Are you coming to Bolivia and wanting to learn or improve your Spanish? Then I can only recommend Escuela Carmen Vega in Cochabamba because I’ve been a student there for two weeks and it was a great experience!
Carmen Vega has literally decades of teaching experience, and her method of combining Spanish lessons with cultural exchange and lots of conversation worked very well for me. There are several teachers, taking their turn in teaching the students one-on-one. The classes happen in a progressive way, while respecting the students’ pace. In my case, classes took place from 8.30 to 12.30 with a break at 10.30, so the afternoon was free to see the city or just do my homework 😉
The school is located in the Barrio Minero Alalay, close to the Laguna Alalay (which is a great place to go for walks, by the way).
Daily Life and activities
If the student wishes so – and I would very much recommend it – they can stay with a host family in the same neighbourhood, a couple minutes’ walk from the school.
The family provided me with a room, cooked great Bolivian food, and enabled me to immerse myself in the language and culture. Activities with the family or teachers are another great way to engage with and get to know Bolivia, while practicing Spanish.
For example, we did a bike tour through the city, and got to see beautiful places like the Laguna Alalay, Plaza 14 de septiembre, Plaza Colón, el Prado and much more…
One night, us students were invited by the teachers to partake in the K’oa, a ritual that is practiced by many people in Bolivia, an offering to the Pachamama (the mother earth). It’s also a social event, as we sat together, drank tea and talked after the K’oa. It was really nice to be included like this, to get to know the people and culture up close.
Another time us students went climbing at the local climbing gym, which was great fun.
I watched some movies together with the host family (in Spanish of course).
There are many things to do in Cochabamba (if it weren’t for Corona right now…), be it with other students, the teachers or you host family…
I had a great time staying with my host family and could improve my Spanish, thanks to the lessons and the immersion in the Cochabamba city life. In fact, I will continue taking lessons via Skype whilst staying here at Mollesnejta!