Who Are We?

Juan Camilo García Martínez

Spanish Teacher | Founder
Camilo's Facebook Page & Reviews

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Hey! I’m Juan Camilo García Martínez but most people just call me Camilo. I was born in Puerto Nare, but when I was about three years old I moved to San Carlos and lived there until it was invaded by the FARC in the late-1990's. During this time, my family and I relocated to Medellin to seek safety, but when San Carlos became an example of peace and reconciliation in the mid-2000's, we returned to live there. San Carlos is home close to my heart. When you see it, you'll realize why.

Back in university, I studied Spanish Philology (not to be confused with Philosophy), it's about all things related to Spanish—Linguistics, Literature, History, and Philosophy of the Language and its relation to Latin and Ancient Greek languages. I then fell in love with languages and began to learn German and English. My favorite travel was when I went to Argentina, where I interacted with foreigners and realized the importance of being able to understand cultures. Since then I have been teaching Spanish to travelers and adventurers of all types who want to experience true Colombian culture. I have worked at two different Spanish schools in Poblado, Medellín prior to Spanish Adventure. Everyone learns Spanish differently, and I continually aim to improve and personalize my teaching methodologies—especially to make them more fun and enjoyable.

Daniel Filipe Vergara

Spanish Teacher | Founder
Daniels Facebook Page & Reviews

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Hey guys! I'm Daniel, and for the past several years I have been working with foreigners to teach them Spanish and help them immerse themselves in Colombian culture. I love my job because it makes me feel like I’m traveling in my own home. I'm able to learn about the cultures of my students, understand a different way of thinking, all while sharing my Colombian culture with them. Before Spanish Adventure, I worked as Coordinator of Special Programs at Colombia Immersion in Envigado, Medellin.

I have traveled throughout Colombia, learning more about my culture, understanding more of my country, and seeing the amazing places it has to offer. San Carlos—one of my favorites in Colombia—is a special place where you will feel the true Colombian culture and experience its peacefulness and perfect weather. Nowadays I enjoy different activities like exercising, studying, hiking, meeting people, just having fun, and challenging myself through various adventures and new sensations.

I'm a firm believer that when you start to learn a language, it's not enough to just study the grammar. You need to feel the culture, experience how the people live and think, speak and apply your newly-learned skills. In this way—and only in this way—you will build your Spanish; that in itself will be an adventure.

Christian Marín:

House Manager
Christian Facebook Page & Reviews

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My name is Christian Marín and I’m the House Manager at Spanish Adventure. I’m originally
from Venezuela but moved to Colombia less than one year ago as the situation in Venezuela
worsened. Parts of Colombia have become slightly touristy as the country has become much
safer, but my family and I didn’t want to stay in a touristy place. It was my mum who found
San Carlos. The town was perfect because it’s a really nice and interesting place to live in. As
an example, a lot of people from Medellín choose to come here for vacation, as it’s so
beautiful.
My job at Spanish Adventure consists of organizing the place, work with the volunteers and
make sure that everyone is doing their work. I also put great focus into improving the house
and creating good relationship with the students.
My favourite part of working for Spanish Adventure is that every day is different. It’s nice
being here, hanging out, learning English and getting to know about different cultures.
What do you think is the key element to learn a new language?
– Practise! It’s all about forcing yourself to speak. Grammar is of course good to know, but
without practising you can’t learn a new language. That’s why it’s easier to learn Spanish here
than in the bigger cities. In Medellín for example, a lot of people speak English whereas here
no one does. I think that’s very nice.
Which is your favourite Spanish word and why?
– Amor. I’m not a romantic person, but that’s what I’m trying to bring to all of the people at
the school. I want to make everyone feel loved and comfortable. It’s just the way I am.

Edwin Andres Arbekiez Uribe:

Coordinator Activities
Edwin Facebook Page & Reviews

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My name is Edwin. When Daniel and Camilo asked me if I was interested in helping them
with activities and coordination for Spanish Adventure, and I said yes straightaway! I love
meeting different people from different countries with different cultures. Thus, I find my
work super exciting because I get to hang out with all these interesting people, go on
adventures and attend inspiring inter-cambios.
What I also like with my job is that I get the opportunity to both teach and learn from the
people who come here. It’s satisfying to see when students really start to understand and learn Spanish.

I also love to dance – and especially with students from Spanish Adventure. Most of
the people who come here doesn’t know how to dance very good, but everyone’s really keen
on learning and seem to like the Colombian rhythm a lot!
When I’m not at the school, I help out back home, practise theatre, look at series and on the
weekends I help my mum with here business. She sells arepas with cheese in the plaza.
What’s your favourite Spanish word and why?
– Suave! It’s a word where time stops and you can breath. I like to take things suave, calm
and tranquil.

Berenice del Socorro Martinez Marin:

Owner of La Ola Restaurant and Camilo’s mum
Berenice Facebook Page & Reviews

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My name is Berenice and I’m Camilo’s mum. I’m originally from Pop Nare la Magdalena but
I’ve lived in a lot of different places. I moved from Medellín to San Carlos about six years
ago. I used to work with cosmetics but now I run a restaurant called “La Ola” and cook for
Spanish Adventure. I really like my job because I enjoy cooking. My favourite dish is
probably rice with meat and avocado. When I’m not cooking for the students, I like to rest in my bed.


What do you think is the key to learn a new language?
– Talk, talk, talk – and then a little extra bit of practise.
Which is your favourite Spanish word and why?
– Amor, because it’s pretty.

