Because of health services research in which I am involved, I began taking Spanish lessons during 2005 and also began looking for a Spanish immersion program. I was put in contact with Pedro Nino at Nueva Lengua on Bogota and I registered for a 4-week series of classes. Mr. Nino and all the staff at Nueva Lengua were extremely helpful in setting up my studies, including securing a compatible family and housing, making sure I had the proper documents to enter Columbia, and providing individualized instruction and flexible scheduling.
The class work at Nueva Lengua was very relevant to my work with the School of Nursing and the language faculty were helpful, knowledgeable, and professional. The instructors gave a great deal of individual attention to each student and they all demonstrated their interest and concern for our learning needs. In addition to classes, we were able to visit numerous museums, parks, and other places of interest in and around Bogota. Because of my work, I stayed in Bogota, but students have the ability to study on the campuses in Bogota, Cartagena, or Medellin.
Because of the poor representation of Columbia in films and the media, a number of my friends and family expressed concern that I would be in some danger. This concern was totally unfounded. I traveled safely all around Bogota via public transportation (Trans Milaneo and taxi) and took the normal precautions one would take in a busy city of 8 million people. Additionally, Mr. Nino assisted me in booking travel to the coffee region of Columbia (Parque Nacional de Café and Valle Corcora) and for a 4-day trip to Salto Angel in Venezuela. The Columbian government has made great progress in securing the cities and is working diligently to secure all parts of the countryside. There are still geographic areas of concern, but the Nueva Lengua faculty and staff are able to advise students safely about where and how to travel. Additional conveniences of living in Bogota are the fact that you can drink water from the tap, the country uses 110 AC for electrical appliances, and the weather in Bogota is similar to that in San Francisco.
In summary, the Nueva Lengua Spanish program was excellent. I learned a great deal about the history, language, and culture of this beautiful and mysterious country. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent being a student and working with the Nursing faculties around Columbia. I am very grateful to Nueva Lengua for helping provide me with this wonderful experience.
Jean Ann Seago, PhD, RN
University of California, San Francisco