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By Mary Joy. Feb 2019

Friendship.  Not the brief moments shared laughing with a stranger on a bus, or a chance encounter with another person from the same country – real, fostered friendship is hard to find when you’re traveling.  In the Patagonian Andes, people are here for different goals; whether backpacking, urban traveling, or simply vacationing, it is easy to make brief connections with other travelers, and then never see them again.

But what about being here for the same, short-term goal?  In Bariloche, Argentina, situated in the heart of the legendary Patagonia region, La Montaña Spanish School offers travelers and locals alike the opportunity to better their Spanish – or begin learning it – in an immersive environment.  The appeal is twofold: a classroom setting, where students can be exposed to the academic structure of the language, and after-school activities to allow people to become more comfortable using their Spanish in a real-world setting.

In the classroom, students are placed in groups based on their previous Spanish background.  They spend 2-4 hours in a discussion-style classroom, talking with a professor about everything from verb tenses to typical Argentine food slang.  But even though this is a classroom, it is not a space for long lectures and endless notes about subjunctive conjugations. It is a dynamic room, where students converse with the professor about their days, ask each other about restaurant recommendations, and laugh along at their classmates’ stories of cultural mishaps and misadventures.  It is a room where cultural misperceptions are corrected, where people of different backgrounds come together to share the confluence of their home cultures with Argentine life, where real friendships are formed.



But Spanish learning does not end there.  Three times a week, the students head out on planned activities.  Going on local hikes, taking tours of the city, and spending time in cervecerías, a city staple, are typical activities that simultaneously allow students to enjoy the city and practice their newfound Spanish.  People often bring their spouses, children, and friends, fully completing the experience of community that La Montaña fosters. And this experience with the Spanish-speaking world in a group environment allows students to use their language skills and social practices in later, more independent interactions, like family dinners or late nights at the climbing gym.

Spanish is a language that fosters friendship, and a language best learned with friends.  And there really is no better way to do it than in the company of native Argentinians, international travelers, and friendly professors.  Come for a few days, a week, or a month, and learn Spanish with La Montaña – the learning you do and the friendships you make will be unforgettable.

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Martina Müller / 16. Dezember 2018
Auch für ein wenig Sport war nebem dem Spanisch lernen in San Carlos de Bariloche dank
Bike-Verleih gesorgt, wir liessen uns zu einer Velorundfahrt hinreissen. Nach der kurzen
Busfahrt waren wir beim Circuito Chico angelangt und nach einigen Information seitens
des Verleihers ging das Abenteuer los. Das zig-malige rauf und runter auf der hügligen
Strecke (wir waren jeweils nicht so gesprächig auf dem Weg nach oben) wurde belohnt mit
schönen Aussichtspunkten auf Berge und Seen in den verschiedensten Blautönen.
Um die auf der Velotour verbrannten Kalorien wieder anzufuttern, gab es für uns nur eine
gute Lösung. Wir liessen den Tag mit einem leckeren Asado, welches man unbedingt
probieren soll, wenn man in Argentinien ist und einem argentinischem Rotwein ausklingen.

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 By Ewan Moffat

Myself and my girlfriend are staying a fairly central flat in the northwest of the city. We’re renting from the apartment from a Bariloche native who we were put in touch with prior to arriving in the city. The apartment had already been booked for a three day period overlapping with the beginning of our stay and our landlord suggested that we leave town for a few days and stay at his parent’s farm in El Bolsón. Dubbed the ‘hippy capital’ of Rio Negro we jumped at the chance taking a stunning scenic car ride through the mountains passing lake after lake. After Spanish lessons at La Montaña it is a great place to practice your Spanish in Las Montañas.
Our few days in El Bolsón were beyond anything we could have expected - and it is a place that I would thoroughly recommend checking out. Waking up to snow-capped peaks and falling asleep with the stars lighting up the sky behind our curtains the trip has rejuvenated us in both body and mind.
In the town itself my girlfriend treated me to an early Christmas present and we both spent an hour on the massage tables at Lumina ‘Espacio Holistico (‘holistic space’). Lumina is somewhere that will amaze, inspire and heal any weary traveller passing through. On a warm day in El Bolsón be sure to swing by for an afternoon yoga class, a spot of aromatherapy or just to admire the remarkable architecture of the ecobuild slap bang in the middle of town. From the giant eye window in the yoga studio is a view of the mountains that you will not forget.

Gabrielle, from the US


Rachel, from Canada

Penny y Roberto de UK

Jesse and Leslie, from Seattle

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