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Safety and “peace and quiet” are two of the main reasons travellers come to Montevideo to study Spanish, according to Soledad, the language director at Academia Uruguay.

The Academia is a small language school in the Old City right on the colonial square. It’s in a colonial-style building with high ceilings and wrought iron and marble staircases. They teach Spanish around 400 students from all over the world every year.

The students are really diverse. People who are getting prepared for a big trip around Latin America and want to start out somewhere manageable. Retired folks who have moved to Uruguay from the US or Europe. Students studying for university credits back home. The children of Uruguayans who fled the country during the dictatorship and are now back to discover their roots. Missionaries stationed in Uruguay for a couple of years.

Learning Spanish in Montevideo - Academia Uruguay
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A typical Spanish language study week at the Academia

Group courses are for one week minimum, twenty hours per week. Classes are in two shifts, either four hours in the morning or in the afternoon, from 9.30am or 2pm.

Individual classes are also available.

Integration into Montevideo life

Besides the twenty hours of classes three extra-curriculum activities every week are included at no extra cost.

The activities are different each week and led by a guide or language teacher, depending on what’s been chosen.

The week I visited the Academia, students went by bus to the Prado, one of Montevideo’s most enigmatic neighbourhoods, made a visit to the top of the iconic Palacio Salvo and hung out at a tango bar.

Classes by skype

For people who want to prepare beforehand, or continue once they’ve gone back home, hourly Spanish classes are available on skype.

Find out more about Academia Uruguay

You can visit their website which includes rates which is a pleasant surprise as most Uruguayan businesses do not publish their prices online.  There is even a little calculator to work out the total cost of your stay. And they As they can help arrange homestays and rentals.

If you write to them via the Guru’Guay website, when you enroll you’ll get a free private skype lesson post-course worth 29 USD. Very handy to take once you are back home or out travelling.

Photos: Guru’Guay

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