a week and then thrust into the world of volunteering in Venezuela. The traditional classroom setting, with a few perks like beach excursions, is the focus of the third course. Program participants receive structured lessons in Spanish either in the foothills of the Venezuelan Andes or the beaches of Playa Colorada in the Mochima National Park.
The University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center has its own study abroad program in Venezuela that focuses on making students learn Spanish through interaction with the locals in homestays and social gatherings. The program has trip highlights designed to please the participants’ desire to explore. Students get a tour of the city of Merida and a two-day trip to nearby mountain lakes and national parks.
No matter what study abroad program you choose, one thing’s for certain: in Venezuela, you don't need to look for adventure; adventure finds you!