The following is a blog post written by Whee Institute student, Max Baez, chronicling his Whee Institute student experience
My Whee Institute Student Experience
I’ve been in Bogota for the last four weeks and the highlight has been my Whee Institute student experience. What I like about Whee Institute is that they are best at the most important things: education and community.
There are quite a few Spanish language schools in Bogota, and I looked at many of them. I ended up picking Whee Institute for three reasons: the non-profit model, reported good teacher pay, and how each school handled their assessment tests. Whee Institute’s assessment focused strictly on conversation. This was a sign to me that the education would focus conversation as opposed to more specific grammar rules. (another school had me take a 50 question test on a Google doc filling in blanks.)
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my choice of Whee Institute. I’ve taken both group and private classes at the school, and the education has been both excellent and a lot of fun. My experience with classes has been heavy on conversation, encouraging students to communicate and use the terms they already know (important for reinforcement), while introducing new concepts every day. For example, in my last week I spent two classes working on past tense verbs. On Duolingo (an app I really like), the concepts behind these were difficult to retain, but my teacher made sure I got it. The teaching style has been really concise, to the point, and doesn’t make things overly complex, which is really important when learning Spanish. Furthermore, the emphasis on conversation really helps make you more comfortable speaking, especially if you’ve just arrived in Latin America and aren’t used to speaking Spanish daily.
For the other main positive, Whee Institute creates a great environment for students. The staff is incredibly friendly and really wants to make sure you have a good experience. They care a lot about how you are doing, want to make sure the classes are to your liking, and they are also willing to help with any issues you may have in Bogota. Whee Institute also puts together official events and the staff also have a tendency to invite students to do different “unofficial” things around Bogota.
Outside of the Classroom
Without a doubt, the best thing I’ve done with other students from Whee Institute is play tejo. Tejo is a Colombian game where you throw metal discs to try to hit target surrounded by gunpowder. If you hit the gunpowder, it explodes! Beer is also involved. While I was at the school we put together tejo outings. They took place Thursdays after salsa class and got great crowds. The game is certainly unique and something that can’t be missed in Bogota. (although you’ll have to be prepared for loud noises.)
Whee Institute really did a great job while I was here and I hope the good work continues. The teachers and staff are excellent. My time at Whee Institute both helped me get better at Spanish and showed me a new side of Bogota. I highly recommend Whee Institute to anyone looking to learn Spanish in Bogota.