Spanish School in Antigua
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Sep 14, 2013 4:27 PM Last Post By: crunnermom
Aug 21, 2013 2:44 AM
Spanish School in AntiguaI am planning a group trip for teachers to learn Spanish and experience the cultural of Guatemala. I work in a school system that has over 50% English language learners. Many students come from Guatemala. This will be a great opportunity for our teachers to learn more about our students' home country. We will be in Antigua for one week. What language school do you recommend there? Thank you!
Aug 21, 2013 6:39 AM
1I lead groups of teachers to Spanish immersion programs most summers and the school I like best in Antigua is the Academia Antigüeña. There are lots of great schools (and lots of upstarts) in Antigua and others will be able to contribute their favorites, too.
I chose the Academia originally because of its reputation for interactive host families; with so many schools in Antigua, many schools offer homestays that are more like boarding houses than family stays. When I study there I live with the family of Cesar and Eva Sactic - really terrific. I have really loved their activities, too. You can look for schools and read reviews on the 123teachme.com website (but take the ratings with a grain of salt). Another site is guatemala365, specific to Guatemala.
Are you sure you can't swing 2 weeks? The largest expense is airfare so studying 2 weeks would be a better value and would move your language learning much further. I find that it takes most travelers a week to get up the nerve to start using the Spanish they have and that extra interaction the 2nd week is golden.
Let me know if there is anything I can do to help and have a great trip!
Aug 21, 2013 6:43 AM
2Wish I could send a private message to you but the system is disabled. :-P Please contact me through my Beca Project website if you or any of the others are interested in pursuing university credit for your trip.
Aug 21, 2013 9:37 AM
3La Union is good Spanish language school that has experience with groups. They have transportation, homestay, and a nice facility. There website is https://www.launion.edu.gt/
I agree with Hopefulist that the longer you can stay the more effective, naturally. The cost is in the airfare.
Anyway, I won't say La Union is better than any other school recommended, just that it is a school worth considering.
Aug 26, 2013 9:47 AM
Aug 26, 2013 11:03 AM
Aug 31, 2013 5:17 PM
6Stacey, btw: I finally looked up the Academia Antiguena and got the tour of the building that is near La Merced. And mentioned your name of course. I liked how I could see it from the terrace at Casa Cristina, where of course I mentioned your name also. Did I mention already that I did all this mentioning.
I was in Antigua just for stopovers before going to, or coming from, the airport. Casa Cristina was lovely, safe, friendly and all. Both these places are very close to the huipil/traje museum, which has that unfortunate location practically behind the market. Oh well, I enjoy the museum, and will go again one day, but I wish the guide did not always try to get me to become a pentacostal christian.
Aug 31, 2013 5:45 PM
7Hi, Jim - I visited the Academia Antigüeña's garden site in March for the 1st time. It's really lovely and huge - lots of study area and room for events. Rode there and back on the back of Julio Jr's moto. :-)
I love that La Merced neighborhood - part of the appeal of both Casa Cristina and the school for me.
Sep 1, 2013 10:04 AM
Sep 1, 2013 2:39 PM
Thanks for the school suggestion. I emailed the school.
I am interested in possibly attending Cima Del Mundo Language School because of the volunteer work Lonely Planet mentions in its Guatemala guide with Ninos de Guatemala school. Anyone studied here?
I am traveling with teacher friends, and we only have one week. I wish we had more time.
We are studying in Antigua because of the time factor. I have studied twice with Celas Maya in Xela and loved my experience. I am looking for a school similar to Celas Maya because we don't have the extra time to travel there.
Any more school suggestions for a language school in Antigua? I appreciate your ideas.
Sep 9, 2013 7:48 PM
10I have studied Spanish five times over the past seven years in Antigua Guatemala. 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 feel as if I am living in a museum when I am 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. There are many restaurants in Antigua as well, to suit all tastes; typical Guatemalan food is delicious, but all types of cuisine are available around the town, including organic vegetarian and vegan food. These restaurants cater to all budgets from cheap and cheerful to quite expensive and luxurious. I prefer Hectors Bistro, which is right across the street from the famous landmark, the church of La Merced, very near the Arco de Santa Catalina. Hectors Bistro has a great, eclectic menu and a daily special, as well as home-made ice cream that is absolutely delicious.
Similar to the restaurants, there are many choices of Spanish School from which to choose. After trying one or two others, I finally settled, very happily, on Don Pedro Spanish School. I've studied there five times in total, with four different teachers, all of whom have been fantastic to work with. One of the reasons that I love this school is that they only ask payment for one week at a time. After being at Don Pedro Spanish School for a couple of days, you feel as if you are part of the family. Free activities include two lunches per week, and a dinner that includes all the teachers and students together. A free bar is open, and music, along with dancing lessons, is provided; it doesn't take long before most students are happily dancing to salsa and merengue tunes!
The homestays are very important too; the first "Don Pedro" host family I lived with were a modest family who were charming, attentive, and saw to my needs very well. It was not expensive, but they did not have hot water all day in that homestay. The second time I requested a more comfortable homestay; it was more expensive, but it was worth the extra money and I was not disappointed. The second family lived in a traditional colonial house. They had hot water all day, and I had a bedroom with a private bathroom, cable TV in the room, and wi-fi. I discovered that watching Guatemalan TV is an excellent and enjoyable way to improve my listening skills in Spanish. The name of my family was Sactic. Marta and Cesar are two charming people who always ate with me and always spoke Spanish during the meal; we had some very interesting conversations during our meals together.
I would recommend six hours of language study per day with two different teachers; one teacher in the morning for academic Spanish and the other in the afternoon for Conversational Spanish. This way you get to hear two different voices, which is helpful when learning a language. As I said before, there are all different schools in Antigua that suit different tastes and price ranges; when researching schools, make sure that the teacher is experienced. I think it is better to have an older teacher; white hair is a sign of experience! For people who are interested in volunteering, Don Pedro Spanish School is in contact with many NGO's in Antigua and they do not charge for placement. I will join this site where you can find the majority of addresses of the Spanish schools in Antigua. Good luck, and good study!
Sep 14, 2013 4:27 PM
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