The Latin American Spanish School was recommended to me by a friend who currently works for a non-profit in Nicaragua, and who was a student at the school a few years back.
I just spent about five weeks at the school and can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in studying spanish at a great school in a beautiful, laid-back town. The teachers are experienced professionals with deep roots in the community, the school is well-organized and the lesson plans are well-thought out. My teacher, Lucia Garcia, is a fantastic instructor. She has been teaching at the school for a number of years and has the techniques for drawing language out of a student down-pat.
I was looking for a place where I could settle in and just study spanish, and for my needs the Latin American Spanish School was a perfect fit. I wanted a rigorous program with a fair amount of homework, which is what I got, but they will tailor the learning to the student, and there were folks there who seemed to be on a more laid-back program, as well as more advanced students who would just drop in for an hour or two a day.
The town of San Juan Del Sur is small enough that you can walk anywhere in town in a few minutes but it still has most of the big-city amenities, such as banks, a couple of gyms, a small supermarket etc. Despite the fact that it is probably the most popular beach/party town in Nicaragua, it is surprisingly mellow and had, for me, a safe, clean vibe.
I did not do a homestay, although speaking to the students who did, they seemed to value the experience highly. I chose instead to stay at a super-pleasant and almost unbelievably inexpensive hotel owned by a Nica family, which is called Chale’s House, and is only about a half a block from the school.
After spending about two months in Nicaragua, and talking to others currently living and working there who have studied spanish at the Latin American Spanish School, I can say that it has an excellent reputation, is highly respected, and above all, is a welcoming and friendly place to learn.
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