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!
If you own or manage Habla Ya Spanish Courses & Ecotourism, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.