Teenager Joins 5 Week Spanish Immersion Program Before Gap Year

📢 We declared a 🚨 CLIMATE AND ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY. ⏳ LEARN WHY HERE...

SYSTEM ERROR!!!

🙃 Get up to a 60% DISCOUNT OFF ONLINE PRIVATE LESSONS or up to a 40% OFF ONLINE GROUP LESSONS when you submit your payment by "UNKNOWN DATE, SYSTEM ERROR".

CLAIM HERE!

Or find out more about ONLINE SPANISH LESSONS HERE...

JUMP TO blog post titled:
"Teenager Joins 5 Week Spanish Immersion Program Before Gap Year".

Search our blog about all things Panama! From must dos, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, in our blog you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 15 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


SYSTEM ERROR!!!

🙃 Get up to a 60% DISCOUNT OFF ONLINE PRIVATE LESSONS or up to a 40% OFF ONLINE GROUP LESSONS when you submit your payment by "UNKNOWN DATE, SYSTEM ERROR".

CLAIM HERE!

Or find out more about ONLINE SPANISH LESSONS HERE...

🦠 Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic we're currently only offering ✅ Online Spanish Lessons and ✅ Spanish classes in a TRAVELING CLASSROOM instead of at the school, delivering a teacher directly to you in a COVID safe way wherever you are, be it your hotel, home, park, on tour, at the beach or in any other place where social distancing is comfortably and safely possible. CONTACT US TODAY!

🌎 FOR THE LOVE OF OUR BLUE PLANET AND ALL LIVING THINGS:
🙏 PLEASE 🛑 DON'T ✈ FLY TO LEARN SPANISH... LEARN SPANISH ONLINE!


🚨 On October 7th 2020 we declared a CLIMATE AND ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY because we're facing an 😱 existential threat as Planet Earth is on track for a 🌡4°C increase in average global temperatures by the end of this century, which means 💀 BILLIONS OF HUMANS DYING along the way if we don't CHANGE COURSE NOW!

🌱 LEARN WHY HERE...

🤔 So instead of 🛫 flying to learn Spanish 🛬 — it's not really essential travel, specially in the midst of the ongoing 😷 COVID-19 PANDEMIC — pumping even more C02 into the atmosphere that will end up crashing our common home, impacting countries in the tropics first, 🎧 LEARN SPANISH ONLINE 💻 from the comfort, convenience and safety of your office or home!

📍 If you do find yourself in the vicinity of any of our locations — 🌄 Boquete, ⛱ Bocas del Toro and 🌇 Panama City — we'd love to have your as our student. CONTACT US AND MAKE IT HAPPEN...
Travel to us in eco-friendly ways and get automatic access to a 👯 50% DISCOUNT!!!

🚦 Now... do you want to do something about the Climate and Ecological Crisis?
GO HERE FOR INSPIRATION...

🙏 And finally one last plea to help us ensure a just transition for our staff and Spanish teachers: please don't fly to learn Spanish because you can do it online without destroying our future as there's no Planet B regardless of what Elon Musk wants you to believe; besides dreaming of Mars, he also wants you to buy electrical cars as if that's the solution to this Planetary Crisis... spoiler alert: it's not!

💚 SIGN UP AND REGISTER FOR ONLINE SPANISH LESSONS!

Teenager Joins 5 Week Spanish Immersion Program Before Gap Year

Posted by |


Jacob Atkins (goes by "Jack") came to us from Stillwater, Minnesota (outside of Minneapolis). He just graduated high school in May and is embarking on a gap year round-the-world trip before college. For the first part of his journey he joined us in Boquete, Panama for 5 weeks.

Here are Jack's comments about his experience in our teenager immersion program in Boquete:

1. What motivated you to study Spanish abroad and how did you find out about Habla Ya?

In September I will be going to Chile to teach English to 5th and 6th graders, so I wanted to learn some Spanish before going. I found out about Habla Ya through a Google search and TripAdvisor. I saw the really good reviews and that led me to inquire more about the program.

I was also looking at studying Spanish in Seville, Spain, but I ultimately chose Boquete, Panama because the price of the course was more reasonable, the Panamanian Spanish is more similar to the Chilean Spanish than Sevillian Spanish (though it seems that once you reach an intermediate level of Spanish you should be able to understand everyone regardless of where they're from), and there is a huge variety of excursions to do in Boquete. That was a big attraction for me.

