Learning Spanish in Cartagena, Colombia

I had a couple of weeks in the beautiful city of Cartagena in Colombia with the intention of learning Spanish.  I have now been going to school for one week at Nueva Lengua , and I’m sorry to say that my Spanish skills are not making any progress from what I can tell. If I can just ask the locals to speak more slowly and then repeat everything twice I might be in with a chance.

One of the great things about the school is the opportunity to meet others from around the world. In total there are about 12 – 15 at the school, and four in my class.


Now that I’ve been here for over a week, and I’ve got a week still to go, my days are nicely established into a routine. Mornings I am at school. This week there was only one new student, and several students have now left. So that means it’s only me in my class. This is good and bad. Good because I’m getting a private lesson and my Spanish is making a bit of headway. Bad though because at the end of the class I am exhausted and ready for a nap.


My first week at school has been spent at the homestay, with Olga and her maid. I am fascinated by the whole maid situation. Everybody has one, but they don’t seem to do very much. A cursory once over of the cleaning stuff and cooking, but there’s a lot of time lounging about doing nothing. In fact our maid’s cleaning does not seem at all superior to mine and that’s not a compliment to the maid!

After class we usually hang around for a while talking about where to go for lunch. As you can imagine, the choices are plentiful. Although we’ve tried a few different options, our favourite by far is La Mulata. We have adopted the Caribbean pace admirably, and the decision to go to lunch usually takes about half an hour, then we traipse up there somewhat aimlessly, stopping off to do chores on the way. It’s like herding cats.


At lunch we complain about the heat, and then talk about what we might do in the afternoon, and talk about upcoming weekend adventures. For a couple of days here in Cartagena the heat felt almost bearable. I thought for a brief moment that finally I had started to acclimatise, but turns out the temperature dropped to 30 degrees, the humidity dropped to 80%, and the heat index was a comfortable 35 or 36 degrees. But it’s ramped right up again, with the heat index now sitting around 42 or 43 degrees. Decisions to be made – is it another beach day, another pool day, or hanging out in a Plaza kind of day? A couple of days ago a few of us headed to a mall to get pedicures, which was a nice afternoon of not doing much at all.


One afternoon I had dancing lessons at Crazy Salsa, a Latin Dance School. Because it’s low season at the moment I was the only one in my beginner class. Disappointingly the good looking guy who took me through to the air conditioned room (hallelujah) was not my instructor, however my teacher, Lizbeth, was great. I now know the basic steps to merengue, salsa, and something else that I think she called Cuban style. I have some way to go however before becoming vaguely passable.

All in all, it’s a very nice way to be learning a language.  I’m just looking out for an opportunity to practice my salsa!


One Response to “Learning Spanish in Cartagena, Colombia”
  1. Rebecca says:

    Wow, looks gorgeous!

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