Taking Spanish Classes at Universidad EAFIT - Medellin Guru
The Spanish language program at Universidad EAFIT in Medellín is popular with foreigners and it's considered one of the best Spanish programs in Colombia.

Guide to Taking Spanish Classes at Universidad EAFIT – 2021 Update

Universidad EAFIT in Medellín is a private university that offers a popular Spanish language program for foreigners. And reportedly EAFITs popular Spanish program is considered to be the largest Spanish language program at a university for foreigners in Colombia.

I took Spanish classes at Universidad EAFIT for well over a year several years ago and I recommend the program. In addition, I was able to receive two Colombia student visas while I was enrolled in classes that permitted me to be in Colombia full-time. So, I was no longer limited to being in Colombia only six months during the year as a tourist.

Also, EAFIT’s Spanish program was even the first Spanish as a Foreign Language Program in Colombia to be certified by the Spanish Instituto Cervantes.

The above photo is a language class at the university and the photo is courtesy of Universidad EAFIT.

The new Language School building at Universidad EAFIT opened in 2016

The new Language School building at Universidad EAFIT opened in 2016

The Spanish classes at EAFIT used to be offered in two buildings on EAFIT’s main campus in El Poblado. But in August 2016, the language school moved into a new building located near the main campus.

In addition, this new building conveniently has a small food court with a few small restaurants and many tables set up.

The food court food options in the EAFIT language school building

The food court food options in the EAFIT language school building

The Spanish Program at Universidad EAFIT

EAFIT’s Spanish classes are designed to follow the Cervantes Institute Common European Framework for learning Spanish, which defines levels of competence in the Spanish language.

EAFIT’s Spanish program currently has 15 different classes, which map to the Cervantes levels as seen in the following table:

Mapping EAFIT's Spanish program to the Common European Framework

Mapping EAFIT’s Spanish program to the Common European Framework

Each of the Spanish classes at EAFIT are for a total of 38 hours. And the university offers two options for classes, either a semi-intensive two-hour per day format or an intensive four-hour per day format.

Semi-intensive Spanish Classes

  • Monday to Friday: from 9 am to 11 am or from 2 pm to 4 pm
  • Four weeks: two hours per day, for a total of 38 hours

Intensive Spanish Classes

  • Monday to Friday: from 9 am to 1 pm or from 2 pm to 6 pm
  • Two weeks: four hours per day, for a total of 38 hours

The number of participants per Spanish class typically ranges from three to eight students in my experience. And the university reserves the right to not offer a class when it doesn’t have the minimum number of students required.

Since EAFIT is offering 15 different Spanish classes in both intensive and semi-intensive formats, not every class is necessarily available each month.

For example, when I was taking Spanish classes there, when I wanted to take level 7, it wasn’t available. So, I skipped that level and took level 8, which was challenging. But I still went back and took level 7.

The number of students in the Spanish program changes from month to month. Typically, there is somewhere between 80 and over 100 students in the Spanish program at any given time. In 2017, the Spanish program at EAFIT had a total of 1,333 students enrolled at some point during the year.

Students come to EAFIT from all over the world to study Spanish. Students from over 35 different countries have studied in EAFIT’s Spanish program.

My Experience Learning Spanish at EAFIT

I took Spanish classes at EAFIT for well over a year starting in August 2013. Due to work travel commitments, I couldn’t take classes every month.

The Spanish classes I took typically had two to six students in each class. Most notably, this small class size enables more individual attention from the teachers. And in my experience, all of my Spanish teachers in the program were good.

Also, while in the program I had the opportunity to meet students studying Spanish from over 15 different countries.

When I was taking Spanish classes, I needed to spend about one hour outside of class doing homework and studying for each hour spent in class.

In my experience, the combination of taking Spanish classes at EAFIT, immersion by living full-time in Medellín, having a Colombian girlfriend who is now my wife and using Spanish every day helped accelerate my learning Spanish.

The Luis Echavarría Villegas Library at EAFIT

The Luis Echavarría Villegas Library at EAFIT

The Spanish program at the university also has some organized activities for students. And when you are enrolled in the Spanish program at EAFIT, you get access to the EAFIT campus, which has a swimming pool, food court and a large library.  In addition, you can attend other classes at the university without credit.

When I started in the Spanish program at EAFIT I already knew some Spanish. And I took a placement test that placed me in the level 3 class to start. I took a sufficient number of classes so that I now speak Spanish at the intermediate level, which is enough to be pretty self-sufficient when living in Medellín.

The language school office on the ground floor

The language school office on the ground floor

I also found the Spanish language office at EAFIT to be very helpful and responsive in scheduling classes and providing paperwork needed for a student visa. And the language office in the new language building is located on the ground floor.

Calendar of 2021 EAFIT Spanish Classes

EAFIT offers Spanish classes throughout the year. The university does not hold classes during the holidays in Colombia. And the Spanish program shuts down from early December to mid-January.

The following is EAFIT’s schedule of Spanish classes for 2020:

EAFIT's 2021 Spanish course schedule

EAFIT’s 2021 Spanish course schedule

2021 Costs for Spanish Classes at EAFIT

In 2021, each Spanish class at EAFIT costs 1,424,000 pesos for a 38-hour class if there are 3 to 8 students in a class. The price for a class was 1,390,000 pesos in 2019.

The openings of the classes are subject to a minimum of three students per class. But if there are only two students, a class costs 2,366,000 for a 38-hour class (up from 2,310,000 pesos in 2019).

And they offer the possibility for a 1-on-1 class with only one student in which case a class costs 4,305,000 pesos in 2020 for a 38-hour class.

In addition, If you pay in advance for more than two classes you will receive a 5 percent discount.

You can pay for classes at EAFIT in cash at the Bancolombia, Itaú, Banco de Occidente and Davivienda banks. And you can pay for classes online with credit or debit cards. Also, you can pay with an international wire transfer.

Note: class materials are not included in the class cost. The Spanish program uses the Maravillas del Español series of books, which was developed at EAFIT.

The Maravillas del Español book series consists of four volumes. Each volume contains a textbook, an activity book for self-study and a CD with audio files for developing listening skills. In addition, there is an associated website for grammar practice.

The Maravillas del Español books are sold in the bookstore on EAFIT’s campus and are also available on Amazon.

More About Universidad EAFIT

Universidad EAFIT is private university based in El Poblado in Medellín. It is considered to be the most prestigious private university in the city of Medellín.

The university was founded in 1960 by a group of entrepreneurs and business leaders in Medellín. The school was originally focused on management and finance but has expanded its offerings greatly over the past 57 years.

The university offers degrees in several areas through its six schools of Engineering, Finance and Economics, Humanities, Law, Management and Science. EAFIT currently offers 21 undergraduate programs, 34 master’s degree programs and six doctoral programs.

EAFIT’s main campus is located in El Poblado in Medellín. In addition, it has satellite campuses located in Bogotá, Pereira and Llanogrande. The university has a total of about 12,000 students.

The EAFIT language school offers classes in eight different languages. It offers Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish languages classes.

In addition, it offers language classes in the Medellín area in Belén, Laureles, Llanogrande and Sabaneta (at the Mayorca mall in the new phase). However, Spanish classes are only offered by EAFIT in El Poblado and in Pereria.

Universidad EAFIT is ranked #71 in a list of the best universities in Latin America according to the 2018 QS Latin America University Rankings.  And EAFIT was ranked #89 in 2013.  So, it has moved up in the best university rankings.

Getting a Colombian Student Visa

One benefit of taking Spanish classes at EAFIT is that you are eligible for a Colombia student visa. I received two student visas while I was taking Spanish classes, which permitted me to be in Colombia full time. Each of my two student visas were good for one year.

In December 2017 , Colombia changed its visa regulations and the student visa is now known as a Migrant (M) category 9 visa (M-9 visa) or a Visitor (V) visa.

When you enroll in the Spanish program at the university, they will provide you with paperwork you can use to get a student visa. We looked at student visas in a separate article on this website.

To qualify for a student visa in Colombia you need to be enrolled in a in a qualified educational institution in Colombia and be taking at least 10 hours of classes per week. So, EAFIT’s intensive and semi-intensive Spanish options both qualify.

