Why trust Amerispan as an agency

Amerispan co-founders, John Slocum and Dorioara Pinku, started out as a pair of Spanish students in Latin America. During their travels, they realised that the region was full of Spanish language schools offering affordable tuition to people of all ages. Slocum and Pinku found it intriguing that the majority of the students learning Spanish were trained professionals like doctors and lawyers; this led the pair to believe that the USA was seriously lacking in Spanish language schools and they set about trying to change this. What started out as a business plan on a scrap of paper on a beach in Rio Janeiro is now a multi-award winning company that has been “building bridges between cultures” for the last two decades. Presently, Amerispan offers 15 languages in 45 different countries.

Amerispan has 25 years worth of experience in helping students to travel to different countries to learn Spanish. Staff members have personally experienced the destinations on offer by Amerispan so they can give first hand advice on what to expect and how to prepare for your trip. Amerispan is in constant contact with the schools and the host families so all parties are kept informed at all times. There is no risk involved in booking a course through Amerispan because you can cancel at any time and get a full refund. You must give three weeks notice if you wish to cancel your course to give Amerispan the opportunity to offer you place to somebody else.

If at the end of your course you are not fully satisfied, Amerispan will pay for an extra week’s worth of tuition on a Spanish course of your choice. In order to claim one week free, you must send an email to the following address admin@amerispan.com explaining why you are dissatisfied with your program. Amerispan uses this information to improve the learning experience of future students. Finally, in the unlikely circumstance that you find another company offering an equivalent course for a lower price, Amerispan not only matches their price, but offers a price that is 10% lower than the competitor. For a course to be considered “equivalent”, it must meet certain criteria:

a)      The course must be in the same city

b)      The number of students in the class must be the same or fewer.

c)      The amount of Spanish teaching time and the quality of instruction must be comparable.

d)     The accommodation must be of a similar quality.

To sum up, if you buy a course from Amerispan, you can be sure of three things:

  1. A full refund if you change your mind
  2. One week free if you’re not fully satisfied
  3. The best possible price

Amerispan’s principal goal is to serve their customers. The Philadelphia office is open 8 hours a day; 5 days a week so there will almost always be a member of staff available to help you whether it be over the phone or via email. Amerispan understand that there is a lot of information available and they are here to help you sort through it and to make an informed decision.

3 Best destinations to learn Spanish


If you’re serious about learning Spanish, then the best thing you can do is to spend some time in a Spanish-speaking country. Immersing yourself in the Spanish language and culture is arguably the only way to achieve fluency and confidence in the foreign language. There are 21 Spanish-speaking countries in the world so it’s impossible to say which three are the best. Listed below are some countries that may be more recommended than others. Of course you will want to research all of your options before you make a decision, but here is some food for thought to get you started…

1.    Colombia, South America
After many years of violent conflict, Colombia has become a safe holiday destination once again. Millions of people go to Colombia on holiday every year. Colombia is an ideal place to learn Spanish at a beginner’s level. This is because Colombian people speak slowly with a neutral accent. There is plenty to do outside the classroom as well, from trekking through the jungle to lying on a tropical beach. Interestingly, Latin American writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in Colombia. Gabriel Garcia’s writing style (Magical Realism) could be seen as a true reflection of the Colombian way of life where every person is good and kind and every view takes your breath away. Imported by the coffee-loving Italians, Columbian coffee has been recognized as the best in the world. Despite being quite small, Colombia is the second most biologically diverse place on earth with almost 2000 species of birds. This biodiversity results from Colombia’s varied ecosystems, from flat grassland to cloud forests characterized by low-level cloud cover. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, Cartagena, often referred to as a jewel in South America’s crown, is a popular tourist destination. The city is characterized by colonial architecture, cultural festivals, exotic scenery, superb beaches and wonderful food.

