This is not a plug for language schools all over this kick ass country but more a reality check for those thinking of coming to Colombia.
Just imagine studying Spanish in Leticia in the Colombian Amazon or within the atmospheric confines of the colonial city in Cartagena. The opportunities seem limitless.
And Colombia is the place to do it since it recently came close to last, before only Thailand, Turkey and Kazakhstan and therefore showing a “Very Low Proficiency” in an Education First (EF) survey.
This recent study of 44 countries including more than 2 million people surveyed showed Colombia coming in a poor 41st place in the EF, English Proficiency Index (EPI). Despite being a kick in the teeth to the present and previous governments lets draw some inspiration from these figures and teach the world Spanish.
But allay any fears that you may find yourself stumbling along once you get the here there is a very real probability that in the tourist centers of Cartagena, Taganga, parts of Medellin and Bogota you will find people more than proficient enough to sell you something in English.
And while I laud these findings that will no doubt terrify the most monoglot Anglophones, my reasoning to push the more adventurous in spirit to come and travel in Colombia doesn’t really hold that much water as Panama came in 40th, Venezuela in 38th, Ecuador in 37th, Chile in 36th and Peru in 35th…so really you’re just as well off coming to any of the aforementioned countries!
But we jest; while this may represent an ideal moment in which to visit Colombia it is also a stark and striking reminder that the reason for this is the low investment in public schooling and the internal situation that is present here.
As Education First put it: “Latin America has the lowest level of English proficiency of any region. Historically weaker school enrollment levels, more political unrest, and low levels of government investment in education are all contributing factors.”