There are three universities currently offering Spanish language programs in Medellín: EAFIT located in El Poblado, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) located in Laureles and Universidad de Medellín in Belén.

But UPB’s and Universidad de Medellín’s Spanish programs are much smaller with fewer students. So, they aren’t able to offer as many levels of Spanish classes concurrently as EAFIT.

If you take Spanish classes at some schools in Medellín you won’t be eligible for a student visa. We provide details on obtaining a Colombia student visa here. Also, we have looked at the Toucan Spanish program, which is popular but doesn’t enable you to get a student visa.

How to Get to the EAFIT Languages Building

Universidad EAFIT’s main campus in Medellín is located in the Aguacatala barrio of El Poblado, near the Aguacatala metro station on Line A of the Medellín metro system.

However, the Languages Building is located on the other side of campus off of Las Vegas and is not on the main campus.

From the Aguacatala metro station, you could walk to the west entrance to the campus and walk across campus. You would exit the east side of the campus and walk north on Las Vegas and you’ll see the Languages Building on the right. The walk from the metro station would take about 10 minutes.

In addition, most taxi drivers in Medellín will know where Universidad EAFIT is located. Also, there are some bus routes that run by the university.

EAFIT’s Spanish Language Program Website: http://www.eafit.edu.co/spanishprogram

Address of Languages Building: Calle 5 Sur #43C-80, El Poblado

Email: spanish@eafit.edu.co

Telephone: (57) (4) 261 9399

EAFIT's Language Building at night, photo courtesy of Universidad EAFIT

EAFIT’s Language Building at night, photo courtesy of Universidad EAFIT

The Bottom Line: Taking Spanish Classes at Universidad EAFIT

One of the downsides of living in Medellín or Colombia is that few Colombians speak English. So, if you don’t learn some Spanish, you will need to be dependent on someone.

I have met some foreigners that have been living in Medellín for several years that don’t speak much Spanish. But most Colombians in Medellín (and the rest of the country) generally don’t speak much English. So, to be independent you will need to speak some Spanish.

It is difficult to get by in Medellín without speaking some Spanish. Only a few of the locals speak English. Most of the people that you will interact with on a typical day, such as store clerks, taxi drivers and waiters will speak little to no English.

I had a good experience taking Spanish classes at EAFIT and I now speak Spanish at the intermediate level. However, there is at least one lower cost Spanish school that qualifies for a student visa – OLSA International.

In addition, by taking Spanish classes at school like EAFIT or OLSA you can get a student visa that enables you to be in Colombia for longer than the 6-month tourist visa limit.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

Editors note: updated on February 19, 2018 with up-to-date Spanish class costs at EAFIT.

Editors note: completely updated on December 25, 2018 this article originally published in November 2017 with the 2019 schedule of Spanish classes at EAFIT and the 2019 costs for Spanish classes at EAFIT.

Editors note: updated on February 4, 2019 to add Universidad de Medellín as another university offering Spanish classes in Medellín.

Editors note: completely updated on January 19, 2020 with the 2020 schedule of Spanish classes at EAFIT and the 2020 costs for Spanish classes at EAFIT.

Editors note: updated on January 23, 2021 with the 2021 schedule of Spanish classes at EAFIT and the 2021 costs for Spanish classes at EAFIT.

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56 thoughts on “Guide to Taking Spanish Classes at Universidad EAFIT – 2021 Update”

    1. I have seen quite a few mediocre to bad reviews about the program online, such as teaching time not efficiently utilized, teachers not showing for classes, etc. Is that still the case, is it still occurring?

    2. Abdullah May 11, 2019

      Thank you for this. It’s really helpful. I have been looking for a school for Three months, and I found several schools that offer one week or more of studying Spanish, and it seems like those schools targeting travelers. However, for me I’m planning to study for one year, so I found EAFIT offers what I’m looking for. Allow me to ask some questions:
      Does EAFIT have a Spanish program for One year? I mean that how long does the program from level one to the advanced level last?
      Is it easy to get a student visa?