2.    Mexico, North America
Mexico has the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. It has 31 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – that’s more than any other country. Mexican’s speak with a slightly stronger accent than Colombian’s, but they are still quite easy to understand. Also, Mexican people in general are very patient so they should be happy to slow down and repeat things to help you understand. One of the lovely things about learning Spanish in Mexico is that the people are full of praise. Even if you make lots of mistakes, they will still treat you with the utmost respect for trying, before politely correcting you so you can improve. Mexico is hot all year round, so it’s the perfect place to go to get a tan and learn Spanish at the same time. Additionally, it has some of the nicest beaches in the world: Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Acapulco each offer unique swimming experiences. Chichen Itza receives over a million visitors each year making it the most visited archaeological site in Mexico. It is one of the larger Maya cities in the world thought to have had a diverse population due to the wide variety of architectural styles. Besides Maya cities and lovely people, Mexico is famous for its food. Mole, for example, is a chili and chocolate sauce traditionally eaten with chicken and pork.

3.    Peru, South America
The main language spoken in Peru is Spanish, although many Peruvian’s still speak Quechua, the other official language of Peru. English is barely spoken in Peru, except in some of the major cities. Therefore, Spanish students will be thrown into the language. Peruvians, like Mexicans, are grateful to people who speak to them in their mother tongue. Additionally, they are renowned for speaking loudly and clearly; of course, this makes it easier for foreigners to understand them. If you go to Peru to study Spanish, you’ll have lots to do in your free time. Machu Picchu, the 15th century Inca site is famous the world over. Although there are other things to see, this is certainly an important tourist attraction. Machu Picchu was unknown to the world until 1911 when it was brought to international attention by an American archaeologist. Now nearly 2,500 tourists visit Machu Picchu every single day!




Best schools in Italy

Italian universities
Everyone knows that Italy has the tastiest pizza, the richest coffee and the creamiest gelato but not many people know that some Italian universities are among the world’s best ever. For example, the University of Bologna is the highest ranked university in Italy whilst Sapienza University of Rome ranks as the 190th best university in the world. The aforementioned universities specialize in the following subjects: health, humanities, sciences, social studies and technology. Students travel from far and wide to take advantage of Italy’s excellent education system.

Expats in Italy – how to choose the best school for your child…

When selecting an Italian school for your son or daughter, it is necessary to choose whether you want your child to attend an Italian state school or one of the few schools in Italy that uses English as their main teaching language. If you send your child to an Italian state school, he/she will be studying all of their subjects in Italian. It is noteworthy that after the age of 12, children tend to learn languages more slowly. Young children, on the other hand, adapt fairly easily.
While English is taught as a second language throughout state schools in Italy, the quality of the education your child is likely to receive is probably not going to allow your child to maintain a high level of reading and writing in English. Consequently, many parents pay for an English tutor to allow their child to hold onto their knowledge of the English language. This is especially important for parents planning on returning to the UK while their children are still of school-age to keep them from falling behind in their English studies.
You should also take into account the following five pieces of advice when selecting the best school for your child…

1.    Parents usually send their children to private school for religious reasons or to find support for children with special needs. Italian private schools do not offer a higher quality of education; state schools are perceived to be of an equal standard.

2.    If you are planning on living in Italy for a short period of time, it may not be worth enrolling your child in a Spanish speaking school. It may be said that the length of your stay needs to be at least one year to make becoming a student at an Italian school worth your child’s while. For example, two months in an all-Italian-speaking educational institution is not enough time to allow your son or daughter to progress and is likely to do more harm than good to your child’s confidence.

3.    Expat parents need to be aware that the majority of Italian students are required to attend school on a Saturday morning. Therefore, it may be necessary for the family to rearrange their leisure activities around Saturday classes.

4.    Undoubtedly, the younger your child is, the easier it will be for them to integrate into Italian school life.

5.    If you choose single-gender education for your child, you have no alternative but to send your child to private school.

Five best schools in France

It is a well known fact that France has one of the best schooling systems in the world. According to recent research, French students are more likely to face up to a challenge, pay close attention to the rules, produce high quality work and consequently achieve academic success. It is unsurprising then, that an increasing number of families are relocating to France to take advantage of their seemingly superior teaching methods. For many parents, their child’s ability to integrate is a huge cause for concern.

