Habla Ya Spanish Schools

Program Reviews

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Madeline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was looking into visiting Panama to take classes with Habla Ya, but then covid-19 made that impossible. But, Habla Ya quickly offered online classes via Zoom, and I am so glad I signed up. I initially signed up for one week of group classes (4 hours/day), but decided to sign up for four more weeks of private lessons (2 hours/day) because I enjoyed studying with my instructor, Kimberley, so much. Taking private classes with Kimberley was great because she tailored everything for my level and preferences. It was fun to work on conversational skills by talking about everything going on in Panama and the U.S. and the world. Talking to Kimberley and hearing about Panama made me sad to miss the opportunity to visit, but it was still a fun way to learn about the country while working on my Spanish. Habla Ya quickly adapted to online classes and was great with support and communication. I highly recommend signing up for classes while quarantined, it was always the highlight of my day.

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Kendra
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Our family spent 2 weeks studying Spanish at HablaYa in Boquete Panama. Our daughters had a private group class as well as my husband and I. The type of instruction, pace and personalization was superb. We had 2 different teachers and both were exceptional. Our teacher the second week was Alex and he was fun to work with and we learned so much! He planned excursions for some of our time together and that helped tremendously with learning how to be more conversational in Spanish. Highly recommend this experience in Boquete.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Stay in town and you can easily walk to many things. We rented a car and stayed in Alto Boquete which also worked out very well and was easy to access and park at HablaYa. We were able to go and hike and do tours on our own as well.
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Susan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My instructor Leidys Pitti, at the Boquete location, has excellent skill at knowing what conversational and grammar points students are intererested in and need to work on. She presents information and asks questions in engaging ways, so that students are always learning. We make a lot of progress in using the language, and are always interested...even when in class for longer periods of time. Leidys is a very friendly, caring and positive person...another reason why students look forward to her classes. Like many of them, I return every year to improve my skills.

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Libby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great school. Iraida was a terrific teacher-smart. Thorough. Thoughtful and patient. Used lots of techniques to solidify the lessons. Easy to get to. Wifi available to all students. Help with enjoyable outside activities. All the staff were very friendly and helpful. Good placement decisions based on both online and in person testing. Made opportunities to converse in Spanish outside class.
I didn’t really especially like Bocas but I thought the school did a great job. Better than some other programs I’ve taken.

What would you improve about this program?
Work by the local government to make Bocas a more enjoyable place to hang out in for older travelers.
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Elysa
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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 .
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Beth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

We just returned from a week in Boquete, Panama where we attended Spanish classes at Habla Ya. I was placed in a class with Leidys, and was very glad she was my instructor. Leidys was genuinely kind and interested in my progress. She asked me about my goals and designed the classes around them. She only spoke Spanish but spoke very clearly and fairly slowly. She encouraged me to speak by selecting topics I could easily relate to. Leidys taught grammar exclusively in Spanish which I really appreciated. She never made me feel inadequate when I made mistakes, but was always supportive and encouraging. She made the classes fun and interesting by introducing different activities. The book we used gave me opportunities to study nightly. I’m continuing to use the book now that I have returned home.

Boquete is a charming town surrounded by incredible natural beauty. We rented a scooter on our last day and rode into the mountains. The scenery was breathtaking. We wished we had had more time to explore the hiking trails.

Our host family provided us the opportunity to use our Spanish. We had a comfortable private bedroom and bathroom. The family was kind and encouraging, and welcoming.

My husband had a different teacher and also had a great experience. We agreed you can’t go wrong with Habla Ya. If you are able to get into Leidys’ class, consider yourself lucky! Muchas Gracias, Leidys!

What would you improve about this program?
My only concern was that my classroom was a little small.
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Ryan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent 6 weeks studying at Habla Ya in Bocas and Boquete and had an awesome experience at both locations. My teachers were Lineth and Leidys, and both were excellent. They did a great job of making the classes challenging and fun at the same time, and I learned a TON of Spanish. The facilities are comfortable, the Bocas location has air conditioning, which is essential (no AC required in Boquete, the weather is AMAZING).
When I arrived in Panama I knew only the most basic Spanish, and after 6 weeks I was having conversations with locals. The student body at Habla Ya comes from all over the world and I really enjoyed making new friends from around the globe.

If you take the classes seriously and try to speak with locals outside of class hours you will be amazed at how quickly you learn!

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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a great experience with Habla Ya in Bocas del Toro. My teacher, Iraida Howard, was incredibly patient and taught me so much during my 4 weeks in her class. I started at the introductory level and Iraida answered all of my questions and challenged me in a supportive and encouraging way. I would love to return to Habla Ya someday to continue working on my Spanish! My husband and I appreciated the variety of activities provided by Habla Ya, including the Cacao Farm tour, exploring the beautiful beaches around Bocas, and enjoying many meals with teachers and other students. We stayed at an AirBnB within walking distance of the school, which was convenient for us to walk to school everyday. Overall, Habla Ya provided an enriching and memorable experience!

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Luma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Nika
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent two weeks at Habla Ya, Bocas del Toro in October 2019 (October is considered low season).

First of all, I have to say that I only chose a language trip because I wanted to travel alone but easily get in contact with others.
As I am 29, in a stable job and only have a limited time of vacation, I did not picture myself in a noisy 12 bed dorm to get contacts.

Before the trip, I had quite a tough time at work, so I only knew that Bocas was a group of Islands and that the weather should be better there during rainy season than in Panama City (which is true).

Coming with little expectations, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the place and the friendlyness of the people. If you come by plane, make sure to get a window seat - the sight and especially the landing is a magical experience itself.
Bocas lives mainly from trourism, so everybody is super friendly and willing to help. Just be careful with prices. E.g. a taxi in the city area should not cost you more than 0.60$, a taxi boat to the neighbouring island about 1$.

From all over the place, you can have a beautiful sight on the sea and other islands. At the hostels Mamallena or Selinas terrasses are open for visitors and invite for a swim or a drink in the afternoon. Many students also stayed there as especially Mamallena is quite close to school. I stayed at the Palma Royale because, as mentioned, I wanted a rather quiet sleeping environment.

For me, what made my journey outstanding, where my teachers at Habla Ya. I have done courses in Spain and Mexico before but this wasn´t comparable. Every person I was in contact with, was keen to provide the best experience to the students and to get their Spanish to the next level. Furthermore, they also took part in evening activities, partied with us and tought us not only their language but their culture.

To me, this is outstanding because we tend to forget that for them, people change all the time. Every week, new people come and others go. And each and every time, they immediately connect with new arrivals and celebrate last evenings with leaving students. They all have friends and family but invest so much more than the teaching time they are paid for.

To summarize it: Bocas del Toro is a paradise. Yes, you can see beautiful beaches, dolphins, sloths and have the filthies friday party of your life. But more importantly, you should go there if you want to meet people that are honest, open and invite you to discover their real culture, far beyond happy hours, Caribbean style island bars and raggaeton parties at the beach.