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Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: Habla Ya offers different types of Spanish courses: from group lessons (4 hours per day, maximum 6 students per class) and private classes.
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Love the Teachers!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 November 2013

I had a fabulous experience learning and practicing Spanish at Habla Ya in both Bocas del Toro and Boquete, mainly because of the teachers. I came with a lot of background knowledge of the grammar rules but was completely out of practice and therefore not very confident when speaking. I had 3 different teachers during my time there last summer and all of them were wonderful: Diogenes, Abelardo ("Lalo"), and Itzi. They are all very knowleagable, personable and fun. They used the book the school provides as a guide but they knew I wanted to practice as much speaking as possible, so it was really a springboard for conversation. I wish I could have spent more time learning with them, but I had to go back home. I definitely recommend studying with them!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Shira E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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139 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Niwot, Colorado
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“4 weeks of Spanish for the whole family in Bocas”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 November 2013

This year my husband and I were eligible for a sabbatical from work, and we wanted to study medical Spanish. Our kids are in 2nd and 5th grade this year, and we thought it would be a good time to travel before our daughter starts middle school next year. We unenrolled the kids from school for a month and headed to Bocas for Spanish school. My husband had a group class in the mornings for 4 hours, and then he and I had a medical Spanish mini-group for another 2 hours in the afternoon while the kids had their own 2 hour mini-group as well.

The school is extremely well organized and pays attention to students' progress and needs. We were welcomed and oriented by Sarah, who was extremely helpful in the office. My husband started out with Iveth for his morning class and we had Ezequiel for our afternoon group. After a week, he and his group partners were progressing at different rates, so they were shuffled around to better meet each student's learning pace and he had Ezequiel in the mornings as well. We also had one day with Itzy when a substitute was needed. My kids had Adriana for their group for the month. We were all challenged and encouraged, and it was amazing to all of us how much we learned. The teachers are energetic and put their whole hearts into their work. The curriculum is very organized and well paced, and the staff does an amazing job presenting it.

The school also organizes a weekly 'movie night' and a restaurant dinner, as well as various tours that you can sign up for, a fun addition to language lessons and a nice way to meet other students and see Bocas as well.

We had a great month in Bocas and are looking forward to coming back again! I would recommend this school without hesitation to anyone who is looking for a high quality educational and cultural experience.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank jennhronkin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“7 Weeks in Bocas”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 November 2013

After spending seven weeks in Bocas while attending Habla Ya Spanish School I have been able to sort out both some pros and of cons the school and the island itself. I also have thrown in quite a few of my personal opinions.
The best part about Habla Ya in Bocas is the teachers. They are some of the most sociable people I have ever met yet all have very different personalities. There are some who speak English fluently and others who have never taken an English class in their life (Or so it seems). Some teachers are done teaching when the clock hits noon while others will randomly show up at your house on Saturday and ask if you want to go to the beach with them. The Bocas School is definitely very tight knit with many friendly, yet professional, relationships being formed. I really appreciated that the teachers who are often the same age as the students, kept a professional demeanor with the students even at the bars on the weekends. At the same time, they never once ignored or excluded an Habla Ya student when out on the weekends. I’m about as Gringo as they come and I always felt like I had a solid foundation of people I could trust in Bocas because of the Habla Ya staff. I also thought that it was cool that some teachers actually LIVE at the school. Not only is it nice that the school (and wifi) is open 24/7 but it also give a chance to interact with the teachers on a personal level (In Spanish of course).
I highly suggest taking advantage of the free activities at Habla Ya such as movie night, salsa lessons, and conversational Spanish. When I came to Bocas, I could not understand individual words if a native Panamanian spoke to me. By watching movies, and listening to songs, I was able to differentiate individual words within three weeks. I might not have known all the words in a quick sentence but at least I had gained an “Ear” for the Spanish Language.
Just as I highly encourage the free weekend activities, I highly discourage going to the bars on the weekdays in Bocas. (This applies to long term students mostly) My view/opinion is that if you have come to Bocas to learn Spanish then make it a priority because you can go to the bars all you want when you go back home. There is nothing worse, for both the student and the teacher, than to come to class hung-over. It is very hard to concentrate and also frustrates the teachers who what you to succeed.
Bocas is very nice if you can find the right places to go. A lot of the best beaches (In my opinion) are not near the city. That said, I went swimming many times to the dirty “Beach” next to the ferry dock with the kids from my homestay. The local kids didn’t mind the trash (Which is a real problem in Bocas) so neither did I. This brings me to my last point of review.
I HIGHLY recommend a homestay while studying Spanish here. I have hardly met nicer people and they were always so happy and willing to talk to me. They patiently listened to me blubbler along in Spanish while offering gentle corrections. I felt almost a part of the Marcado family by the time I left and would not have traded that experience for anything.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Carl B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Had a great time!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 November 2013

Really enjoyed my week in Bocas del Toro studying with Habla Ya! They were very organized. Their facility is clean, air-conditioned and they have a kitchen you can use. I had Diogenes Gonzalez for private classes in the afternoon. He was always well prepared and inventive - kept classes interesting and fun!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Dcollinsrn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“HablaYa Learning Spanish with a Dynamic teacher, Diogenes Miranda”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 November 2013

Bocas del Toro, a lovely setting for this special school. A staff that aims to please-from the application process to exit on your final day. I chose private instruction & family lodging. My wonderful teacher, Diogenes was timely, efficient, organized, patient & diverse. In addition to a text, he used a large variety of manipulatives, that always held my interest. I completed a 60 hour segment-not nearly enough time to become fluent, but I acquired a sound base And it's worth a return trip.
PS Modesta & family were the greatest, the hospitality was beyond my expectation! Gloria

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Global32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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