      • There are 15 different Spanish classes at EAFIT and each class is a month in duration for the semi-intensive classes (10 hours per week). You may want to repeat levels. I repeated one level even though I passed as I felt I needed to learn the material better. Also, you may need to skip a level as some levels may not be offered all the time – I had to do this once.

        Yes, it’s easy to get a student visa, we have a guide – https://medellinguru.com/student-visa/

        • Abdullah May 14, 2019

          Thank you Jeff,
          Does the class cover speaking, writing, reading, listening, and grammar in one month?
          How many textbooks should I have for each month?
          How many teachers will teach for each class?

          I read the article about student visa, and it was really helpful. https://medellinguru.com/student-visa/

          • Yes, the classes cover speaking, writing, reading, listening and grammar but at different levels. The textbooks are good for more than one class. And there is one teacher per class.

            • Abdullah May 20, 2019

              Sounds good!

              What’s the percentage of students who take intensive Spanish classes?
              I remember that when I took English classes for four hours a day, it was easy to keep up with studying. My question is if I choose to take intensive Spanish classes, will it be hard or easy? I feel like only two hours of studying per day is not enough, and it’s too long to finish 38 hours in one month? I’m wondering what’s the best amount of studying that can be fair and at the same time I can have enough time to go out and enjoy exploring and visiting some places in the city.
              What do you suggest?


            • When I was taking classes I believe more students were taking the semi-intensive classe – you can contact EAFIT to ask. Keep in mind you should study/practice one or two hours a day outside of class including usually doing some homework. So, with semi-intensive it’s 2 hours per day in class plus factor in time for study/practice out of class plus homework.

    3. Kas Szatylowicz March 30, 2019

      Jeff, do you know where I can find the list of institutions (universities) which are eligible for getting a student visa?

      Instead of Spanish, I’d like to study art in Medellin.

      Do you have any info on that?

      • Most of the universities are eligible for getting a student visa. Also, you can look at our student visa article – https://medellinguru.com/student-visa/ and if you click on the blue “Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service” button in that article you can chat directly with a visa agency on the bottom right of the screen and can ask about programs other than Spanish that are eligible for a student visa.

    4. william L beilstein March 28, 2019

      Great information and something I want to do but have a few questions. The minimum is 10 hours per week for a visa and the class is 38 hours for $400 dollars which is approx. one month so to stay qualified for the visa do I need 12 months x 400 dollars or somewhere in the range of $5000 dollars for the year? Am I understanding this correctly? And what happens if I miss a week or two or three if nothing is offered since I need to fulfill the 10 hours per week? Can you clarify?

      • My experience with a student visa was from several years ago before they changed the visa rules. See our student visa article and click on the “Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service” blue bottom and you can chat with the visa agency at the bottom right of the screen that comes up after clicking on the button – https://medellinguru.com/student-visa/. The visa agency will have info about recent experience with the student visa.

        • william beilstein March 28, 2019

          Thank you. 5.5k dollzrs per years seems expensive but under consideration. Thank you for such a quick response.

        • william L beilstein March 29, 2019

          Thank you for your quick response. Taking courses for a year is a consideration just not sure if I want to spend the 5K for a year of classes.

    5. william beilstein March 28, 2019


    6. You said “There are only two universities currently offering Spanish language programs in Medellín: EAFIT located in El Poblado and Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) located in Laureles.”
      What about the Universidad de Medellín? They offer a course for foreigners as well. It doesnt count? Because my university is partnered with them and it would be my only chance to get there. So, are you sure they don’t offer a course that will get me a student visa?


      I’m sorry, it’s hard to translate all the information on the homepages.

      • Thanks, I added Universidad de Medellín to the article. In 8 years I haven’t encountered a foreigner taking Spanish classes at Universidad de Medellín.

      • Hi Jeff, do any universities in Medellin offer an online Spanish course for those who cannot take the time off work to study in Medellin? I am trying to find an online Spanish language course taught in Medellin so that I can learn Medellin Spanish. Preferably a live (web cam) but even if it’s just recordings of the class that’s better than nothing! Many thanks

        • Hi Alex, I am not aware of any that do. And if they did it would likely be widely advertised on their website.

