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November 2006 issue

Contents
News
Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Feedback
Direction
Special Report
Market Report Malta
Market Report Argentina
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
Regional Focus
Status

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Costa Rica and Ecuador

Ecuador and Costa Rica are ideal language travel destinations for students wanting a truly hands-on Spanish language learning experience. Beautiful natural surroundings and opportunities to interact fully with the local people make this part of the world truly special, says Bethan Norris.

Costa Rica and Ecuador are two of the most beautiful countries in the world, with nature and cultural highlights such as national parks, volcanoes, beaches, the Andes, the Equator and beautiful colonial cities," enthuses Patrick Thebing from Academia Columbus, which has schools in San José and Heredia in Costa Rica and Quito in Ecuador.

With both countries still relatively off the beaten tourist track, the unspoilt natural beauty of Costa Rica and Ecuador is helping to put these two South American countries firmly on the map for adventurous language travellers. One of the principal attractions of both countries is the wide variety of natural landscapes that can be found throughout, which is often a surprise for those coming from more built-up industrialised countries, according to local language schools.

"Ecuador contains an incredible range of interesting sights within a relatively small area," says Gustavo Guzmán at Amazonas Education & Travel in Quito. "The student is within 30 minutes of the sierra, the jungle or the coast and in two and a half hours can be in Galapagos [Islands] by plane."

The jewel in Ecuador';s crown for many must surely be the Galapagos Islands, which are a group of islands containing their own indigenous wildlife that formed the basis for Darwin';s theory of evolution in the 19th century. They are now a popular destination with tourists for wildlife watching and diving and some Ecuadorian schools have developed language programmes that involve travel to the islands. María Clara de Wohlermann, from Benedict Language School in Quito, says that they have recently introduced "a volunteer programme in the Galapagos Islands that includes two or three weeks of language preparation in Quito and one month volunteering with a community on the islands plus language tutorial".

Ecuador has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, mainly due to its wide range of different habitats and location on the Equator, as Wohlermann points out. "The country is divided into two hemispheres by the Equator line and has the privilege of enjoying four distinct geographical regions," she says. "This unique geographical location allows visitors to step one foot on the northern hemisphere and the other foot in the southern in the place where shadow disappears at midday."

Benedict Language School is not the only school to incorporate Ecuador';s natural attractions into an unusual and attractive language study package. Students at Academia de Español in Quito (AEQ) can take part in a number of programmes that venture out into the wider countryside. Morning classes are held in natural environments such as the Amazon rainforest or the Pacific beach while guided activities such as jungle walks, parasailing and visiting indigenous communities take place in the afternoon. "AEQ recently launched a new Mindo programme," adds Virginia Villamar at the school. "Mindo is a cloud forest in a valley near Quito where thousands of species of birds live. Students learn and relax for five days in this peaceful environment, lodge in cabins and visit the area. Activities include visiting an orchid and butterfly farm, bird watching, coffee plantation visits, waterfall dive and river rafting or tubing."

The local people of Ecuador have a fascinating cultural background that combines a number of local distinct indigenous populations with later European influences. In Cuenca, a Unesco World Heritage city, Estudio Sampere offers students the chance to explore some of this history first-hand. "Cuenca is located in a wide Andean valley named by the Cañari indigenous people as ‘the valley of the flowers'; or Paurcarbamba, and where the Incas placed the city of Tomebamba," relates Juan Martínez Borrero at the school. "Almost 450 years ago, the Spaniards founded the city of Cuenca, materialising the European utopia of the perfect city as opposed to the crowded towns and cities of Spain."

Despite being a "peaceful and rather quiet Andean city" there are also lots of more traditional student-centred activities to be found. "At night the city transforms itself," says Borrero, "with dozens of cafés and restaurants open, where students make their first stop before going dancing to discos, specialising in salsa music, until dawn."

When it comes to nightlife, Ecuador';s capital city of Quito has much to recommend itself to students, according to schools located in the city. Quito is the second highest capital city in the world, behind La Paz in Bolivia, and is located at 3,000 metres above sea level in the Andes mountain range. Sylvia Nancy Paucar Cajas, from Escuela de Español Mitad del Mundo in Quito, points out that students are often surprised to find that Quito is a "modern metropolitan destination with a well-developed health care [system] and infrastructure".

The city has a thriving nightlife and a diverse resident and tourist population, as Enrique Torres from Ordex Cultural Exchange in Quito explains. "Nightlife in Quito is active especially in the touristy area known as Mariscal where every night of the week there is something going on," he says. "From Tuesday to Saturday bars are quite crowded and there is an interesting mix of about 50 per cent locals and 50 per cent tourists."

A highlight for students studying in Quito, according to Cajas, is the many events that students can get involved in. "[During the] Festivals of Quito in December, the school rents a ‘chiva';, which is a large bus without doors or windows that is typically used in the coast of Ecuador," she relates. "The students, teachers and families ride in the bus around Quito with a band of musicians on the roof. The bus stops in different plazas in colonial Quito where everyone in the bus dances and enjoys a typical drink called ‘canelazo';, which is a liqueur


Agent viewpoint

"In Costa Rica and Ecuador, learning Spanish includes the countryside and streets as the classroom, which is a more interesting way to learn. The cost is also less than in Europe. Students particularly enjoy the interaction with local people in their language. As Greenforce runs group expeditions, participants can come from the UK, USA or Europe so there is the opportunity to make friends for life – from different parts of the world, not just Ecuador or Costa Rica. Our locations have a swimming pool at homestay houses, but clients rarely sit around the pool. They want to get out and soak up the atmosphere."
Marcus Watts, Greenforce, UK

"Students wanting to learn Spanish in Costa Rica or Ecuador usually go there because these countries are sometimes perceived as safer than other Latin American destinations. Also many students going to Costa Rica have an interest in conservation and nature. Many say that in Costa Rica the Spanish accent is easier to understand, so this helps in their language learning. Those who go to Ecuador have similar interests as well as an historical interest and like to be able to experience something of the indigenous people and see historical sites. Students also enjoy seeing the country';s volcanoes, beaches, cloud forests and nature reserves."
Sarah Spencer, Cactus Language, UK

"Most of the Swiss students want to study in Latin America because they like to spend some time on the continent and continue travelling. The completely different culture in Ecuador and the fact that Costa Rica is called "Switzerland of Latin America" are also facts that attract a lot of Swiss."
Claudio Cesarano, Globo-study Sprachreisen, Switzerland

"Stunning natural landscapes and an abundance of unique cultural activities make both countries ideal destinations for Spanish language training. Students are now asking for these two countries first [before Spain] and they know the exact cities or towns where they';d like to be. Because of the low cost of living, most students decide to add excursions or weekend trips to their language training. White water rafting, horseback rides through rainforests and some of the best hiking imaginable are just a few of the options available."
Marc Cappelletti, Global Experiences, USA

"Our schools offer interesting activity programmes. The capital cities like San José and Quito offer museums, historic buildings... At our beach schools, students are surfing, playing volleyball or football."
Alex Henzi, STA, Switzerland

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company
Country

Telephone

Email


ASSOCIATIONS/
GROUPS
Acpet
Asociación Gallega
       de Escuelas de
       Español - Agaes
Capls - Canadian
      Association of
       Private Language
       Schools
CLC - Canada
       Language Council
Education New
       Zealand
English Australia
English UK
Fedele / Turlingua
Feltom
Ialc
MEI~Relsa
Perth Education City
Quality English

INSURANCE
Student Guard
       Insurance

STUDENT WEBSITES
language-
       programs.net

TOURIST BOARDS
Fedele / Turlingua
Malta Tourism
       Authority

WORK EXPERIENCE/
INTERNSHIPS
Access International
Agaes Spain
Alpha College of
       English
Anglolang Academy
       of English
Aspect
Auckland English
       Academy
Cambridge Academy
       of English
Churchill House
Cork English College
Diálogo Language
       Schools
Eastbourne School
       of English
Eckersley School of
       English
Excel English
English Studio
English UK
Eurasia Institute
Eurocentres
       International
Frances King
Global Village
Global Village
inlingua Malta
International House
       Sevilla - Clic
International Student
       Placement Centre
Kaplan Educational
       Centers
King George
       International
       College
Lake School of
       English
Languages
       International
LSC Language
       Studies Canada
Linguatime
Linguaviva
       International
Modus Language
       Institute
Pacific-Global
       Language Centre
Pacific Language
       Institute
Pacific Language
       Institute
Pan Pacific
       International English
       College Inc.
Phoenix English
       Language Academy
Prolog- International
       House Berlin
Rennert Bilingual
Rotorua English
       Language Academy
Shane Global
       Language Centres
Silc - Séjours
       Linguistiques
       (France)
St Giles Colleges
Swan Training
       Institute
Tellus Group / Work
       Experience UK
University of
       Western Australia
Vancouver English
       Centre
Vanwest College

WORKSHOPS/EXPOS
Alphe Agent
       Workshops
English Australia
English UK
Ialc
Icef
MEI~Relsa

AUSTRALIA
Acpet
Edith Cowan
       University
English Australia
International Student
       Placement Centre
Kingston
       International
       College
Language Links
Monash University
       English Language
       Centre
Perth Education City
Perth International
       College of English
Phoenix English
       Language Academy
University of
       Western Australia

BRAZIL
Diálogo Language
       Schools
FAAP

CANADA
Access International
Bodwell College
Carleton University
College of New
       Caledonia
Conestoga College
Ecole de Langues -
       Université Laval
English Bay College
English Language
       Training College
       ELTC
Eurocentres
Global Village
       (Australia, Canada,
       USA)
Global Village
       (Australia, Canada,
       USA)
Immersion Baie-des-
       Chaleurs
inlingua Vancouver
Interlangues Ecole
       de Languages
International
       Language Institute
       of Canada - ILI
International
       Language Schools
       of Canada
Intrax English
       Institute
King George
       International
       College
LSC Language
       Studies Canada
Lethbridge
       Community College
Malaspina University
       College
Mandarin House
Modus Language
       Institute
Montreal
       International
       Language
       Centre
Mount Royal College Omnicom School of
       Languages
Pacific Language
       Institute
Pacific Language
       Institute
Pacific-Global
       Language Centre
Pan Pacific
       International English
       College Inc.
Point 3
Saint Mary's
       University
Stewart College of
       Languages
University of Calgary
Vancouver English
       Centre
       (Canada, Mexico)
Vancouver English
       Centre
       (Canada, Mexico)
Vancouver English
       Centre
       (Canada, Mexico)
Vanwest College
YMCA Greater
       Montreal
       International
       Language School

CHINA
Mandarin House

COSTA RICA
Academia
       Latinoamericana
       de Español
Ilisa - Instituto de
       Idiomas Costa Rica
Wayra - Spanish
       School

ECUADOR
Academia de
       Español Mitad del
       Mundo
Academia de
       Español Quito
Quito S.I. Spanish
       Institute

ENGLAND
Anglolang Academy
       of English
Aspect (Australia,
       Canada, England,
       France, Germany,
       Ireland, Malta,
       New Zealand,
       Scotland, South
       Africa, Spain, USA)
Avalon School of
       English
Beet Language
       Centre
Bell International
        (Malta, UK)
Cambridge Academy
       of English
Churchill House
Cicero Languages
       International
Eastbourne School
       of English
Eckersley School of
       English
English Language
       Centre Brighton &
       Hove
English Studio
English UK
Excel English
       Language School
Frances King School
       of English
Ialc
Lake School of
       English
LAL Language and
       Leisure
       (England, Malta,
       South Africa, USA)
Languages Out
       There (England,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, Spain)
Liverpool School of
       English
London School of
       English
Malvern House
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's
       College
Shane Global
       Language Centres
       (England, New
       Zealand, South
       Africa)
St Giles Colleges
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, New Zealand,
       South Africa,
       Spain, USA)
Study Group
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, New Zealand,
       South Africa,
       Spain, USA)
SUL Language
       Schools
Tellus Group
University of Essex -
       ELT Centre
West London
       Business College
Wimbledon School
       of English

FRANCE
Accord
Centre
       Méditerranéen
       d'Etudes
       Françaises
Le Génie des
       Langues
Silc - Séjours
       Linguistiques
       (England, France,
       Spain)
Silc - Séjours
       Linguistiques
       (England, France,
       Spain)

GERMANY
Eurasia Institute
language-
       programs.net
Prolog- International
       House Berlin

IRELAND
Alpha College of
       English
Atlantic Language
       Galway
Cork Language
       Centre International
Dublin City University
       Language
       Services
Dublin School of
       English
Emerald Cultural
       Institute
Galway Cultural
       Institute
High Schools
       International (HSI)
       (Australia, Canada,
       England)
Horner School of
       English
Liffey Linguistics
Linguaviva Centre
MEI~Relsa
Swan Training
       Institute

ITALY
Dilit - International
       House
Linguaviva
       International

MALTA
Britannia College
EC - English
       Language Centres
       (England, Malta,
       South Africa)
Feltom
inlingua Malta
International School
       of English
Linguatime
Malta Tourism
       Authority

MONACO
Home Language
       International
       (Argentina,
       Australia, Austria,
       Brazil, Canada,
       Chile, China, Czech
       Republic, Denmark,
       Egypt, Finland,
       France, Germany,
       Holland, Hungary,
       Ireland, Italy, Japan,
       Malta, NZ, Norway,
       Poland, Portugal,
       Russia, Spain,
       Sweden,
       Switzerland, UK,
       USA, Venezuela)

NEW ZEALAND
Auckland English
       Academy
Education New
       Zealand
Languages
       International
Rotorua English
       Language Academy

POLAND
York School

PORTUGAL
Cial - Centro de
       Línguas
Self Escola de
       Línguas

RUSSIA
Liden & Denz
       Language Centre

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
       Centres and Activity
       Camps (England,
       Ireland, Scotland,
       Wales)

SOUTH AFRICA
Good Hope Studies
Interlink School of
       Languages

SPAIN
Asociación Gallega
       de Escuelas de
       Español - Agaes
Enforex Spanish in
       the Spanish World
Esade-Executive
       Language
Fedele / Turlingua
Hispalengua
International House
       Sevilla - Clic

SWITZERLAND
Academia Sprach-
       und Lernzentrum
EF Language
       Colleges Ltd
       (Australia, Canada,
       China, Ecuador,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, Malta, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Scotland, Spain,
       USA)
Eurocentres
       International
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Italy,
       Japan, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Spain, Switzerland,
       USA)

USA
American Language
       Communication
       Center
Inlingua School of
       Languages
Kaplan Educational
       Centers (Canada,
       England, USA)
Rennert Bilingual
University of
       California San Diego
University of
       California Santa
       Barbara
Zoni Language
       Centers


EDUCATION TRAVEL MAGAZINE

AUSTRALIA
Gosford Christian
       School
Queensland Non-
       Government
       Schools Education
       Co-op
St Paul's
       International School
The Armidale School

ENGLAND
Athena College of
       Professional
       Studies
Queen Ethelburga's
       College

USA
St Timothy's School