Spanish Immersion Program in Panama City, Panama

Video and Photos

female headshot
female headshot
Sloth in Panama
Sloth in Panama
students swimming
students swimming
Beach in Panama
Beach in Panama
view of mountains and forest in Panama
view of mountains and forest in Panama
students
students
Surfing in Panama
Surfing in Panama
students with a dog
students with a dog

About

Panama City is home to a rich diversity of cultures and inhabitants from all over the globe. Whether in pursuit of exquisitely renovated colonial neighborhoods, a flamboyant skyline bordered by the Panama Canal, the Pacific Ocean and dense tropical rainforest, or simply in search of sophisticated nightlife and unique cuisine experiences, Panama City is packed with art, culture, history and contemporary comforts of all kind.

An Official DELE Examination Center, Habla Ya is right in the heart of modern Panama City on the border of El Cangrejo and El Carmen, only a couple of blocks from the Subway in Via Argentina, surrounded by loads of bars, hotels, casinos, gyms and shops.

Following the tradition of Habla Ya Boquete and Bocas, Habla Ya Panama City has dozen of effective Spanish Courses customized to your learning needs that'll get you speaking Spanish in no time: Spanish for Business, Legal Spanish, Spanish for Travelers or a General Spanish Course with Group or Private Lessons

Summer Promo: get a FREE weekly tour when you book 5 weeks or more of Spanish classes!

Learn Spanish and have the vacation of your lifetime:
- Hiking
- Daily Yoga Lessons
- Surfing Courses
- PADI Scuba Diving License
- Rock Climbing
- Ziplining
- Whitewater River Rafting
- Horseback Riding
- Island Hoping
- Sailing
- Caving

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 23 reviews
  • Instruction 9.8
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.2
  • Value 9.1
Showing 1 - 8 of 23
Default avatar
Elysa
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Learned a lot of Spanish w/Simon

I'm really glad I did Habla Ya! The classes were very interactive and I learned a lot of Spanish very quickly. My teacher Simon was very hands-on and helped me increase my fluency at a great pace. He was very attentive and made class fun! Classes were well planned and incorporated different types of learning. We even visited a coffee shop. Although I was in a group class it felt very hands-on and productive.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To truly immerse and see the city and great sites like San Blas etc. stay for a week at minimum .
Default avatar
Luma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I recommend escola Habla Ya

Translated: It was a very good experience!

I developed the language very fast, prepared teachers, excellent methodology. Special thanks to teacher Ana, she's amazing, I learned a lot from her!
Cultural enrichment, socializing with people of different nationalities, learning about Panama, sightseeing.

I recommend the Habla Ya school to all those who seek to learn Spanish, it helped me a lot the classes I had.

I was new to the school and welcomed, helped me in many ways, in this difficult phase of adapting to a new country, improved my self-confidence to speak and solve everyday problems.

I also saw other students who only spoke English develop Spanish skills, the school opens its horizons for new challenges.

Default avatar
Chilenka
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

"Ladies beautiful Leydis" (Lee Fields)

I would absolutely recommend Habla Ya en Panama City. I was in the advanced class, given by Leidys Pattí. She is a very good teacher and really nice. I was already able to read, write and speak Spanish but I always had difficulties with speaking out loud. After just 2 classes of Leidys Pattí I felt secure enough to speak up. She makes you feel really comfortable with Spanish. The lessons were fun and very interactive. She explained the rules of subjunctive, a form I already had in school. In school I wasn't able to use it well. But with Leidys Pattí it was very simple all of a sudden.

Every thing was very clear and easy to follow. Thank you Leidys Pattí for this great experience. Habla Ya is modern school and the people are all very nice. Thank you all!

What was your funniest moment?
Our teacher is called Leidys and we sang the song from Lee Fields and the Expressions.
Default avatar
Tiffany
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Habla Ya!

I had an awesome experience with Habla Ya in Panama, City. My teacher Stephany Vargas was THE BEST Spanish instructor I have ever had! She was very patient and encouraged me to not be afraid to make mistakes while learning to speak Spanish. In just 2 short weeks my Spanish improved tremendously. I highly recommend combining the individual lessons with the group lessons. The individual session was helpful because it gave me one-on-one practice and tutoring on areas in which I needed more support. The group sessions are designed to help you improve conversationally and allowed you to connect with other people in your same level. We were also able to go tour the area and visited a few famous landmarks. Being immersed in an all spanish environment really pushes you to use the language.