Besides the obvious advantages to be gleaned from relocating abroad such as language acquisition, there are the inevitable feelings of isolation and alienation that come from being an expatriate. Luckily, there are ways to avoid these unpleasant sensations such as employing a personal tutor. This is more important the older your child is given that younger children tend to be faster learners. Youngsters will almost certainly start to feel comfortable conversing in French before their parents and/or older siblings. There are three main reasons for this, each of which is discussed in moderate detail below:

1.    It may be argued that children have an advantage over their parents when learning a foreign language given that they focus on the most important parts of sentences only. They block out words and phrases that they consider confusing, instead focusing on what they understand. Adults, on the other hand, attempt to process everything they hear, often failing to interpret anything at all.

2.    A portion of the blame for slower language acquisition in adults can be attributed to “neural commitment”. A child learns his/her mother tongue through the strengthening and weakening connections between neurons in their brain. When that child becomes an adult, those connections become fixed and harder to change when learning a new language. If the second language is acquired while a person is still young, those connections are changeable and so language acquisition is less complicated.

3.    The simplest explanation is that, more often that not, young children are surrounded by people speaking the language they are trying to learn. Children are at school all day, every day and so they are immersed in the target language almost all of the time. Even if adults take evening classes, this will only occupy a small portion of their time. Moreover, if they are taking beginners French for example, they are bound to be surrounded by other non-native speakers. Finally, children are less inhibited about speaking in a group situation and less self-conscious about making mistakes. Therefore, a child will generally spend more time talking in the target language than an adult which speeds up the learning process.

French children start school at the age of six and leave at the age of sixteen. School days are generally longer in France than the UK however there is normally one day off a week in addition to the weekend. School holidays are structured a little differently too. Rather than a long summer break, French students have four lots of two week breaks spread throughout the year rather than one long six to twelve week holiday as enjoyed by British and American children. It has been proven that shorter holidays minimize summer learning loss (the loss in academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer vacation).

The structure of French state schools is as follows:

•    2-5 years  Ecole Maternelle
•    6-11 years  Ecole Primaire
•    12-16 years  Collège
•    16-18 years  Lycée
•    18+  University

The names of the top 5 French universities are listed below in English along with a brief description:
1.    The Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University (UPMC) situated in Paris is the 2nd best university in France and the 42nd best university in the world according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities.  Graduates of UPMC, the biggest medical complex in the country, have won (and continue to win) various awards in the field.

2.    The Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 is one out of three public universities in Lyon. It specializes in science and medicine and was named after Claude Bernard, the French physiologist who suggested that blind experiments (where some of the participants are prevented from knowing certain information that might lead to bias) ensure the fairness of scientific experiments.

3.    The École normale supérieure (ENS) is a French grande école (a higher education institution that is not a public university) The idea to establish the ENS was first generated during the French Revolution and has since developed into an first-class establishment producing some the brightest young scholars that France has ever seen, including 12 Nobel prize winners.

4.    The University of Paris-Sud has its main campus in Orsay in the southwestern suburbs of Paris. The other campuses are distributed around other cities in France. Paris-Sud is the biggest university in France, famous in the fields of mathematics and science in particular. It has been ranked the 1st best university in France, the 6th best in Europe and 37th best in the world according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

5.    The Pantheon-Sorbonne University situated in Paris is one of the biggest universities in France with 40,000 students.  The university is divided up into 5 institutions offering degrees in economics, humanities, law, management and political science.

Amerispan in the New York Times

Amerispan recommended in The New York Times

Amerispan recently featured in the New York Times! An article entitled “Single for the Holidays” by Stephanie Rosenbloom discussed in depth the benefits of travelling alone as well as some of the best solo traveler destinations. It seems that Rosenbloom is experienced in the field of “flying solo” and would recommend it for the following reasons:

  1. If you are away from family & friends at Christmas time, then a Parisian café is much nicer place to be alone than your living room where the chances of being approached by a beautiful stranger are considerably less.
  2. Tour operator Abercrombie and Kent have noticed a 29% increase in solo travel compared to last year. This demonstrates that it is an increasingly popular option and no longer a risky thing to do with “Singles” tours ensuring safety in numbers.
  3. Tours for solo travelers attract people with no romantic ambitions whatsoever as well as eligible singles.
  4. Solo travel is a great opportunity to engage is solo activities such as a being scrubbed at a Turkish bath.
  5. Overseas travel is a great opportunity to learn a foreign language (this is where Amerispan comes in!)

