Plunge into Campus Life at this Unique Spanish School in Medellin

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an art installation with a view of the sky

Colombia

I returned to Spanish school in Medellin 2 months after I first started taking courses in the city. I had heard of a private University that had a Spanish school offering relatively inexpensive Spanish courses, so I decided to give it a go. After all, I liked the city and didn’t mind staying there again for an extended period of time. I rented an apartment on Airbnb for a month right across the street from the school and dived right in.

inside a room
An inside view of my Airbnb

Spanish School in Medellin

I decided to take the 1-month Spanish course for foreigners at the Universidad de EAFIT, one of the top private universities in Medellín. In all my previous Spanish courses I’d taken the 4 hours/day intensive route, but this time I decided I’d take the more relaxed option at 2 hours/day. At the time I still felt 4 hours of instruction at once is quite a lot to take in for any subject. I paid 1 010 000 COP or roughly 360 USD for the semi-intensive option with 38 hours of group instruction over a period of 1 month, which was a little more reasonable than my previous course.  EAFIT also offered accommodation options for students, but it was just contact information for people offering short-term rentals and I already had my Airbnb across the street.

a street art mural near spanish school in medellin
A mural in Medellín

The Experience

Attending EAFIT was a splash back into University life. It was located right next to Poblado, the nicest area in Medellín. The campus was large as it was a full-fledged University with multiple departments, libraries, sports fields, pools, cafeterias, a gymnasium and all kinds of student-led events every week. It was also quite modern with new buildings and classrooms. I had access to all areas of the campus and was able to pay a reduced fee to use the gym facilities. I also got to play a daily game of ping-pong with some of my fellow classmates. With my AirBnB across the street, I spent most of my time outside of class on campus and in the gym.  The student life I led at EAFIT was the best part of taking the Spanish course.

In the actual Spanish course at EAFIT, I really came away not being able to speak much more Spanish than I could before. What didn’t occur to me before taking the course was that EAFIT is an official University, so the course and material would be very formal. The classrooms were large and modern with standard whiteboards and projectors, but there were also about 8 people in my class including myself. This meant that out of all the Spanish courses I took, I practiced speaking Spanish the least. What I learned was mostly reading, writing, grammar and formal parts of the Spanish language not very useful for actually speaking to other people. The instruction was very rigid and I spent most of the time taking notes on grammar and answering questions from reading comprehension.

people sitting and listening to a man in colombia
On a free walking tour in my spare time

Conclusion

My experience at EAFIT was a mixed one. On one hand, spending time on the campus and using all the facilities they had to offer was great, but the actual Spanish course itself was too theoretical based. I learned a lot of grammar, improved my reading and writing, but as for actually speaking, I felt I hadn’t really improved at all.

Ultimately, I would recommend EAFIT because of all the perks you get being able to use everything the campus has to offer if one intended to take advantage of the facilities available. As long as one understands that the actual Spanish course is more theoretical than practical then the experience will be positive. On the contrary, if one is looking to learn to be able to communicate with other Spanish speaking people quickly, I recommend a more practical Spanish School in Medellin, such as Toucan.

paisa lies at the spanish school in medellin
A list of ‘Mentiras Paises,’ or Paisa Lies (the people of Medellín are called Paisas)

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