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1 month Spanish immersion in Colombia

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Apr 25th, 2011, 12:13 PM
  #1
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1 month Spanish immersion in Colombia

My partner and I (late 20's) are planning a 6 month tour of South America. We would like our first stop to be 1 month in Colombia learning Spanish so we can get around the continent a bit easier.

We're very interested in Cartagena but I have been reading mixed reviews about studying spanish there. Does anyone have an opinion?

Ideally we would like to be staying on the coast. I have read good things about studying in Medellin and Bogota but would like to be closer to the ocean if possible. What about Santa Marta?

We don't want to be staying in a tiny village either! We want somewhere with a bit of action.

If anyone has any suggestions about places to base ourselves and good places to study, I'd appreciate the feedback.
kangagirl80 is offline  
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Apr 25th, 2011, 01:37 PM
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I would not choose Cartagena. The coastal Spanish spoken there has the same "problem" as the Spanish spoken in Panama and Cuba: It's spoken rapidly, and speakers tend to clip off the /s/ at the end of words, as well as in the middle of words. They say "cohta" and "ehpañol" instead of "costa" and "español."

The Spanish spoken in Bogota has a reputation around Latin America for being "well articulated."

This all sounds terribly snobbish, but this is the way Colombians look at the differences in their regional accents. I'd choose to study beginning Spanish in the place where it's "well articulated." You'd just have an easier time understanding people outside of class.
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Apr 25th, 2011, 01:39 PM
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Santa Marta, being on the Caribbean coast, has the same accent as in Cartagena. I'd say no to it for the same reason.
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Apr 25th, 2011, 06:33 PM
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Thanks Jeff. So where would you say the spanish is well articulated?
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Apr 25th, 2011, 11:04 PM
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Well, this is how Guatemala sells itself as a Spanish study destination, as having a "pure," "unaccented," "well articulated" Spanish. Obviously, there's an accent there. There can't NOT be, right? But I think there's some truth to it, and Guatemala has become a very popular place to go for that reason.

I think Mexico, Costa Rica, and central Colombia (Bogota) all qualify too, although none of them markets itself that way.
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Apr 26th, 2011, 05:17 AM
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nuevalengua.com in Cartagena is fine good personal experience

they teach dialect free though you may pick up the local idiom

spending time with locals there.

Best school for me though in best area for dialect free

bolivar2.com in Cuenca

Have fun,
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Apr 26th, 2011, 05:20 AM
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casarosario.com good price in Guatemala

but everyone there has a mayan accent

lots of wierd cracks and pops

and no pure Castilan rrrr toungue rolls.

So avoid Guatamala also rains all spring summer and fall.
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Apr 26th, 2011, 05:23 AM
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donquijote.com also good in Ecuador in Quito.

Santa Barbara Air cheap flights to Quito from MIA

for me $150 each way last farecompare.com
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Apr 26th, 2011, 07:54 AM
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Here's the point I'm trying to make: You study Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country in order to immerse yourself in the language. Once you step outside the classroom, you want to be able to speak and practice with the locals. That's how you learn.

You can go to Cartagena and the schools there may provide the most careful, meticulous instruction. All well and good. But step outside the classroom, and you have to deal with an accent that I think is difficult for a beginner to understand. I consider myself quite proficient in Spanish, but when I go to the coast of Colombia, I really have to listen carefully. That's what I'm saying about Cartagena, and why I think it's an iffy choice for a beginner. It's not just that it's a different accent. It's a fast accent that clips off consonants. My Spanish is good enough that I can mentally insert the missing letters. A beginner is going to have trouble.

Bogota doesn't have this issue.

Qwovadis mentioned Cuenca, Ecuador. I think that's a great choice too. It's known around Latin America for having that "well articulated" Spanish. It has several language schools and is becoming a popular place to study. Plus it's just a wonderful place.
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Apr 27th, 2011, 05:44 AM
  #10
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Hey all, really appreciate the feedback. Thanks so much.
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