Spanish Adventure is a language school, tucked away in the small Antioquian town of San Carlos. Whilst being a popular tourist town for Colombians, it is yet to reach the radar of forign travellers, making it the perfect spot to completely immerse yourself in authentic, Colombian culture.
Brimming with life and curiosity, Spanish Adventure is so much more than just a school. Juan Camillo and Daniel set up in 2016 with the goal of sharing their knowledge of languages, and their home with curious travelers from around the world. So here are the facts:
Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of 4 weeks (though most stay for longer) and contribute to the school by taking spanish lessons alongside work. You are kept busy, but in the best possible way- there is never a dull moment. There are plenty of interesting volunteering options to choose from, within the 3 main areas of: education (teaching, language practice), digital (marketing, social media, video) and outdoor adventures (safety, first aid, etc).
Adventures & Activities
Almost every day spent here is accompanied by a thrilling excursion, whether that be canyoning, exploring hidden swimming holes or hiking ‘‘the big fucking rock’, so they call it. San Carlos boasts forests, rivers, waterfalls and even a sandy spot that could pass for a beach, making it easy for the school to live up to its name.
On wednesdays there were dance lessons, which proved extremely useful for weekends at the discoteca! And of course, what travel experience would be complete without embarrassing yourself every fortnight at karaoke.
They’re also big on giving back to the local community which often took the form of litter picking, cultural exchanges and visits to neighbouring primary schools.
If you know me, you know I’ve tried every way of learning spanish. I’ve taken spanish as a module at uni, I’ve completed duolingo and I’ve watched money heist more times than I’d like to admit… all to no avail. One thing I can say with complete and utter confidence, is that the spanish lessons (and practicals) taught here are second to none. Everything from the order and structure of their curriculum, to their teaching style and method, is exceptional. Nicola, who arrived only being able to say ‘mi sacapuntas está en mi mochila’, was speaking confidently by the time she had left. As for me, it was like a switch went off in my brain- spanish finally made sense to me and I cannot thank these guys enough. Not to mention, english speakers in San Carlos are few and far between, meaning there is ample opportunity to practice (in fact, it is necessary if you want to make friends).
I could go on forever about how much I loved my time at Spanish Adventure, but instead I thought it would be more interesting to hear from Juan Camillo, Co-Founder:
- What were your inspirations/ motivations for opening the school?
“Kyra look, we started this project in December 2016. I was teaching privately in Medellín after having worked for several years in other schools … and I believed that I could do something together with Daniel, who had a lot of experience in immersion projects and activities. We noticed that many students did not have enough practice in touristy areas, where much of the local offer is already in English. Also, many people, when they come to Colombia, want to be in more natural and tropical environments. So I proposed to Daniel to come to San Carlos and create a language community where our students could learn and enjoy the real culture of Colombia and at the same time enjoy wonderful nature”
- What do you like most about Spanish Adventure?
“What I like the most about Spanish Adventure is the community. I always feel that everyone who wants to be part of this project is like family to me. Students and workers become friends and share together, I think that is what I like the most.”
- What advice would you give to someone that wants to volunteer in Colombia?
“Be open to learning new things, and do everything with effort and love.”
- What are your future plans for Spanish Adventure?
“We would like to continue improving until we become one of the best language and tourism schools. We believe that linguistic and historical cultural education promotes a better relationship between cultures and what better way to do it than through tourism. There is a long way to go but we work every day to improve.”
Un abrazo gigante, amigos x