Though Spanish-language students more often choose places like Cuernavaca or Oaxaca to work on their verb tenses, the capital offers boundless cultural and historical resources to complement your language studies, plus the chance to mingle with students of Latin America’s largest university.
Centro de Enseñanza Para Extranjeros (Foreigners Teaching Center; 5622-2467; www.cepe.unam.mx; Universidad 3002, Ciudad Universitaria) The national university offers six-week intensive classes meeting three hours daily (US$340). Students who already speak Spanish may take courses on Mexican art and culture, which are taught in Spanish and run concurrently with the UNAM semester.
Centro Cultural Tepeticpac Tlahtolcalli 5518-2020; www.tepeticpac.com; Dr Mora 5; Hidalgo) If you’d like to brush up on your Náhuatl – or Mixtec or Otomí – this cultural center offers courses in indigenous languages. On Saturdays you can join workshops on Aztec dance, codex reading or huehuetl (indigenous drum) playing.
International House (5211-6500; www.ihmexico.com/eng/espext2.htm; Alfonso Reyes 224, Condesa) The Mexico City branch of the prestigious worldwide chain of language schools is located in Condesa. Classes meet for 20 hours weekly, with a maximum of six students per group (US$200 per week). The institute can arrange homestays.
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If you’ve ever thought about living and working abroad, then why not teach English as a foreign language (TEFL)? It could be the key to funding your travels and experiencing new cultures in a totally new way. You don’t need teaching experience or even the ability to speak the local language – although you might learn it while you’re out there.