Amerispan offers over 15 languages in more than 45 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and Africa. Not only is knowledge of a second language a hugely gratifying thing to have, but you will be more marketable and have more career choices than your monolingual counterpart. What’s more, your travel experience will be utterly transformed: Spaniards are kindhearted and hospitable and if you can speak their language, you will find that you receive a much warmer welcome than your monolingual counterpart.

According to Rosenbloom, some of the best solo traveler destinations are as follows:

  • Anne Banas, executive producer of www.smartertravel.com says she particularly likes the European Cities in the winter given that they are cheaper out of season. Additionally, many travelers say that they have a more authentic experience in winter time given that the locals aren’t all out of town holidaying themselves.
  • Venice, although renowned as a couples retreat, is allegedly a great place for a “contemplative escape” according to Alison Bing, writer of 40 books for www.lonelyplanet.com. She reminisces on a day she went bar-hopping with a group of Venetians during “high water” (when the Venetian Lagoon rises and everyone is left ankle-deep in water).
  • You can take Courses in sun soaked places like Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Amerispan offers fun solo breaks such as Spanish & Windsurfing, French & Wine and Portuguese & Capoeira (a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance and music). Amerispan also offers language courses in France, Spain and Italy specifically designed for daring adults over the age of 50.


Spanish Literature


In the tradition of western art, Spanish literature undoubtedly stands proud on the podium of contributors along side its English, French and Italian counterparts. The oeuvre of discovered Spanish literature dates back as far as the 10th century and thus includes writings not only in Spanish and Medieval Spanish, but also in the various Semitic languages which at one point also flourished on the peninsular. Amongst that inexhaustible list of dramatists, poets and authors are to be found those distinguished Spanish names of Lorca, Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega, and of course plenty more, whose names cannot be left unmentioned whilst on the topic of the written arts.

Joining the oeuvre of the opera magna is the anonymous Cantar de mio Cid; an epic poem from the beginning of the 13th century, and the only work of that form which remains in its entirety. The following century, the Spanish nobility would give birth to an author in Don Juan Manuel whose iconic work El Conde Lucanor remains of both interest and relevance to the field of Literary Theory even today. The Renaissance would indeed bring the rebirth of literature through the revolutionary work of Miguel de Cervantes, El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha, a piece that would go on to inspire works of artists to come: namely, the composer Richard Strauss and artist Pablo Picasso.

Of course, any effort to do justice to the appraisal of such a fine collection of art in so few words is only done in vain. The field of Spanish literature is understandably one both so vast and so varied that one can only claim to have expertise over it all in pretence. Ever aware, as you must be, of the challenge inherent in combating this field of studies, Enforex offers a course in Spanish Literature which combines Spanish language classes with the in-depth study of its literature. After all, what is language without literature?

Numbers in Spanish – a Memory Hook

spanish numbers


For all those of you who have always had problems with the Spanish numbers, here comes the solution!: A memory hook on how to internalize the numbers in Spanish! First of all, it can be said that knowing the Spanish numbers one to ten is already most of what you need. If you are not acquainted with these numbers, here is a little list to recap:

one        -              uno (fem.: una)

two        -              dos

three    -              tres

four       -              cuatro

five        -              cinco

six          -              seis

seven   -              siete

eight     -              ocho

nine       -              nueve

ten         -              diez

The other Spanish numbers are merely easily made combinations of the numbers you have just learned and the decimal numbers which are listed here:

twenty                 -              veinte

thirty                    -              treinta

forty                     -              cuarenta

fifty                       -              cincuenta

sixty                      -              sesenta

seventy                 -              setenta

eighty                   -              ochenta

ninety                  -              noventa

As you can see, these numbers are quite easy to internalize since they look almost like the single-digit numbers with the ending –enta.

