From cobblestone, colonial neighborhoods and mysterious archaeological ruins to pristine Caribbean beaches and the mystical Amazon jungle or lofty Andean summits, Colombia offers diverse landscapes paralleled by its rich array of language learning opportunities. The palpable warmth and friendliness of the Colombian people, and their clear, neutral Spanish accent, make language programs in Colombia a top option for aspiring Spanish speakers.
Colombia’s welcoming climate offers something for everyone. Those who prefer a mildly cold climate will find solace in the capital city of Bogotá, and those who enjoy the sun will find locations that are less crowded and closer to nature. Language lerners will find Spanish language programs located throughout the country. The largest number of language programs in Colombia are based the nation’s major cities.
Bogota. Set 8600 feet above sea level, Bogota is one of the highest capital cities in South America. Owing to its altitude, the city enjoys a mild climate year-round in spite of its closeness to the equator. Those who choose language programs in Bogota will find that it is a city of contrasts. Students will find a beautiful balance between modern and colonial architecture, as well as a blend of tree-lined bicycle routes and busy traffic avenues throughout the city. With many universities, cultural institutions, film festivals, and theatres, not to mention the locals’ genuine cultural sophistication, the city has even been dubbed the “Athens of South America.”
Cartagena. Founded by Pedro de Heredia in 1533, Cartagena was the first Spanish colony in the Americas. Due to its strategic location on the bay, the city was the center of economic and political activity during the colonial period and played an important role in the administration and expansion of the Spanish empire. Set within 13 kilometers of centuries-old colonial stone walls, the city’s labyrinthine cobbled alleys and colonial buildings are a window to its past. Cartagena is one of the top tourist destinations in the country, and is therefore quite a safe place for language study in Colombia.
Barranquilla grew as the country’s principal port city during World War I and World War II, and earned the accolade “Colombia’s Golden Gate”. Today, Barranquilla still stands as one of the nation’s largest port cities and as an industrial hub. Declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, the Carnival of Barranquilla is the country’s most important cultural and folk festival, and one that should not be missed! Barranquilla is known as much for its festive ambiance as it is for the friendliness and happiness of its people. The Barranquilleros are an optimistic, relaxed, open, hardworking, and goal-directed bunch. With a population of more than 1,400,000, the city offers a big city atmosphere with the intimacy and hospitality of a small town.
Language Programs in Colombia
Known for its beautiful landscapes and friendly population, Colombia offers an idyllic place for Spanish language programs abroad. The country boasts a plethora of inspiring locations for language learning and a Spanish accent that is easy to understand and replicate, making it a haven for beginners. Language programs in Colombia provide students with a wide range of courses that can assure rapid progress and fluency development, through a variety of methods and techniques. Whether you prefer a short or extended course, a city or small town, a language school or a university, you will find just the language program you are looking for in Colombia.
University Language Courses. Many university students choose to take Spanish language courses in Colombia alongside other courses at local universities. This gives language students access to the institution’s resources and amenities and the chance to take classes alongside local Colombian students, thereby escalating their cultural immersion and increasing their opportunities to communicate and build relationships with locals.
Spanish Courses Combined with Specialized Studies. It is also possible to combine Spanish language courses in Colombia with specialized studies that are specific to the region, such as archaeological tourism or Amazon studies. These language programs in Colombia give students the opportunity to put their language skills to the test by engaging in fieldwork and taking their learning outside the classroom.
Customized Spanish Courses. It is possible for students of all Spanish language abilities to find language programs in Colombia to suit their needs and skills. All language schools in Colombia generally offer an array of courses to match any student’s needs and preferences. Some programs even include recreational and cultural activities to help expand students’ learning and experience the local culture. Individuals can also choose to enroll in customized language programs in Colombia that include one-on-one, personalized lessons, with tasks, methods, and content to match each individual’s needs and goals.
Costs & Affordability
The cost of living in Colombia is not as affordable as that of other South American countries, but compared to major U.S. cities, it offers quite a bargain. Factoring in the country’s first-world amenities and growing infrastructure, the cost of living is considerably more affordable than many other top locations for Spanish language study abroad.
One of the most affordable things in Colombia is food. A meal complete with fresh juice and an appetizer may cost under $2 and a beer costs as little as $0.70. Transportation in Colombia is fairly reasonably priced, and is accessible throughout most major cities.
Accommodation & Visas
Language students can choose from a wide range of accommodation options in Colombia, including apartments, guest houses, dormitories, and homestays. The most popular option among language program participants is homestay accommodation, which usually includes meals and always gives students a true experience of Colombian culture.
Three principal types of visas are available for language programs in Colombia. The easiest option is obtaining a tourist visa, which allows foreigners to stay in Colombia for up to 90 days. This visa is a great option for those who are attending private or customized language courses in Colombia, and students will be able to extend their tourist visa for an additional 90 days if desired. Those who plan to enroll in a local Colombian university will have to apply for either a temporary visitor visa or a Colombian student visa. The former is for students taking courses for less than three months, while the latter is for those taking courses for more than three months.
Benefits & Challenges
Geography. One of the major factors that lure visitors to Colombia is its rich and varied landscape. Colombia has it all, from bustling metropolises and whitewashed colonial villages to thick jungles and vast plains to snow-capped mountains and deserts.
Safety. As alluring as Colombia may be, people often think twice about venturing into the country. Colombia’s murky past, wrought with drugs, kidnapping, and violence, has made this beautiful nation a tantalizing yet dubious place for language study abroad. While many of these problems continue to exist today, the quality of life in Colombia has nonetheless improved significantly and it is possible to attend language programs in Colombia safely.
Local People. Colombia’s less than stellar reputation has made attracting visitors to the country quite a challenge, which means locals are immensely appreciative of those who decide to visit and see for themselves what the country has to offer. Language students will find Colombians to be incredibly friendly, warm, and kind. The locals go the extra mile to make visitors feel welcome in their country.
The Language. Colombian Spanish is known for its clear pronunciation and neutral accent, making the country an ideal destination for students who are just starting to dip their toes into Spanish language learning.