SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Learning a new language doesn't have to consist of rote memorization or countless hours spent in classrooms – that's the message from Ecela, a Spanish language-learning program focusing on practical knowledge, cultural immersion and travel. The program is especially appealing for seniors and retirees who seek a bit of adventure. According to the company, seniors as old as 87 now make up the second largest demographic of Ecela students.
"Many people think that study abroad is just for college students," says Ken Ingraham, President of Ecela. "However, we have seen an increase in seniors attending classes, seeking to enrich their lives, no matter their age. Seniors now make up the one of the largest groups of students, surpassed only by college students."
Small Classes, Personal Attention
Ecela is geared toward people of all ages and backgrounds, and has no prerequisites with respect to language fluency. For basic grammar instruction, classes top out at eight students. Conversation classes have no more than four students. This ensures each student receives the personalized attention necessary not just to succeed, but also to thrive. Research has proven that these factors are a big bonus when learning another language. Furthermore, all Ecela teachers are native Spanish speakers.
No Sticker Shock
On average, Ecela tuition runs 80% less than any similar program at a private institution. The company's founders believe that everyone should have the chance to learn a new language in the best possible way – immersion. Making the program affordable is part and parcel with that goal. Another way Ecela keeps costs in check is through its homestay program in which students are matched with a host family rather than spending money on traditional room and board or expensive hotels.
With six locations across South America, Ecela allows and encourages students to seamlessly move from one location to another, soaking up what each one has to offer in terms of local history, unique culture and other attractions. Some students pursue their studies at a single location, while others seize the opportunity to combine language learning with the excitement of travel.
Socializing – Not Memorizing
Ecela affords students many opportunities to immerse themselves in local cultures – a quick and proven way to gain practical knowledge of foreign languages. Optional, "extracurricular" activities include guided tours of interesting locations, dance classes and cooking lessons, among others. The chance to bond with fellow students is one of Ecela's big "selling points." Many graduates of the program have cultivated life-long friendships thanks to their weeks or months spent engaging with their peers and with people in local communities.
Former Students Sing Praises
Aged 64, one former student named Denny urges anyone thinking of learning Spanish to "Get thee hence":
"I have attended classes in three Ecela locations (and counting): Lima, Cusco and Vina del Mar. All three have been positive experiences and I would not hesitate to recommend any of these fine schools. I gained more weight in Lima than in the other two locations because Lima is famous for its fine restaurants, and I took advantage of this. If you like the beach, I can heartily recommend Lima and/or Vina del Mar. If you like the high altitude, Cusco will tickle your fancy and get you to Machu Picchu, tambien. I chose the Homestay option in all three locales and had positive experiences in each case."
Ecela is a Spanish language-learning program with six sites in Peru, Chile and Argentina. Thousands of students from across the globe have taken advantage of the small classes and affordable tuition to learn Spanish while enjoying everything the local culture has to offer.
Corey Ann Seldon