Sucre, Bolivia is a popular place to learn Spanish in South America because of the low cost of living, the words are spoken clearly, and the agreeable climate of the city. This is also a university city, so there are plenty of cafes, shops, museums, restaurants, bars, parks, movie theater, and libraries in the city. You most likely wouldn’t have to go far to find anything you need from where you’re staying. This is just like Quetzaltenango in Guatemala, but smaller.
I’ve been here for about 2 weeks now and took 1 week of Spanish last week with Fenix Language School. There are many language schools in Sucre and I chose Fenix mainly due to the proximity from where I was staying, but I also read a lot of good reviews about them. They’re also a non-profit organization and work with charities to improve living conditions of Bolivian children.
They’re a fairly new school, has been in operation for only about 2 years. At the time of this writing, the tuition rate is 50Bs/hour, which is a little more expensive than other schools. But the teacher I had was really good and they’re very flexible with the hours. You can choose to study just for a couple of hours a day a few times a week if you like. I did 3 hours a day for 5 days (4 hours a day is too much for me, 2 hours a day would actually have been better).
My instructor, Grover, was very good. He explained the material very well and there were plenty of exercises to practice the lessons. He spoke English very well as well, which at first I thought wouldn’t really matter for a Spanish teacher as the teachers I had in Guatemala knew very little English and I still learned a lot. But soon I realized that it actually helps as he could quickly tell me what the equivalent word, phrase, or grammatical rules in English are. I remember having to use a dictionary or Google translate when I sometimes ask my teachers in Guatemala what a word in English translates to in Spanish, which wastes some time and I’m sometimes left unsure if they were the correct words to use.
As far as activities go, they have a cooking class/dinner every Wednesday and Wally (which is supposed to be like volleyball but you can use any part of your body). I didn’t participate in Wally but went to the cooking class. I forgot the name of the dish we cooked but it was delicious. It was also a good way to meet the other students/former students and teachers of the school. While I was taking my classes in the morning I only met 1 other student there. It looks like most were taking classes in the afternoon. Everyone I met was very nice and friendly, it feels like being part of a family, I felt right at home.
Most of the students I met also seem to be doing volunteer work, like teaching English or helping street children. Fenix can actually set you up with volunteer work for free, which is really nice. It really bothers me when organizations charge money for volunteer work. It’s like you paying your employer to work for them.
I highly recommend them. I’m thinking of taking a few more hours of classes with them before I leave Sucre, but I might try out a different school first just to see the difference and maybe I’ll report my findings on this blog.
Here’s their contact information:
Address: Calle Miguel Angel Valda #61, 2nd floor
Landline: (591-4) 64-57101
Mobile: (591-4) 734-60636