Frequently Asked Questions
Toucan Spanish was the original Spanish language school in Medellin. From humble beginnings we can now boast the largest Spanish school in Colombia with 14 modern classrooms and 50 – 85 students on a weekly basis. We’ve recently launched our Cartagena school and we have teachers covering the Bogota metropolitan area. Toucan Spanish provides professional Spanish classes that are both practical & useful from day one using our own in-house developed curriculum. To complement classes and promote Spanish immersion we organize more cultural and social activities than any other school.
When do classes start?
Classes start every Monday every week of the year. Our curriculum is broken down into 1 week components so that you can start any Monday and finish whenever you want. If Monday is a public holiday the school is closed and we’ll create an external activity which forms part of of the week’s classes.
What level are the classes?
We run classes at all levels, from total beginner to upper intermediate. As the largest Spanish school in Colombia our Medellin Headquarters has the most levels on a weekly basis. We recommend advanced level students choose private classes for more personalized lessons.
How will I know what level I’ll be in?
If you’re a total beginner you’ll start in the beginners classes. Otherwise if you have studied some Spanish before then you need to complete a level placement test, we’ll send you the link to complete it during the booking process. Depending on your results, we may also ask you for a short conversation to assess your listening and speaking skills. This can be done by Skype or at the school. By determining everyone’s level in advance we can ensure all the classes start smoothly on Mondays and why we have the reputation of being the most organized Spanish school in South America.
When can I take the Skype Interview?
The Academic Coordinator will make the interviews during the week, usually from 9am to 12 and 2 to 4pm Colombian time. Ask us to arrange an appointment or send a message via Skype and we’ll let you know if we can make the interview immediately.
What’s better group or private classes?
It’s really a personal choice. Some people prefer the social aspect of a group class whilst others prefer to learn at their own pace with more personal attention. Many students start with group classes and then change to private classes. If you’re not sure we recommend you start with group classes, you can always change later on, after the completion of any week. Please note that if you decide to change from group to private classes you will forfeit any discount given for group classes.
What happens if there is not enough students for my level?
Group Classes go ahead with 3 students or more. If you booked group classes and are the only student that week you will be offered private classes at half the number of hours, ie 10 hours instead of 20. If there are two students you’ll be offered a private closed group of 15 hours. In all options you will still cover the same course content.
Do I need to buy a book or any materials for class?
The last thing you need is a heavy Spanish grammar book to carry in your luggage. That’s why we’ve developed our own Toucan Spanish curriculum. You’ll also be given handouts in the class. All you need to bring to class is a pen and paper.
Where is the School located?
You’ll find the address and a map on the Visit Us page.
What else is included?
At Toucan Spanish in Medellin (and coming soon to Cartagena) we organise free activities for every day of the week. Usually there is welcome lunch, salsa classes, walking tour, tropical fruit tastings, language exchanges and volunteering, usually all free. The schedule varies from week to week. We’ll send the activities schedule every Friday along with the class schedule. We’ll also visit every class on Monday morning to explain the week’s events. Activities are generally scheduled in the afternoon and may conflict with private class schedules. If you particularly want to attend these activities we recommend you choose group lessons.
Group classes generally have one class external to the school in order to promote Spanish immersion and allow students to practice Spanish in real environments.
Does the school have wifi or computers I can use?
The school has free 30Mb wifi. We also have a couple of spare laptops, available only during the afternoon, please ask at reception.
How do I pay?
You can pay by credit card or in cash (Colombian Pesos only). If you pay by credit card at the school there is a 5% credit card processing fee. If you pay by credit card via Payulatam prior to arriving at the school there is no processing fee, ask us for the link.
Payment secures your classes. We’ll always do out best to schedule classes however priority will always be given to those students who have prepaid.
Can I pay on a weekly basis?
Yes you can however remember we give discounts for those people who book more than 1 week of group classes.
Do you offer discounts?
We only give discounts as shown on the Pricing page. We charge a credit card fee of 5% at the school, you may avoid this fee by paying online, before you arrive.
Is it safe to making payment online?
We use Payulatam to process online payments, they are the largest company to offer online payment services for Colombian businesses. We recommend you may want to phone your bank and tell them that you are paying for services in Colombia so that they don’t block the transaction.
Do you offer a long term visa to stay in Colombia?
We don’t at this stage however it’s something that we’re looking into. If you want to stay in Medellin for more than six months we recommend you review example 3 on this article about Colombian Tourist Visas.
What can I do tourism wise whilst there?
At Toucan Café we sell Medellin’s official guide book which lists all the major tourist attractions, museums, parks, shopping malls etc (alot more thorough than the Lonely Planet guidebook) enough to keep you busy for your entire stay. If you’re looking for local tips and tricks then check out our website MedellinColombia.co. Download our Medellin Walking Map and off you go. In Cartagena there’s a great website www.ticartagena.com.
Where can I stay?
In Medellin the most popular option with our students is the Homestay program where you have the opportunity to stay with a Host family. The families live less than 30 minutes commute and 2 meals are provided as well as wifi and washing. If you’re staying long term (more than one month) and prefer to stay in a shared apartment with other students then www.medellinroomrentals.com have a number of excellent options. If you prefer a hostel ask at reception for a map which lists them all. In Cartagena we have a few contacts for rentals that we will share during the booking process.
Do you have Airport pick up?
From the airport to central Medellin it is a scenic 45 minute drive. At the airport are plenty of taxis and the fee to El Poblado is a set rate of 65,000COP, we recommend you check the rate before entering the taxi. Airport taxis are regulated and so it’s very safe to take a taxi from the airport, although they do tend to drive pretty fast. In Cartagena the airport is much closer and the fare is about 13,300 COP to the centro historico. Uber is technically illegal in Colombia however it is an option.
Is Colombia Safe?
With the peace process in place the violent history of conflict in Colombia has been removed and Colombian is now one of the most exciting new destinations for tourism in South America.
If you have any questions you can email us at [email protected] or why not add us on Skype and we can have a brief chat and answer all your questions at the one time.
All bookings are subject to our Terms & Conditions.