About The School
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Quito is the capital of Ecuador. It was founded in 1534 on the ruins of an ancient Inca city. Today, two million people live in the city. Quito lies between two mountain ranges and its altitude is 2,800 meters or about 9,200 feet. It is the second highest capital in Latin America. The city includes in its center the Old City, the largest in the Americas. It has undergone a huge restoration and revitalization program over the last decade. It boasts no fewer than 40 churches and convents, 17 squares and 16 convents and monasteries. It's been called the 'Reliquary of the Americas' for the richness of its colonial- and independence-era architecture and heritage. It's a great quarter to wander, with several excellent museums and plenty of restaurants and terrace cafes. Modern, northern Quito is a fun place to explore, with plenty of museums and urban parks as well as restaurants and nightlife. Just outside the city is the monument called the Mitad del Mundo. This is a popular excursion from Quito, as you can have your photo taken with one foot on either side of the equator line. As for climate, Quito is said to have "all four seasons in a day". Once the sun goes down it can get very cool due to the altitude.
Of all of the cities in Ecuador, Cuenca is arguably the most charming with its cobblestone streets, old-world cathedrals, colonial parks and urban rivers. In recent years, Cuenca has become a hot spot for expatriates and retirees settling down to live. Safety, low cost of living and pleasant, although slightly cool climate attracts expats to settle down in this small Andean city, a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site. The famously traditional Cuencanos continue a proud intellectual tradition that has produced more notable writers, poets, artists, and philosophers than anywhere else in Ecuador. Cuencan culture and history are thoroughly represented in the city’s many museums. Those seeking culture in Cuenca by day can choose from a variety of churches and colonial plazas.
By night, bars and restaurants are plentiful with excellent traditional and international food and bargain priced. Nightlife in Cuenca ranges from bohemian to upscale, but the music tends to be lowered down rather early, mirroring the city’s conservative traditional culture. Though most of the sites of interest are churches, parks and museums, outdoor enthusiasts flock to Cuenca for El Cajas National Park which offers spectacular hiking and trekking opportunities, and the bicycling around Cuenca is second to none.
About The School
The mission of Simón Bolívar Spanish School is to promote to the international community the outstanding natural and cultural diversity of Ecuador through teaching Spanish. Since its foundation 19 years ago, the school has been a leader, being one of the oldest and most successful Spanish schools in the region. Simón Bolívar works under European and Ecuadorian management, the same it has had since it was originally founded. The school is officially registered and authorized by the Ministry of Education.
The Quito school location is ideally in the famous La Mariscal Area, which is by far the most popular place for visitors and boasts a great selection of restaurants, internet cafes, craft markets, bars, hostels, hotels, and cultural events. Plaza Foch, the center of La Mariscal, is just 3 blocks far from the school. The three story house has many private rooms with bathrooms. There are also two kitchens available. One is in the cafeteria, and the bigger one is used for cooking and cocktail lessons. The school offers free coffee and fresh baked bread, which you can enjoy while sharing time with other students in the patio. There is also have a computer room with free internet access (plus WiFi) and an area for dancing lessons.
The Cuenca location is in the heart of the historic district, one block away from the main square and the Cathedral. The school building is an old colonial-style house with more than 30 rooms available for classes. In addition, the building has a patio for students to relax, read, drink a cup of coffee or check emails.
Style of teaching
The classes are all one on one...one teacher to one student. The student becomes the main character in the learning process through innovative teaching methods, techniques, didactic materials and activities that are adapted to suit individual needs.
Your classes are personalized and tailored to your needs.At least once per week, you can go with your teacher outside the classroom, for instance, to a park where you can practice the language. All the staff have university degrees with many years of experience in teaching the Spanish language.
Levels offered - All levels of Spanish ability are accommodated with ten levels, from complete beginners to very advanced You will be given a brief placement test to determine your level on your first day of class.
Class size and hours - Classes are one on one. Classes begin at 8:30 am and are held Monday through Friday. Additional hours begin at 1:00 pm, and you can request an afternoon schedule if you prefer. Each class is 55 minutes in length.
Materials - Sold at the school, there are four texts available for purchase in new condition at reasonable cost. You can also bring your own materials for completely customized classes.
Academic Credit – Available for this program.
Students—are of all ages, although students of under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The private classes create a good format for entire families of all ages to study. Students come from many countries, creating an interesting international flavor. They are of many backgrounds and at all levels of Spanish. The school welcomes couples and families, and individuals coming alone find it a comfortable and easy atmosphere in which to make new friends and be socially active.
Activities - In the afternoons, at 5pm, from Monday to Thursday, you can enjoy dancing, cooking, idiomatic expressions, Ecuadorian culture or cocktail lessons, sports, soccer games. There is a $3 charge for cooking or cocktail classes. Dance classes are offered as part of your fees. The school offers additional cultural lectures open to all students. The school also offers reasonably priced longer excursions on weekends. An example of these would be an excursion to the world famous market at Otavalo or a tour of the old city section of Quito. The school has its own fully staffed travel agency, Columbus Travel, located nearby.
Additional locations for classes - please see descriptions of courses in the Amazon or on the Pacific Coast under Programs & Descriptions.