Nationality Mix & Ages | Students' Testimonials & Reviews

Spanish student hanging out with Habla Ya Staff

What's it like to join Habla Ya?

Meet our students and get a first hand glance about what to expect...

We do not publish student's emails or telephones but if you're thinking about studying with us and would like to personally contact a couple of our former students and ask them for references about our Spanish Schools, we can give you their contact details (with their explicit consent). Contact us and tell us that you would like to request students references by yourself and we will be more than happy put you in touch with students who have recently been at our schools. Ask them about their experience at Habla Ya and they'll tell you about it in all honesty. We would also recommend that you read our student's blogs listed below and checked out Habla Ya's Profile on Facebook.

Nationality Mix & Age Averages

The participants' ages and countries of origin are different for each of our locations. Further below you'll find age ranges and nationalities for each of our campuses.

Ages of our Students
Panama road trips with Habla Ya Spanish School

The majority of our students are young professionals who need Spanish for their careers (26 - 39 year old's). But we also have a significant number of students who are full-time university and grad-school students, or who have just started or ended university and are already working (17 - 25 years old). During the summer months this second group can be as large as the first one. Our third largest age group is in the 40 plus age range. A small percentage of our students are teenagers and small children traveling with their parents.

We get students from all walks of life. Doctors, teachers, firefighters, social workers, bankers, waiters, lawyers, nurses, IT professionals, builders... you name it, we have them!

Ages of our Students Per Location
Bocas del Toro Panama City Boquete
26 - 39 41% 26 - 39 39% 26 - 39 27%
17 - 25 31% 17 - 25 21% 51+ 25%
40 - 50 16% 51+ 19% 40 - 50 21%
51+ 9% 40 - 50 16% 17 - 25 15%
13 - 16 2% under 12 3% under 12 7%
under 12 1% 13 - 16 2% 13 - 16 5%

Many of our students want to improve their Spanish for their careers, others want to learn Spanish to enrich their life in general or for their travels in Latin America, and yet others are planning to relocate to a Spanish speaking country. But everyone has one goal in common: improve their Spanish in the shortest time possible while experiencing an amazing Panama vacation!

Nationality Mix
Bocas del Toro Panama City Boquete
USA 32% USA 29% USA 35%
Germany 12% Germany 19% Germany 17%
Switzerland 9% Switzerland 13% Canada 9%
France 8% Canada 7% Netherlands 7%
Canada 7% United Kingdom 6% Austria 5%
United Kingdom 7% Austria 4% Switzerland 4%
Netherlands 4% Australia 3% Bahamas 4%
Italy 2% France 3% Denmark 3%
Austria 2% Netherlands 3% France 3%
Bahamas 2% Italy 3% Poland 2%
Japan, South Korea, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Brazil, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia 10% Sweden 3% United Kingdom 2%
Others 5% Belgium, Denmark, Bahamas, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland 6% Ireland 2%
Others 1% Australia, Belgium, Norway, South Africa Poland, Sweden 6%
Others 1%
We arrange groups to ensure that only students of similar ages are together. Different age groups have different learning styles.
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Recent Reviews

In the last couple of years hundreds of students758 have rated Habla Ya Spanish Schools with 5 stars!

Many students have written reviews about their Habla Ya experience. Click on the links to read their reviews published on 3rd party sites:

On the other hand, blogs are a very good source of information to plan your Language Travel Holiday in Latin America. Many of our students have visited many countries in Central and South America before or after studying Spanish in Panama. We invite you to explore our student's blogs!

