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Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

Ottawa, Canada
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Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

es, CLI has closed mainly because of financial problems. But the good news is that most of the staff (except the director and two others) have been hired at a new school in Antigua. It is called 'Academia de Español Continenta'l. (www.continentalacademy.com.gt), three blocks from the Central Park. I am going back to Antigua to pursue more Spanish lessons there, now knowing that my maestro David has transferred to this Academy. All the other experienced maestros and maestras (about 20) are excellent also. Maybe I'll see you there in the Fall! Oh, by the way, Yeni, the head secretary Yeni speaks good English. Buena suerte (good luck)

Lake Atitlan
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1. Re: Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

Good to know. Thanks for the update.

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2. Re: Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

I highly recommend Tecun Uman in Antigua for personal one on one Spanish lesson. High quality, personal, lessons specific for your industry or needs. Contact the at www.tecunuman.centramerica.com and ask that the director Mario Castellanos set up your program. They can coordinate a home stay in a safe comfortable surrounding area.

Mi Wuk Village...
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3. Re: Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

I didn't study Spanish in Antigua. Mine started at the Monterey Institute via work. But I've known many students, teachers and the directors of a couple of schools. Some hints on studying Spanish in Antigua.. and elsewhere in Guat. Since instruction is one on one it's the teacher that makes the experience. Although the closing of a major school is rare, teachers often switch schools. There are rating sites out there but the best is still word of mouth. Contrary to what some schools advertise, all slots seldom get filled. My advice..especially if you have a couple of extra days, is to go and decide on site. Talk to other students. Easy to meet. Head to any bar at night. Or join one of their frequent pub crawls. Visit the school. Ask if you can observe. Don't sign up for multi week deals. Week at a time. That way if you get a teacher with whom you are not compatible or doesn't seem to do the job, you aren't stuck. BTW.. you have the right to ask for a new teacher. Some like to switch every couple of weeks. Others feel better with familiarity. Specify in advance what your learning priorities are. Vocabulary, grammar, technical. The latter can take some pre arrangement. Most common set up that people go for is 4-5 hrs a day of one on one. Most agree that any longer is overload. In an ideal world, the student then spends the rest of the day studying what they covered that day. Most schools offer some kind of cultural or other experience in the afternoon. Hence, why morning classes are most popular. Some are free while others have a fee. This can be excursions..lots to see in Antigua and nearby. Cooking classes are popular. Volunteer ops are available. If you want to study afternoons, you might find a discount. There are about 60 schools in Antigua. The above mentioned Tecun Uman is a standby. They do offer classes for teens. La Union is the oldest. Started with Peace Corp involvement. Not sure of current involvement. Schools can offer home stays (a big business) and some have their own hotel/apt. Out side of Antigua schools tend to be cheaper. But property values/rents in Antigua are high. Xela is popular with some. I personally don't like the city. Lake Atitlan has several schools. A couple in Pana. Several in San Pedro which overall is the cheapest tourist town. It also has a drug issue. I can't mention here certain school issues. You will figure those out. More remotely, Todos Santos. You can also find classes in various Mayan dialects. Handy if you are doing long term volunteering. Many Mayans speak Spanish as a second language. Overall, Guat. has the best deals on language studies of any country in Latin America. Much cheaper than Mexico. I helped a friend organize a study trip to Guat. He had previously been quoted a program in Cuernavaca in a class or 20 students at double the price. Beware of touts with links.

Edited: 16 August 2013, 19:40
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La Union
La Union
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Antigua, Guatemala
Pittsburg, Kansas
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4. Re: Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

I just finished a TEFL course at Maximo Nivel. They offer a variety of services for Spanish-language. Small glasses with native Spanish speakers that are highly qualified, private lessons at reasonable price, or tandem discussions where half the time is spent in English and half of it in Spanish. I found everything out Maximo to be very professional. Also many volunteers that were doing service in the morning check a couple of hours of Spanish in the afternoon. I think it was all included in the same price.

5. Re: Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

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Quebec
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6. Re: Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

Selecting the right Spanish school can be a big challenge. There are dozens of schools in Antigua. Think about how you learn; you must choose a school that best suits your learning style. Not everyone studies in the same way. For example, my wife and I study in two different schools because we do not have the same learning styles and because we have different ways of achieving our academic goals. No school is right for everyone.

Different schools have different educational philosophies. Some schools are highly structured with formal lessons and fixed textbooks that they use; they tend to give you homework. People who love this type of structure will love this kind of school. This approach often utilizes tests for assessment purposes. This is ideal for those who plan to study Spanish for several months and wish to take a final exam that will certify their level of language skill.

The second approach is to adapt the instruction to the student with a dedicated program of study. Some people would have only a week or two to study and want to study specific aspects of a language, for example basic vocabulary for travel, medicine, law, or other specialty. The teacher will focus on what is important for the student and facilitate conversation around certain topics as a result. These courses will be less formal and more fun. Students learn at their own pace; the teacher adapts to the knowledge and desires of the student.

All the schools in Antigua offer one-to-one instruction; this is a huge advantage in terms of efficiency! The teacher can easily keep track of student progress in this way, and guide the student to more challenging material when the time is right to move on.

Personally, I prefer the second approach. I wanted to improve my conversational skills. I did not want to spend two weeks studying the difference between 'por' and 'para'. For me, I made the right choice. In my class, we spent the first four hours studying grammar, verb conjugation, and vocabulary. The final two hours, after lunch, was spent just making conversation, pronunciation practice, reading, and playing games like Scrabble. I loved my class and I thought that my teacher had done a fantastic job.

