We can’t believe 2020 is almost over. Just one month to go, and good-bye 2020!

This has been -arguably- the most stressful and uncertain year of our lifetime. Do you agree?

Thanks to COVID-19, most of the plans we had for this year vanished in the blink of the eye.

If there is one thing that we can learn from this year it is that we need to stop overthinking and live as many adventures as we can, when we can.

And why not start this good resolution by planning your next trip to Colombia, and specifically to Bogota?

In this article, we will give you the best reasons why you should visit Bogota in 2021.

Why should you visit Colombia in 2021?

It’s not a secret that Colombia is one of the must-visit countries in Latin America. It has gained tremendous popularity thanks in large part to its astonishing landscapes, its people and its music.

Also, its food and, of course, its globally renowned coffee are the things people fall in love with when visiting the country.

After years of difficulties and severe internal civil war, Colombia has blossomed into a fun and safe destination to travel to. Furthermore, it’s one of the most popular countries to learn Spanish thanks to its clear and neutral accent.

Colombia increasingly appears in the world travelers’ lists of countries to visit. People dream about Caribbean beaches, Andes mountains ranges and small colonial towns.

Although we suggest visiting as many places as you can if you’re planning to visit Colombia, we also suggest you don’t skip out on Bogota. The city has so much to offer in terms of cuisine, culture, history, music and art.

Bogota is a city full of surprises. It is described by The New York Times as a “Beautiful, complicated city; an essential place to visit to understand the country”.

So, if you want to understand Colombian culture, you should spend some time in Bogota, and you will be greatly surprised by its authenticity.

Why should you visit Bogota?

Bogota is the country’s beating heart. It is a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis that has become an epicenter of business, politics, and entertainment.

The city is often overlooked by travelers coming to Colombia; perhaps due to its size, its traffic or its large population (approximately 8 million people). However, it’s a city that has been transforming itself into a surprising tourist destination, too.

Bogota offers one of the best nightlife scenes of Latin America, numerous museums and world-class dining and bar culture. It also offers the best of Colombian culture, there is nothing you can’t find in Bogota!

Furthermore, its privileged location and international airport make it a highly accessible and convenient city for traveling throughout the region. Bogotá is the perfect jumping-off point to start your Colombia -or South America- trip.

It’s the best place to have a taste of what Colombia is, to get familiar with local prices and with the language.

Give it a try, spend a few weeks -or even months- in the city. We guarantee you will fall in love with Bogota in a heartbeat.

Why?

1. Bogota is art

If you love street art, museums and architecture, then you will have an amazing time in the city!

You can have a glimpse into the country’s history at the Gold Museum, home to over 55,000 gold pieces and crafts from the pre-Colombian period, before the Spanish conquest of the Americas.

Or, you can visit the Colombian National Museum, the biggest and oldest museum in Colombia.

If you’re a modern art lover, then you can visit the Botero Museum. The museum highlights the work of Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous artist. The museum’s collection includes some of his most popular pieces, like his interpretations of the Mona Lisa and Adam and Eve, as well as many of his unique voluminous statues. It also features art pieces from other famous artists like Picasso, Monet, and Renoir.

Or, you can visit the MAMBO (Museo de Arte de Moderno de Bogota). It offers a pluricultural, dynamic and innovative space, which gives audiences a meaningful experience around the art world.

On the other hand, if you are more into urban art, Bogota offers stunning pieces all around the city. Graffiti has been decriminalized in Bogota for almost a decade, which has given Colombian and international artists free reign of the streets.

With regards to architecture, Bogota’s style might not be easy to define at first. But if you look closely, Bogota is a city of unique architecture among Latin American countries.

Bogota is known for its red brick buildings designed by architects who mingled their modernism with colonial beauty.

One of the most influential architects is Rogelio Salmona. He gave an identity to the city. His use of red bricks and water as a connecting element revolutionized the aesthetics of the city.