Lilliana Murillo Clarijo:

Spanish Teacher
Lilliana Facebook Page & Reviews

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Hey, I’m Lilliana! I’m the newest team member of Spanish Adventure. I’m a Spanish teacher,
but I also work with local marketing of Spanish Adventure. I’m born and raised in San Carlos

and I’m somewhat of ‘the bridge’ to the local community. It’s also my job to make sure the
school is exactly what our students and volunteers hoped it would be. Before I stared working
for Spanish Adventure, I had several different jobs. I’ve worked a lot with different human
aid/transformation projects around San Carlos, many involving kids and young people
suffering from violent backgrounds. I’m also a music teacher.


I wouldn’t be able to choose one thing that I like the most about Spanish Adventure – it’s
everything. I like to meet new people – people who probably wouldn’t have made their way
to San Carlos if it wasn’t for the school – and introducing them to the community. For me it’s
very important that we at Spanish Adventure are doing things which involves the local
community. It’s rewarding to see students enjoying the town, exploring the nature and getting
to know the locals. I also really enjoy learning English and making something good for the
town.
On my spare time I love to play music, read and play theatre. I also really enjoy going to El
Campo en La Finca and just relax and sleep.
What’s your favourite Spanish word and why?
– Oh, I’d go with ‘Imaginar’. To create with your mind is beautiful. 

Manuel gíraldo

Adventure guide 

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I am Manuel and I am responsible for the adventures at Spanish Adventure. I was born and raised in San Carlos, but I have lived in several different places over the last few years. How ever San Carlos and its tranquil atmosphere is by far my favorite. Apart from my job at Spanish Adventure, I also run a gym just a few blocks from the school and Eco guías, which is a company that organises adventures in the local country side. For me, nature is an essential element to feel good. Therefore I feel like I have the best job, because I am actually getting paid to do what I love.

What is your favorite Spanish word and why?

-Adventura, liberdad and viajar, which means adventure, freedom and travel. For me, those three words go together and represent what I value most.

Luza Quiceno Aristizabal

Cleaning lady and waitress 

My name is Luza, I do the cleaning around the school. I am a friend of Berenice and I have been working with Spanish Adventure for about a year. I was born and raised in San Carlos together with my mum and my three brothers. Now I live with my husband and my two daughters. In my spare time I like to go swimming in the river and play with my kids.

 

What is your favorite spanish word and why?

Oh, I dont really know. Maybe "te amo" because it is something that I say to my daughters a lot.

 

Santiago ramirez hernandez

Painter and house improvement 

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My name is Santiago and I am the artist at Spanish Adventure. I would describe myself as "un vago" - a person who doesn't work. Painting is what I love doing, I have been painting since I was a little kid, and therefore I dont really consider it a job. For me, this is a place that opens up for creativity. To find inspiration for my paintings, I like to observe my surroundings. I especially like to be involved in nature in every possible aspect. I really like how Spanish Adventure take care of our territory, the river, the forest, and the entire culture. What I also like with Spanish Adventure is the cultural exchange - I really enjoy discussing and talking about cultures in general. Previously I have lived in Medellin, but I was born in Pereira. My mom is from San Carlos and I moved here as a kid. At the moment I am having a break from my studies in Artist Plasticas at the University of Antioquia. Besides from painting, I also love to read and write.

What is your favorite Spanish word and why?

- Cronopio. Astrapto. Its quite weird. Its a poem that rhymes, but it could also be a painting that has a context. Famous cronopios.

 

Shirly usme

Dance teacher 

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Hey, I am Shirley and I am the Dance teacher at Spanish Adventure. In my class I teach Salsa, Bachata and meringue. Ive been dancing since I was a kid, but Im completely self taught. My favorite dances are probably Salsa and contemporary. Apart from working at spanish Adventure, I work with young people from San Carlos and study Administration. The thing I like the most about working at Spanish Adventure is the cultural exchange, meeting people from different countries and also learning english. Next year I am hoping to travel to Europe so I really need to practice my english before that. 

What is your favorite Spanish word and why?

- Felizidad, because that is what I represent. I am a happy person, and I want all the people around me to be happy as well.

 

Dobby

House dog

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I became apart of Spanish Adventure in the beginning of 2018. I used to be a stay dog, which didn't suit me at all, as I am the cuddliest and most attention seeking dog to ever wonder this earth. One day I found myself stumbling into "Casa de Gringos" I immediately grew found of Daniel and Camilo (especially Daniel) and I haven't left their side since that very day. The best things I know how to do is chase after motorbikes (I dont really care about the fact that Christian screams at me not to), stare deep, deep into humans souls, sleep on every couch im not aloud to, go on adventures (even though I genuinely hate the water), like students faces clean after dinner and last but not least: I cure homesickness.

Which is your favorite Spanish word and why?

-Venga, because it means that someone wants me to come and I love all of the attention I can get.

Ersa

House cat 

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I am Ersa and I was born and raised at Spanish Adventure. I am officially the cutest and fluffiest creature to ever stay at the school. My favorite human is Daniel. Everyone else I find pretty mediocre to be honest. I like to sneak into the students bedrooms and casually crash on their beds every one and then. I also like to hangout in the classroom during class, but I am not crazy about cuddles (except cuddles with Daniel, obviously) I dont really like Dobbie either. He is too much  "in your face" to be my kind of person.

What is your favorite Spanish word and why?

- Descarada, because I am a pretty sassy cat.

Our Volunteers

Check out our Workaway page

At any given time, we have 1–2 volunteers assisting us with various aspects of the school. If you're interested in volunteering with us, send us a message with your interests and related skills. We often have a lot of interest in our volunteer positions, so unfortunately we cannot guarantee positions to all—though we would still love to hear from you. Send us a message, and we'll let you know!