The choice of the city is also important. I fell in love with Antigua the first time I studied there; it is a wonderful, colonial city with romantic ruins and cobblestone streets. I felt as if I was living in a museum when I was there; the whole town exudes a very romantic and peaceful ambience. There are many churches to see, and it is a great town in which to walk. It is a safe place as well, and security is good as there are especially trained Tourist Police to keep visitors safe. Antigua is called the Land of Eternal Spring because of its moderate climate; it is never too hot there, nor is it too cold, even at night.

The homestay is very important too. I requested a comfortable homestay with few other student guests, where the family shared some of their time practicing Spanish with the students who were their house guests. I specifically said that I did not just want a simple guest house with meals, but rather a place where I could interact with a family. It was more expensive, but it was worth the extra money and I was not disappointed. I lived in a traditional colonial house where I had a bedroom with a private bathroom, cable TV in the room, wi-fi. It was very comfortably furnished. I discovered that watching Guatemalan TV is an excellent and enjoyable way to improve my listening skills in Spanish. My family always ate with me and always spoke Spanish during the meal; we had some very interesting conversations.

Most students elect to study for four to six hours per day, which is a perfect amount of time to study. If you study only in the morning, you are finished by lunch time and have time in the afternoon to relax, volunteer, shop, or go sightseeing around Antigua. Many schools offer local trips in the afternoon, or dancing or cooking lessons. Local excursions might include a visit to a local village craft market or a coffee plantation. Some schools offer to place you as a volunteer with a local charity; the best schools will offer this service for free. Beware of the schools that want to charge you to help you find a place to volunteer.

There are many good schools in Antigua, and Antigua is a perfect place to study. Choose the one that best suits your needs and your philosophies, remember that no one school is right for everyone. On this site you can find the majority of addresses of the Spanish schools in Antigua. Good luck, and good study!

www.123teachme.com/search.php…

South Africa
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7. Re: Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

There certainly are many good schools in Antigua.

The choice depends on the objectives of the student - for the more academically inclined there's the Christian Spanish Academy (officially accredited by Spain's Instituto Cervantes and the local DELE exam center where I recently wrote & passed my DELE C2).

A very laudable school is Probigua, which utilizes its income from teaching foreigners to run library buses that serve the hinterland (a project supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).

The school where I studied for my DELE C2, Don Pedro de Alvarado, is a good mix of academic capability and fun induction into Latin culture - Catie (the owner) is an excellent cook and the lunches and dinners served at Don Pedro are a good accompaniment to the salsa dance classes with instructor German. The lovely garden setting is also perfect for both focused study and relaxed discovery of Guatemala-style socializing.

I would rate Don Pedro highly on the academic side (I hold a PhD and served as ambassador & head of a diplomatic academy) so it's no wonder that a famous former US Secretary of State and a well-known international screen actor / director chose to learn Spanish there. Tutoring is very much individualized, so we're not talking dour formalistic grammar teaching; for the "vacationing learner" the courses are tailored to be lots of fun, yet effective. However, if you need to go sit exams such as the DELE, they can tailor something for you as well - as I personally experienced, with success that I largely owe to my great teacher, Miriam Gonzalez.

I can also recommend the homestays arranged by Don Pedro - good food and clean, comfortable lodgings with nice people. My wife also studied at Don Pedro and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Willem Steenkamp

www.donpedrospanishschool.com

Mamaroneck, New York
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8. Re: Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

I attended the Ixchel School in Guatemala during October. What a great experience. The staff was wonderful, friendly and helpful. Each morning I studied one on one with a wonderful teacher, Maryella. We talked in Spanish, told stories and had grammar lessons at the same time. Her explanations were so good I was able to understand and use the correct verb tenses. My speaking has greatly improved. I believe all the teachers on the staff have a lot of patience and a desire to do a great job working with their students. Therefore, I highly recommend this school for anyone who wants to learn Spanish or improve their language skills.

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Guatemala
Guatemala
Central America
Perth, Australia
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9. Re: Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

Hi Freequebec2013

I found your post very helpful and informative. I thing the method of study you chose would also suit me. Could you please tell me what school you chose.

Also with your home stay, did you organise this through your school?

Many thanks

Quebec
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10. Re: Spanish lessons in Antigua, Guatemala?

Hey Rachel M, thanks for your post. I chose the school Don Pedro de Alvarado for two reasons; they ask you to pay only one week in advance, and they had a very good methods for teaching Spanish. Lessons are all done on a one student to one teacher ratio. I studied for six hours per day. I studied for four hours in the morning with one teacher, then changed in the afternoon to study for the last two hours with another teacher. I heard two voices as I learned Spanish, and that was good for me. The morning lessons were more grammatical and included new vocabulary, and the afternoon lessons were more conversational. It was a very well-rounded course.

I have always thought that when learning a foreign language you must speak; you shouldn't spend more than 50% of the time reading books and doing homework. At Don Pedro Spanish School, I got plenty of opportunity to practice speaking. The school has fiestas twice a week for it's students, and we all spoke Spanish to each other during the fiestas, so the opportunities weren't only during class time. I spoke Spanish with my host family too, mostly during meals.

My host family were great; their names were Zincrid and Rene Pineda. There are different homestay options; I opted for a homestay with a private bathroom and wifi, and the school arranged it. I paid a little more, but it was worth it. The food there was included in the deal, and it was great! The only day they don't provide meals is on Sunday, but there are loads of good restaurants in Antigua so it wasn't a problem. I hope you have a good time in Antigua.

Here is a link to the school website: http://www.studyspanishinantigua.com