Ratings and Comments for Yanapuma Spanish School
Student ratings for Yanapuma Spanish School
Evaluation from Saszer:
This Spanish school is interacting with their students on a different way. You do not only learn the language but you will as well learn something about the country, the customs of the inhabitants and during excursions you will also learn something about the history of Ecuador. They arrange excursions to Musea, parks, the old centre (churches), Highschools (and so on). The teachers are not only your teachers but also your guides to learn everything about the country !! (I followed 2 weeks of Spanish up here, and I enjoyed it very much) COME AND SEE, IT'S WORTH IT !!
Evaluation from wandergirl:
I really liked taking Spanish at Yanapuma. The best part was that the students, teachers, and foundation members (Yanapuma is also an environmental/eco-tourism foundation), all formed a great community. There were activities usually every afternoon including an excursion on Wednesdays. We had a dinner/party every Thursday and there were often excursions on the weekend. All of these events provided opportunities to learn more about Ecuador as well as practice my Spanish.
Evaluation from EmdiEmdi:
Evaluation from Laure:
Just an exceptional experience. If you have the opportunity, go there.
Evaluation from winterboy:
This is a great school!! They have a different style of teaching that is much more effective ( Ihave studied in other spanish schools) and fun. There are plenty of social activities and chances to hook up with other students and volunteers to explore Quito and Ecuador. Overall, everything was excellent and I recommend Yanapuma to anyone if they have the chance!
Evaluation from hawkeyes:
I just returned from Yanapuma after participating in the traveling classroom. I spent one week in Quito; one week with my teacher in a lodge in the Amazon Rain Forest; and one week with my teacher in the city of Cuenca. I learned a lot more than I would have if I just took classes in the school since I was in a lot more authentic situations to use my Spanish. The price was unbelievably reasonable! Plus, I got to experience two of the natural wonders of the world: the Amazon Rain Forest, and the Andes Mountains.
Evaluation from leemab:
In addition to classes I took the Quito Cultural Package which was a daily excursion to someplace interesting with a teacher. it gave me a lot of opportunity to practice my Spanish, both speaking and comprehension, in a natural setting.
Evaluation from dtrachtman:
I studied with Yanapuma for a month which included one week in Quito, and three travel/study programs. Overall it was a positive experience but there is also a lot of room for improvement. Teachers: I had three different teachers. I would consider all of them good and able to teach Spanish. Kati was warm and personable. My only small issue was that in our conversations, she did 80% of the talking whereis it might have benefitted me more if it had been the reverse. Fernanda was my favorite. She knows all the rules and common issues for students and clearly communicates the lessons and goals. She is also organized and an excellent leader for the travel/study tours. Lucia also made a concerted effort, but I think the substandard teaching conditions and lack of structure at the community where we were was part of the problem for us. Facility in Quito: The instruction area is primarily two large open spaces. Each teacher and student pair is separated by a little standup partition. When I was there, this was sufficient because the school was probably at 20% capacity. I have been told by teachers and students both that when the school is at or near capacity, it can be difficult to concentrate as you hear everyone else's conversations. I could definitely see that being an issue. So unless you are lucky like I was and happen to be there when business is slow, I don't think this would be an optimal learning environment. All staff are very friendly and the wifi works well. Also note that of the four teachers I met, only Vinicio spoke good English and I have heard from a couple absolute beginners that this was hard for them. That said, my guess is this issue probably exists at most of the Spanish schools. Travel/Study programs: The idea is fantastic. You go on a tour of an area of Ecuador, or you stay in an interesting place, and your private tutor comes with you so you get to learn Spanish at the same time. I am glad we did these, but I also quickly learned that you will learn a lot more Spanish sitting at a proper table in a school then bouncing along on a loud bus or trying to concentrate after a full day of activity. -Banos Tour and Cuenca Tour: The website and literature say that you will have four hours of study and four hours of activity each day. This is a "falsehood". I think we probably averaged maybe two to three hours a day. And in all fairness, I think four hours wouldn't really be realistic because you wouldn't be able to fit in all the excursions. That said, they did have plenty planned for us and we had a good time. I think the tours are worthwhile, just don't expect to learn as much as you would in a classroom type setting. The places we stayed were all fairly nice too, our favorite being the hostel by the river in Cuenca. -Bellavista Ecolodge: This is a nice ecolodge in the cloudforest (look it up on tripadvisor). Our trip here started with frustration because Vinicio had verbally promised us that we would be in private rooms (quite clear on this) , but instead we were put in a dorm. We asked the cost of an upgrade and were told for