It is a privilege learning spanish while you travel, while you experience a new culture in a familiar environment. If you host with a family in Nueva Lengua Spanish school you have the chance to live the Colombian culture as if you were a colombian native person, because you will study spanish at mornings in the school, with a pure communicative approach, and then you will have the opportunity to participate in the cultural activities during the afternoons, additional on weekends you can share with your local family walking around trough the city in wonderful places.
Today we have a testimony of a student, Jens Behring who is a swiss guy who worked as a relationship manager in Zurich and decided to quit his boring job for traveling and discovering new cultures and people.
What did you think about Colombia before came here?
I was very excited and curious about Colombia but also a bit afraid. Further I didn‘t want to research too much about the country to make my own picture without being prejudiced. I expected the city to be a bit unorganized but full with friendly people. To be honest I also thought that it will be a dangerous place but when I arrived it turned out that my concerns aren‘t true!
Why did you decide to come to Colombia, and why this country for learning spanish?
My friends recommended me Colombia and especially Medellín for learning spanish and further it‘s a nice country to travel as there are so many nice places which are all different. I was also told that the colombian spanish is easy to understand. Since I arrived in medellin three weeks ago I never regreted having choosen Medellín for my first stop! It‘s a vibrant city with many beautiful places to discover during daytime and night!
How has been your process learning spanish here?
It‘s amazing how much spanish I learnt within just two weeks at school and also by simply talking to the people on the street or with my host family. Personally I recommend private classes as you will progress much quicker and the teachers only focus on you. As an advice don‘t be afraid of talking to people even if your spanish is not perfect, as you can learn so much by simply listening what and how people speak.
How has been your experience in Medellín, studying in a Spanish school and living with a native family? For me it‘s the best experience you can get as it‘s very authentic. The family can help you to improve your spanish in an natural environment and also they will tell you a lot about the history of the country and it‘s problem etc. Further you can discover beautiful areas where you wouldn‘t go by yourself. For example a place called Sabaneta, where the locals go to grap a snack, a beer or an Aguardiente as well. I believe that the cultural exchange is essential to understand the country and it‘s people.
What can a person from abroad expect from people in Colombia?
Most of the people are very friendly and helpful. You can feel that they are glad that you visit their country and want to show you the beauty of it. Further it’s essential for them to show you that Colombia isn‘t an unsafe place anymore as it used to be a decade ago. To get in touch with people it‘s important to speak spanish as they normally don‘t speak english and they are happy if you speak in their mother tongue with them.
Which are your favorites places in this city, Medellín?
There are many places which I like in Medellín for example Parque Lleras and Calle 70 for “rumbear” (colombian expression for partying) or Sabaneta where you can enjoy an authentic colombian meal but also Comuna 13 where you can see nice graffitis. I believe that it‘s the mix of all these places that makes the city a magical place!
How is the party and night entertainment?
The partys are awesome!! De lunes a lunes siempre rumba!! (from monday to monday always party). In my opinion the best areas for going out are Parque Lleras and Calle 70. The first one is more a touristic place with nice bars and awesome clubs where you can enjoy yourself the whole night. My favorite place is “Calle 10+1” which is a club that plays Techno music. Whereas La 70 is full of locals and you won‘t see many “gringos” there. They play all kind of latin music as raggaeton, salsa or others. I like both places as they are so different that I cannot really say which one I like more.
What do you think about the prices in this city, food, drinks, transportation?
The prices in the city are mostly fair. Of course there are differences between touristic areas and local areas but I never got the feeling that people want to rip you off because you are a tourist. You can get a typical colombian meal (it‘s called “corrientazo”) including fresh fruit juice, a soup as a starter and a main dish with meat for USD 4.5. Beer is priced around USD 2.5 up to USD 3.5 in a bar or USD 0.6 in a supermarket. The transportation is cheap as for the bus you only pay USD 0.60 for a ride and also taxis/uber offer their services for a low price. The metro system of the city is the cleanest I have seen in my life as people are very proud of their public transportation system and keep it clean themselves and further it‘s also cheap.
What recommendations would you give to a person who wants to come to Colombia and especially in Medellín?
The only advice I can give is just come and visit the country! You will for sure be surprised by the beauty of Medellín and it‘s inhabitants. Further be open minded and don‘t think about the common stereotypes as they aren‘t true at all!