Boquete is known as Panama's eco-adventure capital, so if you love the outdoors Boquete is for you. Here's me with two fellow students during a waterfall hike.
Boquete is known as Panama's eco-adventure capital, so if you love the outdoors Boquete is for you. Here's me with two fellow students during a waterfall hike.

2. When you first arrived to Boquete, what was your impression?

Dingy but beautiful. There is a lot of contrast with the derelict buildings juxtaposed with the jagged mountains and colorful flowers.

3. What Spanish course did you take and would you recommend it to other teenagers?

I chose the Group 4 PLUS 1 Course and although I enjoyed both my Group and Private teachers, I found 5 hours a day to be too overwhelming. I would recommend only taking the Group 4 course.

4. How was living with a host family?

At first it was difficult because of the language barrier (I didn't speak any Spanish when I came). But we found ways to communicate and my Spanish was gradually improving, so we became more comfortable with each other. Now I talk to them a lot and even though I make a lot of mistakes, they help correct me. I think that even though it was challenging at the beginning, the immersion experience definitely paid off in terms of how much I learned.

The family I live with is really nice and right across the street are the grandparents, who also are super sweet. It's been a wonderful experience living with them.

5. I heard you celebrated your 18th birthday in Boquete. How did it go?

It was so much fun! My friends from Habla Ya and I went to play pool at a local pool hall, then we went to Black & White's happy hour, and finished the night at Mike's Global Grill for dinner. It was very memorable.

Making new friends from all over the world was certainly a highlight of my time in Panama
Making new friends from all over the world was certainly a highlight of my time in Panama

6. It sounds like you've made a lot of friends during your program!

That's one of the more surprising things that I didn't expect. Since we're all kind of thrown into this situation together, we all bonded very quickly even though we come from different countries and backgrounds. I didn't have a Facebook account before coming to Habla Ya, but I created one just so that I can stay in touch with my new friends.

As my Spanish started improving, I also started to make more Panamanian friends. For instance, I became friends with a guy named Christopher who attends the free English classes at Habla Ya.

7. How was your overall experience in Panama? Which excursions were your favorite?

I love Panamanians! They are very nice. One con about Panama is the food. It tastes good, but it can be very repetitive at your homestay (rice, beans, meat - every day). There is also a lot of fried foods, which is ok for one week but it's not something I like to eat often.

The excursions in and around Boquete are the best! Each one I did was excellent. I especially liked the day trip to the Chiriqui Gulf. Also, me and a group of 6 friends went to Santa Catalina, Veraguas for a weekend to surf. A local tour operator helped us plan the trip and that was a lot of fun, too! The only downside is that the excursions start to add up and you might spend a lot more money that you originally anticipated.

On our way to the uninhabited islands of the Chiriqui Gulf National Marine Park
On our way to the uninhabited islands of the Chiriqui Gulf National Marine Park

Wow. Bolaños Island was simply stunning. I can't describe how cool it was to spend the day here.
Wow. Bolaños Island was simply stunning. I can't describe how cool it was to spend the day here.

Santa Catalina is a dreamy fishing village where they have a world class point break for intermediate-advanced surfers, and a beach break if you're learning and want some surf lessons.
Santa Catalina is a dreamy fishing village where they have a world class point break for intermediate-advanced surfers, and a beach break if you're learning and want some surf lessons.

8. Since you came in an absolute beginner, how do you feel that your Spanish has improved over the 5 weeks?

Tremendously! I still mess up a lot with grammar, but I can definitely hold conversations at the basic level and that is a huge improvement. I have learned more in 5 weeks with Habla Ya than my friends from high school who took Spanish for 4 years!

9. What advice do you have for future teenagers planning to study at Habla Ya?

I would recommend trying to learn some Spanish before coming (check out Habla Ya's online lessons), just so that basic communication with your host family will be easier. Definitely live with a host family and participate in as many excursions as possible!

¡MUCHAS GRACIAS Jack, por tomarte el tiempo de contarnos sobre tu experiencia en Habla Ya Boquete!

LEARN MORE ABOUT LEARNING SPANISH IN BOQUETE... »

Comments






BE THE FIRST to get updates about Contests, News and Discounts!



Search our blog if you're visiting Panama! From must do's, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish while in our country! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


You can follow any responses to this entry through the. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


About You
 
 
 
 
Your comment
 
 
Please put a check mark before hitting submit to confirm you're a human (and wait for green tick to appear).