Study Spanish in Ecuador
Quito's Schools are Many and Affordable
By Heather Wynn
Resources updated 7/2/2019 by Transitions Abroad
Spoken in more than 20 countries, and the fourth most widely spoken language in the world, Spanish is practical to know. It is also one of the most affordable to learn through an in-country immersion program. In Ecuador
you can easily get by on $20 a day, and the U.S. dollar is the local currency, so you don’t have to worry about conversion rates. As an American you can stay for up to three months without a visa.
In a country slightly smaller in size than Nevada, one is awaited by a diversity of ecological environments, including beautiful sandy beaches, cloud forest, snow topped mountain peaks, and jungle. The people of Ecuador
are easy going and friendly. Few Ecuadorians speak English, giving you an opportunity to really practice your Spanish.
Quito's Language School District
In Quito’s La Mariscal district in the New Town, which caters to backpackers, you will find language school after language school, offering one-on-one and group courses for as little as a few dollars an hour.
It is an ideal city in which to learn Spanish because it is home to Ecuador’s largest university. The local student population is warmly receptive to the company of international travelers, and the slower pace enjoyed generally by
Ecuadorians has instilled them with great reserves of patience that they apparently like to expend on non-native speakers struggling through their first Spanish conversations.
You will save a lot of money if you look for languages courses yourself once you are there in comparison to signing up for the more expensive language schools you will find online, but there are also a few good schools
you can check out before you go:
Vida Verde offers
courses from $10 per hour, and online classes for $12.
They also offer adventurous and immersive "Jungle Programs" in
beautiful natural locations near Quito for $650. A portion
of the profits goes to support local conservation and
community development projects.
Accommodations in Quito
It’s a good idea to begin your stay in Quito in a hostel, though if you sign up online in advance for a Spanish course, many of the schools themselves offer lodging for around $10 a night. For longer hostel
stays, El Taxo is definitely the place to check out. It also has an agreement that provides hostelers with a discount to attend Cristóbal Colón, which
you can enquire about with Peter, the owner of El Taxo. El Taxo has an inviting atmosphere, complete with a fireplace, hammocks, and picnic tables in the yard. The hosts cook great food at great prices for his guests. The rooms tend to
fill up pretty fast in the summer, so book ahead.
If you are interested in living in an apartment, it is best to locate something once you arrive. Being in a university town simplifies the task. College students are always on the lookout for roommates or sub-leasers,
and the local language schools are usually pretty well informed about vacancies. Ask around with the locals you meet or at establishments that cater to travelers.
For more general information, check out the comprehensive EcuadorExplorer.com travel guide.
Heather Wynn earned a BA in anthropology and international studies and a BA in German from Wayne State Univ. in Detroit, MI. She spent the summer doing undergraduate archaeological work in
Ecuador and now resides in Munich, Germany, where she works as a bike tour guide for English speakers.