I spent two weeks at Adelita this summer and couldn't have been more impressed with the caliber of the teachers. My trip began when two of the teachers, Rolando and Luis, came to pick me up at the Leon airport (cheaper than a taxi!). I realized later that during our casual conversation on the 30 minute drive, the two were not only getting to know me, but were assessing what I knew and didn't know in Spanish. (No need for a formal entry exam!) From then forward, I found them both to be very attentive to the gaps in my knowledge and I was impressed by their ability to recalibrate the class based on these gaps. I came to Guanajuato with limited Spanish knowledge, but pretty good Italian and was amazed at how they helped me to both capitalize on what is the same between the two languages and to navigate the differences. Both teachers also impressed me with their knowledge of linguistics (Luis and I somehow got into a discussion of pragmatics on the first day of class) and of grammer (Rolando wrote the grammar book for the teachers at Escuela Mexicana back when he worked there.)
R and L also use lots of really good teacher practices, like incorporating vocab lessons into conversation or grammar lessons (rather than wasting class time going through decontextualized word lists). My two housemates at my homestay - more on that below - were taking classes at Escuela Mexicana and while they both really liked the school and many of the teachers, one complaint was that they switched teachers many times during the day and that often teachers who were less familiar with them would ask what THEY wanted to work on. My housemates felt that if they already knew what they needed to work on, they wouldn't need teachers! Part of a teacher's job is to assess and to know what students need even when they themselves do not know. Luis and Rolando were excellent in that respect and having a small school allowed them to know us well as students.
The other teacher at Adelita is Esme. I only had Esme for one class on one day, but if I go back, I will definitely request to have her again as well - she had great energy and keep class moving fast, but in a good way.
So, I called my host mother "mama" the whole time I was there, which I'd say is a good indicator of how I felt about her. Maria Concepcion was AWESOME. There were two other students staying with her during the time I was there and the four of us would sit for forever at breakfast and at our afternoon meal laughing and talking. This was seriously a huge part of my Spanish learning. She was such a good conversation partner - equal parts patience, knowing when to correct us and when not to, and sense of humor (knowing when to laugh at our mistakes with us!). Maria has three adult children and you can tell she was a great mother to them too. I got sick for two days when I was there and she was right there with gatorade, saltines, tea, and a massive DVD collection. She also has a book that her student guests sign when they leave and you can see that I am not the only one who felt this way about her! The other two girls and I are already talking about a reunion tour at Maria's next year!
The city: You can read about Gto in lots of places, so I just want to say from a language-learning perspective that everyone was friendly and helpful. I found myself asking waiters "Wait, it is por or para in that sentence I just said to you?" and everyone was happy to help and happy to hear I was there studying Spanish. The town is both small enough to be manageable (and to get to know waiters, bartenders, etc), but large enough that I will be able to discover new things next time I go back. And it is so pretty! I made friends there who rented gorgeous hilltop apartments with great terraces and views for really reasonable prices. (We decided that it was a wash - homestays give the language practice and quick easy entry into life in the city, apartments more of a vacation feel and more privacy.)
Bottom line: I felt like I was on a vacation, but with a purpose - plenty of time for tequila and museums, but I also learned lots of Spanish. THREE THUMBS UP for Adelita and Gto.
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