Guatemala Language Schools
I have just booked my plane tickets for my first trip out of the country. Five weeks in Guatemala this summer with the primary objective to learn more Spanish. I have been doing research online for schools to attend but have had a hard time narrowing it down. So far the consensus seems to be that Xela is the best city but that is as far as I have got. I would love to hear recommendations from the Duolingo community. Thanks for any feedback
I spent three months in Guatemala at the end of 2012. I studied for five weeks in San Pedro La Laguna at the Cooperativa Spanish School, which I definitely recommend, with a home stay. I also heard that the San Pedro Spanish School there was good. There were a lot of schools and/or private teachers just about everywhere in the country. If you just sign up for a week at a time you can move if you don't like it.
Your name sounds familiar. I'm wondering if we met up in San Pedro. Maybe at Idea Connection?
I have spent a fair amount of time in Guatemala and would be happy to give you my take and answer any questions. I like Xela, but it is SO cold! Brrrr! Check out San Pedro la Laguna. I have not heard many good things about the schools in Antigua, and it's very "touristic" as they say in Guatemala. San Pedro can be touristy too, but it's a lovely small Maya town on gorgeous Lake Atitlán, and if you stay away from the gringos and set up a home stay, you can do a lot. San Pedro is also cheaper than the other two cities. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to contact me directly.
I have heard that good schools can be found in Antigua, but I have no personal experience with any. Good luck in your search.
I just returned from two weeks in Antigua, and I was there last May. I have not studied in any other towns, so I am not able to offer a comparison. I attended two different schools on my two trips. The first school was so-so, the second was very good. And I met friends on this trip who were attending another school who spoke highly of it.
The teacher did not have a lot of passion for teaching. I am motivated to learn Spanish and want to be challenged and pushed. I realize it is difficult for a teacher to be highly motivated day in and day out, but....
Hi- I know this is an old thread, so I hope you see this! I am currently in Guatemala- just spent 2 weeks in Antigua & am now going into my 2nd week at San Pedro la Laguna. So far, I've tried 4 different schools- and they have all been pretty much the same- no structure, no plan- all the teachers want to do is TALK (which is great, but there should be grammar & vocab woven in). I would really like to hear WHICH SCHOOLS in particular you tried, which was good, which you didn't like! Thanks!
Hi, Have you tried Cooperativa? My daughter and I were there for 4 weeks with homestay last summer. We had different teachers. Looking back, I wish I switched teachers after two weeks to try a different one and hoping it would be better. My teacher got so relaxed, but I learned to handle conversations even with the wrong conjugation most of the time. Also ask for homework so there's a follow up after school. I also used flash cards to practice and I still use them here when I have time. They recommend switching teachers or homestay so you can a different experiences. Good luck!
I am planning to go Sept-Oct 2015 for two months. I will start off at Antiqua . Summer is a very busy time due to all the students going. I prefer a smaller school. Every thing that I have read is to not to pay up front for more than a week, maybe two. If you don't like the school or the homestay family, you will be stuck if you pay too much ahead of time. I am going to give you some links to get some reviews. First do a search on Loney planet and Trip advisor forums. Also http://www.123teachme.com/search.php?relCountryID=2 has reviews of schools and so does http://www.guatemala365.com/ Keep us updated. I am probably going to start off with Don Petro de Alvarado and maybe Antiqua Plaza Spanish School, And then to the Lake Alt to Cooperation School.
Great! Our family learned to much at the Cooperativa school last summer. I wrote an article about the experience for the LA Times:
and have even more info about our experience on my blog about family gap years:
I think I can say that month in language school was the highlight of our family's entire year abroad. Good luck!
Hi! I've read your article and I still have the page with me. It actually inspired me to go. What kind of water bottle did you use or recommend? I am going this Summer. Im worried about getting sick, safety and restrooms. I have sensitive stomach.
We use this UV water treatment system and love it:
In Guatemala, jugs of commercially-treated drinking water are available in most restaurants and in the home stays we were in, so we didn't end up using our UV bottle much. I think a bigger challenge is food contaminated with unclean water. For example, lettuce and other uncooked foods in restaurants or in home stays. I would consider doing one of two things if you are very concerned about getting sick:
--Either be very forthright with your host family before you go and let them know that you have a very sensitive stomach and will not be eating any uncooked foods. --OR, arrange to stay in an apartment where you can prepare your own food.
Beyond that, don't swim in the lake and visit a travel medicine clinic to be fully informed before you go. I hope this helps!
Just curious: why Guatemala? Why not another Central or South American country?
For one thing, they´re really cheap. In San Pedro 20 hours a week one-on-one and a home stay with three meals a day, six days a week is around $150. The Spanish accent in Guatemala is very clear as well. I enjoyed studying in Mexico for a more comprehensive learning experience, but Guatemala is pretty great.
Disclaimer: No, I'm not getting a commission! I've spent several years there on and off, and I know a lot of the Spanish teachers.
When you say more comprehensive in Mexico, do you mean that the program Mexico was more detailed than Guatemala? I have heard that the one on one teaching in Guatemala was really superior, and that in Mexico one would be in groups. What is your opinion on that?
Hmmm, lots of responses. As an ESL teacher, I am not completely sold on one on one teaching unless you're very focused and know what you want and find a teacher who's a good match. For beginners (It looks like you're not), it can be grueling to be with a teacher, just the two of you, for three or four hours a day. I did my first immersion course in Oaxaca Mexico and loved it. There were six in my class, a really good number, I think. We had four hours of class, a conversation partner, and a two-hour workshop (salsa, weaving, Spanish literature, pottery...). I took cooking and really loved it. I also loved my teacher in Costa Rica and my teacher in Guatemala. I guess it depends on what you're looking for. I'm happier in a small town like San Pedro than in a city like Oaxaca but was glad to have had both experiences. And above all it's important to check around and advocate for yourself if your teacher isn't a good fit for you. I completely agree with the person who said not to lock in to a school for more than a week.
Hi- I would love to hear your recommendations for any schools or specific teachers in San Pedro. I'm here for another week. Tried San Pedro (and 3 other schools in Antigua) and they were very friendly and nice, but all the teachers wanted to do was aimlessly chat. I too am a foreign language teacher & find it very frustrating to be "taught" by people who really have no clue how to teach a language. I can mostly take charge and create activities for myself, etc but it would really be nice to have someone who knew what they were doing. Any recommendations would be HUGELY appreciated! TIA!!! For reference, I am an upper intermediate level and want to be taught completely in immersion.
The first time because it was tied in with a mission trip. The second time, in part because that's what I already knew and also because it was the most affordable that I could find.
The cost is the main reason. The cost for 20 hours of one on one instruction in any of the three cities that seems to be known for their schools (Xela, Antiqua, and San Pedro) is around $200 and that usually include a home stay with meals every day except Sunday. The plane ticket to Guatemala is also cheaper than to most places in South America
Alan Wilson3, did you make your trip??? If so what school did you choose? How was it? Thanks.
please put quatemala and I want to learn why I have a quatemala grandmother and I need to learn he r language
I am an American author living with my family in Central America for a year (and writing about our experience of a family gap year at warmerthancanada.com). The first month of our year was spent at the Cooperative Spanish School in San Pedro, where we also lived with a host family. The experience was incredibly rewarding, and it could not have been better for my Spanish. I've written a story describing a day in our lives there, if you'd like a taste of the experience:
When I was in the process of researching before my trip, several people recommended Cooperativa, so it was one of the first places I sought out when I got here to San Pedro. However, the desk person had the most condescending and nasty attitude that I walked out and never looked back. Sad. I really wanted to love it.