Here's a list of some of our Spanish students' blogs where you'll find their testimonials about our Spanish Schools in Panama:

It may sound unbeleivable but since Habla Ya opened its doors more than 99% of our reviews have been positive. It sounds too good to be true... but it's true, what can we do about it? I guess we'll just keep providing our students with the most amazing Spanish learning experience (and make sure it's better each time!). You can go on and seach the web for yourself, everybody loves Habla Ya!... SIGN UP & REGISTER NOW TO LIVE YOUR HABLA YA EXPERIENCE!
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Group 4 & Private Lessons' Testimonials

Jason Jones, 34, Colorado, USA
Group 4 PLUS 2 Course + Home Stay
Checkout Jason's Blog and read about his final impressions about learning Spanish in Boquete and about how difficult it was to leave Panama. Jason loved his experience so much that he returned to Boquete in January of 2008 to do another four weeks of Spanish lessons before going to Nicaragua to join a volunteer project.

Jason Jones

I would be happy to share my experience at Habla Ya with you. I spent four weeks at Habla Ya last April/May and was in Boquete for the entire month. I suppose the best endorsement I can give you is to simply say that I am planning to return in January.

Boquete... I don't know if you've had a chance to visit Boquete, but it is a wonderful small town in the hills of Panama. Whether I was going out for a hike or enjoying a cup of the local coffee, I was always able to find that perfect balance between recreation and tranquility.

Boqueteños... I found the people of Boquete to be very warm and inviting during my stay in their town. In fact, not only did I enjoy their friendship while visiting, but several of those friendships have persisted until today. I'm very much looking forward to my upcoming visit in January.

Habla Ya... Last year, I attended a very similar "immersion type" Spanish school in Costa Rica. It was a nice experience, and I learned a "bit" of Spanish. At Habla Ya though, in the same amount of time (4 weeks), I learned a "great deal" of Spanish. I'm not exactly sure if it was due to the small class size (never had more than six in a class), the learning environment (very nice building/classrooms), or a much higher quality of teaching (I was VERY impressed with the teachers themselves), but I felt VERY satisfied with my actual learning and progression.

As you can tell, I had a very positive experience with Habla Ya and would certainly recommend it to others wishing to progress with their study of the Spanish language. I hope that helps you as you make decisions for your studies.

Happy Holidays,
Jason Jones

Felix Wong, 33, Fort Collins, Colorado
Private Spanish Lessons
Felix Wong on the top of the Volcan Barú

First of all, both of the tutors I had - Bladimir and Janeth - were excellent. Aside from knowing their stuff and able to clearly articulate the nuances of Spanish grammar, I thought they did a good job catering the classes to my needs (which not only were explicitly specified by myself but also determined in part by taking a diagnostic/placement exam they had me do even before arriving in Panama) and listening to and answering my numerous questions.

It also helped that they were both happy, kind, patient, and in general, people I would have loved to hang out and interact with even if I wasn't taking Spanish classes.

In addition to doing numerous exercises on confusing verb forms such as the imperfecto, subjuntivo, pluscuamperfecto, imperativo, etc., we also did trabalenguas (tongue twisters) to help improve my pronunciation and games such as Scrabble to keep my interest from waning.

One thing I particularly appreciated was that we spoke absolutely no English in class. Likewise, all reading material and written exercises were in Spanish. If I asked them what a word meant, they'd explain their meanings in español. In fact, I didn't even know that Janeth knew English and Bladimir did not until Tori (fellow classmate who also had them) told me, as I had not attempted to communicate with them in my native language at all or vice-versa.

I was particularly pleased that despite speaking exclusively in Spanish I could understand them 95% of the time. (Even Tori, who's somewhat less advanced in the language could generally get the gist of what they were saying in her classes.) I'm not sure whether they were talking slightly slower than they normally would, but it sure helped build a lot of confidence in my Spanish speaking and comprehension skills.

My opinion of the classes was high enough that I even wrote this testimonio for Carlos (a founder and the director of Habla Ya) for his promotional material. If there are any grammatical errors keep in mind I'm still at a intermediate-advanced level which will take far more than just seven days of classes to bring me to complete mastery, and that if it I had tried to write the following two weeks ago, it would have been much worse.

