Yanapuma Foundation and Spanish School

Yanapuma Spanish School

Why choose Yanapuma Spanish School?

Yanapuma Foundation and Spanish School is an Ecuadorian non-profit NGO, offering Spanish classes, travel plans and volunteering opportunities all around Ecuador and on the Galapagos Islands. Our Spanish school and travel agency provides core funding for our work as a foundation so your presence as a student or volunteer helps us to fulfill our mission.
We have two Spanish schools - one in cosmopolitan capital city, Quito, and the other in historic and tranquil Cuenca. We offer a wide range of programs in addition to regular Spanish classes - cultural programs, volunteering and Spanish, medical Spanish, and a variety of "Study and Travel" programs that allow you to explore different parts of the country with a teacher.
Our travel agency can help you to book Galapagos and Amazon tours and make other travel arrangements for you.



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Yes, I recommend this program

Great volunteering and spanish in quito

I volunteered for a month in Quito with Yanapuma and also took a spanish course. I knew little when I started which was a bit frustrating when volunteering but I learned fast thanks to the great teachers there. I loved the volunteering with kids with special needs and aim to go back there sometime when I can again. Gaby was great as volunteer organizer and was always interested in my experience. It was a totally neat time in Quito and I was happy my spanish got much better while I was there. I definitely recommend Yanapuma for spanish and volunteering.
Quito is a fun city too, maybe a bit dirty with the buses spewing black smoke, but there is lots to do and at the school there are things you can sign up for with other students, even for weekend excursions out of the city. There is a free salsa class each week too.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent Spanish immersion program

I spent two weeks in Quito, Ecuador and one week in Cuenca, Ecuador in Yanapuma cultural immersion program. Spanish lessons in the morning and visiting cultural/historical sites in the afternoon with a guide from the school. I stayed with a family in each city arranged through the school who provided room/private bath, breakfast, and dinner. My Spanish improved immensely and I learned so much more about Quito and Cuenca through the guides then I would have on my own. Very reasonably priced. The school is very good about tailoring the instruction to your level and needs. It was a pleasure meeting folks from around the world who were also taking lessons.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Yanapuma Spanish Schools

I visited both Spanish schools in Quito and Cuenca during my stay in Ecuador. Both schools have very friendly and helpful staff. The study environment is lovely and very cosy.
It is possible to take classes in small groups, private classes or follow courses together with family or friends.
The teachers use different kinds of study materials as written & oral exercises, texts, videos and even music… In that way you learn a lot about the Ecuadorian culture as well. I learned about the different Ecuadorian traditions and holidays. Moreover I learned about local products and how traditional dishes are made.
The teachers are very patient and helpful and adapt their courses a little to what you need or like to learn the most.
The staff at the schools also help with planning activities and excursions during the weekend or can help planning a further trip.
Furthermore both schools are located in the historical centre of the cities Quito and Cuenca and are very easy to reach.
I had such a great experience at the Yanapuma Spanish School and I would highly recommend it to solo travellers, couples, groups of friends and families.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Great teaching Spanish!

I took 4 weeks of classes, already speaking a little Spanish. The first week there were two of us in the class and then another two joined for two weeks. Our teacher had us speaking from the start so we quickly got over feeling embarasses about making mistakes. It made us laugh a lot, but we really learned to communicate so it worked. The school is in a beautiful building place in the historic part of Quito with lots of traditional life around. I recommend Yanapuma to anyone who want to learn to speak and understand Spanish in a short time. Quito was really interesting too as a city to spend time in and at weekends I could take excursions to places outside the city.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering and Spanish classes in Cuenca

I spent 4 weeks studying with Yanapuma in Cuenca in February and stayed with a host family provided by them. My experience overall was wonderful. The staff were very attentive and the teaching style was perfect for me. My teacher used different materials including laptop with videos in short sequences to explore different aspects of the culture of Ecuador so I really appreciated learning not only Spanish but much about Ecuador in general. Classes were never boring. I volunteered in a project with the children of some of the indigenous recylcers who comb through the rubbish looking for paper, plastics and other materials they can recover. The experience was very gratifying and I wish I could have contributed more. Yanapuma seems to do a lot of good work in addition to the Spanish classes, so definitely a good place to learn Spanish!


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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Maria Cabrera

Job Title
Maria holds a Bachelor's degree in tourism and has worked in travel agencies and as a Spanish teacher before becoming a co-founder of Yanapuma Foundation and Spanish School. Her role as administrator is fundamental in keeping the organization focused on its mission.
Maria Cabrera

What is your favorite travel memory?

There are so many to choose from! I think it has to be visiting my uncle, who was working in China and getting to experience such a different culture and way of life. Although it is a long way to get there, it was worth it and especially good to be with someone who knew much more than me about life there and could explain so much that I would have otherwise missed.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have had to learn a lot about many different aspects of managing a business. From answering emails of the first inquiries to making reservations and following up on all the details, there are many places that something can go wrong. So I have had to learn about all these different areas and put processes in place to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

A student from Holland once said that she was sitting on a train before coming to Ecuador, reading a guide book for the country. A girl sitting opposite her noticed what she was reading and said that she was also going soon to Ecuador. When she asked what she was going to be doing, she was astonished to be told that she was also going to be attending Yanapuma Spanish School!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

One of our Galapagos island-hopping tours for sure. The Galapagos is such a unique environment and it is so incredible to be somewhere where the animals show no fear of us humans. I especially like snorkeling and seeing the corals and all the bright fish that swim about there as well as the sharks and other large creatures.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We are committed to our social and ecological mission of helping indigenous communities to develop sustainably. This gives much more meaning to what we are doing, and it gives us the chance to support so many people who are working to improve their living situation. We learn a lot from them too, so we all gain from the experience.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Attention to detail; I think it is the most important thing.

We follow through with everything to make sure that all the details get taken care of. And we make ourselves available for our students and volunteers so that we can help them if they are in a difficult situation. We have never had any really serious problems, but there are often situations that for us are quick to resolve but the volunteer may not know what to do.

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