OLSA FAQs

Welcome to OLSA International – Certified Spanish Language Academy located in Medellin, Colombia.  Below is a brief summary of FAQ’s about our Certified Spanish University program.

WHY ATTEND OLSA INTERNATIONAL?
The OLSA International curriculum is designed with a heavy focus on actually speaking Spanish.  Our certified courses go far beyond the curriculums of ALL other schools in Medellin.  Below are OLSA’s three keys to successful language learning.

1.   Spanish Grammar courses – OLSA’s curriculum is used by more than 100 universities in the United States for their accredited Spanish courses.  These courses are aligned to the Common European Framework.  These courses are similar to those are offered by other certified schools as all certified schools must pass through the Ministry of Education of Colombia.

2.   Conversational Spanish classes – In addition to the grammar courses above, OLSA puts Spanish into practice with our Conversational Spanish classes.  Other schools claim to include conversational Spanish in their programs, but this is often just a 45-minute large-group class with multiple levels listening to a lecture in Spanish.  At OLSA, this is a 75-80-minute level-specific small-group class focused on interacting in Spanish through prepared/impromptu conversations, activities, games, field trips, etc.  Conversational Spanish classes are the absolute key to improving language fluency, which is why OLSA places such an emphasis on these classes

3.   Language Exchanges Events – Practical language acquisition comes through experience.  You can have a 500.000-word vocabulary, but until you put it to use in-real-time, you will always have difficulty with language fluency.  OLSA’s language exchanges meet on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:00pm and provide you the opportunity to actually meet Colombians and interact with the Latin culture; providing for more conversational practice and experiences with locals.  See our website for nightly event activities.

If your focus is solely on grammar acquisition, OLSA is not the school for you.  We would be happy to recommend a different school where the focus is on grammar.

If your focus in on actually speaking Spanish, improving your Spanish fluency, and experiencing the Latin culture, OLSA is the top choice by far. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACTIVE AND PASSIVE LEARNING?
When a person says, “I want to learn Spanish”, typically what they mean is that they want to learn to speak Spanish.  They want to be able to communicate orally with locals in Spanish.  This leads to the difference between active and passive learning. 

Passive learning (also know as studying) is any learning activity that allows the person time to think through their answers.  For example, filling out worksheets, learning grammar theory, learning vocabulary, etc.  This is the method of most schools and is good for developing a base of knowledge.  Using this method alone typically causes the learner to speak more hesitantly as they are trying to apply grammar rules at the same time they are speaking.

Active learning (or natural learning) is any learning activity that requires the learner to respond in real-time.  This is how all people learned their primary language.  This method of learning allows the learner to think and express themselves through ideas, not through language rules, improving language fluency.

Both learning styles are important and useful.  Thought should be given to what is the ultimate goal of the person.  Is the goal to have a theoretical base of the language, or the practical ability to speak in-real-time.  To express this simply, if you want to learn how to swim, don’t go jogging.  Get in the pool and start swimming.

CAN I REALLY SPEAK LIKE A NATIVE AFTER 3 MONTHS?
Unfortunately, there are many schools and private tutors who will tell you that you can learn and speak Spanish like a native in three months.  Any school that makes this claim is scamming you.  Every person is different.  Every person has different aptitudes.  Every person has different previous language experiences.  Every person has a different understanding of language fluency.  Every person has a different commitment to learning language.  No school can predict how fast one individual person will learn a language.

Always be sure of whom you are working with as many schools / private tutors greatly embellish academic and staff credentials, information about their courses, their availability, etc.  Google Reviews is a great resource for actual client history.  Read the good reviews – they will tell you about the success the school has had.  Also, read the bad reviews – you will see how the school deals with conflict, or possible repetitive patterns that school may exhibit.  Of course, the more good reviews, the better you can expect your experience to be.

WHAT DO THE STUDENT VISA RESPONSES MEAN?
Once a certified academy submits the private enrollment documents to the student, or the student’s agent, the Colombian government makes any and all decisions as to whether the visa will be approved, inadmitted, or rejected (these words explained below).  The school is not permitted to interfere with the process in any way, unless answering direct questions from the government from the government’s official email. 

Aprobada – means the visa has been approved by the Colombian government and the student will receive a student visa for the amount of time the government desires to give them.  Typically, the government rewards the student visa for the number of months the applicant is studying.  However, the government has the final decision on the number of months assigned to the applicant, after reviewing the applicant’s documents and history.

Inadmitida/Requerida – means the government requires additional information to complete the applicant’s visa request.  This could be additional financial information, additional employment information, questions about earnings, or any other question the government feels it wants to ask.  While the visa is in the status of inadmitida, or requerida, the school is not permitted to make any decisions regarding the applicant, including a return of tuition.  The inadmission of the student visa puts the visa in a “pending” status until the visa is either aprobada, or negada.  The school has no option, but to wait for the applicant and the Colombian government to work out the reason the visa was inadmitida/requerida.

Negada – means that the applicant’s visa has been rejected and that the applicant may not apply for any other Colombian visa for six months from the date of receipt of the negada document.  When the student visa is negada, the school is released from governmental liability and is free to exercise its return policy.

Keep in mind that in all processes, whether in accordance with governmental rules, or not, the Colombian government makes all final decisions as to the status of the applicant’s student visa.  Neither the school, nor the visa agent, has any sway or influence in what the Colombian government decides.

WHAT IS THE STUDENT VISA PROCESS? 
OLSA International is the top-rated Spanish Language Academy in Medellin – see Google Reviews for the statistics.  We have achieved this status and respect through quality, honesty and service. Certified courses may be taken at either of our campuses in Medellin, or virtually.  If interested in applying for a student visa, we recommend the following steps:

1.      Get in contact with the local Colombian embassy, or a trusted visa agent.  Verify that you have a proper income and will qualify in all other ways before paying your school tuition.

2.      Complete the New Student Packet, signing each page for your protection and ours.  Once completed, return the New Student Packet, along with the information page of your passport, to the school.  Pay specific attention to clause #3 for the school’s return policy.

3.      Once the New Student Package has been approved, you can purchase your tuition through a payment link, or through a bank transfer.  OLSA will send you the required information. 

4.      Once the tuition is paid, OLSA can legally send you your personalized enrollment documents which you will use for your student visa application.

5.      Once you have received your enrollment documents, you may use the enrollment dates to purchase your required health insurance. 

6.      For more information see the school’s website:

https://www.olsainternational.edu.co/spanish-programs/certified-spanish-university

DOES OLSA PROCESS STUDENT VISAS?
Many of the visa agents and immigration lawyers send their clients to OLSA for certified classes.  For this reason, it would be unethical for OLSA to do any visa processing.  Visa processing is a separate process and is never included in the tuition paid to OLSA International.  If you don’t have a visa agent, OLSA is happy to make a recommendation for you.  Visa processing typically runs between 1.500.000 – 2.000.000 Colombian pesos.

IS OLSA INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY?
Yes!  For information on the OLSA Foundation, click here!