October 21, 2014
If you are studying Spanish on your own, at some point you should consider studying Spanish in a Spanish speaking country. I am convinced that being fully immersed in a language is the best way to learn it. There is no better way to learn Spanish than studying half the day with native teachers and spending the other half of the day in a Spanish speaking world. You can study Spanish in practically every city in Latin America or Spain, but studying at a University can give you access to some of the best teachers. It also looks good on your resume. This is something backpackers should consider as well. Why not start your trip in Latin America or Spain with an intensive course in the language before needing to use it.
Be aware that Spanish in Argentina and Spain is quite different from the Spanish you hear in Mexico and Peru. That being said, I recommend that you study in the place you are most interested in traveling or living in. Remember that most of these programs are intensive and last at least a month, so choose where you want to stay wisely.
So here are the best Spanish university immersion programs.
The oldest university in the country is located in the centre of Mexico City. They offer a variety of different programs at different times of the year, taught by university professors. Their programs have 8 levels from beginner to advanced and last 6 weeks (a bit longer if including the placement test), made up of 90 hours of Spanish and 30 hours of culture (outside the classroom). The website is a bit outdated, but check the calendar to see when the courses start. As well as being a short flight away for Canadians and Americans, they offer academic accreditation for university students, but check with your university first. They can also help you find a place to stay. The cost is $460 for the course and materials, there is also an $80 inscription fee.
The University of Buenos Aires is one of the most prestigious universities in all of Latin America. They have two Spanish programs run by two different faculties. The one I took is run by the Facultad de Filosofia y Letras and is located downtown a few blocks from the Casa Rosada at. Their program has 8 levels and they last 2, 4, 8 or 16 weeks all of which are 60 hours long. The cost as of October 2014 is 4400 pesos or $518, but if you exchange your cash in the black market, the cost is about $300.
Why not study Spanish in Spain? Makes sense, especially at one of the oldest universities in the world, Salamanca university was founded in 1134. Salamanca is a beautiful medium sized city located 200km west of Madrid towards Portugal. They offer many courses including 2, 3 or 4 week intensive courses, semester and summer long courses. The university has accommodation on campus and host families are available as well, they also offer academic accreditation. A four week, 60 hour course costs €645. If you are interested in studying in other Spainish cities like Barcelona or Madrid check here.
One of the best places to study Spanish in Latin America is in beautiful Cartagena, Colombia on the Caribbean coast. The Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar doesn’t offer as many courses as the other universities but they do offer accredited courses, although their website is not very clear, I suggest emailing the university for more information. The cost, listed on the website, for a 30 hour course in a group of four or more is $500. Another option in Colombia is the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota.