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With the growth of the Spanish-speaking population, particularly in the United States, many more students are seeking to study Spanish and find the best locations for studying Spanish abroad. Britanny VanderBeek has enjoyed studying Spanish in Spain and Latin America, utilizing her Spanish in Costa Rica, Argentina, Mexico and in some of the Caribbean islands. Through her travels and study experiences, she has lots of advice and recommendations for countries and cities to study Spanish where you will find cheap affordable courses, low living costs and fantastic tuition.
Are you researching language schools and destinations? If you are looking to learn Spanish on a budget some countries offer better value than other and if you want to not break the bank it is important to make the right decision. There are towns and cities in Spain and Latin America which have lots of excellent Spanish schools for international students and choose the right one can be a tough decision. Whilst most people might consider big cities like Madrid and Barcelona or countries like Mexico and Argentina as the most iconic and best places to study Spanish, it is important to take into consideration other factors like living and course costs, entertainment, lifestyle and experiences available.
If you are a student interested in studying in Spain, don’t be afraid to venture to towns and cities you might not have even heard of before. Usually the lesser known smaller destinations usually have cheaper tuition costs and also more affordable living standards. Also something to consider is that people in each location has a different Spanish accent. This is especially the case in South America where dialects and accents can vary dramatically from country to country. Generally, locals in Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador have the clearest accents to understand and talk relatively slow compared to other places like Peru and Argentina.
- Salamanca, Spain: Salamancan inhabitants are known to speak “pure” Spanish. This will give you the opportunity to learn traditional Spanish, less influenced by tourism and general European culture than other cities in Spain, such as Madrid and Barcelona. Salamanca is the home of the University of Salamanca, which is the oldest university in Europe. It was declared the World Heritage City by UNESCO in 2002 as a European City of Culture. Everywhere you walk, you will find music, art, and dance performances. It is also known to be a City of Festivals, including Dia de los Reyes Magos, Semana Santa, Corpus Christi, and Feria de Salamanca. Check out my One World 365 post, Top Reasons to Study Abroad in Salamanca, Spain, to learn more!
- Costa Rica: Throughout Costa Rica, you will find some of the best natural scenery in Latin America, including La Fortuna, Arenal, and the Monteverde cloud forest. The hospitable culture of Costa Rica will make it easy for you to practice Spanish and learn about all that Costa Rica offers. Check out my inspirNational post, Living La Pura Vida, to learn more about the Costa Rican lifestyle!
- Santiago, Chile: Santiago places you in the middle of some of the longest stretches of pristine wilderness in the world, including Patagonia, the Atacama desert, and the glaciers of Tierra del Fuego. You will be able to learn Spanish while experiencing some of the most exciting outdoor adventures in the world. For those of you hoping to conduct business in Spanish, Santiago is the perfect place to be. Santiago is one of the fastest growing business capitals in South America, encouraging business people throughout the world to work and live there. In addition, Chileans are very friendly and interested to help others learn Spanish. They also are proud of their indigenous heritage, as reflected by some of the indigenous words used in their Spanish vocabulary.
- Guatemala: Guatemala is one of the cheapest places in the world to book a Spanish language courses in Central America and is also one of the most popular. You can find courses as low as $150 USD for a week of intensive Spanish classes including a full home stay. Guatemala is also very safe despite what you might think and there are some great places to book a course including Antigua and the villages surrounding the incredible Lake Atitlan.
- Nicaragua: Still relatively undiscovered, Nicaragua is a fantastic country to study Spanish if you are looking for an authentic experience which is a far less touristy than other countries in the region. Nicaragua is also one of the best value destinations in terms of course and living costs whilst there are also some of the most beautiful sandy beaches in the continent here – all free to visit.
- Tenerife: Would you like to learn Spanish in Spain whilst experience spectacular surroundings? Consider choosing Tenerife which has a warm climate all year round and is one of the cheapest Spanish islands to visit in terms of the whole package – flights, accommodation and courses. There are lots of Spanish schools on the island offering a range of different courses which are generally a lot cheaper than on the mainland. A 2 week beginners course with 10-20 classes per week and housing will cost around €280. All the main activities in Tenerife are free too like visiting the beach whilst public transport is also very affordable and you will get lots of free time to explore this spectacular island in the your spare.
- Alicante: Studying Spanish in Spain doesn’t have to be expensive, you just need to choose the right location. Alicante is another one of our top choices, this is a popular tourist hotspot with both international tourists and also students seeking to study languages abroad. This city is very small, you can literally walk to all the major places which means you will get to keep transport costs down. There is also a huge local market where you can buy groceries and food at a fraction of the price of large supermarkets. Spanish courses in Alicante usually start from around €180 for a standard two week course which makes it one of the cheapest places to study Spanish in the whole of Spain.
Each Spanish-speaking country is different and each will provide you with a unique language and cultural experience. There isn’t one definitive perfect location to learn Spanish, you will need to weigh up your interests, budget, type of course you are seeking and also which area of the world you would like to go. I hope my insights and guide to the best and cheapest cities/countries for studying at a Spanish language school are a helpful start as you make the decision about where to study Spanish abroad.
Do you agree / disagree with the suggestions above? Feel free to reach out with any questions or opinions in the comments section below!