    7. Jim Harvey January 5, 2019

      My son and I have lived in Colombia for over two years now. We live close to Barranquilla and are looking to move to Medellin next month, Feb 1st. He had a TP7 visa, but it expired in December. So, my son will enroll in classes and apply for the student visa. My visa is good up until 2020, so I am good…my son really doesn’t work, so being a full-time student will not be a problem for him. I had some questions on the student visa, he would start with the Spanish courses you recommended, starting with beginner and moving up. If he applies online now, and we pay the fee’s will the EAFIT be able to provide the enrollment documents quickly? Also, if you have any recommendations on housing, i.e. renting for one year lease, please let me know, I really hate the Gringo tax, been here long enough I don’t want to get screwed….we would need a 3 bedroom house with a yard, good wifi, in a nice area, budget of 3-5 mil pesos a month. so, if you have recommendations on who we can deal with that is honest, would be much appreciated!

      • Hi Jim, in my experience EAFIT will provide the docs needed for a visa quickly. You need the docs from EAFIT before you can apply online for a student visa. For housing if looking for a furnished place I recommend looking on Airbnb. There is a huge selection with a big range of prices but make sure to look for places with positive ratings.

    8. Thanks so much for this Jeff, it is quite helpful. I’m wondering if you are able to use the student visa and a tourist visa in the same year. For example, If I wanted to start taking classes this January and continue for 6 months, could I apply for a 6 month student visa and then stay the rest of the year with a tourist visa?

      • I don’t believe EAFIT will let you take classes without a student visa, but you can check with them.

        • Sure that makes sense but what if, for example, I stayed from January until June with a student visa taking classes from EAFIT. Would I be able to stay the rest of the year from July to December on a tourist visa without taking classes? 6 months of class sounds about right for me but a full year might be too much. This might be something I should discuss with legal help or something.

          • Yes, if you got a 6-month student visa you could stay another 6 months as a tourist but you would have to leave the country before your student visa expires and could return after the student visa expires as a tourist.

    9. Did you stay with a family (full immersion) when you studied Spanish?

      • No, I had a Colombian girlfriend who is now my wife and she speaks not much English so able to practice every day.

    10. Hi Jeff

      Just to confirm, if I were on student visa, I wouldn’t be able to work part-time? Thanks in advance.

    11. Can you recommend a language school for children?

    12. I have been living in Laureles for 3 months. I have to leave Dec 6th and return in January 2019. I am only 59 and do not have SS or pension as yet. I have been trying to figure our a way to stay in Medellin after June 30th 2019. I already moved all my belongings to Medellin.

      If my understanding of the student visa is correct I would have to pay a little over $500 every month for a year or $6,000 USD to maintain that student visa? Seems like a very expensive route. Am I off base? I have to take a class every month?

      • Hi Carlos, the classes at EAFIT are $427 per class at the current exchange rate. Colombia changed its student visas in December 2017 and for studying Spanish you would be eligible for a Visitor visa. See our student visa article: https://medellinguru.com/student-visa/.

        Also yes, you have to take classes every month to maintain a student visa. I recommend talking to a visa agency like InterCol to explore all your visa options — http://inter-col.com/en/

        • What happens in the period december-january? There will be no classes but you still need a visa if you wanna stay longer than that.

          • I recommend talking to a visa agency listed in the article as they will have recent experience. I had my student visas over 3 years ago before the new Colombian visas started in December 2017.

    13. whats the best way to contact you. I am a realtor in Florida and just came back from vacation in Medellin in the country and the city. My wife is Colombian and we are looking for a place over there. would like to know more about the processes… have several areas that I have questions about and would prefer to work with an agent that speaks fluent English and is originally from the states.

    14. Do you have to take classes for the entire duration of your student visa? What if you took the minimum and enrolled in classes for a month and then quit. Would your student visa still be valid?

      • Technically you are supposed to take classes for the duration of the visa. When I got my student visas the visa staff said they were having a problem with fraud where people got student visas and then didn’t take classes. So they were happy to see I included a receipt with my visa application showing that I had paid for classes in advance. But not sure if they actually follow up to verify that you are still enrolled in classes.

    15. Gilles June 25, 2018

      In reading this interesting article of 2017, and the comments of Brian Cosier, it’s not clear to me if you can take short term language courses as a simple tourist. My brother intends to take language courses while visiting me for less than 90 days: DOES HE REQUIRE A STUDENT VISA if while he is here he takes short term Spanish courses ?? Thanks for clarifying, as your article seems to consider that your readers would be staying a long time taking courses in Medellín, and Brian Cosier seems to suggest that EAFIT will force you to get a Student Visa even if you do not intend to stick around more than a few weeks.

      • Some of the students in my classes at EAFIT didn’t have student visas. So, I’m not sure EAFIT checks for student visas. They never checked for my student visas even though I had student visas.

    16. Brian Cosier June 22, 2018

      I just finished the first level (A1-1) Spanish course EAFIT offers. I would not recommend this course or program, unless you already have a reasonably good command of basic Spanish, with a vocabulary of about 1200 – 2000 words in Spanish. If you do not have this capability going into the class, you may struggle as I did. You will also likely find yourself placed in a class with others who have a variety of capability in Spanish. I was in a class of 8 and there were maybe three of us who could barely keep up to the amount and speed at which the material was covered. I would not consider this a course for beginners.

      This business of student visas is a cash grab. If you are like me on a 3 month tourist visa, and you want to take a course at EAFIT, you’ll be sent to Migración Colombia to pay 96,000 COP in order to get a a different stamp – the student stamp, in your passport. I did not get the one year stamp, but a stamp valid only for the duration of the one course I was interested in. EAFIT insists you pay money to the Colombian government before they will accept you as a student. For the year long stamp, you’d probably have to sign up for several courses.

      Then there is EAFIT’s online “system” called EPIK. It is a flawed system that for me and a few others, never worked. Course syllabus was apparently on EPIK, but if the system doesn’t work, or you can’t access it….?

      Then there is the student ID card. All the students I was with did not get our student ID’s until the end of the third week of a four week class. So every time you want to enter or leave the campus, you must show your passport (or a copy) to security.

      1.282.000 COP is still the current tuition for one class; text book and workbook was another 96,000 COP; the upgrade for a student visa stamp was also 96,000 COP plus 2 hour wait and 20,000 in round trip taxi fares.

      • I disagree. I took 6 classes at EAFIT and found the classes very worthwhile and I improved my Spanish dramatically. I highly recommend the program.

      • Derek Casanares July 13, 2018

        So that’s 1million 282 thousand Colombian Pesos correct, which mean that each course cost almost $450 each, correct?

        • Yes, 1,288,000 pesos or about $448 at the current exchange rate.

        • Hello Jeff I am from Kenya and I would like to study Spanish, how do I apply for the course. Thanks

    17. My language course in Medellin was the best time of my life.
      I stayed at Aniz and it was great

    18. Hi Jeff. Thanks for the guide on EAFIT. To get the year long student visa did you have to prebook classes for the entire year? Also how were the after class activities, did you join any?

      • No pre-booking of classes. I paid for 6 months of classes up front to get a discount and received a year student visa. They had some outside of class activities and I went on a few of them. In many cases they were good opportunities to practice your Spanish.

    19. Brock Canner November 23, 2017

      Thanks Jeff, Looks like something I’d like to do. Actually need to do. I’ve been to many countries where Spanish is the main language. I get by with the little Spanish I know. Yet I’m tired of just getting by, it’s time for me to take it seriously. So your post is very welcome to me. Thanks again Jeff!!!

    20. Thanks this is helpful. I plan to take Spanish classes at EAFIT starting sometime next year. Do they raise the prices for classes each year?

      • Hi David, yes EAFIT tends to raise prices each year. When I stared in 2013, I was paying 910,000 pesos per Spanish class. I believe the price per class listed in the article above is the price for next year.

    21. Thanks for this detailed guide as I am looking to take some classes early next year to improve my Spanish. So that works out to only 33,737 pesos per hour of class or $11 per hour of class.

      • Hi Tom, thanks. Yes, at the current exchange rate that works out to only about $11 per hour of Spanish classes at EAFIT.

        In my experience, EAFIT has a quality program and the new language building where they have Spanish classes is much nicer than the older buildings they used to use when I was taking classes.

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