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“fun, rigorous program with very caring teachers” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Habla Ya Spanish Courses & Ecotourism

Habla Ya Spanish Courses & Ecotourism
Central Avenue, Los Establos Plaza 20 - 22, Boquete 0413, Panama
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Owner description: Why just learn Spanish? Live your Spanish learning experience! Learn Spanish in Boquete, a charming town and a dream setting place full of friendly faces and exciting adventures. Have the time of your life and live the most amazing Spanish learning experience! Habla Ya Panama Spanish School, Panama's premier Spanish school, is one of the top specialist Spanish training institutions in Central America and one of the leading providers of Spanish courses in Latin America.
Olathe, Kansas, United States
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“fun, rigorous program with very caring teachers”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

I 4 weeks of Spanish instruction at Habla Ya in Boquete, and I had such a great experience. My teacher Ivonne was very patient with me, she challenged me just the right amount, and I felt like I left Panama at a "conversational" level in my Spanish (and I started with just one semester of college Spanish under my belt, which I took 9 years ago). I was very lucky and got one-on-one instruction for three weeks and only had the price of group lessons (there just happened to be no other students at my level at the time). So I ended up having more of a private lesson experience -- 4 hours of one-on-one instruction each day. I loved working with my teacher Ivonne-- she led the class in a very conversational manner. She delivered direct instruction, but the greatest lessons I learned were from our conversations.

The school also set me up with a family, who I absolutely adored. I think if you're going to try to become proficient in a foreign language in a short period of time, it's very important that you live with a family who speaks the foreign language only. I was very blessed to get to know the amazing people of Panama through my experience at the school and in my home stay.

I will say the one major drawback of the school is the volunteer component. I didn't go there to volunteer, but three people I met through the program wanted to volunteer and were led to think they would get to take part in volunteering each day, and the volunteering experience seemed very inconsistent and disorganized.

Personally, though, I wouldn't change a single thing about my own experience. Thank you, Habla Ya!

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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275 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Bremen, Germany
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“A very rewarding time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

This year I spent several weeks taking Spanish lessons on a private 2 hour daily basis. My teacher Leidys with whom I formed a great friendship demonstrated her skills and patience, adapted fully to my needs and helped me make huge advances in my command of the Spanish language.
All members of the reception area were extremely helpful with particular questions, the school makes a grest effort to intergrate students and make them identify with Habla Ya as well as improving the contact between the students themselves.
This school can be recommended to students of all levels, I found it an unforgettable experience
and would always return to Boquete.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Superb instruction in a lovely town”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

My husband and I just spent a month studying Spanish at Habla Ya in Boquete, Panama. We had been looking for a program near to where we winter in Costa Rica, and had heard great things about Boquete. So when I found a program there I was delighted. We contacted Habla Ya with some questions and were immediately impressed with the quality of their response. We had several exchanges with the program directors in which they very carefully answered all of our questions. After thinking it over we decided to sign up. Although they offer small classes (4-5 students), we opted for having one teacher for the two of us. The majority of instructors are young, and all seem highly trained,extremely motivated and very personable. We absolutely adored our instructors Yubal and Ivonne. Although their personal styles were different, they were both awesome teachers. The school provides standardized course materials, but the teachers can introduce additional materials of their own choosing. They were both determined to include topics of conversation that were of special interest to my husband and I.
During the course of our time at Habla Ya we made several changes, and they were always patient and accommodating. We had originally planned to stay only 2 weeks, and when we decided to extend our stay to 4, Lorena, Julio and the staff worked hard to ensure that we could continue on with our same teachers.
If you are an adult, or adult couple, and you have the resources, I might recommend you stay in a hotel or hostel ( there are many reasonably priced options in Boquete, especially if you are a student at Habla Ya) rather than do a home stay. You will have more control over your comings and goings, and much more say in what and when you eat. If you are accustomed to eating a "healthy" diet you may find the traditional fare a bit of a challenge. We chose to find accommodations where we could cook for ourselves, and that was an enormous help.

The school is located very conveniently in a small , new plaza which also houses a bank with ATM, a cafe with excellent coffee, an outdoor adventure outfit and a few small shops. Classrooms are small but clean and comfortable.

We enjoyed our Habla Ya experience so much that we have already planned our return for 2014,

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sinalunga, Toscana, Italy
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
“Great staff and school!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

After spending two months taking private lessons at Habla Ya, I can honestly say it was one of the best educational investments I have ever made. From the moment I arrived, Julio, the class coordinator, patiently and professionally answered all of my questions and helped me choose the right format of classes given my experience and interests. When my travel plans changed he was able to alter my schedule with ease.

The rest of the staff is equally fantastic. Every morning when I arrived at school, I was greeted with a "Buenas!" or "Como estas?". They all go out of there way to make you feel welcome and comfortable. The staff is also very involved in the extracurricular activities which allows you to connect outside the classroom.

I opted for 2 hours of private lessons every morning which was perfect for me. The materials used for study were well designed and covered topics and rules most commonly used. Occasionally I needed to look up grammar rules in English for further clarification but for the most part I liked the set-up.

My main instructor Yenny was awesome! She gave my classes the personal connection which makes learning enjoyable. We shared many conversations and stories throughout our classes which made my lessons engaging and fun. I couldn't imagine a better Spanish learning experience.

Thank you Habla Ya for all the help and support!

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Private instruction was great, group not so much.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2013

My private instructor Yenny was fantastic. She really tried to work on areas I needed help in. She was personable as well as a great teacher. I did not feel I got much out of the group lessons. I was basically given assignments from a book to work on during 4 hours every day without much direction or help. I feel I could have done this on my own for a lot less money. I stayed at a hostal and if I had it to do all over again, I would have chosen a family to stay with for the added immersion.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
panamajoules, Owner at Habla Ya Spanish Courses & Ecotourism, responded to this review, April 1, 2013

Pleased to hear your private lessons went great! In regards to your group lesson experience, our sincere apologies that we weren't up to your expectations. We value very much your feedback and hope that you also left it in your teacher's report card so that we can make any adjustments that are necessary.

Also, thanks for your advice to other students about doing a home stay. If you're up for it (because it does entitle some compromises, in terms of privacy and comfort for example) it's definitively worth it and your Spanish will certainly benefit from it!

Keep practicing!
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