When we take a closer look at the other decimals, we see that they are just an adding up of numbers. Thirty one is for example treinta y uno which is to say thirty and one, and this rule is true for all two digit numbers, except….

As always in life there are some few exceptions which are detailed below:

For the twenties, instead of the “y”, we use an “i” and connect both the multiples of ten and the one-digit number. Here´s an example: “veintiuno”. This is true for all numbers with twenty and thus very easy to learn. The same holds true for the majority of the teens, namely sixteen through to nineteen only that, in addition, the “z” in diez becomes a “c”. For example, nineteen in Spanish is: diecinueve.

In the same group of Spanish numbers with ten and twenty there is another exception with the numbers ending in two, three and six. Here, an accent is put on the “o” or “e” respectively such that, in the end, the numbers look like this: dieciséis, veintidós, veintitrés and veintiséis.

Q: Why did I not mention the numbers twelve and thirteen? A: Because they belong to the third and last group of exceptions. To be honest, the numbers eleven to fifteen are very weird and do not follow such a logical structure like the others. But they are very few and can be learnt directly in one row with the one-digit numbers. Here they are:

eleven                 –              once

twelve                 -              doce

thirteen               -              trece

fourteen             -              catorce

fifteen                 -              quince

My recommendation is to first learn the Spanish numbers from one to fifteen and then the multiples of ten, before finally combating the rest! The pronunciation isn’t a problem either since the numbers are pronounced exactly as they are written.

I hope this small lecture helped you a bit to find your way through the Spanish number jungle! In any case, you can always do an intensive Spanish language course at one of our language schools in Spain or Latin America. We offer Spanish courses at every level, from beginner to professional.

We are waiting for you!

Why Learning Spanish is Worth Learning 10 Languages!


Did you know that studying Spanish is more than just studying one language, but rather enabling yourself to communicate with almost all non-English speakers in the world and setting the basics for many more languages than you ever thought of?

Linguists speak about so-called mutually intelligible languages. The speakers of those languages can understand each other in talking or writing without learning the respective other language. The Spanish language belongs to the family of the Romance languages, which developed out of the Italic language and later Latin. Other languages in this family are Italian, French, and Provençal (France), Portuguese, Romanian, Romansh (Switzerland), as well as Catalan, Galician, and Valencian (Spain). These languages show strong similarities in grammar, syntax and lexis. The similarities do not only stem from their common language of origin, but also from later blending of cultures. The Road to Santiago, for example, a road of pilgrimage leading from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, brought many French people to the north of Spain during the Middle Ages thus influencing the language of this region sustainably.

A scale was invented for measuring the intelligibility of those languages. It was found that the highest percentage of lexical similarity exists between Spanish and Portuguese with 89%, closely followed in joint second place by the Spanish-Italian and the Spanish-Catalan mutual intelligibility; Catalan being spoken in the eastern part of Spain and both this language and Italian with a figure of 85% intelligibility with Spanish. A bit less but still recognizable are the similarities between Spanish and French as well as Romansh with 75% and 74% respectively. The lowest compliance with Spanish in this test was Romanian language with a relatively high 71%.

The understanding on both sides differs, meaning that Spanish speakers might for example be able to ask for directions in Portugal and be understood but then struggle to understand the response. Anyway, it is much easier for people who have learned Spanish to study other languages of the same family. Sometimes it is only necessary to spend some time in the respective country to grasp the differences.

Who would not like to learn a language that enables you to communicate with people in huge parts of Europe, almost all of America, and the majority of Africa? Learning Spanish is an investment which opens many doors. With a few weeks of an intensive Spanish course or a Spanish immersion program at a Spanish language school in your country of choice, you can learn Spanish and lay down the foundation for your future, not only in Spain and Latin America, but in almost the entire world!


Have you ever thought about going to Argentina?

Have you ever thought about going to Argentina? As the fourth biggest country in America, it has some of the best tourist attractions of the whole continent. How can you not be excited about going to the land of Tango and Mate (herbal drink); with breathtaking scenery and spectacular cities? The chance to enjoy long chats with Argentinean locals is another good reason to visit.

