Ok, so I’ve done a fair amount of research on this since my plan was to take Spanish for the first month I was here.
Well needless to say, before I even left to arrive in Panama, I had problems with the owner of the Spanish school on Via Argentina. See my post about that here…
I later found out that a lot of people have a problem with him, but since everyone is different, you may not.
For now I’m just going to go the tutoring route because you REALLY need to know Spanish here, especially if you plan on renting, buying, etc.
Overall I needed something most students don’t need. I needed the Ethernet cable or modem for my router to run my desktop & I also needed a place to work, so I needed a larger sized room with a desk & office chair.
Most people just use a laptop & don’t care where they logon. I run my business online, so I need reliable access 24/7.
All of the Spanish schools I researched didn’t work with me to find a homestay that could accommodate me, except the one below (see URL). She said no one had the Ethernet cable, but if they have the modem, that’s all that’s needed.
Panamanians aren’t very educated in general, & when it comes to the Internet, all they seem to know is wireless even if their apartment or house has wired!
I loved the school in Boquete – http://www.hablayapanama.com/, but I don’t know if you are going down that way. They were very professional & kind. Their prices are slightly more expensive, but if you have the money & want to go down to Chriqui, that’s the Spanish school I recommend.
www.ileripanama.com – this one is ok. She gave me a great price ($500) because it was low season, but because my living arrangements got screwed up because of Joseph Ennis & Tom, the guy I was renting from, I didn’t want to take a chance, start Spanish school, & have no place to live.
The woman I was dealing with at ileripanama sent me to a a woman’s homestay to see if I liked the place, but the woman could only keep me for one week, since she had other people coming to stay with her. I also think she had a problem with me working from home. I didn’t understand her because she only spoke Spanish.
My one complaint of that school, is that when I told her via e-mail that I decided to wait until I was better settled with proper accommodations, I never heard from her again. Unfortunately this is typical of Panamanians, I find them to be very passive aggressive. Their solution to most problems is to ignore.
Not that there aren’t plenty of North Americans (especially Canadians) who are like that too, I just think it’s more prevalent here.
I’ve heard, that if they can’t get something out of you, you don’t matter to them. I also heard it’s hard to make friends here. They just want you for what you have to offer them. Again, many North Americans are like that too unfortunately.
I talked to an Aussie guy who took their 4 week course, & he liked it, but towards the end he felt he wasn’t really learning much. Again, that was his experience. He might have learned Spanish very fast.
There’s a couple of others like Study Spanish in Panama – www.studyspanishinpanama.com
According to the e-mails from them, they are expensive. $650 for 4 weeks (I don’t think that includes a homestay) plus registration & book fees which the other schools don’t charge.
There’s also the University’s course.
The problem with the University of Panama’s course for me, was:
- I could never get anyone on the phone & I wasted tons of cell phone minutes trying to find someone who spoke English. Once they FINALLY transferred me to the right department, there was no answer.
- I heard the teacher doesn’t speak a word of English & while many countries believe in that methodology of teaching a foreign language, I was concerned I’d want to ask a question, get no answer or not understand the answer. I’m huge on communication, so when I don’t understand something, I get frustrated. I’d want to be corrected, but wouldn’t know what in the world is going on LOL
The tutors I’ve come across never worked out for me, although I never found someone I actually took even one lesson with. Something always came up for me & I was unable (moving or I wasn’t feeling well).
Some charge $15/hr., others charge $5/hr. I wanted to try out the $5 hr. Spanish tutors, but the 2 I e-mailed with didn’t seem professional enough. I also let Tom (the guy I was renting the room from) make me believe they were no good & I shouldn’t have listened to him, as you should ONLY ever listen to yourself, not run your life based on what others tell you to do.
$60/hr.? LOL where is that from? That’s nuts.
Also there’s a site that can teach you all types of languages & they now have private tutors. If you want the URL, I’ll look it up for you, so let me know.
I signed up for one of their Spanish courses, but haven’t had the time to even open it yet. That is exactly why I wanted a person to teach me, as I know I’m not dedicated enough to show up to the computer every day for X hours. Or worse, I’d show up & then get sidetracked by an e-mail that would come in.
The school type setting courses usually round around $600-750 depending. That’s without a homestay. That includes 5 days a week, I think 4-5 hours per day (some have both morning or afternoon, or only morning). Some have other activities to get you involved in the community & excursions (they are extra).
So that’s my rundown of Spanish schools in Panama.
I hope this helps you in some way.