Intensive Spanish School and Volunteer Program in Nicaragua
Sustainable Development and Wild Nature Conservation in NICARAGUA
Join us for learning and service in 2017! Contact us for special backpacker prices for Spanish courses and volunteering.
Take a Spanish course in Managua at your own pace with experienced and qualified Gaia staff, through Managua Spanish School.
The Apoyo Spanish School Program
Spanish language studies at Apoyo Spanish School adhere to the principle of total immersion. Spanish students are placed in a one-on-one and/or group learning context (max. 4 per teacher) for 4.5 hours per day, 5 days per week. Activities and excursions are included in the language program, such as visits to the local elementary school, guided nature walks, visits to local agricultural sites, and meetings with scientists working in research and conservation projects in Nicaragua. Our project stresses volunteering, and activities in reforestation and wild animal rescue are programmed weekly. Families with children are especially welcomed. Our Spanish language instruction program is an intensive, interactive and challenging experience aimed at strengthening the students' written, oral and reading skills, particularly in the context of the colorful Nicaraguan dialect.
Our Spanish language teachers are not only knowledgeable in the Spanish language, but also in the rich culture, history, and ecology of Nicaragua. The staff come from varied, colorful backgrounds in the vicinity of Laguna de Apoyo, and they reflect the friendly characteristics of the Nicaraguan people. All of our Spanish language teachers have extensive experience working with campesinos in the vicinity of Laguna de Apoyo, and present very detailed perspectives of the Nicaraguan campesino life for the student. They also have extensive teaching experience in language instruction in the Nicaragua Spanish schools.
We at Apoyo Spanish School have tried to live up to the image that comes with being the longest-operating Spanish school
in Nicaragua. Our school has given birth to most of the other Spanish schools in Nicaragua, and our teachers have trained
the teachers at those schools. We provide training and workshops at Apoyo Spanish School to make our teachers, and all
teachers in the country, more capable to respond to the needs of visitors and new residents to Nicaragua. Click
here for an example of one of our workshops. Our teachers have developed their own study guide materials for
several subjects, which you can purchase for a small price at Apoyo Spanish School.
Your Stay in Laguna de Apoyo
Students of Apoyo Spanish School live in the rustic home which is used for the school. Here, our Nicaragua Spanish school student will encounter modern conveniences with a rustic flavor, in the forest of Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, very near Catarina, Masaya, and Granada. Spanish school students stay in housing near the shore of Lake Apoyo, with additional housing available in homestays nearby for those who want a homestay experience. Our students can engage in informal discussions with the staff and residents, practicing their Spanish in the after-class hours.
Food Equals Happiness
Meals are an important part of your stay at the Biological Research Station "Estación Biológica". We serve the best food available in Nicaragua. Organic salads, green vegetables and soy products are served regularly, in combination with the Nicaraguan standard dishes. Vegetarians, vegans, and intolerance to dairy or to gluten, for instance, can be accomodated easily. Much of our produce is grown organically by cooperatives of poor farmers, and we serve prize-winning, certified Organic, Fair Trade coffee!
We at Gaia adhere to the principle "think globally, act locally". We purchase our beans from our neighbors in a legally registered cooperative business. We try to avoid imported foods, and if they are imported, we try to emphasize purchases from within Central America.
Swim in Laguna de Apoyo
Apoyo Spanish School is located in a beautiful natural setting which offers excellent swimming in clear, tropical waters, and magnificent hiking along the shore, into forest, and through many indigenous villages. You will find plentiful opportunities for quiet reflection amongst the striking flora and fauna of Laguna de Apoyo.
We have kayaks for your use to ponder distant shores. A few hearty souls have crossed the lake swimming, although we would not advise such a risky undertaking! The lake has a lot to offer for healthy activity and beating the heat, year round.
Scuba Dive and Study Spanish in Combo
Scuba dive with us as part of your stay at special combo prices. See fish species that are only located in this lake. Our own GAIA scientists have worked in collaboration with scientists from The Pennsylvania State University in the US, Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment in Nicaragua, to discover five species found only in this lake. Get to know some of the unique underwater natural environments threatened by development of the Apoyo volcanic crater and surrounding area. See the fish up close, in some of the clearest tropical waters to be found, and learn about their evolution, habitat needs and protection.
Taking a scuba dive excursion with us at GAIA is modeled after the so-called PADI "fun dive", but it is actually much more. You will dive with a scientist who is engaging in study of the biology of the fishes and their protection. Your scuba dive benefits our studies by buddying and accompanying our team to learn more and ensure the protection of these endemic fishes and their habitats.
Not a certified open-water scuba diver? No worry here. We provide PADI Open-Water Diver certifications in the only nationally recognized certification program in Laguna de Apoyo. We are registered with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and with the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism to provide these courses. You can learn Spanish and become a PADI-certified Open-Water Diver, all in the same week! Be sure to contact us for a reservation in advance, to secure the resources and instructor in time for your study, and to provide special prices for the combo.
Beyond Classes--Activities at Apoyo Spanish School and Volunteer Program
There are afternoon activities scheduled every weekday for the Apoyo Spanish School students. The activities range from forest walks to find birds and monkeys, to guided discussions about environmental issues, and every week we visit the Pueblos Blancos, where you can see prize-winning artisan pottery, enjoy the view of Laguna de Apoyo from the Catarina Overlook, and take a horse ride. Twice weekly, the afternoon activities involve participation in our reforestation activities in the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. We adhere to the concept of learning by doing, and while serving. Much of what our students do in activities help the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve to remain a wild and natural place. You can help to plant a tree and save the earth! In addition, through optional excursions arranged by the Spanish teachers at modest additional cost, Apoyo Spanish School familiarizes the students with Nicaragua's volcanoes, tropical waters, and rain forests. Depending on your interests, these trips might include: Masaya Volcano National Park (see molten lava in the crater); the local colorful Masaya market which is famous for artisan craftwork; the historic city of Granada; a boat ride through Las Isletas, an archipielago in Lake Nicaragua at Granada; or listening to the revolutionary songs of folk musicians at a Managua night spot.
Prices and Availability at Apoyo Spanish School and Volunteer Program
If you would like to study Spanish with us at Apoyo Spanish School, then contact us first for availability and let us know any special circumstances you may have. Feel free to ask questions. We want to help you have the best Nicaragua Spanish school experience possible.
Frequently Asked Questions about Nicaragua Spanish Schools
What to Bring with Me to Apoyo Spanish School?
Volunteer and learn Spanish with the GAIA Program at Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve in Nicaragua.