Spanish schools in Guatemala

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fld315
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Spanish schools in Guatemala

Postby fld315 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:58 pm

Can anyone recommend (or recommend against) any Spanish schools in Guatemala? I'm an advanced student, looking to spend five or six hours a day in one-on-one tutoring. I was thinking Xela (Quetzaltenango) may be better than Antiguo, since Antiguo is full of tourists. I'm just looking for a place with the best teachers. I'm a newspaper reporter in South Florida, learning Spanish for my job (and so I don't remain monolingual forever). Looking for any advice on how to choose a school and make the most of the experience. Thanks.
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Re: Spanish schools in Guatemala

Postby Xenops » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:13 am

I don't remember what program I was involved in (that was ten years ago!) but I cannot recommend Antigua high enough. The program I used was good too. There were very few tourists when I was there. Antigua is a charming city with lots of history, being a formal capital. I wouldn't mind visiting again. Plus, there's a live volcano you can climb!
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Re: Spanish schools in Guatemala

Postby Brun Ugle » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:33 am

You might want to read from page 14 of Stelle's log about her trip and studies there.
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Stelle
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Re: Spanish schools in Guatemala

Postby Stelle » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:08 pm

Hola! I'm currently in Central America. My husband and I spent the first few months of our trip in Guatemala, studying on and off. I studied for 6 weeks in total (5 weeks @ 20 hrs/wk and 1 week @ 10 hrs/wk). JP studied for 7 weeks in total (7 weeks @ 20 hrs/wk).

I consider myself an advanced student. Honestly, looking back, after the first week or two, four hours per day were too much - diminishing returns and whatnot. Two hours per day was actually best for me, and then I would spend the other two hours reading or writing while waiting for JP to finish.

We never did make it to Xela, so I can't speak to that. I've heard from other travelers that it's a great place to study, but we found ourselves very bothered by exhaust fumes in the cities, and several people told us that the exhaust fumes in Xela were far worse than in Antigua. I don't know if it's true, but that was enough to convince us.

I can highly recommend the three schools we attended:

Antiguena in Antigua. Big school, excellent teachers (we didn't meet anyone who didn't rave about their teacher), beautiful garden setting. Antigua has a lot of tourism, but that's because it's an absolutely beautiful place. The locals don't speak English at all, even in restaurants or hotels aimed at tourists. It's very easy to stay away from English - just choose to spend your time talking to locals instead of tourists. We spent the first four weeks of our trip in Antigua, and are considering going back again for our last two weeks in April.

Jabel Tinamit in Panajachel. Stay away from the touristy strip that leads to the water, and Pana is a really interesting town filled with friendly locals. I love the market! It's really easy to get to other towns around the lake by boat or by bus. The school is tucked away from the touristy part of town. The teachers are very professional and very good at what they do. We ended up spending a full month in Pana, although we didn't study the whole time.

Cooperativa in San Pedro. I have to say that the backpacker scene by the water just wasn't my thing. But again, it's pretty easy to avoid tourists simply by living and spending your time just a few blocks up, in the "real" San Pedro. Cooperativa is the most beautiful school I've ever seen. It's set in a garden with individual casitas as classrooms. Really gorgeous. Again, excellent teachers! We only spent two weeks in San Pedro (studied for one). We would have stayed longer, but it was the high season and we couldn't find an apartment that worked for us, so we ended up in Pana instead.

Everywhere we went in Guatemala, the locals spoke little to no English. They were open, friendly and very willing to let my husband (an absolute beginner when we arrived) practice his Spanish. We made friends quickly, by frequenting the same cafes or using the same tuktuk driver whenever we needed a ride. Our teachers also became our friends, and we remain in regular contact with a few of them. If you talk to people, they're so open to interesting conversations.

We didn't stay with host families, so I can't speak to that experience. We rented an apartment for a month in both Antigua and Pana, and stayed in a small hotel in San Pedro.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Spanish schools in Guatemala

Postby ShawnP » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:58 pm

I just returned from Guatemala and spent two weeks studying at Jabel Tinamit in Panajachel. I had planned on bouncing around to three or four different places but I enjoyed Pana so much I spent my whole trip, minus 2 days, there and the remainder in Antigua. My teacher was excellent, all the staff were super friendly, and the took care of everything. I also had an excellent homestay with Magda and Theodoro. Great people.

I did 4-hour days and it was pretty tiresome but after my time there I was speaking with everyone in Spanish, even at what I would consider an A2 level.

I'd second Stelle's recommendations. Don't think you could go wrong with her advice.
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Mareile
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Re: Spanish schools in Guatemala

Postby Mareile » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:26 pm

I can second Cooperativa, was there 2 weeks this Feb, amazing!
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fld315
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Re: Spanish schools in Guatemala

Postby fld315 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:12 pm

Thanks everyone. This is great advice. Based on what I've read here, I'm going to give Antiguo a second look. I didn't realize that English wasn't spoken much there, despite all the tourists. Makes it much more attractive. Thanks again to everyone!
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Re: Spanish schools in Guatemala

Postby ed_phelan » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:05 pm

Hope you manage to find something, this would be my dream!
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