Perhaps because Chilean Spanish is so distinctive and Santiago is distant from the language study centers of Mexico and Central America, it lacks the critical mass of language schools that some other Latin American capitals have. Still, the number of schools has increased; most work with small groups of students but offer one-on-one classes for higher fees.
Usually the minimum fee is around US$150–170 per week for 4–6 hours of instruction per day; longer periods are cheaper by the hour, but more intensive courses may be more expensive. Most language schools either offer housing or can help arrange homestays with a Chilean family.
Among the options are the Bridge Linguatec Language Center (Los Leones 439, Providencia, tel. 02/233-4356, tel. 800/724-4216 in the U.S., www.bridgelinguatec.com); the Escuela Violeta Parra (Ernesto Pinto Lagarrigue 362-A, Recoleta, tel. 02/7358240, www.tandemsantiago.cl), which is particularly strong on field excursions that tie in with its political and social commitment; the Instituto Chileno-Suizo de Idioma (José Victorino Lastarria 93, 2nd floor, tel. 02/6385414, www.chilenosuizo.tie.cl); and the Natalis Language Center (Vicuña Mackenna 6, 7th floor, tel./fax 02/2228721, www.natalislang.com).
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition