Best place for 1 week of study in Nov?

May 15th, 2007, 06:42 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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Best place for 1 week of study in Nov?

Hello-
My cousin and I had such a great experience studying at CPI in San Joaquin de Flores, Costa Rica in March, that we've decided to plan another Spanish school trip.

This time, we have 1-2 weeks in late November.

We're looking for a good school, a homestay that will allow us to get a glimpse of local culture, and a place that's close to interesting weekend activities.

Our only concern is finding a safe community since we'll be two women traveling alone. We also think we'd like to be outside of a major city if possible.

I'd love to hear your recommendations for Central (or even South) America.

I appreciate the help!
Best,
Melissa
mmb23 is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 07:08 AM
  #2  
 
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Posts: 14,108
Consider San Miguel de Allende.
cmcfong is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 08:39 AM
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I had a great experience in Copan Ruinas, Honduras at the Ixbalanque school. Here's a link to their site and my photos and travelogues:

www.ixbalanque.com
www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Let me know if I can answer more questions! Happy trails!
hopefulist is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 09:15 AM
  #4  
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hopefulist-
this is one of the schools I encountered in my early research, and your pictures look great! I'd love to hear more about your homestay, the other students (ages, amount of time they stayed), and your teacher. What was your Spanish level when you arrived, and how were the classes?

Also, are there any don't-miss activities right in the town, or nearby?

Finally, did you have any safety concerns? Did you go out at night alone or with others?

Thanks so much for your help!
melissa
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May 15th, 2007, 12:08 PM
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My homestay was a loud, boisterous 3 generational affair with 12 or 13 members. My room was actually on the roof with a double and a twin and a private bathroom, though water pressure varied greatly. I ate with different family members and it was a good place to practice Spanish, though the host mother was difficult to understand. My son studied there for 3 weeks last summer and volunteered extensively. His host family was quieter but also very good.

The other students varied in age from late teens to older than me (48 at the time) and stayed from 1 week to 4 or more. I met one man who had studied for 2 months there, traveled for 4 months, and was back to visit before heading back to the states.

I had 2 teachers, both very young but both excellent; not much English. At the time that bothered me a few times but now I realize it was a great thing in the end. They were great about varying between drill, conversation, and visits around town; sometimes we joined with another student and teacher for a visit to a health clinic or museum - very nice.

I had a year of community college Spanish under my belt when I was there - lots of vocabulary but not much useful connected speech. In 2 weeks I got to the point that I could understand enough to converse if the native speaker would keep it slow for me - great progress in my opinion. My son had 2 years of high school Spanish but it had been 3 years before and, in the mean time, he'd been an exchange student for a year in Holland. He spent just 3 weeks at Ixbalanque and waived a full year of college Spanish based on computer and 1-on-1 conversation screening. (I was really jealous about how quickly he picked it up!)

My travelogue is in the process of being updated but should still be linked on my photo site. There's lots to do in the area but it's all detailed there. Two weeks wasn't too much time to be there and I'm looking forward to going back.

I felt very safe there, even on the streets in the evening though I studied most of the time and did not hang out in bars or take part in any "night life". San Pedro Sula really intimidates me so I headed straight out and chose Hedman Alas buses, but I felt safe in Copan Ruinas and at the ruins. Some of the area hiking spots have seen sporadic robberies but with a guide I felt safe.

I highly recommend Copan and am looking forward to leading a group of teachers there in the future. Let me know if there are more questions I can answer. Happy trails!
hopefulist is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 12:47 PM
  #6  
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Thanks so much for the details! I really appreciate it. I missed the travelogue link the first time (I was so excited to see the photos, I guess!) but I'll go back. Sorry if you had to repeat info!
Muchas gracias!
melissa
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May 15th, 2007, 12:54 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 4,208
No problem. Maybe nonstop will pipe up, too. He had a really good experience there a few months ago. The photos of the new Ixbalanque school on the Copan collection page are his. (Great pictures, Stephen - thanks for sharing!)
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