Lastly, Bogota is a hub for fashion, art and design. The city’s cultural calendar is filled all year round with festivals, events, parades, exhibitions, concerts and cultural sites.

You can enjoy some of the best Latin American music festivals such as Estereo Picnic and Rock al Parque. World-class art exhibitions such as ARTBO or local exhibitions such as Barcu or La Feria del Millón. And, local design fairs such as Buró.

2. Bogota is fine dining and street food

The best way to experience a culture is through its food.

Bogota is nationally and internationally known for its gastronomy. It offers hundreds of mouthwatering culinary, coffee and beer experiences. From high-end local and international restaurants in the Zona G, Zona T, Usaquén and Parque de la 93, to traditional markets such as Paloquemao and La Perseverancia.

There are heaps of street food throughout the city. Basically in every corner you will find something for snacking (para picar), no kidding!

You will find ensalada de frutas, salpicón, obleas, pinchos, mazorca, mango biche, churros, empanadas, arepas and many others.

And, of course, fruits. Colombia is a fruit paradise, it’s home to some of the most exotic and tropical fruit in the world. You can visit one of the local markets to discover an entirely new palette of flavors. And what’s best is you will always get “ñapa”!

So, if you are a foodie, don’t wait for a second longer and plan a trip to Bogota!

3. Bogota has a hipster soul

It goes without saying, Bogota is Colombia’s hipster capital.

It is known for its diverse population and artistic vibes. Neighborhoods such as Chapinero, Zona G and La Candelaria are full of unique cafes and restaurants, bars playing live Colombian music, and people just chilling out.

Bogota is authentic, diverse and open. It is a city of “open doors”, people from all around the world and all around the country are welcomed. It’s where all cultures converge.

Apart from delicious food, world-class graffiti, and modern and colonial architecture, the city has also become one of the most open and inclusive cities for LGBTQ+ community. There are places like Theatron, one of the biggest gay clubs in the world which can accommodate up to 5,000 people on any given night!

Safe and hip, Bogota is a city that simply can’t be missed!

4. Bogota has a mesmerizing view

There’s always a great view.

We are lucky to have the Andean mountain range as our background picture. From anywhere in the city you can enjoy the best view of the Eastern Hills (Cerros Orientales).

Even though some people call Bogota “ the concrete jungle” due to its size and population, it is a city with a green soul. The Eastern Hills give the city that “green” and natural touch big cities around the world lack.

In Bogota, you can easily get away from the hectic city life to breathe pure air and get connected with nature. There are a large variety of outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking and climbing.

5. Bogota has the best coffee

Colombia is known worldwide for producing one of the best coffees in the world. And, we are proud to say that in Bogota you can find the best coffees in Colombia.

You might be wondering how such an urban city could have the best coffee? It doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Well, it’s not that the coffee is grown or produced in Bogota; the coffee is grown in several regions of the country but Bogota is the only place where you can get all origins.

If you want to get to know better Colombian people and Colombian culture, then you need to understand the coffee culture. For us coffee is not just coffee, it’s a lifestyle.

Colombians drink coffee all day long. There is no breakfast without a cup of coffee, there are no work meetings without a cup of coffee, there is not a visit to family relatives, or friends without a cup of coffee.

Well, maybe we are exaggerating a bit -typical Colombian feature- it’s not that we “always” drink coffee but it’s true, drinking coffee is part of our culture.

So, if you are a coffee lover or just interested in the coffee culture, you would love Bogota!

How is Bogota handling the pandemic?

We started this article by talking about the global pandemic in 2020 and inviting you to visit us in 2021. But we know you might be wondering whether it will be possible or not.

Honestly, no one knows what is happening next year. When this crazy story is going to finish and when we will be able to freely travel and move around again.

However, we do know that Colombia, and specifically Bogota, has been working hard to put all biosafety protocols in place to receive tourists.

Colombia has opened its international airport, businesses (i.e. restaurants, cafes, hotels, etc) have started receiving guests and customers.

Our school is not an exception. We have already opened our doors again and have welcomed new students. Check out one of the latest students’ testimonials.

We are confident that we will overcome this global pandemic together. We know that it has been a tough year for all and we know we are keen to travel and explore the world again.

That’s why we invite you to visit our country, our city, and to learn Spanish with us. We know that getting to know a culture is easier and nicer when you are able to communicate with locals. And that’s what we do at LMTS. We won’t only teach you the Spanish language we help you experience the Colombian culture like a Colombian.

There are certain topics that make non-native Spanish speakers pull their hair out when learning Spanish.

There are some rules to follow but there are also many exceptions to those rules. There are also ways of talking, sentences or words that simply don’t make sense in other languages but in Spanish they do.

In previous posts, we talked about the use of the verb To Be (Ser & Estar) and about False cognates. Today, we are talking about “Gender in Spanish”. This is one of the topics people struggle the most when learning Spanish, mainly those whose mother tongue doesn’t come from a romance language (i.e. French, Italian, Portuguese).

Learn Gender in Spanish: Spanish Gender Rules

If you are an English speaker you might think that “gender” refers to people in their feminine or masculine form. Which, to a certain extent, it’s true… However, in Spanish, we also use “gender” for nouns, articles and adjectives.

In Spanish, words like “the”, “car”, “house”, “tree”, “lunch”, “black” or “tall” can be feminine or masculine.

While in English, gender is not important unless you are speaking about a living object (i.e. a person or an animal),  in Spanish, all nouns (person, place, thing or idea) have a gender.

At first, it might be difficult but after a while it becomes natural and we can even say that you know by intuition what’s the right gender of each word.

What is it important to learn the gender of the nouns in Spanish?

Simple.

The gender of the noun is important because the adjective and articles must match the noun in terms of the gender.

If you don’t pair the words correctly, it’s not a big deal. It sounds weird for native Spanish speakers but they will still understand you.

But since we want you to speak Spanish properly we are here to give you some tips. Keep in mind, though, that it takes more than reading an article to have a couple of Spanish classes. If you truly want to master your spanish language you need to start but making some mistakes, learn from them and practice, practice, practice.

How to know when a noun is feminine or masculine?

Everything in Spanish is either male or female. Our language is charged with gender power!

The most common structure for nouns in Spanish is:

(article) + noun + (adjective)

So, let’s follow this stricture. Let’s talk about Spanish article gender rules first.

1. Articles

In English, there are three articles:

Definite article “The”

  • Feminine
  • Masculine
  • Singular
  • Plural

Definite articles “a”, “an”

  • Feminine
  • Masculine
  • Singular
  • Plural (“some” is not considering an article but it is used as such)

In Spanish, we have a total of eight articles. Yes, eight!

That’s because we change the articles according to both gender (feminine and masculine) and number (singular and plural)

Definite articles “The”

  • Masculine, singular: “el”
    “El niño”. The kid
  • Feminine, singular: “la”
    “La niña”. The kid
  • Masculine, plural: “los”
    “Los niños”. The kids
  • Feminine, plural: “las”
    “Las niñas”, The kids

Indefinite articles “a”, “an”, “some”

  • Masculine, singular: “un”
    “Un niño”.  A kid
  • Feminine, singular: “una”
    “Una niña” A kid
  • Masculine, plural: “unos”
    “Unos niños”. Some kids
  • Feminine, plural: “unas”
    “Unas niñas”. Some kids

2. Nouns

Who is to decide whether “lámpara” (lamp) is masculine or feminine? – It’s feminine by the way

What determines a “libro” (book) to be a masculine noun? And what makes “cuchara” (spoon) a feminine noun?

Thankfully, there are some rules to follow to help you remember whether a noun is masculine or feminine.

Masculine Nouns

Rule No. 1

Nouns ending in “o”, “os”

Examples

  • “El libro” (The book)
  • “Un pájaro” (A bird)
  • “Los vasos” (The glasses)

Rule No. 2

Nouns ending in “ma”, mas”

Examples

  • “Los problemas” (The problems)
  • “El aroma” (The fragance)
  • “El clima” (The weather)

Rule No.3

Nouns which refers to males

Examples

  • “El padre” (The father)
  • Los reyes (The kings)
  • “El hijo” (The son)

Rule No.4

Nouns ending in “r”, “res”

Examples

  • “Los motores”  (The motors)
  • “Un calentador” (A heater)
  • “El comedor” (The dining room)

Rule No.5

Nouns ending in “aje”, “ajes”

Examples

  • “El viaje” (The trip)
  • “El equipaje” ( The luggage)
  • “Los porcentajes” (The percentages)

Rule No.6

Days of the week

Examples

  • “El lunes” (Monday)
  • “El martes”  (Tuesday
  • “El miércoles” (Wednesday)
  • “El jueves” (Thursday)
  • “Los viernes”(Fridays)
  • “El sábado” (Saturday)
  • “Los domingos” (Sundays)

Notes: – In English, the days of the week don’t use articles. In Spanish they do
– In Spanish, months of the year don’t use articles

Rule No.7

Compass directions

Examples

  • “El norte” (North)
  • “El sur” (South)
  • “El oriente” (East)
  • “El occidente” (West)

Rule No.8

A group with mixed genders is always* masculine

Examples

  • “Los estudiantes” (The students)
  • “Los padres” (The parents)
  • “Unos colegas” (Some colleagues)

Rule No.9

Languages

Examples

  • “El español” (The Spanish language)
  • “El inglés” (The English language)
  • “El italiano” (The Italian language)

Tip:
People use the word “LONERS” to help remember when a noun is masculine. Words that end with any of the letters in LONERS are usually masculine.

Some examples include:

L → El papel (paper)
O → El oso (bear)
N → El atún (tuna)
E → El hambre (hunger)
R → El calor (hot weather)
S → El bus (bus)

Feminine Nouns

Rule No. 1

Nouns ending in “a”, “as”

Examples

  • “La guitarra” (The guitar)
  • “Una camisa” (A shirt)
  • “Las camas” (The beds)

Rule No. 2

Nouns ending in “ión”, “ión”

Examples

  • “La religión” (The religion)
  • “La comunicación” (The communication)
  • “La pasión” (The passion)

Rule No. 3

Nouns ending in “dad”, “tad”

Examples

  • “Una ciudad” (A city)
  • “La verdad” (The truth)
  • “La libertad” (The freedom)

Rule No. 4

Nouns ending in “umbre”

Examples

“Una costumbre” (A tradition)
“La cumbre” (The summit)
“La incertidumbre” (The uncertainty)

Rule No. 5

Nouns ending in “z”

Examples

“La paz” (Peace)
“La nariz” (The nose)
“La actriz” (The actress)

Rule No. 6

Letters of the alphabet

Examples

La “a” (The “a”)
La “b” (The “b”)
La “c” (The “c”)

Rule No. 7

Nouns which refer to females

Examples

“La madre” (The mother)
“La reina” (The queen)
“La princesa” (The princess)

Exceptions to the rule

Here comes the fun!

All languages have rules, and all rules have exceptions. The Spanish language is no different.

Exceptions are just that, exceptions. We don’t need to understand them or find the logic behind them, we just need to learn them.

To make your life easier we have prepared a list of the most common exceptions to the rules listed above.

Exceptions to the feminine rules

“El día” (The day)
“El mapa” (The map)
“El Sofá” (The couch)
“El agua” (The water)
“El artista” (The artist)
“El cura” (The priest)
“El planeta” (The planet)

Exceptions to the masculine rules

“La mano” (The hand)
“La radio” (The radio)
“La moto” (The motorbike)
“La modelo” (The model)
“La piloto” (The pilot)
“La foto” (The photo)

3. Adjectives

As a reminder, an adjective is what we use to describe a noun.

In English, adjectives are similar to articles and nouns with regards to gender; they simply don’t have a gender.

“Red”, “short”, “big” are used in the same form for all nouns regardless of the gender -if any- and regardless of the number (singular or plural).

In Spanish, knowing the gender of the noun is crucial because it defines the article and the adjective you need to use.

Adjectives in Spanish also change slightly their form -their ending- depending on the gender. Adjectives can be masculine, feminine, and neutral

  • Masculine: Typically the ending of the adjective changes to “o”
  • Feminine: Typically the ending of the adjective changes to “a”
  • Neutral: Typically the word never changes regardless of the gender

Let’s see some examples:

MasculineFeminine
WhiteBlanco
El avión blanco” (The white plane)
Blanca
La casa blanca” (The white house)
TallAlto
El edificio alto” (The tall building)
Alta
La chica alta” (The tall girl)
PerfectPerfecto
El clima es perfecto!” (The weather is perfect!)
Perfecta
La temperatura es perfecta” (The temperature is perfect)
BigGrande
El museo es grande” (The museum is big)
Grande
La jirafa es grande” (The giraffe is big)
KindAmable
El vecino es amable” (The neighbor is kind)
Amable
La vecina es amable” (The neighbor is kind)

That’s all for today!

We hope this article has been useful to you. Remember that the key to mastering any language is practice!

If you want to improve your current level of Spanish do not hesitate to contact us. Join our school in Bogota or our online program.

There are hundreds – or even thousands- of Spanish schools around the world. All schools claim they are different, or the “best in town”.

But, what actually makes one school different from the others?

And, what makes LMTS not only different but special and unique?

In this article, we will go through some of the features that -according to our students- make LMTS unique.

Let’s start from the beginning!

What’s Learn More Than Spanish?

LMTS is a diverse and multicultural Spanish school based in Bogota, Colombia. We have been established since 2013, and we have hosted hundreds of students from multiple countries around the world.

Languages go beyond just grammar; languages are also cultural expressions.

As our name indicates, our students learn more than the Spanish language. They learn – and experience- the Colombian culture.

We aim to create the most dynamic learning experience for each one of the students that come to LMTS.

We know that each person has a different motivation for learning the language. We also know that each person learns at a different pace and wants to focus on specific skills.

That is why our Spanish language programs are as personalized as possible. And, this is exactly one of the things that make LMTS unique.

What makes LMTS unique?

What makes LMTS unique is the mix of professionalism and a cozy environment.

LMTS is an authentic Spanish school. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming. Students feel welcome from the reception to the classrooms. Teachers show their interest in the progress of each student.

Students can feel that both teachers and the administrative team love their job, love having students around and do every single thing from the bottom of their hearts.

Furthermore, our programs have a strong academic component, they are well-structured and interactive.

Students learn the proper use of the language; they learn formal and informal variations. They learn how to get around, but also learn how to communicate properly in academic and professional environments.

We are proud to say that LMTS has been a life experience for all our students, regardless of the length of the course.

They have learned Spanish with us for one week, two weeks and even intensive one-month courses. We are also proud to say that many of them continue learning Spanish from home.

What are the features they like the most about their experience?

1. Small class size

Colombian Spanish slangs meaning

Our group classes vary in size but they are never bigger than three students.

The smaller the class size, the more personalized attention for students. Small-size classes allow the teacher to tailor lessons to each one of the student’s needs.

Students enjoy the attention they receive from the teachers. They feel more confident asking questions and they don’t feel the rush of learning at the same pace as their fellow students. They enjoy the learning process at their own pace.

Our school also offers 1:1 classes. Students love this option because they get full attention from their tutor, and they see results quickly. Students feel more confident after a few classes and they are able to communicate easily after a couple of weeks.

2. Flexibility

Spanish Exam Preparation courses in Colombia for international or foreign Students

Our Spanish courses are open all year round and our start dates are flexible to suit each student. And, our programs give each student the flexibility of choosing their own schedule; their course, level, duration and intensity.

