Escuela Amistad


At the Escuela Amistad you can learn to speak Spanish and make new friends across borders and cultures. Research shows that making friends with native speakers is the most effective way to truly learn a second language. At every step along the way you will be supporting language teachers and tutors working in Tijuana, Mexico.  Questions?  Live chat with us (M-F, 8 - 11 am) or email us at






Make friends and discover new perspectives on life while learning and communicating in a foreign language

COST: $250 (compare to total value of $400 


  • Opens Monday, September 13, 2021 (Monday after Labor Day)
  • 10 weeks of learning, fun and friendship
  • Closes Thursday, November 18, 2021 (week before Thanksgiving)


  • 10 Classes - Weekly on Thursdays, 4:00 - 5:30 pm Pacific (virtual)*
  • 10 Charlamigo Sessions - flex to fit your schedule (virtual)
  • 3 Border Updates -Late-breaking news from the border (virtual)*
  • 3 Site Visits  - Meetings with partners in Tijuana, Mexico (hybrid)
  • 1 Language Exchange - with English students in Tijuana (virtual)
  • Escuela Amistad Meetup Group - strike up your own conversations

* = recorded for viewing later at your convenience




This level will help you build confidence and fluency through active practice and conversation. Get ready to make new friends on both sides of the border and get ready to CONVERSAR EN ESPAÑOL!   SIGN UP


This level is for you if you know some Spanish but need to build your speaking skills. Prepare yourself to develop Spanish-language friendships in your school, workplace, neighborhood or church. SIGN UP


Open a live chat at the Via Cafe (M-F, 8 - 11 am) for a friendly conversation and free assessment.


“CHARLAMIGOS” - Language Partners 


"Charlamigos" are one-on-one language learning partners based in Tijuana, Mexico.  In Spanish, “charlar” means “to chat” and “amigos” means friends so a “Charlamigo” is like a “penpal” except you actually get to chat and become friends! As you and your new Spanish-speaking friend become “charlamigos,” you get to practice your Spanish through informal conversation and you both get to learn a new perspective on life by making friends with someone from a different culture. Your subscription to the Charlamigo service helps support working people in Tijuana. Choose someone from our roster of “Charlamigos” and our Coordinators will introduce you to them so you can arrange an initial, 30-minute conversation one-on-one. You can then sign up for more 30-minute sessions, or ask to be introduced to another “Charlamigo.”



Director / Instructor : DANIEL WATMAN

Dan Watman has worked as a Spanish instructor for over 20 years. A longtime resident of Tijuana, Mexico, Dan sees the purpose of language instruction as helping students establish meaningful friendships with native speakers.


Instructor / Coordinator: ROBERT VIVAR

Robert Vivar was deported to Mexico in 2013 after living in the USA since the age of six. Since his deportation he has dedicated his life to helping others in need, such as deported U.S. military veterans, deported mothers of U.S. citizen children, and separated families.




“This is good for people who have some language training. It's fun, you get to meet new friends, and it's for a good cause too!”

“Great facilitator, evidence-based approach to learning the language in a contextualized way. The most relevant course I've found.”

“This is an excellent course for someone who has some background in Spanish who wants to now put the language to use! The approach is immersive and the emphasis is on the spoken language. The class is engaging and interactive. I highly recommend it.”

“Centering on the common language used when we meet Mexican people at the border was especially meaningful to me. The repetitive nature of common phrases and encouragement of the teacher, all in Spanish, is the most effective way I've seen to improve on Spanish speaking.”

"The classes at the Escuela Amistad have an appropriate and effective learning strategy for adult learners. The dialogues acquaint people with the social justice activities of Via International on the USA border with Mexico. Students learn to relax their expectations to become fluent in a short period and to have a perfect accent, and heighten their expectations to have fun making new friends and learning about another culture made possible with a basic foundation in Spanish."

"The instructor is a master teacher of Spanish, es verdad . Their skill at sensing out the learning needs and energy of individuals as well as the entire class was exceptional. His timing about correction and suggestion was terrific. The size of the class (about ten) gave everyone good opportunity to practice. The Zoom class enabled us to get to know people from all over the country as well as Mexico. The Zoom format was never a barrier to learning, but made it possible to be in the class without travel time. Working people were able to join at the end of their work day. The intermediate class is an excellent one for people who have some Spanish or want to upgrade their skills. For people who are not living in the San Diego area, the class gains an energy and immediacy from being taught by someone who lives on the border/la frontera."

"This class was a friendly reentry into studying Spanish again after 18 years. It is fun to practice together and improve our skills. I loved all of the amig@s that joined our class who we could ask questions to. That was a great way to practice our comprehension, with a friendly face! Thank you Daniel for making learning accessible!"
"Go for it! I loved being able to converse with our profesora, and with other students in a relaxed and comfortable setting. Thank you!!"
"This class is very relevant to life on the border. You'll learn a lot about what's happening in Tijuana, and an improvement in Spanish is guaranteed. The opportunity for new friendships across the border is also very present. A deeper understanding of the border and an improvement in Spanish go hand in hand in this class!"