More than learning a language

Ratings
Overall
9
Instruction: 9
Support: 9
Fun: 10
Housing: 10
Value: 9
Review

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.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed
2019