Students can choose the program that suits their needs better and the number of hours they want per day/week. They can also mix their academic program with social and cultural activities to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom.

3. Highly qualified teachers

General Spanish courses in Colombia for international or foreign Students

All our teachers are native Spanish-speakers and certified professionals. They are fully qualified and experienced in teaching Spanish as a second language (ELE).

They are professionals in linguistics, political science, tourism, and other disciplines. They have also traveled the world and taught Spanish as a foreign language abroad. They are highly qualified to cover any topic the student wants to deepen in, from general Spanish to business Spanish.

4. Teaching methods

Spanish for Business Course for foreign Students

The teaching methods depend on the program and preferences of each student.

Some students prefer to focus more on grammar and the proper use of the language. Others prefer to focus on how to get around and interact with locals.

All lessons are planned following the guidelines of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Although the lessons have a strong academic component, each lesson is tailored to the student’s preferences.

5. Personalized & dynamic classes

Getting used to the different Colombian Accents

Our classes are not only small in size and very academic; they are also personalized and dynamic.

We ask new students what their motivation for learning the language. Then, we design and propose a program that suits their needs and expectations.

Students can choose General Spanish – let’s say for traveling around Colombia or Latin America-. They can also choose a private tutor for improving their academic skills to get high results in the D.E.L.E test. Or, they can choose business Spanish if their goal is working or investing in the country.

Furthermore, the materials used in each class are designed to be interactive and fun. We tailor each lesson -in and outside the classroom- to the student’s interests.

Our activities vary from reading books to learning Colombian songs. And, from learning the different Colombian accents to learning about the coffee culture.

6. Social and Cultural Activities

BOGOTA’S TROLLEY TOUR

Our Spanish courses go beyond the classroom. We offer several activities in which students can put into practice what they have learned during the week.

Interacting with locals not only gives students a taste of what life in Colombia is like. It also helps them to improve their listening and speaking skills.

Our social and cultural activities allow students to learn the most popular Colombian slang. Also, to be more confident when it comes to talking and interacting with people that don’t speak their mother tongue.

Furthermore, social and cultural activities connect students emotionally with our culture. These experiences allow them to expand their hearts and minds toward countries other than their native one.

7. Volunteering program

Volunteering in Bogota, Colombia

One of the activities our students enjoy the most is volunteering.

Throughout the years, at LMTS we have developed strong relationships with local schools and people from the local markets.

LMTS Volunteering Program put the students’ Spanish language skills to the test while supporting educational initiatives.

For instance, LMTS students volunteer as English teachers. Our school has partnered with “El Instituto para la Economía Social -IPES- ” to help kids from the Farmers Markets.

Markets such as “Plaza de mercado La Perseverancia”, “Plaza de mercado del 20 de Julio” and “Plaza de mercado Quirigua”.

What do our students say about LMTS?

Students come from all over the world to study Spanish with us in Bogotá, Colombia. Listen to what they have to say about their incredible experience studying with us.

Lois & Julia (Ireland)

Listen to Lois and Julia talking about their Spanish Classes at LMTS. They were traveling around South America for a few months and decided to study the Spanish language in Bogota.

They participated in our volunteer program and several cultural activities.

Wiam (Morocco)

Listen to Wiam talking about her experience with us. She had a private tutor for one month.

She was happy to see how quickly she improved her Spanish in such a short time.

Angela (USA)

Listen to the experience of one of the first students we received at LMTS after the national lockdown was released.

She studied Spanish with us for a week. She felt happy and safe with the biosafety protocols our school has adopted.

Adam & Kelly (USA)

Listen to Adam and Kelly talking about their experience at LMTS. They took classes as a couple for one month and had a wonderful experience.

Kelly had some understanding of the language, while Adam was a beginner. They were happy to see how they had improved in just one month. After the course, they were able to communicate easily with locals.

Do you want to know other students’ experiences? Check out our Testimonials page or our Youtube Channel. There are more than a hundred testimonials of students from all around the world.