Default avatar
H
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

for students researching your options; I recommend Habla Ya Panama City

[1] Cost – tuition for the Spanish lessons at Habla Ya will appear reasonable in comparison to most European or North American countrys' standards, but know that for Panamanians, it is on the pricey side. An average monthly rent for one person in Panama City ranges widely from USD$200-700. The school is located in a safe neighborhood. There is air-conditioned classrooms, clean facility and dependable/wonderful front desk staff in a relatively newer building. One facility complaint I would make is the inconsistent wi-fi connection for the students. It is usable when in the lobby area but in the classrooms, it is not dependable. By no means, Habla Ya’s facility is not in a bad shape; in fact, I would rate it B+. The followings are suggestions given in hopes for the school’s continuous success. Given the high-end tuition, I hope that the school’s decision-makers consider upgrading the school’s wifi and its IT equipment. In my opinion, any school must keep up with the technology changes. Students no longer use the ‘book’ dictionaries; we use the dictionary app on our phones that requires wi-fi access. Teachers can enhance our learning experience by utilizing videos and other interactive applications but I think outdated laptops and weak wifi hold them back. The student lobby can use some comfy chairs/sofas. The lobby isn’t in bad condition but do not let “the lack of amenities” or costly tuition be the reason for students to leave and switch. Keep up with the neighboring competitions by maintaining a student friendly lounge and equip the school with technologically enhanced educational tools [strong wi-fi in the classrooms, faster laptops to play videos/musics for audio/visual teaching aids]

[2] Room & Board – this is handled separately by the front desk team prior to your arrivals. At first, I was randomly placed with a host family that didn’t fit my ultimate need. I needed to be with a family who would be around during the meal times so that I have opportunities to mingle/speak. Once I spoke up about my needs, changes were made almost immediately and I spent 3 wonderful weeks with an awesome host family. In hindsight, I wish that I had shared my expectation up front; perhaps, I could have avoided the unnecessary stress in the first week. Other options besides host family exist: Panama House (hostel plus hotel w/restaurant) is right across the street. Best western and mainstream hotels are near by. You can also search extended-stay or apartments with flat-mates independently. Let the front desk staff help you navigate through the available room&board options. They will know which area is safe, close to school, affordable…etc. They are a great resource and help with planning for afternoon/morning/or weekend activities. **If you want to be with a host family for the purpose of learning the language, then I would recommend a family with kids, more people or a host parent who is home most of the time. Panamanians work long hours and if you are paired with someone who is not at home much; you may be better off by staying at a hostel or B&B places instead. You will be forced to go out and buy food…in return, learn some Spanish during the process.

[3] Group class vs. Private Lessons: Habla Ya courses are organized in accordance with DELE / CEFR: A1-2, B1-2 and C1-2. I think their teaching material structure is helpful in estimating one's level and time needed to progress. I started at the level A1 and ended in A2. I began with a group class but switched to private lessons for 20 hours per week to address my needs better. With that said, there is a large difference in the group class and private one-on-one. Obviously one-on-one is much easier to meet the student’s needs; for instance, if student needs to work on speaking more than reading. The class can be designed to dedicate more time for such activity. Such flexibility is not present in group classes; there are certain objectives the teacher must go over for each group class. I spent 3/4th of my time learning in private mode. I liked the flexibility and the focus on improving my deficits. I could learn faster. As for Habla Ya Panama teachers whom I have interacted, (Yarixell, Juan and Jesus) they all have an excellent mastery of the Spanish language. Some teaching methods are utilized by all teachers: using the visual aids--white board, noting new vocabulary list when prompted, starting the class with daily course objectives. Regularly, the class is designed so that students are given opportunities to read, speak and converse in class. This occurs in both group and private classes. Teachers do have slightly different teaching styles but I actually enjoyed encountering the variety; as I found myself preferring one learning style over another. Eventually, we figured out a few styles that worked for me the best and used them in class. To share my preference, I liked reading a story, learning new vocabularies from the story, using workbook to apply the grammar rules learned. The workbook exercises became my way of confirming my deficits & knowledge. Based on my performance on the exercises, I could gage on what to review after class. I was actually very impressed by how my teachers figured out the best way for me to learn. Each teacher monitors the effectiveness of their teaching, documents daily/weekly progress of each student and look for student feedbacks. The teachers work as a team and consult with one another in regards to: what teaching methods to use [i.e. videos, index cards, interactive games, conversations..etc], assessments of weak & strong points of the student and to plan for the subsequent lesson plans. I really appreciated their attention to details, continuous notes on my progressing skills, resourcefulness with teaching materials [visual, audio, other interactive aids] and their teamwork. I went through many years in school but I never encountered such a successful collaboration by a group of teachers, until now. I think Habla Ya Panama City teachers are remarkable. They come from different backgrounds but with a common goal of teaching Spanish to non-spanish speakers. They are very good at what they do. What I likely most about them is their genuine wish for their students learn and succeed. They are all hard-working individuals who takes their profession seriously. I was lucky to have met this group of great teachers. When not teaching, they work on lesson plans or prepare for class. Of note, the textbooks are uniform throughout the 3 locations [panama city, boca de toro, and Chiriqui]. Both group and private classes are offered in all locations. Based on hearsays among the students, I felt that the school in Panama City is slightly more hard-core in academics than the other sites. There are more natural distractions to explore in other sites. I really cannot comment on Boca de Toro or Chiquiri.

