Sure, whenever you travel somewhere, you always want to do your research first- talk to friends, relatives and co-workers about the city you'd like to visit.
But how do you choose a language school in a country over 5000 miles away?
The fact is, no guidebook could have prepared us for the quality of our Spanish language school in Santiago, Escuela Fronteras. Though it's less than a year old, this school has already developed an excellent reputation. And we can see why.
Right from the start the excellent staff help you find housing, set you up with a cell phone, even arrange your transport to and from the airport. They make the logistics of your stay so easy that you can focus totally on your Spanish lessons.
The teachers are professional, but personal and friendly too. Every morning we have four hours of intense classroom instruction. All lessons, including instructions, are given in Spanish to maximize immersion and to get you thinking in Spanish as much as possible. The students are always addressed in Spanish, and they are encouraged to speak to one another in Spanish as much as their skill level allows (though we've been known to sneak in the occasional chat during recreos, or breaks, with our English-speaking friends). :)
And if you wish to take advantage of them, the activities continue after the morning classes. Each day there's a school-sponsored activity that stretches the Spanish immersion right through the afternoon. We've taken city tours, enjoyed cooking classes, visited museums and and toured local wineries. It's a great way to enjoy the city and practice still more Spanish with classmates and new friends.
After six weeks here in Santiago, Escuela Fronteras has become a second home to us. We are incredibly happy with our experiences here and we recommend it highly to anyone who is serious about improving their Spanish.
Here's the school's executive director, Alejandra Vicencio, during a lunch with students:
The shady back courtyard is perfect for breaks and evening outdoor asados, or barbecues:
Dan's happy with the results of his latest control, or quiz:
Some cooking tips en la cocina from Christian:
And of course, there are the excursions around town that the school organizes for students: We toured Santiago's city center on our very first day of class:
We learned a lot about Chile's past at Cementerio General:
Discussing art at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes:
Visiting Concha y Toro vineyard:
The school also helps organize weekend trips. One recent Saturday, a group of us hiked to 10,000 feet to see Glaciar El Morado:
The school donated time and resources to the people who suffered most after Chile's recent terremoto: