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Spanish is a Latin language, it has similarities with Italian, French and Portugues. English, in turn, is a Germanic language; it has similarities with German and Dutch.

However, you might be surprised to learn that many English words come from Latin. Some experts say that 60% of the English words come from Latin and that around 30% to 40% of all vocabulary in English have related words in Spanish.

What are false friends in linguistics?

Those similar words are known as cognates.

Cognates can be:

  • Perfect cognates
  • Near perfect cognates
  • False Cognates

Perfect Cognates

Perfect Cognates are those words that are spelled exactly the same in two languages and have the same meaning. Pronunciation is often different, though.

For example:

Spanish English
Actor Actor
Colonial Colonial
Experimental Experimental
Idea Idea
Social Social

Near Perfect Cognates

Near Perfect Cognates are words that are very similar and have the same meaning but the spelling is slightly different.

For example:

Spanish English
Attention Atención
Contrario Contrary
Salario> Salary
Solitario Solitary
Vocabulario Vocabulary

False Cognates

False Cognates are words that sound very similar but mean something totally different.

These are the words we will talk about in this post!

False Cognates are commonly known as false friends. They have taken this name because they actually fool you.

False friends often confuse people learning both Spanish and English. It’s totally normal to make mistakes while learning a new language, but there is no need to be played for a fool.

We have prepared a very comprehensive list of the most common Spanish-English false friends.

Let’s take a look!

What are some examples of false friends in Spanish?

Abogado Vs. Avocado

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Abogado Lawyer, advocate Avocado Aguacate

Ropa Vs. Rope

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Ropa Clothes Rope Cuerda

Librería Vs. Library

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Librería Bookstore Library Biblioteca

Embarazado/a Vs. Embarrassed

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Embarazado/a Pregnant Embarrassed avergonzado/a

Realizar Vs. Realize

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Realizar To carry out, perform or achieve Realize Darse cuenta

Gangas Vs. Gangs

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Gangas Bargains Gangs Pandillas

Lectura Vs. Lecture

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Lectura Reading Lecture Charla, Conferencia

Recordar Vs. Record

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Recordar To remember Record Grabar

Introducir Vs. Introduce

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Introducir To insert (an object) Introduce Presentar (people)

Carta Vs. Cart

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Carta Letter Cart Carro (supermarket, trolley, etc.)

Advertir Vs. Advertise

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Advertir To warn Advertise Anunciar, hacer publicidad

Asignatura Vs. Signature

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Asignatura Subject Signature Firma

Blanco Vs. Blank

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Blanco White Blank en blanco, vacío

Campo Vs. Camp

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Campo Field, pitch, countryside Camp Campamento

Carpeta Vs. Carpet

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Carpeta Folder Carpet Alfombra

Comodidad Vs. Commodity

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Comodidad Confort Commodity Producto, mercancía

Cuota Vs. Quote

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Cuota Membership, fee Quote  Cita literaria

Envolver Vs. Involve

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Envolver To wrap up Involve Involucrar, implicar

Éxito Vs. Exit

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Éxito Success Exit Salida

Extranjero Vs. Stranger

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Extranjero Foreigner Stranger Extraño, desconocido

Fábrica Vs. Fabric

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Fábrica Factory, Plant Fabric Tela

Firma Vs. Firm

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Firma Signature Firm Empresa, compañía

Grabar Vs. Grab

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Grabar To tape, to record Grab Agarrar, coger, tomar

Gracioso Vs. Gracious

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Gracioso Funny Gracious Cortés, amable

Grosería Vs. Grocery

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Grosería Rude remarkrude expression, rudeness Grocery Tienda de alimentos

Horno Vs. Horn

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Horno Oven Horn Cuerno, bocina

Idioma Vs. Idiom

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Idioma Language Idiom Modismo

Largo Vs. Large

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Largo Long Large Grande, numeroso, amplio

Mayor Vs. Mayor

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Mayor Bigger, biggest, older, oldest Mayor Alcalde

Media Vs. Media

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Media Stocking, or one sock Media Medios de comunicación

Noticia Vs. Notice

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Noticia News Notice Anuncio, aviso

Nudo Vs. Nude

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Nudo Knot Nude Desnudo

Once Vs. Once

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Once Eleven Once Una vez, una vez que, en cuanto

Pan Vs. Pan

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Pan Bread Pan Sartén, cacerola

Pie Vs. Pie

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Pie Foot Pie Tarta

Presumir Vs. Presume

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Presumir To show off, to boast Presume Suponer

Quieto Vs. Quiet

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Quieto Still Quiet Silencioso, callado

Red Vs. Red

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Red Network Red Rojo

Relativo Vs. Relative

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Relativo Related to Relative Pariente, familiar

Restar Vs. Rest

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Restar To subtract Rest Descansar

Soportar Vs. Support

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Soportar To put up with, to bear Support Apoyar

Suceso Vs. Success

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Suceso Event, happening, incident Success Éxito

Trasladarse Vs. Translate

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Trasladarse To move, to transfer Translate Traducir

Tuna Vs. Tuna

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Tuna School or University musical group Tuna Atún

Últimamente Vs. Ultimately

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Últimamente Lately Ultimately Finalmente

Vaso Vs. Vase

Spanish Word English translation English word Spanish translation
Vaso Glass Vase Jarrón

False friends are fun sometimes but you don’t want to be taken as a fool, so make sure you learn the differences.

There are false friends that can put you in trouble. For example:

It’s not the same saying:

“Estoy embarazada” (I’m pregnant)

than

“Estoy avergonzada” (I’m embarrassed)

If you want to improve your Spanish language join our classes here. Also, read our weekly blog and learn about Colombia, Bogota and Colombian Spanish.

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

Colombia increasingly appears in the world travelers’ lists of countries to visit. People dream about Caribbean beaches, Andes mountains ranges and small colonial towns. But its capital, Bogota, often remains behind the scenes.

When people travel they tend to avoid big and crowded cities, which is totally understandable. However, exploring and living in big cities is also fun and very interesting.

Bogota for instance 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”. If you want to understand Colombia, you should spend some time in Bogota, you will be greatly surprised by its authenticity.

You will fall in love with Bogota in a heartbeat. And here is why:

5 reasons to love Bogota:

1. Bogota is the best Colombian city for Art, Music & Culture

Theater

Bogota hosts the world’s biggest theater festival, Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro.

The Festival is enormous and has earned Bogota the nickname ‘World Capital of Theater’ within the industry.

There are more than 800 national and international performances across more than 100 venues and spaces.

Fashion, art and design

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; and local design fairs such as Buró.

Music

Colombia is well known worldwide for its Music. But when we talk about music we don’t just talk about Salsa, we talk about Vallenato, Cumbia, Champeta, Currulao, Bambuco, and many other music genres.

Every region of Colombia has its own rhythm. You can spend months traveling around the country to learn about these rhythms, or you can spend some time in Bogota.

In Bogota, you will find all kinds of music from Colombia and the best world music.

Museums

There are many nice museums around the world but Bogota has The Gold Museum. It is unique, it contains the largest collection of gold artifacts in the world.

It displays a large collection of pieces that testify the life and thought of the different societies which lived in Colombia before the Spanish conquest of the Americas.

Street Art

Bogota has been a mecca for street artists since graffiti was decriminalized in 2011. The city is known worldwide for its street art.

The city showcases some of the best work from local and international artists.

There is even a District dedicated to street art, “Distrito Graffiti”, in the Puente Aranda neighborhood. It’s an industrial area that has turned into Bogotá’s own Wynwood.

Books

If you love books, then this is another reason to love Bogota.

The city has one of the highest concentrations of libraries in Latin America. That’s why it’s known as “The Athens of South America”.

Also, every year Bogota hosts the International Book Fair (FILBO), one of the most important cultural events of Colombia.

Flea Markets

How would Bogota be on Sundays and National holidays without the Usaquen flea market?

The “mercado de las pulgas de Usaquen“, as we call it in Colombian Spanish, is located in the charming area of Usaquen. You can find all kinds of food, handicrafts, and street performances.

Emeralds

Bogotá has its own emeralds district. It is located in the heart of the city, on Jimenez Avenue between 6th and 7th street.

Colombia provides more than 90% of the global demand for high-quality emeralds. All emeralds come from the mines straight here to make their debut in the emerald market.

2. Bogota is the best city for foodies, coffee lovers and beer lovers

Bogota offers hundreds of mouthwatering culinary, coffee and beer experiences.

Culinary 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.

Street Food

Lots of street food!

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

Avocados

Who doesn’t love avocados?

Avocados in Colombia are big and cheap. In Bogota, you will find men and women selling avocados all around the city.

They are walking around with their wood trolley, or just parked in different corners of the city.

In Bogota, you will always find avocados nearby!

Coffee

And, how about coffee?

Colombia is also known worldwide for its delicious and high-quality coffee. Colombia has several coffee origins, each of them with specific characteristics.

Bogota, the country’s capital city, is the place you can find all kinds of coffee. Bogotanos love meeting up for coffee, there are so many nice and trendy cafés around the city

Beer

Although Bogota is not the most renowned city worldwide with regards to beer, there are very cool independent breweries. The most popular is Bogota Beer Company (BBC).

There are BBC pubs all around the city, you should definitely visit them. It’s a place where locals normally hang out. So, it’s the perfect place to meet new friends and to practice your Spanish.

3. Bogota is full of parks, nature and outdoors activities

Yes, one of the things everyone loves about Bogota is the number of outdoor activities you can do within the city and in its surrounding areas.

Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park

Bogota’s metropolitan park, Simon Bolivar, is located just in the heart of the city.s slightly larger than New York’s Central Park and it’s a perfect place to go if you love to exercise.

It has a huge lake surrounded by grass and trees. On the weekends if full of people enjoying the time with family and friends.

Also, it is one of the main locations for festivals and concerts.

Los Cerros Orientales

Bogota’s mountains are stunning! They are not only a beautiful background but they are also excellent for orientation.

It’s important you always look at the mountains, or “cerros orientales”, to have a good sense of orientation in the city.

Check also our post: Bogota: A guide for getting around in the city.

Palm Trees

Have you ever thought that it’s possible to find palm trees in a city located in the middle of the Andes, where the altitude is 2,600m?

Well, it’s possible. That city is Bogota!

When you are walking around Calle 57, you will find beautiful palm trees along the streets with the beautiful Andes in the background.

These are things that amaze people when visiting and walking around Bogota. There is always something that will surprise you.

Hiking & Climbing

A city located in the middle of the Andes also offers amazing hikes for its residents and tourists.

If you like hiking, there are plenty of options.

You can go to La Chorrera, to Quebrada La vieja, or to the Sumapaz Paramo.

If you like hiking and climbing then you can visit Suesca. It’s a little town located just 1.5 hr from Bogota.

Ciclovía

Bogota is also known for its iconic “ciclovia” or bikeway. Ciclovia is either a permanent bike path or the closing of certain streets to automobiles for cyclists and pedestrians.

More than 120 kilometers of roads are turned into a cycle lane from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday and holidays.

All kinds of transportation are welcome —bicycles, roller skates, scooters, wheelchairs, skateboards— as long as they are not motor-driven.

4. Bogota has a unique architecture style

At first, Bogota’s architecture style might not be easy to define. 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 the 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.

Salmona’s work includes Torres del Parque, The Cultural Centre Gabriel García Márquez and the Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá.

What is even more interesting is that Bogota’s architecture has also English, Italian, French and Spanish influences.

You can walk around beautiful and preserved colonial districts like the Candelaria and Usaquen Districts. Or, walking around districts like Teusaquillo that resembles England’s rural architecture.

Bogota offers a photogenic fusion of past and present.

5. Bogota is the best place to learn Spanish

It might sound like a cliché but Colombian Spanish is considered one of the best Spanish in the world.

Although it’s impossible -also it isn’t fair- to affirm that there is one “best” Spanish language. It’s true that Colombian Spanish is one of the Spanish learners’ favorites.

Let’s start by clarifying that there is no such thing as a standard “Colombian Spanish”.

Like in any other language, there are many dialects within the country. However, for a matter of practicality, when people say “Colombian Spanish” they normally refer to the dialect spoken in Bogotá. Bogota’s dialect is known for being more polite, neutral and clear.

Why is Bogota the best place to learn Spanish?

  • In Bogota people speak slow and paused, which makes it easy to understand for new learners.
  • People pronounce almost all vowels and consonants in every word. That is why people say it is one of the “clearest”.
  • People tend to use traditional Spanish words whenever possible. Although there is not a problem borrowing words for new concepts. That is why people say it’s one of the “cleanest”
  • People find the accent itself very attractive. It has a slightly singing-tone that even native Spanish speakers from other countries love.

Bogota really does have it all. It’s a city that at first might not attract you because of its size, but it is a city that will surprise you every single day.

Come visit and learn Spanish with us!

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

Bogota is a city that stands out in Latin America due to the amount of free or affordable cultural spaces and activities.

There are a million things to do in Bogota. All year round you can enjoy cultural activities, concerts and city tours. You can also enjoy the great variety of national and international cuisine, bars and cafés.

Spanish language students might spend their first days exploring Bogota’s “Must see” attractions. Which include the Gold Museum, Monserrate, Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park, Usaquen Flea Market and Bolivar main square. They might also join a city’s graffiti tour, a salsa class or a night out in the popular Andres Carne de Res.

If you have done that already, great! Now you are ready to explore Bogota on a deeper level.

Bogota has so much more to offer. We guarantee you won’t be bored during your stay.

That’s why we have prepared this list of 12 unique things to do in Bogota while you are learning Spanish!

1. Visit The Botanical Garden of Bogota

Visit The Botanical Garden of Bogota

The Botanical Garden of Bogotá opened in 1955. It is home to almost 20,000 plants. It serves both as a recreation and research center with an emphasis on Andean and Páramo ecosystems.

It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the city.

We know Bogota could get chaotic sometimes. So, if you feel like having a break from your Spanish classes to have a walk and grasp some fresh air and tranquility, then The Botanical Garden is a place you should visit.

2. Travel back in time by Bogota’s Tranvía (Tram)

Travel back in time by Bogota’s Tranvía (Tram)

The tranvía, or Tram in English, is a cultural service that takes part in Bogota’s historic center.

This service seeks to immerse the visitors in a unique experience, in a journey through time. With the support of professional actors and audiovisual material, visitors have the opportunity to live the ancient Bogota.

3. Enjoy a panoramic view from Top of Colpatria Tower

Enjoy a panoramic view from Top of Colpatria Tower

If you have enjoyed the view from the top of Monserrate, then you will love the view from the Colpatria tower.

The building was finished in 1979. It is located in the International Center of Bogota.

The Colpatria Tower is one of the tallest buildings in Bogotá; it has 49 floors and a height of 561 feet (171 m). It is the second tallest building in Bogota and the third highest in Colombia. It offers a panoramic 360-degree view of the city.

The building has a LED light system that allows the projection of images on all four sides of the facade.

Interesting fact: An ascent race is held in the Colpatria Tower that is part of the Towerrunning World Cup world circuit of the 160 tallest buildings in the world. From 2012 it entered the Master Races group among the 18 best ascent races in the world.

Official Website: http://bogotaturismo.gov.co/mirador-de-la-torre-colpatria
Entrance Fee: $7.000 COP (1.8 USD)

4. Walk, enjoy street art and gamble on guinea pigs races at Carrera Séptima (7th Street)

The Seventh Street, or Carrera Septima in Spanish, is one of the principal streets which communicates the eastern side of the city north and south.

It is the most important thoroughfare of the city in the sense of history, culture, economy, and society.

It was built during Colonial times based on an old indigenous route that linked salt mining towns of Nemocón and Usaquén.

During the 1960s, it was common to walk and gather on this street. People started performing entertainment activities, selling street food, and offering a wide selection of curiosities.

Thus, it became a tradition to walk along Carrera Séptima as entertainment and as a place for buying handcrafts, food, art, and clothing. This activity was -as it is still- named “Septimazo”.

Check out the following video. You will have a glimpse of what a “Septimazo” looks like.

One of the things that tourists find more interesting and fun is the guinea pigs gambling races.

What? Do people gamble on guinea pigs races?

Yes! Welcome to Colombia.

Colombians never stop creating new ideas for earning money. They always use their creativity to find ways to make a little cash “para sobrevivir” (literally translated as “survive”)

Check out how a guinea pigs race looks like:

Entrance Fee: No entrance fee

5. Go on a Ghost Tour

Go on a Ghost Tour La Candelaria, Bogota

This is a unique tour, isn’t it?

It takes place in La Candelaria district. Bogota’s historic center is the perfect place to hear ghost stories and to learn colonial stories and interesting facts about the capital’s heritage.

It’s a journey from the times of Spanish conquest to the modern-day including the Bogotazo and the siege of the Palace of Justice.

Fear not! You will be accompanied by a group of locals and tourists. It’s a great opportunity to improve your Spanish listening skills!

Tickets available: here
Entrance fee: $35.000 (10 USD)

6. Try a Coffee Cupping

Try a Coffee Cupping in Bogota

We all know that Colombian coffee is renowned the world over for its quality and delicious taste, don’t we?

But, why is it considered one of the world’s best coffees?

Well, coffee is such an art. We could write a full article just on the characteristics of our beloved Colombian coffee.

But for now, we can tell you the three principal factors which determine the quality of our coffee:

Geography and climate

Colombia has the perfect geography for growing coffee. The richness of flavor is mainly due to the excellent climate, fertile soil and the exact right amount of rainfall.

The growing and harvesting process

Having good growing and collection methods are as important as having a perfect climate and fertile soil.

The best coffee is grown on steep slopes, surrounded by banana plants. They provide the needed shade and prevent the beans from being scorched in the sun.

With regards to harvesting, every bean is picked by hand. Yes, by hand! which makes only the best coffee beans make it to your cup.

The type of coffee

There are two different types of coffee bean: arabica and robusta. Colombia is one of the only countries that produce 100% arabica beans.

Arabica is considered to be the superior bean. It has a sweeter and lighter taste, and it contains less caffeine.

For Colombians coffee is not just coffee, coffee is part of the culture.

If you want to try some of the country’s best coffees you should definitely join a coffee cupping (or coffee tasting).

There are many nice cafes around the city where you can do it. Some of them are: Café Cultor, Kiri Café, Catación Pública or Amor Perfecto

You will have the opportunity to try different origins and to learn how to recognize its notes, aromas and flavors.

7. Go on a Food Tour

Go on a Food Tour in Bogota

Bogota is known as the gastronomic capital. It offers the opportunity to enjoy the flavors of Colombian, international and fusion cuisine. It’s not a surprise then that Bogota is one of Latin America’s major emerging culinary hotspots.

It’s a city that makes foodies fall in love. In Bogota, you can find from street food stalls to high-end restaurants.

That’s why Netflix has included the city in the new series “Street Food Latin America”.

If you are a local market lover, you should include a visit to the city’s most important “Plazas de Mercado”. You will be amazed by the variety of fruits and vegetables that we have in Colombia.

But, if you are one of those that prefer joining an organized tour, Bogota offers different gastronomic tours on a daily basis.

You can find some of the city’s most popular food tours like Bogota gastronomic wonders tour or La Macarena gourmet tour in Bogota.

8. Visit the Virgilio Barco Public Library

Visit the Virgilio Barco Public Library in Bogota

The Virgilio Barco public library was Inaugurated in 2001 as part of Bogota’s Capital Network of Public Libraries.

It is one of the most notorious works of architect Rogelio Salmona. He is considered the best Colombian architect of the 20th century and one of the most prominent in Latin America. He is known for his brick architecture and the conscious use of water.

This library is an important social and cultural development center. It is a peaceful area surrounded by parks and leisure complexes.

You can visit the buildings and open areas any day of the week.

Website: https://www.biblored.gov.co/bibliotecas/biblioteca-virgilio
Entrance Fee: Free of charge

9. Visit the National Observatory of Colombia

Visit the National Observatory of Colombia

The “OAN” (National Astronomical Observatory of Colombia) was founded in 1803. It was the first outer space observatory in the Western Hemisphere. It was also Colombia’s tallest building until the construction of the Primatial Cathedral of Bogotá in 1823.

Today, the OAN is still in operation. It is currently managed by the Faculty of Science of the National University of Colombia.

It marks the zero point of the longitude and latitude of Bogotá and Colombia. It is located at an intersection of two eights (the avenue and the street).

Visits to the historical buildings are only scheduled for Tuesdays and Friday. You should make an appointment in advance.

Website: http://ciencias.bogota.unal.edu.co/departamentos/observatorio-astronomico-nacional/el-observatorio/
Entrance fee: $4.500 COP (1.2 USD)

10. L’ Aldea Nicho Cultural

L’ Aldea Nicho Cultural is a multifunctional space that promotes human and social development through art, music and food.

As it is mentioned on their website

“We are not a bar, nor a restaurant, nor a concert hall; neither are we a house, nor a theater, nor a workshop; We are La Aldea Nicho Cultural. Here you will find delicious food, variety in concerts, diversity in the theater. You will feel at home, you will have our workshops and you will find a great track to land your dreams.”

Tune your ears and watch the following video about L ‘Aldea:

Website: https://laaldeanichocultural.wordpress.com
Entrance Fee: Depends on the event. Normally is free of charge

11. Make a BBQ at “Parque de los Novios”

Parque El Lago (Lake Park), is also known as Parque de los Novios (boyfriends-girlfriends park). It is located on Avenida Calle 63 with Carrera 45 and it is accessible through the Transmilenio system.

It is part of the Simon Bolivar Metropolitan complex and has an area of over ​​23 hectares.

The park hosts several small festivals and events throughout the year. It has 19 kiosks for barbecue and picnic activities. It also offers boat and kayak rentals.

Website: https://www.idrd.gov.co/parque-lago-parque-los-novios
Entrance Fee: Free of charge

12. Visit the National University of Colombia

Visit the National University of Colombia in Bogota

The National University of Colombia or Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL) is the most renowned public higher education institution in Colombia.

UNAL is among the top 3 universities in Colombia. It is famous for its education quality in the following disciplines: Arts and Humanities, Engineering and Technology, Social Sciences and Management.

It was founded in 1867. It was one of the first universities in Latin America to adopt the “Campus” concept.

Its campus is located in the heart of Bogota, it is easily accessible through the Transmilenio system.

The university represents an urban, architectural, historical and cultural heritage of the city and the nation. 17 of its campus buildings throughout the country are listed as national monuments.

For instance, the Engineering School Rother and Violi) makes evident the influence of Bauhaus movement. Today´s Architecture Museum (Rother, 1948) was originally designed for the University´s printing house. And, Sociology School and Human Sciences Graduated Building was designed by the famous architect Rogelio Salmona in 1999.

UNAL is also home to the León de Greiff Auditorium, which is also considered a National Monument and it is home to the Bogota Philharmonic.

The National University of Colombia is a university for everyone and has a wide range of offers, courses, activities and services for all audiences. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit its campus.

Website: http://bogota.unal.edu.co
Entrance Fee: Free of charge

At Learn More Than Spanish, we really do believe it is important that you also learn about the culture while improving your Spanish.

As a student, you will have access to our year-round calendar of activities and events planned by our staff including a Grafitti, Quinta de Bolivar and Coffee Tasting Tours.

Know of any other tours and activities to do in Bogota while learning Spanish? Let us know your favorites in the comments!

Choosing the best accommodation in Bogota is as important as choosing the best Spanish school. It will impact positively – or negatively- your learning Spanish experience.

Thus, finding the right accommodation is one of the things you should definitely invest some time in. It doesn’t matter if you are staying in Bogota for a week, for a month, or for a year.

For Bogota’s first time visitors, it might be difficult choosing the best place to stay. A giant and cosmopolitan city as Bogota has all kinds of accommodations.

You will have plenty of options, from budget-friendly hostels to fancy modern apartments.

So, finding your ideal accommodation wouldn’t be a problem.

But, how to start?

Since you might not be familiar with the dynamics of the city and the different districts we have prepared this guide for you.

We will be looking at three aspects:

  1. Factors to take into account when choosing accommodation in Bogota
  2. Areas or Districts
  3. Types accommodations

Are you ready?

¡Empecemos! (Let ‘s start!)

1. Important factors to take into account when choosing accommodation in Bogota

Budget

Of course, this is the first aspect we should look at.

For Latinamerican standards, Bogota is a moderately expensive city to live in. At the moment, our currency is very weak, which makes Bogota an affordable city compared to any North American or European cities.

But like any other capital city, you can find outstanding but expensive options. So, first, look at your budget and the length of your stay. Then you can decide what kind of accommodation suits you better.

To give you a quick idea, the average monthly cost for a single person living in Bogota is about $500 – $800 USD per month, excluding the Spanish program fees.

Proximity to the Spanish School

As you can imagine, a city of nine-million inhabitants might be quite chaotic in terms of mobility and transportation.

That’s why it’s very important you consider getting a place to stay near to your Spanish school. By “near” we mean walking distance or 30 minutes by car or public transport.

Believe us, you don’t want to get trapped in Bogota’s traffic for hours!

For instance, our Spanish school is located in the Chapinero district. It is located just in the heart of the city, a very convenient location for you to explore the cultural diversity the city has to offer.

There are plenty of options in this district. We highly recommend it. But, if you prefer to stay in a different district read our post on how to get around the city.

Proximity to friends

If you are not new in the city and have already established a good group of friends is totally understandable that you want to stay closer to them -or with them.

In that case, try to find a middle point between your friends and the Spanish school. It will save you many hours of traffic and stress.

Ask your friends or better yet, ask our team. They will surely help you find the best accommodation for you.

Proximity to attractions

If you are a Bogota’s new visitor, then you probably would like to explore the main city attractions.

In that case, try to evaluate how often you want to visit them. And then, decide if it’s worth it to stay closer to the main attractions of if it’s better to organize day trips to visit them.

As you can see on the map below from Tripadvisor, most of the tourist attractions are located in the city center.

Bogota's main attractions map

So, to give you an idea, in normal conditions:

  • It will take about 30-40minutes From Chapinero to the City Center by car (taxi or uber)
  • It will take about 20-30minutes From Teusaquillo to the City Center by car (taxi or uber)
  • It will take about 45-60minutes From Usaquen to the City Center by car (taxi or uber)

Easy transportation access

One last thing you should definitely look at is access to public transport.

If you are staying in Bogota for only a week or two, it might not be necessary. But, if you are planning to live in Bogota for a few months you should learn how to move around the city with public transport.

Sometimes it’s faster to walk or to take public transport than taking a taxi or an Uber. So, check out the TransMilenio map below and try to look for your accommodation accordingly.

Bogota Transmilenio map

2. Where to Stay in Bogota: The Best Districts

In our previous post, we mentioned the districts of Bogota you will more likely be living in or hanging around.

Thus, it makes sense that you look for accommodation in any of those districts: La Candelaria, Chapinero, Teusaquillo, and Usaquen.

Let’s look at those districts on the map!

It will get you a better idea of how the city is organized.

La Candelaria

La Candelaria is also known as “El Centro Histórico (Old City). It has a unique Spanish Colonial, Baroque and Art Deco style. It is one of the most popular districts for students to live in.

It’s right in the city’s downtown, it’s budget-friendly, and it has an immense cultural offer. You will find a wide variety of cafés and restaurants, museums, and libraries. La Candelaria hosts some of the Top Colombian universities.

Chapinero

Chapinero is one of the more affluent and diverse districts of the city.

It hosts the Central Business District and several important leisure, dining and nightlife areas of the city.

In Chapinero you will find dozens of local cafes, markets, and microbreweries as well as the largest LGBTQ+ nightclub in South America.

Teusaquillo

Teusaquillo is located in the geographic center of the city. It’s one of the favorite places to stay in Bogota due to its proximity to the airport, city center and other trendy districts.

It is home to the biggest park in Bogota (Simón Bolivar Park), the campus of the National University of Colombia, and the convention center Corferias. It is also known for having the best street art in the city.

Usaquén

Usaquen used to be its own small town until it was incorporated in the 1950s to become part of Bogota.

It’s located in the north of the city and it is considered as one of the city’s cutest districts.

Usaquen has also an immense cultural offer. It is rich in gastronomy, boutiques, bakeries and pubs. On Sundays and National holidays, it hosts Colombia’s most famous flea market.

3. Types of accommodation in Bogota

Now that you are more familiar with the most popular districts in Bogota, we can look at the types of accommodation.

If you are going to study Spanish in Bogota for only a couple of weeks it makes sense for you to choose a hotel, hostel or Airbnb. But, if you are planning to study for a longer period of time you can choose between a shared or a private apartment.

Hotels, Hostels & Airbnb

It all depends on your budget and preferences.

For example, if you prefer a private room and a quiet environment, a hotel or hotel boutique would be a good option for you. You can find budget-friendly hotel rooms for 60USD per night to luxury hotel rooms for 150 USD per night.

If you want to meet other travelers and students, a hostel would be a good option for you. If you stay in a hostel you can choose dorms or private rooms. There are many trendy hostels in the city, they are well located, well designed and offer a wide variety of activities. This would be a good option if you are traveling alone and want to meet new people.

If, on the contrary, you prefer your own space. You can rent a modern studio in any of the most trendy districts of the city via Airbnb. Prices also vary depending on the exact location and the size of the apartment. You can find one-bedroom studios for 60USD per night up to 150 USD per night.

If you want to get a better idea of how hotels, hostels and short-term apartments look like in Bogota you can check the following websites:

Shared & Private Accommodation

On the other hand, if your plan is to live in Bogota for at least three months it makes much more sense to find a shared or private accommodation.

We highly recommend to stay at first in a short-term accommodation, get to know the city and the different districts. Also, get to know some people and then decide where you would like to live your Spanish immersion experience.

Bogota short term rentals is a very useful Facebook group. You can take a look and contact the landlords directly.

With regards to prices, you can find a one-bedroom apartment for $300 – $500USD per month, or a private bedroom in a shared apartment $200USD per month.

Keep in mind that if you are renting a place long-term you would need to pay utilities separately. It would be about 100USD per month if you rent the whole place for yourself, or about $40 USD if you are sharing the place with someone else.

Did you find this article useful?

Share it with your friends and let us know your comments. Also, don’t forget to follow our social media and weekly Blog.

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

Like any other language, Colombian Spanish has its own slang and expressions when spoken in informal environments.

We all know that Colombians love to talk and to make jokes. Thus, it should come as no surprise that our (informal) language reflects it.

If you are interested in Colombian culture you shouldn’t only learn Spanish, you should learn our most common slang and expressions.

It will help you understand better the conversation with your Colombian friends and, above all, it will make you laugh!

In our previous posts, we wrote about the most common Colombian slang. If you haven’t read them yet, don’t worry! Catch up with our previous post here:

In this post we go a level higher, we talk about funny expressions that are commonly used in Colombian Spanish.

Learn these expressions and impress your Colombian friends!

How to speak like a Colombian: 20 funny Colombian expressions and what they mean

1. “No le cabe ni un tinto*”

Colombian Slang: No le cabe ni un tinto

Literal meaning: There won’t even fit a “red wine”*

Slang meaning: When a place is so crowded that not even a cup of coffee can make it in.

*Remember that only in Colombia, “tinto” refers to black coffee, instead of red wine

2. “Como Pedro por su casa”

Colombian Slang: Como Pedro por su casa

Literal meaning: Like Peter in his own house

Slang meaning: It is used to describe someone impertinent who has entered somewhere without permission. Or to describe a person who moves with ease in a place that is not his or her own.

3. “Las cuentas claras y el chocolate espeso”

Colombian Slang: Las cuentas claras y el chocolate espeso

Literal meaning: Clear accounts and thick hot chocolate

Slang meaning: Short reckonings make long friends, accounts settled and old friends, let’s get things clear, let’s keep the books straight

4. “Lo que no mata, engorda”

Colombian Slang: Lo que no mata, engorda

Literal meaning: That which does not kill, fattens

Slang meaning: It means that even if your food falls to the ground the worst thing that can happen after eating it is getting fat.

5. ¿Durmió conmigo anoche o qué?

Colombian Slang: ¿Durmió conmigo anoche o qué?

Literal meaning: Did you sleep with me last night, or what?

Slang meaning: It is used when someone enters a place without greeting.

6. “Tengo un filo, que si me agacho me corto”

Colombian Slang: Tengo un filo, que si me agacho me corto

Literal meaning: I have a blade, if I bend over I cut myself

Slang meaning: It means that you are very hungry! Getting to the point you are “Hangry”

7. Uyy, ¿quién pidió pollo?

Colombian Slang: Uyy, ¿quién pidió pollo?

Make sure you say a long “uyyy”

Literal meaning: Uyy, who ordered chicken?

Slang meaning: It is used to joke around or flirt with friends when someone handsome/pretty approaches you or passes by.

8. “No me abra los ojos que no le voy a echar gotas”

Colombian Slang: No me abra los ojos que no le voy a echar gotas

Literal meaning: Don’t open your eyes like that I am not going to put eyedrops on them

Slang meaning: It is used when someone doesn’t like you -or doesn’t like something you said-. Then he or she rolls his/her eyes and gives you “that” look.

9. ¿Qué come que adivina?

Colombian Slang: ¿Qué come que adivina?

Literal meaning: What do you eat that you guess?

Slang meaning: It is used when someone guesses what you are thinking or what you are about to say.

10. “El que tiene tienda que la atienda”

Colombian Slang: El que tiene tienda que la atienda

Literal meaning: The one that owns a store, attend it

Slang meaning: It has two meanings. It means you must be in charge of your own things. It is also used to say to someone that he or she should look after his or her partner.

11. “Le cuento el milagro pero no el santo”

Colombian Slang: Le cuento el milagro pero no el santo

Literal meaning: I tell you the miracle, but not the saint

Slang meaning: When people are gossiping they would use it. It means they would tell you the “secret” or the “gossip” but not who told them.

12. “Colgó los guayos”

Colombian Slang: Colgó los guayos

Literal meaning: (He or she) hang the soccer shoes

Slang meaning: This expression is used to say that someone died.

13. “¡Que entre el diablo y escoja!”

Colombian Slang: ¡Que entre el diablo y escoja!

Literal meaning: Let the devil come and choose!

Slang meaning: It is used when you have two options but you don’t like any. Basically, you are screwed either way.

14. “Es pan comido”

Colombian Slang: Es pan comido

Literal meaning: It’s an eaten bread

Slang meaning: It’s a piece of cake

15. “Virgen del agarradero (agárrame a mi primero)”

Colombian Slang: Virgen del agarradero (agárrame a mi primero)

Literal meaning: Virgin of the handgrip (grab me first)

You can say only the first part “Virgen del agarradero” or the full sentence “Virgen del agarradero, agárrame a mi primero”

Slang meaning: When you are afraid about something, it’s a funny way of saying “oh my God” or “God, save me!”

16. “Más aburrido que mico en un bonsái”

Colombian Slang: Más aburrido que mico en un bonsái

Literal meaning: More bored than a monkey in a bonsai tree.

Slang meaning: It means that you are absolutely bored, there is nothing to do.

17. “Más largo que una semana sin carne”

Colombian Slang: Más largo que una semana sin carne

Literal meaning: Longer than a week without meat

Slang meaning: Colombian cuisine is meat-based. By meat (carne in Spanish) we mean beef, pork and chicken.

So, having a whole week without eating any kind of meat would be a tourture for most Colombians. So, this expression describes something that is interminably dull.

18. “Más raro que un perro a cuadros”

Colombian Slang: Más raro que un perro a cuadros

Literal meaning: Weirder than a checkered dog

Slang meaning: It is used to express that something or someone is very weird

19. “Más prendido que arbolito de navidad”

Colombian Slang: Más prendido que arbolito de navidad

Literal meaning: More lit up than a Christmas tree

Slang meaning: It is use to say that someone is very tipsy, but not drunk yet

20. “Lo que le diga es mentira”

Colombian Slang: Lo que le diga es mentira

Literal meaning: What I tell you is a lie

Slang meaning: It is used when someone asks you a question and you don’t really know the answer.

Learning Colombian Spanish is so much fun!

These funny expressions won’t only impress your friends; it will also help you make new friends. Colombians love when people get interested in their culture.

Don’t forget to follow our social media and weekly Blog. You will learn more than Spanish, you will learn Colombian Spanish!

Planning to study Spanish in Bogota?

Great! We are here to help you learn Spanish and get around the city.

Let’s start by telling you that you have chosen a wonderful city. Bogota is a fantastic starting point for any trip to Colombia. It is a vibrant, diverse and cosmopolitan city.

Bogota is a huge metropolis; there are about nine million people living in the city. Thus, you can imagine how overwhelming it could be to get around the city.

We want you to have the best experience while studying Spanish in Bogota. So, we have prepared this article with basic information for you to learn before your arrival.

Bogota’s Neighbourhoods

Bogota is divided into 20 districts or “localidades” as we called them in Colombia.

When you are in Bogota you will more likely be living or hanging around in a few districts: La Candelaria, Chapinero, Teusaquillo and Usaquen. Those districts are where most of the fun happens.

Our Spanish school is located in Chapinero District. It is located just in the heart of the city, a very convenient location for you to explore the cultural diversity the city has to offer.

Now that you are familiar with the Districts, let’s move to one of the topics people are usually most confused about: addresses.

How to find an address in Bogota?

Bogota School Google maps

Contrary to most of the countries, Colombia uses numbers instead of names for streets. Even though at first, it might seem a bit complicated, it is actually easy and straightforward.

Foreigners usually have a hard time when reading an address in Bogota for the first time. It’s totally understandable, they are not used to our system based on numbers.

They are also not used to the different words we use in Colombian Spanish for “street”. We accept, this is a bit confusing but here we are to guide you.

First of all, you need to learn that in Colombian Spanish we use two different words for “street”:

  • Calle (Abbreviation Cll.)
  • Carrera (Abbreviation Cra.)

Calles and Carreras generally run perpendicular to each other.

  • Carrera runs north and south. Carrera street numbers increase as you go further west.
  • Calle runs east and west. Calle street numbers increase as you go further north.

An address in Bogota normally follows this format:

Address Example 1 ADDRESS Example 2
Main Street Calle or Cll. Carrera or Cra.
Number (Could be combined with a letter) 79B 13
# sign # #
Street intersection number, the nearest Calle or Carrera (Could be combined with a letter) 7 77
– sign
House or building number 12 44
Complete address Cll. 79B #7-12 Carrera 13 #77-44

You can also find Avenida, Transversal, Diagonal, Vía or Circular for Street names.

For example, this is the address for Learn More Than Spanish: Carrera 13 #77-44 Piso 5
Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Learning how to read the addresses in Bogota will save you a lot of time and stress while getting around the city.

You will use addresses all the time. When going to your Spanish school, to a restaurant, or when visiting your new friends.

So, it’s important you know how to explain the address to the taxi or Uber drivers.

Navigating the city

Now that you have learned how to read the addresses, you can learn how to move around the city.

In a city like Bogota, you have to be smart when choosing how to go from one place to another. Keep always in mind than during rush hours it would be sometimes better to walk or cycle than taking a taxi, Uber or a bus.

Let’s see what transportation options we have in Bogota:

TransMilenio

Transmilenio is a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that operates from 5 am until 11 pm, from Monday to Friday. Keep in mind that routes and frequencies might change during the weekends.

It covers almost all the city, from North to South and from East to West. There are some stations that are usually busier than others.

Also, like any other capital city of the world, during rush hours, stations and busses might be packed. So, try to avoid taking Transmilenio from Monday to Friday from 7 am – 9 am and 5 pm- 7 pm.

Transmilenio tickets cost about $0.70USD. You can take as many busses as you like with the same ticket as long as you don’t exit the station.

Cultural Tip: In Colombian Spanish, we like to speak with diminutives. You would hear everybody saying “transmi” instead of “transmilenio”

SITP

Another option is SITP busses.

SITP are blue busses. They don’t have independent stations but “paradas” (Stops). They also run all around the city.

SITP tickets cost the same as a Transmilenio ticket. You need the same card you use for TransMilenio to take one of these busses.You can buy one of those cards at any of the main Transmilenio stations.

Check SITP official website for more information (It’s also an opportunity to practice your Spanish). If you feel confident enough to go and explore the city with Transmilenio or SITP you can find the routes here.

Cycling

If you are more like a cycling person, then Bogota is the perfect city for you.

Bogota has one of the most extensive cycle path networks or “ciclorutas”  in South America and one the largest in the world.

The routes are also integrated with TransMilenio; it has bicycle parking facilities. So, you can combine cycling for short or medium distances, and taking TransMilenio for long distances.

On Sundays and National Holidays, several streets closed to traffic from 7 am until 2 pm. We call this practice “ciclovia”. It is when the streets are reserved only for cyclists, runners and skaters.

Walking

You might not believe us but sometimes you will arrive at your destination more easily by walking than by car!

Yes, traffic is one of the things we, Bogotanos, are not proud of.

That’s why we always suggest people find accommodation near the Spanish School.

In Spanish you will normally hear “a pie”.

“A pie” literally means “On foot” but when we say this we refer to walking from one place to another.

For example:
“Vamos al centro comercial en carro o a pie? – Vamos mejor a pie. A esta hora hay mucho trancón”
Shall we drive to the mall or shall we go walking? – Let’s walk. At this time there is so much traffic

Taxi or Uber

Taking taxis or Uber is very common in Bogota. These services are not as expensive as they are in other world’s capital cities.

15min – 30min Taxi or Uber trip costs about $4-8 USD
> 1-hour Taxi or Uber trip costs about $8-10 USD

Download these Apps. They will make your life easier:

For Android

For iPhone

We highly recommend not to take taxis on the street. Not only because of safety reasons but because it is easier to type the address in the App than to explain it to the driver.

If you use the Apps instead you make sure that you type the address you need and the driver will take you to the right location.

Arriving in Bogota: How to get from the airport to the city?

Your first “adventure” in Bogota will be getting from the International airport to your hotel or apartment.

It is actually pretty easy. Your options are Taxi, Uber or TransMilenio.

Also, at Learn More Than Spanish we offer pick-up services from and to the international airport. We know people don’t like getting into such adventures after a long flight.

If it’s your first time in Bogota we recommend taking one of the airport taxis. All taxis at the airport have an extra fee but after a long flight, you wouldn’t like to get stressed figuring out how to get to your hotel or apartment.

It is also possible to take Uber. However, Uber drivers can’t park on the main airport street. You would need to call or message them to arrange the pickup point. That would be a great opportunity to test your Spanish skills, but be aware it can also be a bit frustrating.

Finally, TransMilenio is a good option depending on where your hotel or apartment is. You would need to be very clear about the route you need to take. The only route that goes directly to and from the international airport is M86

Whatever option you choose make sure you know the basic vocabulary to get directions!

But, if you prefer us to pick you up, feel free to contact us here!

We hope you enjoy reading this article. If you have any questions about studying Spanish in Bogota do not hesitate to contact us. Our team will be happy to assist you!

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

Why are you learning Spanish?

Is it because you would like to travel to Spain and Latin America?

Is it because of your partner?

Is it because you would like to enroll in a Spanish, or Latinamerican university?

Is it because you would like to find a job in a Spanish-speaking country?

Or, is it because you want to do business in a Spanish-speaking country?

Any of these reasons are great motivations for learning such a beautiful language.

If your motivation is traveling, doing business or speaking your partner’s mother tongue, you can just learn General Spanish.

But, if your motivation is finding a job or continuing your studies in Spain or Latin America, you might need proof of competency.

What is it a proof of competency?

Proof of competency is a written certificate attesting to language proficiency.

All languages have their proof of competency. For instance:

  • English has TOEFL and IELTS
  • French has DILF, DELF, and DALF
  • Spanish has the DELE and SIELE

What Is the DELE Exam?

DELE stands for Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera. In English “Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language.”

These diplomas are official titles certifying the degree of competence of the Spanish language.

Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport grants the certification. The Instituto Cervantes organizes examination sessions. And the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain designs and corrects all exams

DELE diplomas consist of six levels. With “A” being Beginners; “B” Intermediate, and “C” Advanced.

DELE diplomas consist of six levels. With “A” being Beginners; “B” Intermediate, and “C” Advanced.

The score you get acts as certification to prove your competency in the Spanish language.

Anyone can take the DELE exam as long as they prove they are not citizens of a Spanish-speaking country. Once you get the certification it never expires.

You can do the registration online. And, you can also read more about the requirements, deadlines and fees on their website.

Why take the DELE exam?

1. It’s recognized worldwide

From all the language proficiency certificates, DELE is one of the newest. It was created only in 1989.

It is the most recognized Spanish language test worldwide. It comprises the four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

It is used to measure language proficiency for academic and professional purposes.

2. It will help you get into universities

A DELE certificate is one of the universities’ requirements for international students. So, if you are planning on continuing your education in Spain or Latin America, you would need it.

The university can determine whether you have the right language level for their course you are applying to.

Most of the universities require that your Spanish language proficiency is at a B2 level.

According to DELE’s official website, B2 level:

“Certifies students’ ability to interact with native speakers with a sufficient degree of fluency and spontaneity to enable easy and natural communication between interlocutors; produce clear and detailed texts about diverse topics, as well as defend an opinion about general topics, expressing the pros and cons for each argument; and lastly, understand the gist of complex texts about both concrete and abstract topics, including technical texts, provided they are within the candidate’s area of expertise.”

3. It’s great for your career

Having a language certification as DELE will surely help to boost your CV. Also, it will open doors for your future career.

Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world. It is spoken in more than 20 countries.

Thus, it will put you in an advantageous position with other candidates in the job market. Employers generally use this certification to measure your language level for them.

To work in a Spanish-speaking country you normally need to have at least a Spanish level of C1.

According to DELE’s official website, C1 level:

“Certifies sufficient linguistic competence to understand a wide variety of lengthy, and somewhat demanding texts, as well as to grasp implicit meaning in the same; to express themselves fluently and spontaneously without apparent effort to find the right words; to be able to use the language flexibly and effectively for social, academic, and professional purposes; and finally, to be able to produce clear, well-structured, and detailed texts about topics of some complexity, correctly using mechanisms of organization, articulation, and cohesion in the text.”

4. It’s a good training exercise for your Spanish language skills

Taking the DELE is also very useful for exercising and improving all four language skills (i.e. speaking, reading, writing and listening).

When learning the language some people focus more on certain skills. They generally focus on speaking and listening. However, it is important you learn and improve all four skills.

Make sure you train all skills simultaneously!

5. Live in the country

To live in Spain or Latinamerica you won’t need the DELE. However, if you have already decided you want a new life in any of the Spanish-speaking countries it’s better you take the exam.

At some point, you might apply to a new job or you might get interested in enrolling in a local university. You might also decide to apply for citizenship.

To apply for citizenship in Spain, for instance, you do need to take a DELE exam. But don’t worry the good news is, it’s only the A2 exam.

According to DELE’s official website, A2 level:

“Certifies that the student is able to communicate using the language in a basic way in situations having to do with immediate needs or everyday situations.”

But, if you want to integrate into your new community we recommend trying to achieve at least level B2 or level C1.

Interested in taking the DELE?

We would love to help you to get the best DELE score. In our Spanish school in Bogota, we would be happy to guide you throughout the process.

Check our DELE exam preparation course, and let’s start!

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

 

We know that deciding where to learn Spanish might take some time. You should look for the best Spanish school, the best city to learn the language and the costs involved.

If you are reading this article it’s because you are interested in learning Spanish in Bogota.

That’s a great idea! You will have an unforgettable experience!

One of the questions people have before traveling to a new city is about the budget.

Let us help you with this.

In this article, we will share with you the average costs of Spanish programs and expenses for living in Bogota.

How much does it cost to learn Spanish In Bogota?

Let’s start with giving you the conversion rate to the COP (Colombian Peso) with regards to US dollars:

1 USD = $3.845 COP as of August 22, 2020.

For Latinamerican standards, Bogotá is a moderately expensive city to live in. Obviously, it varies depending on your lifestyle.

At the moment, our currency is very weak, which makes Bogota an affordable city compared to any North American or European cities.

The average monthly cost for a single person is about $500 – $800 USD per month, excluding the Spanish program fees.

For example, below are some rough costs (USD) for somebody living in a neighborhood like Chapinero, Bogota near our Spanish school.

1. Accommodation

The most substantial portion of your monthly budget will go towards rent.

Apartments in Bogotá have an extensive range of prices. You can find a one-bedroom apartment for about $300 USD per month, to a luxury two-bedroom apartment for about $1000 USD per month.

Most apartments do not include utilities and internet, so you will have to add them to your monthly budget. That would be about $100 USD per month.

If you plan to stay longer than 3 months, renting your own apartment or sharing one with friends would be the best option.

And, if you are planning to stay only for a week or two, you could stay in a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb. Rates vary from $10USD per night in a dorm to $60USD per night in a comfortable private room.

Let’s summarize:

  • One-bedroom apartment $300 – $500 per month
  • Utilities $100 per month
  • Private bedroom in a shared apartment $200 per month
  • Utilities in a shared apartment $40 per month
  • A dorm bed in a hostel $10 per night
  • Private room in a hotel $40 per night
  • Airbnb one-bedroom apartment $60 per night

2. Transport

Keep in mind that Bogota is a big, very big city. There are about nine million people living in the city; you can imagine how traffic and distances are.

In Bogota, from 15min to 30 min drive is considered “near”. From 30min to 1hr drive is considered “moderate distance”. And, if a place is more than 1hr drive, then it is considered “far”.

Thus, it is important you try to find your accommodation near the Spanish school you have chosen. It will not only help you save some money but it will save you a lot of time in traffic.

Average costs to move around Bogota are:

  • A local city bus or Transmilenio – $0.70c USD
  • 15 min – 30 min Taxi or Uber trip – $4 USD
  • > 1 hour Taxi or Uber trip – $8- $10 USD

If you plan to travel outside Bogota the average costs are:

  • Bus trip to cities like Medellin, Cali or Bucaramanga (8-10 hours) – $25 USD
  • Bus trip to closer cities (3-5 hours) – $8 USD
  • Round-trip flights to the Caribbean coast – $100 USD

3. Food & Drinks

Eating in Bogota is such an experience!

Bogota is known as the gastronomical city. You can find all kinds of local and international food, for all kinds of budgets.

You can also find small local shops, markets and big supermarkets. In Bogota, you can basically find anything you want.

As in any other city, going out for dinner and drinks will take a big portion of your weekly/monthly budget. The best would be to combine cooking at home and going out for dinner once or twice a week.

Here is the average costs for food and drinks:

  • $100 – $250 USD per month for groceries.
  • A “menú del día” (lunch menu), which is normally a traditional Colombian dish that comes with soup, juice and sometimes even dessert – $4
  • Street food – $1- $2
  • Main course meal at a mid-level restaurant – $10
  • Main course meal at a high-end restaurant – $25
  • Craft beer in a Pub – $3
  • Cocktail in a trendy rooftop– $10-$15

What are the average prices of Spanish programs in Bogota?

If you decide to join a Spanish school, the price range for group and private lessons are as follows:

  • Type of
    Class
  • Group Lessons
  • Mini-Group Lessons
  • Private Lessons
  • Price Range
    per hour
  • $9 – $12
  • $12 – $15
  • $15 – $25
  • Price Range per Week
  • $175 – $250
  • $235 – $305
  • $295 – $495

Instead, if you decide to study Spanish at any of the university programs of the city, the price range varies from $300 USD per level to $500 USD per level.

If you have any questions regarding our programs, prices or about living in Bogota contact us here. We will be happy to guide you.

Hope to see you soon in Bogota!

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

 

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to learn a new language is focusing on what they are seeing rather on what they are hearing.

That is why people find Spanish language pronunciation difficult. Even those who have good proficiency in the language struggle with this.

How can you improve your Colombian Spanish pronunciation?

Let’s think about the way a baby learns to speak.

Babies spend their first months and years listening and replicating the sounds they hear. Then, they start learning the vocabulary. And, only after that, they start making sentences.

This is exactly how we should learn a new language, no matter how old we are! But, the older we get, the more analytical we became.

This makes learning a language more difficult because we are constantly comparing words, rules and sounds to our mother tongue.

So, if you want to master this accent, pay attention to the following Spanish pronunciation tips:

1. Choose your favorite accent

When learning a new language it is important you pick the accent you want to adopt.

That is the accent you will keep for most of your life. So, choose your favorite accent wisely!

If you want to speak Colombian Spanish, then it is advisable to adopt its most neutral dialect, the dialect from Bogota. It is the easiest and clearest to understand.

2. Listen and repeat

It’s all about listening and tuning into the sounds. Then, let your mouth replicate those sounds.

In general, Colombian Spanish pronunciation is quite regular. We pronounce all the words from the way they are written.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Yet, this is a common mistake that non-native Spanish speakers make. They pronounce the words the way it is written but in their mother tongue, not the way it is written in Spanish.

So, make sure you learn first the Spanish pronunciation of all vowels and consonants.

Watch Youtube videos or movies, and listen to Colombian music. Pay attention to how they speak and pronounce all the words.

And then, repeat! That’s the best exercise.

3. Learn the sound of each vowel, and stick to it

The English language has around 19 vowel sounds depending on the country it is spoken in. In contrast, the Spanish language has five fixed vowel sounds.

Make sure you learn them and pronounce them always with the same sound:

 

A – Pronounced “ah”, like the “a” sound in the word “spa” or “father”

E – Pronounced “eh”, like the “e” sound in the word “let” or “shed”

I – Pronounced “ee”, like the “ee” sound in the word “see” or “bee”

O – Pronounced “oh”, like the “o” sound in the word “boring” or “orange”

U – Pronounced “oo”, like the “oo” sound in the word “boot” or “too”

These are always short and open vowel sounds; they never change. Not even when they are combined like au, eo, ia, et, etc.

For example:

  • To say Barbara – Say “Bar-ba-ra” with the “ah” sound instead of “Bar-ber-uh”
  • To say excelente – Say “ex-ce-len-te” with the “eh” sound instead of “ex-uh-len-tay”

Mastering the vowel sounds is a vital first step towards a better pronunciation. Vowels represent more than 50% of the word you’re trying to pronounce.

4. Get your Spanish consonants right

Even though English and Spanish have almost the same alphabet, the same letters do not always represent the same sound.

Many consonants in Spanish sound the same as the English consonants. Yet, there are important differences you should always remember:

D – The Spanish “d” is non-aspirated and it is always soft. The sound is a sort of a cross between the “t” and “d” in English.

H – The Spanish “h” is always silent.

J – In Colombian Spanish, we pronounce the “j” softer than they pronounce it in Spain. We pronounce it like the English “h” sound.

