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We loved the whole experience!

My husband and I had been wanting to work on our Spanish, and attracted to the idea of a school... read more

Reviewed 12 February 2019
Debi S
A complete immersion experience

This is my second year at the Na’atik language school. It has been fabulous both years. Although it... read more

Reviewed 30 January 2019
Karen H
Salem, Oregon
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Reviewed 19 June 2017

This is a school for local children to learn English. Luckily for the kids, more thought and effort goes into this program than into the program to teach Spanish to English speakers (which partially funds the program for the local kids).

The program is not really a total immersion program as the people in the school (including fellow students) usually use English with each other. However, if you make an effort you can minimize your exposure to English; and if you're lucky enough to get a family which includes you in meals and speaks with you: if this doesn't happen then complain so that your family is changed.

The local diet is very meat-centric. If you'd like some vegetables in your diet then you should either pay a bit extra for the vegetarian diet (which means the family will be making you special meals) or try to convince the family to eat more vegetables. But the food is tasty and some of the local restaurants are definitely worth trying (although not the one close to the school which is usually used for welcome dinners). You should also participate in the optional local cooking class for a dinner as it's fun and the food is good.

The Spanish classes are usually 4 hours during the mornings on weekdays. The teachers are good and the small class size is conducive to more personal attention and speaking in Spanish - however the curriculum is not designed to teach you the practicalities of living in a community of Spanish-speakers: only about 10% of the lessons are geared towards this, the rest are standard grammar and vocabulary. If you're good at language this won't be a huge problem, but if you aren't this will probably frustrate you.

In June we had some times of 100 degrees with 100% humidity. There can also be a fair number of biting insects.

You should sign up for a bicycle. The town isn't large but it's bigger than you'd want to walk across, especially in the heat. There can be a bit of traffic on the main roads and cars tend to take right-of-way from pedestrians and bikes. But it doesn't feel unsafe if you're careful.

The local people are very friendly and there will be many opportunities to practice your Spanish.

Date of experience: June 2017
Thank johnhO4876YE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 21 June 2017

Thanks for writing us a review! We are currently building a second-floor extension (which will be finished in two weeks), this will provide more space and resources to our Spanish and Maya students. We hope this will strike a better balance between our different programs. All of the staff involved in the SAY Program can speak Spanish, but we conduct our initial orientation and the welcome dinner in English as we want to make sure people understand everything, especially when they first arrive. We are going to make sure that this is clearer on our website. Thank you for visiting us and taking the time to write us a review.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2017

What I really loved about Na'atik is that they also offer and support the local community as well as offering a Spanish & Mayan immersion programs for those that come from abroad.

Everyone was incredibly responsive from the very first enquiry. Na’atik was well organized and Poppy & Layla ensured all went smooth from the time of booking to getting me settled into my home-stay to my ‘graduation’ day.

It was a treat to have my class size made up of only three people, allowing for great personalized service. I supplemented my daily classes with a couple hours of private lessons with Jose. I just loved the way he mixed up the teaching style in order to reinforce the ‘verbal’ aspects.

Not only did I immerse myself in Spanish lessons, I immersed myself with my home-stay family. It was an incredible experience to be so welcomed in their home, a complete stranger, and become a part of their family unit in such a short time. They were so open and giving and it was amazing how the ‘small’ things meant so much.

Na’atik arranged a dinner out for the students from abroad attending classes and a nice afternoon trip to eco-friendly and peaceful Balam Na where we kayaked through the mangroves enjoying the calm and nature.

Carrillo is ideal for learning Spanish as there is little to no English spoken. It’s off the beaten path but there are plenty of opportunities before, during or after your stay to see the Mexican countryside and Inca ruins.

For instance, Tulum which has beautiful cenotes and ruins, is approximately 1.5 hours away. Bacalar, with its seven-colored lagoon is approximately 1.5 hours. There’s Chetumal and Sian Ka’an and so many more accessible and wonderful areas to explore. The bonus is that the local buses Mayab and ADO and the local collectivos are so easy to catch.

Date of experience: August 2016
1  Thank LiveYourYBR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2017

After two weeks immersed in the Maya language, including homestay with two familiies, I emerged with an ability to chat in Maya with people I met in the street. It opened many doors to getting to know the people and culture, doors that would not have opened without some language ability to break the ice. Thank you Na'atik. I fully recommend them to anyone who wants to get beyond academics and learn how to actually speak to people, how to platicar in Spanish or Maya.

Date of experience: February 2017
2  Thank John C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC