Peru

Peru, known for Machu Picchu and the Incan Empire, is home to 28 million people. With an extensive history, Peru is covered with archeological sites. Not only can visitors marvel at the monumental architecture, but they can also immerse themselves in the traditional Incan customs and activities. For example, travelers can participate in the Llama Trek in Huaraz, the agricultural practices on the Titicaca Islands or Cusco’s Sacred Valley communities, or share in the forestry and farm-working techniques in Porcon.

Peru is also the perfect destination for adventure and nature lovers. The Andes Mountains are ideal for trekking, camping, and mountain-climbing. The highlands are covered with more than 15,000 lakes, snow-capped peaks soaring over 6,000 meters, the world’s deepest canyons, and picturesque villages. The entire Andean chain offers unlimited opportunities for whitewater rafting, countless trails for mountain biking, and gusting winds for fans of hang-gliding. In contrast, Peru’s beaches provide visitors with a chance to scuba dive, surf, swim, and fish.

ACUPARI Language School, located in a Spanish colonial home in the center of Cusco, is a non-profit cultural association whose objective — via its Spanish, Quechua, and German language programs — is to promote an intercultural dialogue between the people of different cultures who gather in Cusco. The school offers all levels of courses, as well as for the traveler and the professional. All teaching staff are certified native speakers who are continuously trained.

A free service to the students is the Tandem Conversation practice, where the student is paired with a Peruvian Spanish speaker so that each can practice each other’s language. Students are also invited and encouraged to participate in a variety of social and cultural activities, as well as volunteer opportunities throughout Cusco. Students have the opportunity to live with a host family where they eat family meals and join in on family conversations and activities, thereby using and developing their Spanish skills.

For further information, visit www.acupari.com

When Shirley Manrique, director of El Sol Spanish School, was asked why she recommend that students study Spanish at the school and not in their countries of origin, she gave us a long list of reasons: the purity of the Spanish spoken in Peru, personalized teaching by the institution, its methodology an know-how, the warmth of Peruvians, reflected in the host families, and many more.

It is difficult to choose one reason over the others or to put then in order of importance. All you need to do is to look at the visitor book, signed by students at the end of the effectiveness of the school’s methods. Some write in very good Spanish. Other - those who have studied for only a few days – prefer to use English, but proudly using phrases from their new Language. But all of them, through their words and photos, show how happy they are to have studied at El Sol.

The level of satisfaction is very high: more than 95% of students of many different nationalities. Though a majority come from North America and Asia, it has had German, Brazilian and Arab students. The methodology means that many languages can be heard in the same classroom.

Its courses are highly flexible, so that students can join classes and Monday without having to wait for a new group to star. The internal programs involve a maximum of five students. The school also provides external courses, made to measure for companies, embassies and NGOs, among others institutions. Students who cannot take the trip to Lima are encouraged to learn Spanish online with El Sol`s innovative “Web Spanish” program.

Christine Tsai is the editorial assistant for Language Magazine.

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