Help choosing Spanish course - Mexico / Guatemala?

Old Aug 20th, 2015, 11:05 PM
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Old Dec 6th, 2016, 11:26 AM
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I can strongly recommend studying Spanish and doing a home stay with the Cooperative Spanish School in San Pedro, Guatemala. After extensive research, that's where my family decided to kick off our year abroad in Central America. I'm writing about our family gap year at Here's an excerpt from a post describing a day in our lives at the Cooperative Spanish School:

6 a.m.: Wake up to the sound of roosters and wander up to the third-story cement rooftop of your host family’s house to do some exercises. You’ll have to duck under a line of laundry hung out to dry by your host mother who still washes clothes in the lake, but even then the view is spectacular: sparkling Lake Atitlan just in front of you, and the verdant slopes of San Pedro volcano at your back.

7 a.m.: Breakfast with your Tz’utujil Maya host mother down on the first floor of the house, just inside the small courtyard planted with rosebushes and a fruiting lime tree. Today’s menu: tamales and coffee for the adults, and because your host mother has astutely figured out that your kids aren’t wild about tamales, chocolate-flavored cereal and milk for the children. Your kids inhale their breakfast, and enthusiastically thank your host mom in Spanish!

8 a.m.-noon: One-on-one Spanish lessons at your school. As usual, you and your teacher start out with conversation in Spanish, por supuesto (of course). Yesterday evening you attended a school-sponsored lecture about the Maya calendar and astrological signs, all in Spanish (much of which you understood, to your delight!). As a result, today you have all sorts of questions for your teacher. She explains the role of midwives in interpreting a child’s calendar sign. An hour later your conversation has evolved into a discussion of U.S. immigration and your teachers’ many friends who have emigrated north looking for work. Over the course of your four-hour Spanish lesson, your teacher expertly weaves in more formal grammar instruction. Today’s topic: the different uses of the two “to be” verbs in Spanish–ser and estar. During the language school’s mid-morning coffee break, the two of you join the other teachers and students for a snack of crispy empanadas. Your kids and husband report, with excitement, that tomorrow they will be teaming up to make tissue-paper kites with their teachers during their lessons.

To read about the rest of the day, please visit:
katiequirkauthor is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2017, 01:10 PM
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I traveled to Guatemala this past year and went to two very different language schools.

The first was The Cooperativa in San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlan: This is a wonderful school and a really neat town to spend time in. Classes are held in a beautiful garden and my teacher was very dedicated, patient and thorough. I would recommend this school especially if you're interested in enjoying some luxuries along the way like great food, kayaking on the lake, swimming at San Marcos etc.

The second was The Mountain School outside of Xela, this is a rural offshoot of PLQE (who also have a school in the city of Xela). PLQE attracts politically minded, social justice oriented people and its school programming reflects this worldview. The Mountain School is a very eye opening experience where you spend time in a rural community and see and learn about the hardships of life for many Guatemalan people. Supporting this school means supporting the community members in a myriad of ways. The Mountain School is a central force in supporting the livelihoods of the community through offering work opportunities, scholarships and a library for the children. I learned about the political struggles in Guatemala, corruption, hardships all through my language lessons and school programming. The school is in a lush mountain setting with some neat excursions available on the weekends. It was a truly impactful experience I will never forget.
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Old Sep 4th, 2017, 01:35 PM
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Sounds like a great combination!
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