Colombia’s second largest city is smaller, more laid back and warmer than Bogota, and provides a great environment for perfecting your Spanish skills. Fewer long-term expats live in Medellin as there aren’t as many commercial opportunities as in the capital. However, a steady stream of arrivals – in the shape of international students, digital nomads and the gringo party crowd – means that there is a decent selection of Spanish schools and courses available in the city.
I have detailed my own thoughts about which are the best places to study Spanish in Medellin in another post (see the ‘where to study Spanish’ section), but below you’ll find a comprehensive list of all the options available.
To share / request recommendations from your fellow students, please either add a comment at the end of this article or post in the Facebook group, Learning Spanish in Colombia.
Nueva Lengua – Escuela de Español
Nueva Lengua offers intensive Spanish course that include: 20 hours of Spanish class (Monday-Friday mornings); course materials; one hour cooking lesson a week; tasting of Colombian fruits and some other typical snacks; three hours of dancing lesson per week (Salsa, merengue, bachata, etc.); two hours per week of tutoring in group, as well as daily cultural activities in the afternoons (including trips to museums, excursions, conferences, sports, volunteering, etc.). Students can also combine their studies with a dance or music course, volunteer programs, as well as courses for specific purposes like Business, Medicine, SIELE exam preparation and on-line courses. All Nueva Lengua’s Spanish teachers are required to have accredited degrees in teaching, which includes at minimum 5 years of study, in addition to previous experience in the classroom. Classes cost USD185 for one-two weeks, with gradually increasing discounts available if you sign up for three weeks or more (going as cheap as USD120/week for 24 weeks or more). Private lessons start at USD24 per hour.
Centro Catalina – Medellín
Centro Catalina is even more than a Spanish school; it is also a cultural center in charge of transmitting to students all the historical and traditional riches of this wonderful region. Besides the cultural activities, the school also organizes some recreational activities, look for your accommodation either in host families or apartments as well as transfer from the airport to the hotel. The school proposes several levels of Spanish as well as different Spanish program that will adapt to your needs. The founders of Centro Catalina are from Switzerland all professionals knowing exactly what the foreign students really need. Therefore, they are accurately looking for the excellence maintenance of the best service and quality.
Universidad Pontifica Bolivariana – Centro de Lenguas
The program contains 5 levels: Beginner, High beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Proficient corresponding to the CEFR reference levels A1, A2, B1, B2, and C1. Each level includes class hours, academic tutoring hours with our pre-service teachers, and independent work. You can take 10 hours per week (semi-intensive course) or 20 hours per week (intensive course). New students may join group classes only on Mondays, as far as the conditions of the currently enrolled students allow. Minimum enrollment required is 20 hours.
EAFIT University – Centro de Idiomas
The Spanish as a Foreign Language Program at Universidad EAFIT in Medellin is a comprehensive program for Spanish language acquisition, allowing students to develop their language communication skills effectively. It is the first Spanish as a Foreign Language Program in Colombia to be certified by the Spanish Instituto Cervantes. The learning experience is ensured through: Classes that are taught based on effective and proper communication in small groups with highly qualified teachers; A conversation partner in order to access a more colloquial level of Spanish; The possibility to attend classes in the University’s undergraduate programs. Cultural activities are offered daily throughout the campus for greater language immersion.
Centro Interactivo de Español (Envigado)
Centro Interactivo de Español is the only Spanish school in Colombia that offers you a complete experience of culture, fun and tourism, mixed with Spanish learning. Our Spanish courses have been designed under our interactive method that accelerate and facilitate the natural learning of a new language, mixed with a most enjoyable experience full of culture, adventure and tourism to give you all our diversity with the most neutral Spanish of Latin America. We have different options for students, professionals and families. All of our Spanish teachers are required to have accredited degrees in teaching, which includes a minimum 5 years of study (including degree), in addition to previous experience in the classroom.
Colombia Immersion (Envigado / Laureles)
We give you dynamic and effective Spanish immersion so you can get more out of your travels. The way we teach is fun, engaging, and will have you speaking Spanish in no time. Our community activities creatively connect you to locals and the real Medellin. We strive to be Latin America’s most innovative language learning program.
Off to Colombia?
Well, you better not leave without first signing up for my FREE email course to the best of Colombia's Spanish and slang.
Learn all the coolest lingo that you'll need to have fun with locals, but which the textbooks will never teach you.
At Total Spanish we pride ourselves on providing dynamic interactive lessons that help students get the most out their learning experience in the shortest time possible. Students learn through traditional classroom methods, active participation and authentic cultural experiences that enable them to fully immerse, learn and gain the confidence to speak Spanish in public. We have qualified language tutors and a fun curriculum based on the CEFR standard but tailored for people travelling so that they learn more relevant topics. Classes start weekly at all levels and at Total Spanish we are committed to providing a relaxed friendly learning environment and quality tuition. Free activities, WiFi and coffee all included!
