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“Habla Ya for learning Spanish- Adriana Santiago- a great instructor”

Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
Level Contributor
36 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Habla Ya for learning Spanish- Adriana Santiago- a great instructor”
Reviewed 29 January 2014

I would like to recommend Adriana Santiago as a Spanish instructor in Bocas del Toro. I took private lessons with Adriana for 2 weeks and felt very confident and comfortable with the amount of Spanish we covered. She takes great pride in her job- ensuring daily that you have understood what was covered the day before and reviewing it thoroughly again if there are misunderstandings. I can attest- misunderstandings weren't at all due to her teaching! One day Adriana noticed that I was tiring some in the afternoon and she saw the need for a walk and talk! This was one of the highlights of the class for me. We walked to the St. Vincent home to visit the residents and speak with them. I really enjoyed this interaction and I could tell that she really cares about the people there. We also decided to take a field trip to Playa Estrella one day and took her beautiful 9-month daughter along. It was a good day to practice practical Spanish and enjoy the beach, family and lunch. One day I requested that we have lessons in the place I was staying as it was right on the water and much more appealing than the classroom environment- again she was accommodating of this request. If I go back to Bocas and study again I will most definitely be requesting Adriana!

Visited December 2013
Thank Di K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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141 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“exceptional environment & teachers!”
Reviewed 12 January 2014

I couldn't speak more highly of my experience with Habla Ya. I took only 1.5 weeks of classes (Intermediate 1) and I definitely wanted MORE!

Before choosing Habla Ya (or Panama, really), I explored several Spanish language schools online, and initiated conversations with several. In prior years, I had taken semi-private lessons in short stints in Mexico City and in La Paz, Bolivia, and based on those experiences, I knew I wanted something on the more structured side of things.

Habla Ya impressed me right from the start - from the online placement test, to the phone call I received the day after I submitted my interest. I found the initiation to be extremely supportive, helpful, professional and prompt.

And my Habla Ya classroom experience exceeded my expectations. First, I made it to Bocas barely one hour before my first class was meant to begin - the office staff (Cesar & Dominique) were accommodating and helpful (getting me water, ensuring a safe/trustworthy environment for me to just leave all my belongings while I went to class).

My teacher, Diogenes, was exceptional. He began by understanding my learning goals and my learning style (e.g. do I like to be corrected along the way as I'm speaking or at the end?). Then he shared some things about his style and asked my permission to make some changes to our schedule (I was there over the two weeks of Christmas & New Year).

Diogenes created a super-relaxed, yet well-paced environment encouraging of risk-taking and free of pressure. He is incredibly patient, quite funny, and enthusiastic about his own learning (which created fun opportunities for me to try to explain English phrases in Spanish), all of which resulted in an incredible setting for me.

We would start each class just by chatting, storytelling. This allowed us to make a great connection with each other, and for me to practice conversations as I might actually have with my friends (versus awkward formal rote conversations I had in prior classes with teachers I knew nothing about and with whom I didn't feel comfortable being open about myself). He also used various games/activities and we even went for a walk during one of our classes... all methods to keep things interesting and nurture various styles of learning/reinforcement.

I also had one class with Yaderline who was great, although a bit timid. She took an interest in getting to know me personally as well, and even suggested some fun things for me to do in Bocas.

I can't say enough about my experience with Habla Ya & Diogenes - HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Visited December 2013
Thank RumanaExplores
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great Family Experience”
Reviewed 2 January 2014

My family and I (husband, wife and 2 boys, ages 8 and 10) studied Spanish at Habla Ya Bocas for two weeks. The teachers were amazing. My teacher, Diogenes, made me laugh so hard tears were running out of my eyes when we were studing the future tense in Spanish. My younger son's teacher, Iveth, was super-professional, and kept my squirmy 8 year old on track, taught him to use a Spanish-English dictionary, and improved his penmanship as part of his language learning. My older son's teacher, Gilberto, was like a "buddy" to my son, and made learning fun for him. My husband studied with Yardaline, who showed great patience with his need for precision and perfection. We all learned a lot of Spanish, and really enjoyed the school.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank Monica G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Redwood City, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Caters to what YOU are looking for and LISTENS”
Reviewed 16 December 2013

I was in Bocas a couple weeks ago to dive and, since I'm learning Spanish, I decided to see if I could take some lessons at Habla Ya. I wanted private lessons: no problem. I wanted two hours in the afternoon only: no problem. I wanted 4 days and not 5: no problem. They quoted me a very reasonable rate, I took a brief written placement test, and I was in.

When I met my professor (Yaderline), she spent the 1st hour or so getting to know me. Why did I want to learn Spanish? What do I like to do with my free time? Why am I in Bocas? Kids? How many? Did I listen to Spanish music? Who?... This wasn't just small talk. She used the information in an important way during the classes and I'll explain that next. She told me all the extra curricular things they do and they all sounded great. But, I'm there to dive and chose not to participate. Not any pressure at all from the school to participate but they do these things and wanted me to know I was welcome.

I told Yaderline I wanted no homework (since I was diving) and I really just wanted uninterrupted time to converse and practice advanced grammer (I'm an advanced student). Once again, no problem... During our initial conversation with me, she learned that I love Spanish music and I love to scuba dive. She then used those two themes to drive all her lessons. She showed me a music video with Julietta Venegas (Me Voy) first without music. Then, she asked me to explain what I saw and what I thought Julietta was doing and thinking in the video. Then, she played it again with music (great song!) and we read lyrics except some of the written lyrics were wrong and I had to find them. She used this exercise to teach a past subjunctive tense and reinforce it. She probably knew I'd enjoy the exercise since I told her I love the music.

After that lesson, she went on to teach/reinforce other things with me but used "scuba diving" as the vehicle for that. So, I talked about something I love to do and learned Spanish at the same time. Again, obviously a technique she used (like the music video) based on her understanding of my likes and interests. She was not only a technically excellent teacher, but a really cool person to talk to, good sense of humor, bright, a pleasure to be in the class with.

The lesson here for the Spanish school shopper is this: Habla Ya listens to their students, gets to know their students, involves the student in planning out a learning approach, is willing to customize sessions if desired, and then uses all this information to form a teaching plan that is really fun for the student. You don't just show up, sit in class, and get taught. You can co-create your own learning experience. I would highly recommend them!!

Visited December 2013
1 Thank Greg R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great company and teacher!”
Reviewed 5 December 2013

I enjoyed my lessons very much with Habla Ya. My instructor Leidys was very helpful and patient and made me feel comfortable. She also shared a lot of helpful info about Panama to prepare me for my trip. I had a great time speaking Spanish there and I would highly recommend this company for your lessons.

Visited November 2013
Thank bonzi530
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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