both of us it would be an additional $65/ nt (twice what we have paid everywhere else in Ecuador ). It's a beautiful area but there isn't much to do there except take walks in the forest, so for us a few days was sufficient. All staff speak excellent English and the guides are very knowledgable. The food here is very good too. We were about to leave in great spirits till we found out that they had charged us $48 for a bag of laundry (elsewhere in Quito it averages $6). Quite a ripoff. Also be aware that it feels like upper 40s Fahrenheit and is damp all the time. Overall, very worthwhile. -Staying with an "Indiginous Community": This was my most disappointing experience with Yanapuma. When looking at the website and talking to staff, we thought we would be, "living with an indigenous family from one of Ecuador's 17 ethnic groups". That was not the case. We stayed with a family in Estero de Platano. They were perfectly nice people, but not indigenous or really "traditional". We had been told about various activities as part of this "cultural exchange", but there was nothing actually planned and nothing to do except walk to the beach which fortunately was very nice. One day I did sort of invite ourselves along as the kids hunted for shrimp, but that was about it. The matriarch of the household was very warm and the abundant kids very cute, but the accent was hard for me personally, so I didnt chat much and little was translated. My wife who speaks more than me had better luck. There is no good area to conduct a class either, short of just taking walks. I do think with more planning, there could have been some activities for students such as gathering fruit, fishing, learning to cook a traditional dish, etc. This is an impoverished community that the school assists, and I think that's great, I just wish the school had been more straightforward about what this trip was and wasn't. My last suggestion for Yanapuma would be to have course and teacher evaluations(we never received either). I think they are a valuable tool with which to gather feedback from students.
Evaluation from SabineBiermann91:
For the last six months in Quito, Ecuador, I took Spanish classes at the Yanapuma Foundation and Spanish School. I really enjoyed my one-on-one individual classes there. What I liked best was that my classes were conversation-based and interactive, and that I chose with my teacher the learning method which worked best for me. My class activities were very diverse; I watched videos and t.v. excerpts, listened to songs and even had to sing along, read stories and so on. Every couple of weeks, I switched teachers so as to experience different teaching styles. The teachers always had very interesting stories about Ecuadorian culture, and we spoke often about the differences between Ecuador and Holland (my native country). I also had a lot of fun getting to know the other students through activities planned by the school! I have a much better understanding of the language than when I started, as my Spanish has improved a lot. Many thanks to the teachers, in particular Santiago, and the staff at Yanapuma! --Sabine, from Holland
Evaluation from judybruenjes:
I was very impressed with the quality of the teaching with Yanapuma and their methodologies. The teachers gauged my current skills and goals to determine an individualized program. All my instruction was one-on-one. With other schools, there was the traditional verb conjugation, worksheets, reading paragraphs and answering practice questions, etc. Instruction with Yanapuma was totally different. My instructor and I traveled together to exotic locales, where I was able to be totally immersed in Spanish. Some days we sat together in a classroom in the morning, then I was free to spend the afternoon zip-lining in the cloud forest or whitewater rafting. Other days we spent with an indigenous community or local guide to learn about local customs, flora and fauna. Yanapuma will also arrange homestays with lovely families, and help you with your travel plans before or after your program. Learning a language by living day-to-day was what I needed to complement the book-learning I had done at home.
Evaluation from teacherincanada:
This is the second time I have been to Yanapuma. The first was in 2012 as a beginner; the second was in August of 2015 as an advanced student. I must say that of all the nine schools I've visited worldwide, this one in the best. It does not use the grammar- based approach that most Spanish schools use; a method Canada abandoned 30 years ago in teaching French because it's simply not effective, especially at the advanced levels. Instead, the teacher met with me at the beginning of my studies, and we collaborated learning goals. For the next two weeks, that's exactly what we did. I improved greatly because Yanapuma use a student- centred approach that places the student at the centre of instruction, and not the grammar. The one negative I will say is Ecuador will never be listed among the countries with great cuisine. Be prepared to eat A LOT of chicken and white rice. For some strange reason, people in Ecuador don't like eating vegetables, especially fresh vegetables.
Evaluation from intentionalmc:
This is for Yanapuma Spanish school in Cuenca, Ecuador: My husband and I are in our early 30's and did a week of Spanish classes there plus the Cultural Program and short homestay in Jan 2016. We definitely recommend it and have included more details and photos in a review on our blog: http://intentionaltravelers.com/review-of-yanapuma-spanish-language-school-in-cuenca-ecuador/