Me alegró mi experiencia con las clases de español de Habla Ya, ambos esos de grupo y las lecciones privadas. Mis maestros Bladimir y Janeth fueron excelentes. Ellos ayudaron aclarar mi confusión con varias formas de verbos rápidamente, y me encantaron los ejercicios y juegos de aprender que hicimos. Después de las clases, tuve más confianza en mi capacidad en conversar con otros en español. Habla Ya enseña un buen método para aprender español rápidamente y eficientemente para situaciones de vida verdadera.

In addition to providing classes, Habla Ya also helped arrange the various eco-adventures Tori and I did. Supposedly, this resulted in some savings; at the very least, it was convenient.

One other side benefit I did not anticipate with taking the classes was meeting and seeing the same (or new) friendly faces every day, including staff and students. When traveling in a foreign country where you'd otherwise know nobody, that provides additional comfort and memories.

The above is an extract of an article about Felix's experience at our Spanish school... ¡Gracias Felix! You can check out the original from his blog at He also wrote about several articles horse back riding tours and rock climbing in Boquete.
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Spanish Immersion Program Testimonials

Gabrielle Zimbric, 26, Wisconsin, USA
Medical Spanish + Group 4 PLUS 2 Course + Home Stay
Gabrielle Zimbric

There's only way to describe my Habla Ya experience: ¡Qué buena onda!

The "good vibe", if you'll, of this language program completely envelopes you upon arrival to Boquete. Within one hour of getting off the bus I was eating celebration cake under a welcome sign with my name + balloons, chatting with my new family. Within 3 hours I was with host sisters and new friends at the discoteca having my first of many lessons in the art of reggaeton + salsa.

CLASSES AT HABLA YA are fantastic. Different modalities of learning include games, music, grammar, exercises and lots of conversation. As I love scrabble I personally enjoyed Spanish scrabble. I had both group and private lessons and felt comfortable in each setting. The teachers are fun, professional and flexible. They will be excited to work with you in designing a program to meet your needs. I was able, for example, to learn some medical Spanish while practicing verb conjugation and grammar at the same time.

My favorite part of the Habla Ya experience is the extracurriculars that come with being a student. The family immediately took me in as one of their own and I learned more Spanish there than anywhere else, dancing in the kitchen while cooking chili with my host mom to late night girl talk with my new sisters.

The other Habla Ya family is that of Carlos and Julio, who have become like brothers to me. They are fantastic and integrate all students into the social community of Boquete. From hanging out at the local pizza joint to playing fusball while friends play live music at a local pub, there's no shortage of fun to be had in Boquete.

One of my favorite memories of Boquete will be the first Ultimate Frisbee game we played. After explaining the rules in my shaky Spanish we hocked the disc and had 2 hours of crazy fun in the rain with a backdrop of mountains and a rainbow. ¡Sólido! They have definitely caught Ultimate fever, and there is sure to be a game if you're interested.

I've been all around the world and I've never had a more difficult time leaving a place. Habla Ya, the incredible natural beauty of Boquete, and the new friends I've made, make me want to call this place home. ¡Of¡Qué buena onda!

Amy Simard, 25, Vancouver Island, Canada
Group 4 Course + Home Stay with Local Family
Amy Simard

I arrived to Panama, as your typical North American tourist: I didn't know a word of Spanish. It was the time my sister and I went for lunch, ordering a couple bowls of soup with rice, with little confusion (we thought), and ended up with 6 dishes, I realized that I needed to learn to speak Spanish.

After traveling to Boquete, I found myself in Habla Ya Language Center, with a relaxed atmosphere, friendly faces, and the aroma of some of the best coffee in the world. I was immediately attracted and thought, "this is THE place to learn to speak Spanish".

I spoke with Carlos, the co-owner with his best friend Julio, about their impressive Spanish immersion program. I enrolled, and started the next day.

