One of the easiest ways to pick up a new language is by studying abroad, where you have every opportunity to put your new linguistic skills to the test. Although Spain might seem like the obvious choice, the best place to learn Spanish is actually South America.
Not only are Spanish language classes affordable, local accents are comprehensible and you also get the chance to explore a new continent. But it’s a big place to choose from, so that’s why we’ve put together this run down of the six most unmissable places to learn Spanish in South America.
From the Inca heartland of Cusco to the pampas of Argentina via the beaches of Colombia, there are plenty of places to immerse yourself in Spanish.
Comprising 12 distinct countries and covering 6.89 million square miles, South America has plenty of options when it comes to language study – and maybe even too many options.
Before you read our suggestions for the best places to learn Spanish, it’s worth being aware of the following:
The former Inca capital, Cusco finds itself pretty high on most South America travellers’ lists due to its proximity to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. But it’s also a buzzing, highland city that makes for a great place to study Spanish in South America. Not only are there plenty of Spanish language schools in Cusco but it’s also a very international but still authentically Peruvian city, meaning you can enjoy the experience of studying in a foreign city while being surrounded by travellers and other learners from across the globe.
What’s more, Cusco is within striking distance of the Sacred Valley, a fertile valley that formed part of the Inca Empire and is now riddled with Inca ruins and traditional Andean villages. If you fancy a truly immersive Spanish language experience, you can even study at a Spanish language school in the Sacred Valley.
Ah, the Paris of South America! For many travellers, Buenos Aires is the continent’s finest city and the ultimate place to go to learn Spanish. This cosmopolitan city combines grand, French and Italian-style buildings, a passion for tango and carnivorous decadence in its love of a good steak. Spanish schools in Buenos Aires allow you to be right in the heart of the action – think joining an impromptu tango dance in the middle of a leafy city square or discovering the nightlife in a city that rarely sleeps. Studying Spanish in Argentina might take you a while as you learn to get your tongue around the “ll” that’s pronounced as “sh” and the lunfardo (aka the city’s extensive vocabulary of slang), but once you do, you’ll certainly feel like a true local.
Peru’s busy capital doesn’t ooze quite the same Latin passion as Buenos Aires, but Lima remains an excellent place to study Spanish. The “City of Kings” as it was first christened has the continent’s oldest buildings (we’re talking mid-16th-century-old), sparkling museums packed to the rafters with gold, ceramics and stonework dating back thousands of years and quite possibly the best food in the continent. If you don’t believe us, you’ve clearly not tried ceviche at one of the city’s trademark cevicherías!
Learning Spanish in Lima, you can expect to find yourself hanging out in the city’s trendiest neighborhood, Miraflores and even hopping on a plane or a bus for a weekend trip exploring the rest of the country, thanks to the city’s excellent transport network.
Although the accent might be similar and they share the banks of the Río de la Plata, the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo couldn’t be more different to Buenos Aires across the water. It’s calmer than its cousin, but combines a modern face with a historic old core, that gives way to huge shopping malls and beaches in the southeast.It’s often rated as offering the highest quality of life and safest city in the continent, so if you’re looking for a green city with access to an extensive golden coastline, then you can’t go wrong with studying at a language school in Montevideo.
Colombia is a great place to study Spanish in South America as Colombians are known for their neutral accents – meaning you have a better chance of understanding what they’re saying! Spanish language schools in Cartagena offer the enviable option of studying in a beautiful, colonial city, with access to white sand beaches blessed with glorious, year-round sunshine.
In terms of security, Colombia certainly has become safer in the past few years and is now a popular destination for backpackers. Cartagena receives plenty of tourists, meaning it’s a vibrant, multicultural and cheap city for studying Spanish in South America.
If you’re looking for a truly unique opportunity to study Spanish in Latin America, learning in the Argentine pampas might well be what you didn’t even realise you had in mind. Staying on a traditional hacienda or ranch, you can study Spanish in the very heart of gaucho (cowboy) country.It’s also a fantastic opportunity to learn about the Argentina’s gauchos, who still herd cattle on the grassy plains across the country and who can certainly teach you a thing or two about riding a horse. Plus, if you’re keen on delicious, barbecued steaks washed down with lashings of Malbec, studying at a homestead on the fringes of Buenos Aires is right up your alley.
These are currently the hottest destinations to Study Spanish in Latin America. Of course there are many other destinations too.
We hope our list of The Six most unmissable Places to Learn Spanish in South America was helpful.
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