Ñ – The Spanish “ñ” sounds like “ny” in English. For instance, we pronounce “jalapeño” as “ha-la-PE-nyo”.

R – This is one of the most difficult ones for English speakers. It deserves a full section (see next tip No.6)

T – The Spanish “t” is a non-aspirated, soft sound. It sounds like the end of the American pronunciation of “wet” or “dart”.

LL, Y – In Colombian Spanish, we pronounce “ll” and “y” the same way. It is like the “y” sound from “you” in English.

For example, we pronounce “caballo” (horse) as “ca-ba-yo”.

C, S, Z – In Colombian Spanish, we pronounce “s”, “c” and “z” the same way. It is one of the main differences between the Spanish spoken in Spain.

Learn these rules, practice and stick to the sounds. Take your time to pronounce all the vowels and consonants. Don’t sacrifice proper pronunciation for speed.

5. “Rrrrr”, the non-native Spanish speaker’s nightmare

Is it also a nightmare for you?

Don’t worry, we are here to help you.

The consonant “r” in Spanish has special rules. Pay attention:

There is a soft sound (“r”) and a hard sound (“rr”).

  • When the word starts with “r”, it always has a hard sound.
    For example: “Raul”, “ratón” (mouse), “rosa” (rose).
  • When the “r” is in the middle -or at the end- of the word, it is always a soft sound.
    For example: “Colores” (colours), “ventilador” (fan), “armario” (closet)
  • When you find a double “r” (“rr”) in the middle of the word, it is always a hard sound.
    For example: “Carro” (car), “perro” (dog), “Correr” (To run)

It’s very important you remember these rules. Mispronouncing the “r” in the words could lead you to misunderstand. Some words mean something totally different if it’s written with one “r” or double “r”.

For example:

  • Caro (expensive) vs carro (car)
  • Pero (but) vs Perro (dog)
  • Coro (chorus) vs Corro (I run)

How to improve your “rrrr” sound? Roll your tongue, practice, practice, and practice.

Here some sentences taught to young children at school:

“Erre con Erre Cigarro” (“R with R” cigar)
“Erre con Erre Barril” (“R with R” barrel)
“Rápido ruedan los carros” (Quickly run the cars)
“Sobre los rieles del ferrocarril” (Over the rails of the railroad)

6. Stress the proper syllable

In Spanish, there are strict rules about how to stress syllables.

For all words ending in a vowel, the stress falls on the next-to-last syllable. For example:

  • “Ventana” (window) is pronounced “ven-TA-na”.
  • “Cerveza” (beer) is pronounced “cer-VE-za”.
  • “Cuaderno” (notebook) is pronounced “cua-DER-no”.

Words ending in a consonant (except “n” and “s”) stress the final syllable of the word. For example:

  • “Papel” (paper) is pronounced “pa-PEL”.
  • “Doctor” (doctor) is pronounced “doc-TOR”.
  • “Comedor” (Dining table) s pronounced “co-me-DOR”

Words that don’t follow these two rules have an accent mark above the stressed vowel to show you how to pronounce them. For example:

  • “Fútbol” (football) is pronounced “FUT-bol”.
  • “Miércoles” (Wednesday) is pronounced “MIER-co-les”.
  • “Lámpara” (lamp) is pronounced “LAM-pa-ra”.

7. Immerse yourself in the Colombian culture

There is no doubt that when immersing yourself in the culture, you will pick up easily the accent.

The most efficient way is, of course, to spend some time in Bogota studying the language and living in the city. Here you will interact with locals and your pronunciation will naturally improve.

We know that for the moment it is very difficult to travel to Bogota to study Spanish. COVID-19 has made the world stop for a while.

However, it is the perfect time to start learning Spanish at home! You can start learning the language online with us at LMTS.

As soon as the borders are open you can book your flight to Bogota. We guarantee you will have the best Spanish immersion experience.

Hope to see you soon in Bogota!

In the meantime don’t forget to follow our social media and to read our weekly blog.

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

In previous posts, we explained why Colombia is the best destination for learning Spanish. We also mentioned the different options for studying the language, at university courses or language schools.

In this post, we are going to talk about studying Spanish in Bogotá and why is one of the best cities in Colombia to learn and practice the language.

Bogota attracts people from non-Spanish speaking countries who are keen to immerse themselves into the Colombian culture.

Why?

Because Bogota is the country’s capital city. It offers a great variety of activities for you to learn the language and it gives you the opportunity to meet people from all regions of Colombia.

Living in Bogota will help you to get familiar with the different Colombian accents and dialects. Also, it will help you learn the most common Colombian slang and expressions.

If you are wondering how you can study Spanish in Bogota, this post is for you!

Note: If you are a German citizen, we have good news for you. Scroll down to the last section of this article.

Options for learning Spanish in Bogota

There are basically three options:

  1. Spanish for foreigners at Bogota’s Universities
  2. Spanish courses at Language schools
  3. Private tutors

There is no right or wrong choice. It all depends on how much time you would like to invest and how much time you have to stay in the city. Of course, it also depends on your budget and your preferences.

Here we have prepared a brief summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

University Courses

Colombian language schools and Universities offer consistent standards and high-quality instruction. What are their pros and cons and how to choose one or the other?

Pros

  • Opportunity to enroll in regular university classes.
  • Enjoyment of the campus’ facilities.
  • Opportunity to meet other Colombians and to enjoy the student Colombian life.
  • You might get entitled to get transferable credits to your program back home.
  • It will look good in your CV.
  • You can apply for a student visa.

Cons

  • Classrooms with large groups of students.
  • The program could be a bit pricey.
  • You won’t have personalized classes.
    There won’t be many foreign students in case you want to share your challenges and/or frustrations.
  • Although you can do short courses, university courses are normally designed for long-term programs.

Universities offering Spanish courses in Bogota for foreigners

  • Universidad del Externado
  • Universidad del Rosario
  • Universidad Sergio Arboleda
  • Universidad de la Sabana
  • Universidad de la Salle

Spanish School courses

Pros

  • Programs are more flexible than University courses.
  • You choose between group classes and private classes.
  • Classrooms with small groups of students.
  • If you are interested in learning a specific skill you can plan the program with your teacher or tutor. For instance, D.E.L.E exam preparation, or Spanish for business.
  • Once you are back to your home country you can continue your classes online.
  • Language schools offer many social activities.

Cons

  • There are so many options but you should look for the one that suits your needs and expectations.
  • Some schools mentioned their teachers are native speakers but it doesn’t mean they are certified or have enough experience.
  • Not all Spanish schools give you a certificate of attendance.
  • Languages schools don’t have the same infrastructure, facilities, and services as universities.

Private Lessons

Pros

  • Classes are designed for you.
  • Learn at your own pace, no peer pressure.
  • Flexible classes. Learn anytime, anywhere.
  • You progress fast.

Cons

  • Private classes are much more pricey.
  • You won’t have fellow students to share time with.
  • You won’t enjoy any facilities or social activities
  • You won’t have a valid certificate
  • You can’t apply for a student visa.

Bildungsurlaub Accreditation

If you are a German citizen and you are interested in learning Spanish we have good news for you!

We proudly announce that Learn More Than Spanish has received the Bildungsurlaub accreditation.

Bildungsurlaub is an educational leave program for German employees. It allows employees by law to attend courses on special kinds of topics during their working time.

German employees who are interested in this program should submit their application to the employer by the employee. The employer has the final right to decide whether the applicant is exempted from the work or not.

The application must be handed in in written form and all documents should be enclosed showing that the selected course is recognized as BU in the respective federal state. In most federal states, the application should be submitted twelve weeks before the course starts.

If the application is accepted, the employee is entitled to 5 days of paid leave per year to study at a recognized institute.

After completing the course, the employee could use the certification as a proof for the new skill in German professional market.

If you want to know more about this program visit the Bildungsurlaub official website.

Don’t forget to follow our weekly blog here. We will keep you entertained with Colombian culture and Spanish language articles.

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses