SPANISH F.A.Q.

1. Why should I study in Ecuador?

Ecuador is not only a beautiful country with warm and friendly people, but the Spanish spoken in Quito and Cuenca is considered to be one of the clearest forms of Spanish in Latin America. Ecuador contains a stunning wealth of cultural and biological diversity for such a small country. Quito and Cuenca are UNESCO-declared World Heritage Sites with well preserved and beautiful historic centers. Quito also has a thriving modern center and offers a great variety of cultural activities and night life for the inquisitive and fun-loving tourist.

2. What other services does the school offer to its students?

We organize regular social activities for our students and see this as an important aspect of your visit to Ecuador. Activities include free salsa classes, cooking classes, movie nights, excursions to cultural activities and football matches, and fun nights out. Wireless internet access is available for students at the schools.
Yanapuma also has its own full-service travel agency – True Ecuador Travel. We can provide the full range of travel services to our students to explore the Andes Mountains, the Amazon rain forest and cloud forests, and the Galapagos Islands on our own island-hopping tours.
Yanapuma also offers online Spanish classes. Many students choose to continue practicing their Spanish online with our teachers once they return home.

3. What are the costs for additional services?

Our weekend excursions vary in price, but average around $45.00. We arrange these as a service to students through reliable local operators.

4. How long will it take for me to gain the ability to communicate in Spanish?

This varies according to the student, but normally, our students can learn basic Spanish communication skills in three to four weeks. The minimum requirement to receive a diploma from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education is 240 hours or 12 weeks of regular Spanish classes. After this time, most people can expect a high level of proficiency in the language.

5. What types of Spanish classes does Yanapuma offer?

Our basic classes are 4 hours per day of one on one or small group instruction and are suitable for students from 14 to retired persons. Group classes are a maximum of 5 students, but more usually are just 3 or 4 students. A couple or friends at similar levels can study together as their own small group.
We also offer classes to families and children, with teachers who specialize in working with younger students
We offer several customized options detailed on this website for those wanting a bit more (or less) than our standard offerings, such as our Quito Cultural or Cuenca Cultural packages. We try to be as flexible as possible, tailoring our offerings to the needs and wishes of the student. We also offer a wide variety of «Study and Travel» options that include adventure, culture and nature in various forms. See our «Study and Travel» page for details. And if you are interested in volunteering we have our «Volunteer Quito» package.

6. What is your teaching philosophy in class?

We have developed a methodology based on the best theories in language acquisition, with communication as a base. This means less focus on drilling grammar and more time devoted to the different modalities through which a language is learned and expressed – reading, writing, listening, and talking. The mix of activities that this generates during class keeps things fresh and interesting, and results in a much more natural learning process than the old-fashioned «grammar drill.»

7. Do you offer classes outside of Quito?

Yes. You can study in small Ecuadorian communities, or choose one of our packages to study at the Coast, in the Sierra or in the Amazon regions of Ecuador. We can also arrange customized programs of study in other areas of Ecuador with one of our professors. See the Spanish Study and Travel page for details.

8. What class materials are included? Do I need to buy any materials?

All basic materials for your Spanish classes are included, as well as a free notebook. You only need to purchase pen or pencil to take any notes as you study.

9. What are the schedules for classes? Are they flexible?

Our normal class schedule is from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and from 2:00 to 6:00 PM. We can arrange different customized schedules according to the needs of the student.

10. How can I pay for my classes?

You can pay by electronic transfer, in cash, or with credit card. See our Payment Options document for more details. You can either pay us before you come, or when you are here, either in a lump sum or pay as you go.

11. What is your cancellation or refund policy? Is there a registration fee?

We charge a $25 fee, but this is not for registration. Rather it is a direct donation to the work of our foundation, helping to provide scholarships for secondary education for underprivileged children in two indigenous communities.
We can refund for classes not taken provided we have sufficient notice. For group classes we can refund partial weeks if for any reason you have to stop your classes. For individual classes we need to compensate the teacher for the hours they lose unexpectedly, but can refund the balance.

12. When do I have to pay for classes?

You can pay by the week at the start of each week. Or you can pay us all at once, or with an advance. We ask that payment be made in advance for each week of classes taken as a rule.

13. What if I am not happy with my classes?

We urge you to talk to us if for any reason you are not happy, at the earliest moment, to see if we can reorganize everything for you. Very occasionally we find that there is not a good chemistry between a student and a particular teacher, and we are open to helping to sort out this type of problem quickly. Good two-way communication is essential. We do ask for regular feedback from students as part of our drive to maintain standards and keep students engaged and learning.

14. Do the teachers speak English?

Yes, all speak basic English. However, during class, our teachers will use English only when necessary, and encourage our students to never use English.

15. How do I arrive at the school from the airport?

There are several ways to get from the airport to your accommodation in Quito. We can organize for you to be met by someone with a sign with your name on it and driven directly to your homestay or hotel. The cost for this is $32.  There is also a yellow taxi service desk in the Arrivals Hall from where you can get a taxi for between $25-$28.
In Cuenca, the airport is very small and very close to the city center, so the easiest and most economical option is to just take a yellow cab from outside the Arrivals Hall to your accommodation. If you have the address printed out you can show it to the driver. It will cost around $3 and take around 10 minutes to most locations in the city. You can also cross the street and get a public bus for 35 cents.

16. Do I need a certain level of Spanish before starting classes?

No. We receive many students with no knowledge of Spanish when they arrive.

17. Do you teach at all levels?

Yes, we teach from absolute beginners to advanced students. We have teachers who can prepare you for the DELE exam too.

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