Toucan Spanish School
Our Medellin flagship school is the largest Spanish School in Colombia with a total of 14 classrooms and a team of 20 teachers available to teach both group and private lessons. Because we’re a large school we have classes at all levels from beginners to advanced. Classes start every Monday. We don’t teach from books, we have our own in house curriculum with a large emphasis on practicing in real-life situations. Most of our classrooms feature air-conditioning and video projectors. Toucan’s philosophy is not just about teaching Spanish, it’s about create memorable experiences. That’s why our staff and teachers go out of their way to ensure you get the most out of your time in Colombia.
Black Sheep Hostel – Spanish School
A Colombian / New Zealand owned Spanish Language School that offers non-native Spanish speakers an entertaining place to interact with skillful teachers and other students, the Colombian culture and people in a friendly and safe environment. We offer the best prices in town and offer the most flexibility. You chose your own start times and we fit around your schedule. You can take one hour of classes and if not satisfied you can end it at that. We use a wide range of original material and also many universally recommended Spanish Language grammar and help books.
Social Spanish – Classes with Violet
An independent teacher in Medellin who specialises on getting you to speak like an authentic Spanish speaker in everyday social situations. Main aims are for the classes to be enjoyable, and for you to be able to have basic conversations within 7 days.
ABC Spanish School Medellin
ABC Spanish School is a professional Spanish school, located in the heart of Medellin’s Laureles district – a prestigious, authentic, modern and dynamic area of the city. The teachers, Diego and Angela, together have over 20 years’ experience of teaching Spanish and guarantee that their students will learn a natural sounding and correct Spanish in a relaxed and professional atmosphere.
Elefun Spanish School
At Elefun Spanish School our students find a nice place to learn and staff ready to help them out with everything they need. School facilities are comfortable, with a lounge area, air conditioning and TVs, making it a great environment to teach and learn. Students can help themselves to coffee, té, ‘aromática’ and water and can also join in with free afternoon activities to help the immersion process into our culture, city and language. Classes are interactive and designed by charismatic, professional Spanish teachers with ELE (Español como Lengua Extranjera) experience, who are committed to their students’ learning. Elefun is located in Laureles-Estadio; a very safe area with access to the metro and bus systems and in a bike friendly neighbourhood with restaurants, coffee shops, gyms and the city’s best nightlife.
And a few schools just outside Medellin…
Eco Hostel Medellin Spanish School
We offer 2 weeks intense Spanish course in a rural Eco Hostel / combined with a full immersion language learning experience in Guatape (just outside Medellin). The course includes: 2 weeks intensive Spanish of 2 hours teaching per day (Monday-Thursday); accommodation in one of the sleeping areas sharing with other students; and three meals a day (fully vegetarian). The local diet is heavy on rice, beans, chickpeas, lentils, potatoes, yucca (casaba), plantains, corn, and plenty of vegetables.
Spanish Adventure School (San Carlos, near Guatapé)
Learning a new language requires learning a new way of thinking – sticking to well-trodden tourist routes presents you with an artificial view of a country’s culture. Here at Spanish Adventure, you can immerse yourself in authentic Colombian life, while applying your Spanish, interacting with friendly locals, and getting a genuine experience. San Carlos is a quaint, small town, in the mountains near Guatapé – only 3 hours away from Medellín. The town is surrounded by breathtaking nature, full of hikes, rivers, and over a hundred waterfalls with crystal clear water where you can swim, relax, and practice your Spanish. In addition, Spanish Adventure presents you with an innovative and creative method of learning Spanish. Not only are classes interactive and dynamic, but we are also flexible, catering to each student’s individual needs. Come join us in San Carlos, you won’t regret it!
Hablea – Intercultural Dialogues (Jardin)
Hablea is a project based in Medellin that aims to provide a complete programme of Spanish classes and Spanish immersion in the town of Jardin. Participants learn Spanish and about Colombian culture. The secondary objective is to create an intercultural programme, with connections to locals, and to build up a network of language lovers. Students can study either in the picturesque town of Jardín and chose to undertake one-to-one classes in Medellin / via Skype.
Where is the Best Place to Study Spanish in Colombia?
One of the most difficult choices for anyone thinking about studying Spanish abroad is where to select as your base. Choose well, and you can find yourself in pleasant surroundings, with high quality tuition and plenty of opportunities to socialise and practice your new Spanish skills outside of class. Choose badly, and you might end up somewhere distinctly less enjoyable and not even progressing much with the language.
What Does A ‘Colombian Accent’ Sound Like?
In many ways, my choice of the name ‘Colombian Spanish’ for this blog was a bit silly. It’s difficult to talk about an entirely uniform sort of speech across the country when there are so many differences in language use between regions. Nowhere is this clearly than when it comes to the subject of accents. As you’ll soon discover, Colombians from one or other region of the country often pronounce the same words in sometimes very different ways.