[4] Yarixell is an awesome teacher. Not only did I learn Spanish from her, I also picked up a few teaching skills from her classes. She is calm, patient and understands the needs of a student very well. I can tell that she has taught a diverse set of students with no spanish knowledge to advanced levels. I never felt hurried, bored, or undervalued during her class. Her classes are designed so that each part has its purpose and all parts are equally important: with videos, interactive games, writing, reading...and with a very clear set of directions and daily objectives. She puts in time planning for her classes and her classes are well thought out. When she isn’t teaching, I imagine her sitting at a desk working on a lesson plan or consulting on a student with her colleagues. She is a natural born teacher in my opinion. I want to thank her for being so patient with me. Thank you. Thank you. She is a keeper and deserves a large raise!
What makes her stand out from other teachers is this: when she makes an important teaching point, there is an emphasis, either through a moment of silence, or by calling out the name of the student to gain the attention from the student. Then, the teaching point is explained in a clear manner. She uses Spanish words that the student already knows with least amount of words as possible. So that the student is not wondering about a meaning of a new word instead of learning the main teaching point. If not well received by the student, she goes further by writing out the complete teaching message once again on the board, and by providing a solid example. This really helped me because at times, I may not be able to understand everything just by hearing. I also liked her example that came with it; I can re-enforce the concept multiple times later by reviewing the example. This teaching technique works 100%. Knowing when to utilize this technique for which teaching point would distinguish an awesome teacher from a mediocre teacher. I do hope that this technique be considered by all teachers; especially to the beginner’s level group classes.

[5] Juan is also an excellent teacher. He is calm, nice and patient as well. He enjoys teaching the grammar and knows a lot about it. He is quite good at evaluating a student’s level of Spanish. This helps determine when to introduce new topics, in appropriate ways where the learner feels neither overwhelmed nor under-challenged. He took a part in challenging me by introducing new aspects of the language one step at a time...based on my progress. When I felt comfortable with the present tense, he would start to speak in past tense. This encouraged me to look up the unknowns and ask questions. In doing so, I learned new materials naturally and actively. This made learning Spanish fun for me. He is a good listener, intelligent and a natural born thinker. One would end up having random conversations about politics, education, literature/history or culture. It was a great way to speak the language, and also to learn about the Panama.

[6] Jesus is another a great teacher. Of course, he also is very patient with us. He has a pleasant and outgoing personality and is interested in learning about other cultures. We often discussed Korean food and culture, which became a nice way for me to speak Spanish. He is natural at making the students feel comfortable, less self-conscientious thereby allowing students to speak Spanish naturally. His classes are always full of energy, pleasant atmosphere and interactive. He genuinely enjoys teaching Spanish. He will be well received by younger students of primary & secondary schools. He prepares for his lessons and I really appreciated his readiness. Once he is ready to teach, I know that I will definitely learn something worthwhile. He is actually very good at explaining hard-to-grasp materials. Clear cut answers are provided so that I do not get confused later on. I really liked this part. This made my Spanish learning easy and I could move on to the next topic without any hesitation.

What would you improve about this program?
I would not recommend picking out the confused students and repeatedly ask if the student understands…that can be stressful.
I do not advise doubling up on the number of sentences to explain a concept. The truth is “less is more”.
Use a different teaching method instead: switch from audio(verbal) to visual aid (write on the board), or show a short video or picture explaining the same concept, or have student work on the workbook exercises to apply what is being taught.
Communicate slowly as if you are only going to say the instruction once, using words students know and writing out the sentence.
Slowing down can actually help you save time because you may not need to repeat your instructions over and over again.
Embrace the silence and allow students to catch up or digest mentally on what you just went over.
Take a deep breath yourself!
Once a common ground is established, it is much easier for students to follow. The class pace will pick up its speed once everyone is on the same page.
Default avatar
steffannie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Habla Ya Spanish Immersion

I completed intensive Spanish immersion classes with Habla Ya over 1-week. My instructors were Yesus and Ana. I learned a lot over 4 days, was able to explore the city (with my instructors) which gave me opportunitities to speak in a natural environment. I love Panama now, and throughly enjoyed working with Yesus and Ana at Habla Ya. I would recommend this program to others who prefer learning in an open and flexible environment.

What would you improve about this program?
Awesome program! Defined going back.
Default avatar
Will
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Memorable Experience

My 2 weeks at Habla Ya in Panama City included a wonderful language learning experience as well as many fun excursions. I had private lessons with Esther for 4 hours each day. She was a great teacher and helped me to increase my language skills, especially my vocabulary. The front desk staff were warm and welcoming and helped me to plan tours to the Panama Canal, San Blas Islands, and Monkey Island. I would definitely return to Habla Ya.

Andrea
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spanish classes with Leidys

I first met Leidys during my time at Habla Ya in Boquete. She's absolutely lovely - so I was very excited to hear that she was going to teach my online classes.
Leidys is a very professional teacher who focuses on the aspects that are most helpful to me. I particularly asked her for listening and speaking practice and there has not been a moment where she wouldn't come up with great topics to work on. She makes sure to always have advice how to avoid common mistakes and how to specifically improve my Spanish. I'm very happy to have her as a teacher and can definitely recommend her as a teacher.