Learning Spanish in Sucre, Me Gusta Language School
Updated: Jun 9
We had read that Sucre is an ideal spot to spend some time learning Spanish. Lessons here are affordable, the town is a nice base to spend a couple of weeks, and the Spanish dialect spoken here is clear and uses less colloquialisms so you will be better understood across South and Central America speaking ‘Bolivian Spanish’.
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Language school Vs private tutor
There are a couple of options when it comes to learning Spanish in Sucre and you can either arrange private tutor sessions or attend a Spanish classes in a language school. A few blogs we read mentioned that private tutors were advertised in cafés throughout Sucre, but we didn’t actually any of these when we were there, perhaps you will find them in hostel common rooms. Both options have their pros and cons and so here are some things to consider:
Cost – Working with a private tutor means there is a little negotiating power and you may be able to get a slightly better deal. All the money you pay will go directly to your tutor so you can be safe in the knowledge that the tutor is getting paid fairly (assuming the price is fair of course!).
More flexible structure - The tutor will work around your requested hours (availability permitting of course), scheduling additional hours when requested.
Previous student reviews - You can select a school that has a good reputation by using google and trip advisor reviews, along with other travellers blogs.
Less formal setting – They are generally happy to meet you in a café or where you are staying rather than in a classroom environment.
Cost – Can be a little more expensive as there will be more overheads to cover at a school. This is not to say there cannot be a little negotiation on cost here, especially if you are signing up for more than a weeks’ worth of lessons or there are multiple people in your party.
Previous student reviews - Opting for a private tutor you find advertised on a café or common room noticeboard, you may find it harder to find out what previous students thought about the lessons.
More formal classroom environment with set hours of learning - Some people learn better with this kind of structure, but others prefer the more flexible, casual approach.
A personal experience with Me Gusta Spanish School
We had planned to spend 3 weeks learning Spanish here but in the end we only had a week to spare. We preferred the idea of a structured lesson and whilst we were keen not to be in a large class, we liked the idea of potentially meeting other people in the same boat as us at the school.
Having looked at reviews online and taking a recommendation from a fellow traveller we settled on Me Gusta Spanish School. Fernando, the owner, agreed to the price of 1,225Bs per person for 7 days of lessons (28 hours) & free cooking class & “wallyball”. Our class size would be the 2 of us & one other guy, which we were happy with. We signed up for morning classes, 8.30am until 12.30am, with a 15 minute coffee break around 10.30am. We were provided with all the material we would need to take the classes; a text book, note pad and pens and assigned a teacher for the week. I believe if you are attending for multiple weeks you have a different teacher each week. I think the idea being that all the teachers will naturally have a different teaching style and so you have the opportunity to learn in different ways. They don’t change daily as some consistency is needed, especially when learning the basics.
As we were only there for one week we had the same teacher throughout but we found all the staff were very friendly. Our teacher was nice but maybe a little haphazard with his lesson structure; each day he would say we were going to cover certain things, or we were going to go to a local museum to practise certain vocabulary, but they never came to fruition!
Despite this, our Spanish did progress. I think we probably had unrealistic expectations of how much we would be able to learn in just one week, but we went from the very basics of being able to say hello and thank you, to understanding numbers, being able to understand basic phrases and questions and being able to read/understand a lot of vocabulary.
Me Gusta Homestay Option
The school offer a homestay option where you can stay with a Bolivian family. We decided against the homestay as after so long on the road, staying mainly in hostels, we wanted a bit of our own space. However, another girl we met decided to take advantage of this option and said it was really good & massively helped to improve her Spanish. We don’t regret our decision to stay where we did as we wanted to ‘play house’ for a bit, but if don’t need a break from communal living & want the best chance to improve your Spanish, a homestay is probably the route to go!
Cooking class with Me Gusta
The night itself was fun & the food was tasty but as far as a cooking class goes, I’d say it was a bit of a stretch to call it that. Realistically I chopped a few onions as my contribution & Becca chopped a pepper & helped with the washing up. We ate a chicken dish called Gallo en Chicha which was a kind of stew using fermented maize. It sounds a bit gross, but everyone enjoyed it. Sadly, we don’t have the foggiest idea of how to make it as the host did all the cooking & we didn’t learn any Spanish. A better description of the night would be a social event where you can chat to your fellow students and are expected to assist with dinner. The price for the cooking class should have been 50Bs (£6.25/$7.50), so if you are happy to pay that for a dinner with your classmates, great, but don’t expect to progress your Spanish!
Wallyball with Me Gusta
Although we did have this “wallyball” included, we actually opted out! We were really enjoying chilled evenings cooking for ourselves and drinking wine in our apartment & 4 hours a day lessons plus homework was surprisingly tiring! The guys that did go however thoroughly enjoyed it, but again said it was a social rather than a different way to learn Spanish.
As you’ve probably guessed from the name it’s similar to volleyball. Both teams play on a squash court with a volleyball & play against the wall instead of over a net. Why they don’t find somewhere to play real volleyball I’m not sure! But either way, everyone from the school that went to play, really enjoyed it. This activity should only be 15Bs so if you’re not tired, up for a bit of a laugh or maybe some overdue exercise, it’s worth going along.
We are happy we attended the classes at Me Gusta Spanish School and we did make some progress with our Spanish, however, one week is definitely not enough. We are hoping to do some more lessons soon and have heard Guatemala is another good place to learn so watch this space!