I first moved to Medellin in October 2015, and the primary reason for the move was to try and learn Spanish. I remember a Mexican friend of mine showing me a video (see below) about the differences in the slang and style of speaking amongst different Latin America countries. I came to the realization that I wanted to try and learn a dialect of Spanish that could serve me in a number of different places.
While Antioquia certainly has its share of colloquial phrases, the internet community seems to agree that the local accent is relatively neutral. That is, if one learns Spanish in Medellín, it should be understood by people from various other countries. Conversely, I have heard numerous times that Argentines and Chileans have such an accent that learning in those places may not make one’s Spanish easily transferable across borders.
From velocity of speech to accents to local slang, Spanish varies greatly from country to country and even regionally within countries.
With this in mind (and the incredible weather forecasts, and testimonials about the friendly nature of Paisas), I moved to Medellín in October 2015 and started at Toucan Spanish School.
My first eight weeks in Colombia, I studied at Toucan Spanish School in El Poblado. Initially, they arranged a home stay for me with a Colombian family and classes every day for four hours. While the teachers and the classroom experience were great, what I enjoyed even more were the tours and extracurricular activities they provided. Toucan quickly became the center of my social life, as each night after class I would go do something with my fellow students or professors.
Almost all of the staff that worked at Toucan while I studied there are no longer with the school. While this may seem natural, given the time that has passed, the manner in which they left their jobs speaks to some issues with ownership. Many excellent teachers, including ones I studied with personally, were offered renewed salaries at half their previous rate of pay, or less. Staff were forced to decide between longer hours with less benefits, or resignation. Some of the staff have gone on to start their own schools or run their own Spanish learning programs. Toucan Spanish School closed the location they had in Poblado during the Covid pandemic and moved online.
Another school I have heard many good things about is Colombia Immersion. I am familiar with the school because I used to go to their language exchanges on Friday nights in Envigado, and they were always a great place to practice and meet people. The students who were attending the school always seemed pleased with the level of instruction, and I have read numerous positive reviews online. My understanding is they also have a lodging option, to live onsite.
New Recommendation for 2023
In April 2021, Medellín Advisors acquired office space near Parque Poblado at a coworking space next to the Masaya Hotel, and due to that, I have come to know of another Spanish school that I can now fully recommend called Colombia Spanish. I’ll admit that I started studying Colombia Spanish due principally to geographical convenience, as they are located just a few steps from where I work every day. However, the experience has been overwhelmingly positive as the school’s founder (Leo) is an excellent teacher. You can see an interview we conducted with Leo here and reach out to him directly at (+57) 3102273821.
LIST OF SPANISH SCHOOLS IN MEDELLIN
Here is a list of some common places to study Spanish in Medellín. Note that most of these I don’t know much about, so these listings are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as recommendations. Check out the Medellín Advisor policy regarding recommendations in the Contact section.
The aforementioned Toucan Spanish, one of the older and more established Spanish schools in the city, shut its doors following the pandemic, as did Colombian Immersion. Below is an updated list of 13 different schools that can be found within the Aburra Valley.
These prices are current as of June 2023 – some prices may have changed – we encourage readers to contact the schools directly to get current pricing.
Side note: When you see a listing (here, or on google) that says (4) and then a 7 digit number, you’ll need to actually dial 604 and then the seven digit number, if you are dialing from a Colombian phone number.
Have in mind that the price per hour can fluctuate depending on the conversion rate. When researching prices, many were listed in USD. Also consider that the price per hour can vary depending on how many lessons you pay for. Paying for 20 hours per week may result in a lower cost/hour.
I hope that this list can provide a useful starting point for investigating the best Spanish program for you. Note that this list is not always comparing apples to apples, as although I tried to include group rates where possible, some of the schools listed only have prices for private lessons. Additionally, some of the schools include extras within these prices, such as food or lodging. Readers are encouraged to contact the schools directly to discover the best option for themselves.
BaseLang Spanish School - a novel pricing strategy for Spanish lessons in Medellin
Unlike all other schools listed here, BaseLang offers a flat rate of $149 USD per month for unlimited lessons.
This makes the value totally dependent on you, the learner and how committed you are. One thing to have in mind is that although these lessons are private, they are all online – something that you may or may not be okay with.
Have you studied at any of these schools? Did you have a positive or negative experience? Leave a comment below and tell us about it. Other readers will appreciate your insight.
Additionally, if you or someone you know is a private Spanish tutor, and you’d like to have your contact information posted on our website, please contact us.