Advanced Spanish Courses in South America for Aspiring Translator
Thread poster: Graham Perra

Graham Perra
Local time: 22:23
English to French
+ ...
Jun 8, 2016


I am a 24 year-old Canadian (mother tongue English with perfect fluency in French) looking for advice on where I could study Spanish in South America in order to achieve a level of fluency high enough to study translation from Spanish to English. I already have a bachelor's degree in international studies, did half of my law degree before droping out, and would evenutally like to enroll in a graduate program in translation (I'm interested in legal translation). However, I want to perfect my Spanish skills first.

I already speak Spanish fluently, as I took courses in university, and did a 3-month internship in Mexico City. What I am looking for is an advanced Spanish language program where I could perfect my grammar and vocabulary. I would be interested in a program of around 4 to 8 months.

As for countries of interest, I have an eye on Colombia, but am also interested in Ecuador, Chile and Argentina.

I would greatly appreciate any advice you could offer me.


Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:23
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Argentina Jun 8, 2016

I'm no expert, but a few days ago I asked a Spanish friend where the best Spanish is spoken and he replied "Argentina".


Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Come to Argentina! Jun 8, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

I'm no expert, but a few days ago I asked a Spanish friend where the best Spanish is spoken and he replied "Argentina".



Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:23
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Think about a private tutor, rather than a class - but proceed cautiously Jun 8, 2016

I would recommend steering clear of any group classes. Why? Because the composition of "advanced" classes at the language institutes that proliferate in Latin American countries (and Spain, for that matter) tend to be dependent on the students enrolled at that time. Thus, rather than being in a class with other students more or less at your level, you may find yourself lumped together with persons markedly below your level, but who were classified into the highest group simply because the net used for such classification is particularly broad.

I would therefore be very wary of any "class." And if you do go this route, do not commit yourself to more than one month initially.

Having a private tutor will enable a tailoring of a program to fit your particular needs. Concomitantly, such an arrangement also gives you the freedom to simply veto particular exercises that you do not find useful.

Of course, you need to make sure that a given tutor is a good fit for you, so my caveat regarding classes applies here also (i.e., don't commit yourself to - and do not pay for - more than one month initially). You will also want to make sure that the person in question is responsible and reliable (i.e., shows up for classes, spends class time in a useful way, gives you timely feedback regarding your exercises, etc.).

I would further suggest that, whether you go the route of classes or a private tutor, you think mostly in terms of your quest to take your Spanish to the next level as falling squarely upon your shoulders. Too many people seem to think that sitting through a class, or even getting some internal certificate qualifying one as "advanced" is somehow meaningful in and of itself.

Along these lines, I would not recommend more than 7-10 class hours per week, under the assumption that you will be spending at least 2 hours of your own time studying the content of what you've learned in class (including doing the homework assignments) for each hour of class time.

The countries where I received such private tutoring are Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. You should be able to negotiate a price of between US$10 and US$15 per hour for such an arrangement. The more you pay in advance, the more favorable the arrangement you are likely to get. But again, I advise an initial trial period to make sure that the tutor is a good fit for you.

If you are interested, I can provide you the name of a tutor I worked with in Bogota, Colombia (a native Spanish speaker who is fluent in French).

Finally, you might find it useful to look into taking the DELE C-2 exam at the end of your period of study. This would give you a concrete and measurable goal to work toward.


Paulette Romero  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
Colombia... Jun 8, 2016

I live in Medellin, Colombia so I'm going to suggest two universities here. I would suggest EAFIT or Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana - UPB. They both have Spanish language courses although I don't know how advanced you need your course to be. I do agree with another user who said you might be better off looking for a private teacher which you can also find in Medellin. As a tourist you can get a 3 month visa + a 3 month extension. For a student visa I think your class has to be longer than 6 months but don't quote me on that. Hope that helps.


Graham Perra
Local time: 22:23
English to French
+ ...
Advanced Spanish Courses in South America for Aspiring Translator Jun 9, 2016

Thank you for your replies everyone.

I will think about private tutoring. I definitely see the advantage.
I was however looking to see if anyone knew of a really well renowned school or university program that would be suited for me. I want to ensure that I receive the best quality instruction and also have a valuable experience to put on my résumé for the future.

Off the bat, would anyone have any insight on what types of part-time jobs I could do abroad to earn money (even online jobs). I have a BA in international relations, I did half of my law degree, and have been working as a secretary in am accounting firm for a year. I also have NGO experience in Mexico, DF.

Any insight or guidance would be really appreciated. I've been researching online, and it all seems more overwhelming than anything else. . Thanks!


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