Venezuela is an unforgettable country. Incredibly rich in natural beauty, most of Venezuela is still waiting to be discovered. Its stunning landscapes, virgin rainforests, huge tepuis, gigantic waterfalls and its gorgeous Caribbean beaches offer unique wonders to the adventurous visitor. Venezuela’s cities do not lack excitements either. They are filled with thrilling salsa clubs, lively restaurants and cafes, all to be enjoyed in the unique ambiance of a historic moment, the unfolding of the Bolivarian Revolution. Discover the complex mystery that is Venezuela!
The Spanish spoken in Venezuela, known as Venezuelan Spanish, has its base on the dialect spoken in the Canary Islands. Sweet an easy to understand, it has also been influenced by native languages and the Yoruba, a West-African language – during the colonial period the Spaniards brought African slaves to work in the Caribbean plantations.
Volunteer project / internship with language classes
If you’re fluent in Spanish and you want to go to Venezuela to practice with native speakers, you could spend your time interning or volunteering as a way to practice your Spanish. Often, these programs will also include (optional) Spanish courses if you want to compliment the full immersion experience with class time as well.
In both cases you’ll get to talk to native speakers all day long, what will definitely take your Spanish skills to a new level. If that wasn’t already great, you’ll also be building your resume with international experience and helping to make a better world!
If you're learning Spanish from scratch or you are not confident in your language skills, a course at a language school in Venezuela is a better option. You'll have the chance to work on your Spanish with a native teacher, sharing the experience with other students with your same level.
Many language schools also offer culture immersion programs and extra-curricular activities that will help you to get to know Venezuela’s exciting culture and beautiful landscapes.
Where to Go
Most people who study Spanish abroad in Venezuela choose to stay in Caracas, the nation’s capital. Caracas is a city bustling with life and excitement. It’s located on a high plateau, separated from the sea by towering mountains, and has a pleasant weather year round. Skyscrapers rise next to decadent low-rise buildings in a chaotic amalgam of streets filled with traffic all day long.
From afar, Caracas looks like a mass of concrete run over by busy ants. However, Caracas’ northern edge limits with Ávila National Park, where miles of walking trails offer a way out of the city.
Caracas is a stirring metropolis, but those thinking about spending some time there should be prepared to live with constant noise and a level of dirt a bit over what most people in the West is used to. Caracas has a high level of crime, and is surrounded by shantytowns that aren’t always safe. If you are careful and follow people’s advice, you should have no problem. But you’ll have to be a bit more careful than you’d be in any big city.
If you want to experience a less overcrowded Venezuela, you have the option of going to Merida. This beautiful city is located in western Venezuela, right on the Andes. It is a small town compared to Caracas: in 2013, Merida had a bit more than 250,000 inhabitants and was a really safe town.
But don’t think Merida is a boring place. It is located between the Culata and Nevada National Parks, so there’s plenty to do and discover! For example, you can go skiing on winter and hiking on summer. Merida is also a University town so it is a big student center with an exciting cultural life and a nightlife worth experiencing.
If the mountains are not your thing and you wish to experience Venezuela’s Caribbean region, Isla Margarita is a great option. This island is located only a few miles away from the Venezuelan mainland and it is known worldwide for its heavenly beaches. It has an average temperature of 81f and several mountain ranges worth visiting. If you wish to feel like you’re on vacation while working in your Spanish... This is the place!
Do I need a visa?
Most nationalities won't need a visa prior to entering Venezuela and can enter on a basic tourist visa given on arrival. When entering the country, you will be given a visa valid for a year, during which you’ll be allowed to enter and leave the country at your convenience. The only restriction is that you can’t stay in the country more than 90 total days during all your visits. When arriving, you will be asked to present a passport in good condition and valid for at least 6 months from the date of your arrival to Venezuela.
You may be asked to show proof of accommodation, means to support yourself and onward departure. You’ll also be asked to pay an exit fee when leaving the country. Most airlines include this fee in their prices, but check to avoid problems. If you extend your stay, make sure to have legitimate Venezuelan documentation: don’t trust intermediaries, valid resident and work visas are only valid if the bearer has personally signed them at the Servicio Administrativo de Indentificacion, Migracion y Extraneria (SAIME) headquarters in Caracas.
According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the US Department of State, American citizens who believed had the appropriate documentation have been arrested and charged with possessing fraudulent documentation.
Is Venezuela an expensive country to travel and learn Spanish in?
The cost of living in Venezuela, though lower than in most Western countries, is not cheap.
An inexpensive meal will cost you the equivalent of $7 USD, and utility bills average around $55 USD a month for electricity, gas and water.
Internet connection is more costly and difficult to get.
Venezuela has a good transport system, which is subsidized by the government and thus inexpensive.
Are there any scholarships for learning Spanish in Venezuela?
Yes! LIVFund, The Learn, Intern, and Volunteer in Latin America gives $500 dollars to students in need who want to study, intern, or volunteer in Latin America.