I have to admit I was little intimidated by the course. I was assigned to live with a Spanish speaking local family (who doesn't speak a word of English!!!) and expected to attend one-on-one Spanish classes for 6 hours a day (feeling sorry for the one who gets the job).

Fortunately my host family, the Araúz's, owners of the delicious Pizzeria La Volcanica, are hospitable and make a great breakfast. My teacher, the lucky lady is Vielka Espinosa, is a wonderful teacher, informative, kind, enthusiastic and EXTREMLY patient (well I'm still alive aren't I).

I have been studying at Habla Ya for the past 3 weeks and have found it to be everything promised and more.

When I came to Boquete I just expected to attend Spanish classes. Now I have experienced a walk through the rain forest, hike up a mountain with an indigenous guide, the famous Boquete Tree Trek (Habla Ya students get a discount), and a Salsa Lesson (again showing of my superb North American talent and appreciating the Latino patience).

También, yo encontrar muchos amigos. Ahora yo puedo hablar con las personas de Panama. Mi experiencia en Habla Ya no voy a olvidar nunca.

Stop into Habla Ya, if not to attend a class, to enjoy a coffee and meet some wonderful people (mis amigos). If you're a local, you should participate in the Total Cultural Immersion program as a host family. it's a fulfilling experience and in that way more people will have a chance to live the incredible experience I did, and the community will be more together.

Gracias Habla Ya!

Gaby started 2 traditions at Habla Ya: dinners at local families with our immersion students and ultimate frisbee matches. We can say that Gaby really changed our lives.
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Spanish for Travelers' Testimonials

Kati & Markku, 24 & 26, Finland
Spanish for Travelers Mini Group Lessons
Martin Johansson with his Spanish teacher Erica Tapia in one of our Language School's hallways

We found this school by accident as we were looking for a restaurant from this side of the town. We decided to do a course to refresh our memory. The lessons that we had were VERY helpful. Even after few hours we noticed the difference. We have been extremely happy with the school. Our teacher Erica is extremely professional and has been very patient with us. I can truly recommend Habla Ya to other people.

This school is very good. We studied only 3 days, and although we wanted to study more we didn't have time because we had to continue our journey. next time. The teacher was very professional and nice. Some day we'll return and we'll practice more. Thank you very much and see you until then.

Esta escuela es muy buena. Estudiamos solamente 3 días, pero queremos estudiar más, pero no tenemos más tiempo, pero próxima vez. La profesora era muy profesional y amable. Vamos a volver en un día. practicaremos más. Muchas gracias y hasta luego.

Mark & Magda, 28 & 30, Toronto, Canada
Mini Group Lessons
Mark & Magda doing some work in the cafeteria during a break in their Spanish lessons

These classes were exactly what we needed. During only a week we learned a lot of verbs, nouns, adverbs, reflexive verbs and irregular stuff. For me it was very important to know the difference between the verbs be and to be, and also to understand in a better way the past tense, since it's not that easy. Thanks to our teacher Ericka and to all the people of Habla Ya.

As Magda said, our course was very helpful and the Habla Ya school is full of friendly people. Everything is good. Thanks!

We would like to publicly thank Mark Ngui & Magda Wojtyra for introducing us to the art of SEO and CSS. For pointing us in the right direction... we owe you guys a lot. ¡Gracias!
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DELE Exam Preparation Course Testimonial

Andrea Rebsamen, 28, Switzerland
Group 4 Course - DELE EXAM Preparation Course + Home Stay

Just before she left our school she wrote (original transcript):

Andrea Rebsamen with her Spanish teacher Janeth Martínez, current Academic Director

Llegué hablando como chilena y ahora me voy con dialecto panameño. - no, lamentablemente no, aunque me dieron tantas tareas para no terminar como chinguera ni caer en el chinquirito y todas estas vainas y vainitas.

Gracias Ericka por enseñarme la gramática, gracias Janeth por las clases de conversación (igual no voy a ser poeta) y gracias Carlos por la buena organización, por mandarme a la mejor casa en Boquete y por el bonito paseo a la cumbre del país!!

And after she received her D.E.L.E. results she wrote to us giving us the good news (extract from the original):

No sé si se acuerdan de mí, sino tienen que buscar las fotos de abril y ahí salgo con ustedes, la niña suiza del DELE. ;)

Yo sí me acuerdo muy bien de ustedes y desde hace tiempo que quiero escribirles, pero siempre hay tantas cosas que hacer. tendría que ir nuevamente a panamá para poder disfrutar del día sin tener que hacer nada, sin tener que pagar cuentas ni ir a hacer compras ni limpiar el departamento- nada ! qué ha sido rico. Pero bueno, la vida quotidiana también tiene valor y también lo estoy pasando bien aquí en suiza. Desde hace poco que cayó la primera nieve, lamentablemente las temperaturas han subido y al final lluvió ayer y la nieve ya desapareció nuevamente. Pero creo que el lunes neverá de nuevo. Siempre se ve bien lindo si el mundo está bajo una capa blanca, los árboles llenos de nieve, todo parece un poco un cuento de hadas. pero por general al día la hermosura desaparece por gran parte, las calles se mojan y solamente arriba en las colinas y las montañas la nieve sigue siendo linda.

Yo sí me acuerdo muy bien de ustedes y desde hace tiempo que quiero escribirles, pero siempre hay tantas cosas que hacer. tendría que ir nuevamente a panamá para poder disfrutar del día sin tener que hacer nada, sin tener que pagar cuentas ni ir a hacer compras ni limpiar el departamento- nada ! qué ha sido rico. Pero bueno, la vida quotidiana también tiene valor y también lo estoy pasando bien aquí en suiza. Desde hace poco que cayó la primera nieve, lamentablemente las temperaturas han subido y al final lluvió ayer y la nieve ya desapareció nuevamente. Pero creo que el lunes neverá de nuevo. Siempre se ve bien lindo si el mundo está bajo una capa blanca, los árboles llenos de nieve, todo parece un poco un cuento de hadas. pero por general al día la hermosura desaparece por gran parte, las calles se mojan y solamente arriba en las collinas y las montañas la nieve siegue siendo linda.

Bueno muchachas, espero mucho que estén contentas y de buena salud !! si tienen un minutito para contestar me pongo muy feliz, sino no importa, de todas formas les deseo un lindo mes de diciembre y fiestas navideñas tranquilas y lindas!

Abrazos de andrea

Andrea's teachers were Janeth and Erica and she lived with the González Espinosa family. She was the first student we ever prepared for the DELE course.
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Part Time Resident Crash Course Testimonials

Nancy Parsly, 77, Texas, USA
Beginner Crash Course for New Residents
Nancy Parsly with her teacher Lorena Pitt, current School Director, in one of the School's hallways

This class was the best and funniest class in all my life. The teacher is a wonderful person and a very smart one. I hope I can return again.

Esta clase fue la mejor clase y la más divertida en toda mi vida. La maestra es una persona muy agradable y muy inteligente. Espero que es posible retornar otra vez.

Dan Wiseman, 48, Colorado, USA
Beginner Crash Course for New Residents
Dan Wiseman, one of our first students, in the cafeteria

It gives me great pleasure to let you know of my Spanish language learning experience at Habla Ya Language Center. The course I took was the basic survival course and it lasted ten weeks. I took 2 hours per day for three days per week. My instructor was excellent. I was able to learn specific words for which I was trying to communicate. I am in the beginning phase of building a home here locally and needed specific words and phrases to help communicate better. I am from Colorado, having moved here last October. I believe it is imperative to learn the Spanish language well. And I would highly recommend Habla Ya Language Center as the best place to begin the process.

Learn more about our Crash Course for New Residents and why it is worth learning Spanish if you plan to retire in Panama.
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