Fascinatingly, around half of the entire Argentinean population resides in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina. This is not surprising when you consider that the city is ranked 61st in the world for the most excellent quality of life (according to the Mercer Quality of Living Survey). As well as being the most highly populated city of all the South American capital cities, Buenos Aires also receives the highest number of visitors each year. Buenos Aires is renowned for having more theatres than any other city in the world. Notably, the people of Buenos Aires wish to host the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics and are in the process of bidding at present.

The list of inviting destinations in Argentina is enormous, but we recommend Buenos Aires as the best option.

Tourists flock to the federal capital, attracted by its wide avenues and unique architectural mix. In fact, it may be said that in Buenos Aires, the cultural offering is almost as interesting as the cuisine. Not to mention the Buenos Aires nightlife that can be defined as uniquely enchanting and magical…

Buenos Aires moves to the rhythm of Tango in San Telmo, the oldest neighborhood in Buenos Aires… San Telmo is characterized by its cobbled streets lined with antique shops, cafes and tango parlors… One of San Telmo’s main attractions is the semi-permanent fairground in the Plaza Dorrego. Lots of Tango-related activities can be found around this area to be enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.

Buenos Aires is certainly a city full of flavor, a city that tastes of empanadas… a pastry stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables… a word that has evolved from the Spanish verb “empanar” meaning “to wrap in bread”.

Buenos Aires is home to the curious Recoleta Cemetery – 14 acres of land containing a grand total of 4691 vaults including those of various important people such as presidents, Nobel Prize winners and the granddaughter of Napoleon to name but a few. Eva Perón is also buried in the Recoleta Cemetery. Evita, as she is affectionately referred to by the Spanish people, was the second wife of President Juan Perón as well as an Argentine political leader.

As you stroll the huge avenues reminiscent of those in Paris, you can smell the sweet scent of the ornamental Jacaranda tree on every corner, with its clusters of pale purple fragrant flowers. Buenos Aires is a city that understands how to combine enjoyment with learning and, as the Argentineans say themselves, Buenos Aires captures the very essence of Argentina.

The USA’s top 10 Spanish-speaking holiday destinations

1)    Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu (Old Mountain) is an old Inca city in the Peruvian Andes. Being one of the most famous ruins in the world, this touristic destination, at 8.000 ft high, is the number one attraction for American travelers.

2)    Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
This volcanic island in Ecuador accommodates various habitats and unique species of animals which make this exotic destination one of the most famous ones in the Spanish-speaking world.

3)    Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires, with 2.6 million tourists a year, is the most visited city in South America. The city perfectly unites modernity with culture and is famous for being the birth place of the Argentine Tango.

4)    Torres del Paine, Chile
The national park Torres del Paine offers a great variety of landscape: mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, glacier distributed over 250.000 ha and enchants its visitors with its belle, untouched beauty.

5)    Jalisco state, Mexico
Jalisco is one of the 32 federal states of Mexico. It is one of the most developed states in the country economically, commercially and culturally. Its capital, Guadalajara, is an artistic and historic treasure.

6)    Bocas del Toro, Panama
Bocas del Toro is a Panamanian province with a huge variety of cultures: Europeans, Indigenous communities, North Americans and Asians. Situated at the Caribbean Sea the region is perfect to enjoy sun, beaches and sand.

7)    Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni is one of the most popular touristic destinations in Bolivia with about 60,000 visitors every year. In November it’s the breeding ground of three different species of flamingo.

8)    Peten Region, Guatemala
The rainforest in Peten offers a wide variety of wildlife with millions of apes of all kind of species and parrots.

9)    San José Del Cabo, Mexico
San Jose offers everything that makes the hearts of watersport-lovers beat faster. Extraordinary restaurants with the best national and international cuisine complete a perfect holiday experience.

10)    San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Being a destination exclusively for backpackers and wayfarers in former days, this village now attracts tourists from all over the world who are fascinated by the beauty of the nature.