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Spanish Language immersion schools in summer (N of Mexico City)?

Spanish Language immersion schools in summer (N of Mexico City)?

Old Jan 24th, 2015, 09:26 AM
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Spanish Language immersion schools in summer (N of Mexico City)?

Hello all,

I'm investigating the idea of doing a Spanish-language immersion in the summer in Mexico. My Spanish level is somewhere in that fuzzy area of intermediate-advanced and I would like to improve my Spanish in a fun, not terribly demanding way (although I do know language study requires a lot of work) and somewhere that would feel comfortable for someone in their forties. I'd like to be somewhere that's not as hot as a frying pan in the June 15-August 15 period, so thought of the region just north of Mexico City (so-called "land of perpetual June") such as: Queretaro, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, San Luis Potosi. I'm open to other ideas in the general vicinity. Ideally, I'd like to be somewhere where arranging accommodations for a few weeks to a month is not going to be nightmarish, somewhere walkable is required so I wouldn't need to drive. A friend might come drive down to visit from Monterrey (which is as hot as a frying pan), so that's one reason I'm aiming north of the capital.

If you have any experience with this, let me know. I've done some searching on Google and have found schools, but it's tough to know how positive an experience schools are (I've seen some Google reviews but I can't tell what's bogus and what's not) or how easy it is to set up accommodations.

Best wishes, Daniel
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Old Jan 24th, 2015, 07:20 PM
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The only place in Mexico I have studied Spanish is in Chiapas, so not a help to you. I have studied a few times in Honduras, too, but now return year after year to my favorite school in Guatemala. In addition to the stellar weather in the highlands, the instruction is 1-on-1 and the cost a fraction of what I paid in Mexico.

The site below lists Spanish schools by country and city. It's a good resource for school website links and reviews but take the ratings with a grain of salt. ¡Buena suerte!
www.123teachme.com
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 01:26 PM
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Weather-wise, you'll find SMA and GTO to be a couple of degrees cooler that QRO or SLP, with highs from the high 70's to low 80's F, 50's at night. It is also the rainy season, which means an afternoon shower every other day or so. Sometimes really heavy, other times not. Typically last about a half hour to an hour.
As far as lodging, typically it will be easier to find short term rentals (other than hotels) in SMA and GTO, than in QRO and SLP, due to more tourists visiting the former 2. SMA will be more expensive than GTO. The cheaper places in SMA book quickly, as many people come from Texas and Arizona to escape the heat, plus it is also summer vacation for kids in the US. It may very well be that your school can find you lodging as well.
Generally, you'll find SMA and GTO more accessible on foot as they are smaller cities. We live in what's considered the "outskirts" of San Miguel, but we can walk to centro in about 30 minutes. But buses are plentiful everywhere, plus that gives you opportunity to stretch your Spanish. Speaking of speaking, you'll find less English spoken in QRO and SLP, but both cities have their share of international companies so it's not like it's rare to find English speakers. But even in GTO and SMA, you can speak Spanish all day long, it is still Mexico.
Probably 3 of the more highly regarded schools in SMA are Warren Hardy, AHA, and Habla Hispana, with Warren Hardy the better known, although it doesn't show up on the above link.
Here is a link from TA: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1...an.Miguel.html
There are any number of private tutors that post on public information boards in restaurants or the library and the like here in SMA, so you could also go that route. A typical tutor will charge $100 pesos an hour, or about $7 US.
The other thing to keep in mind is if you'll do any touristy stuff during your stay. GTO, SMA, & QRO are probably better suited for day or weekend trips than SLP due to SLP's relative isolation.
Ditto to what hopeful says, my wife and I found Guatemala's schools better (and cheaper) than Mexico's. But that's a long drive from Monterrey!
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 04:15 PM
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Thank you so much baldone and hopefulist for the links and the advice! I learned a lot reading your thoughts about the temperature difference between GJO/SMA vs. SLP/QRO, pedestrian-friendliness, short-term rentals, and the extent to which English is spoken. I'm leaning slightly toward Queretaro, one plus being that there are buses that go directly from Monterrey if my friend decided not to drive; I can't seem to find an equivalent to SMA or GJO. However, the language school in QRO that tempts me the most (called OLE) appears to get more mixed reviews relative to those you mention in SMA. I must say all cities seem rather charming, makes it tough to decide! I might have to think about private tutoring as a possibility although I do like the idea of a social element being a part of a class.

Best wishes, Daniel
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 05:56 PM
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The school in QRO (Ole) is in a good location in the centro historico, within walking distance of many restaurants and other attractions, if that makes a difference.
For a bus to SMA from Monterrey, check Omnibus, odm.com.MX.
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Old Jan 27th, 2015, 09:02 AM
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Thanks baldone for the heads-up about Omnibus de Mexico and the confirmation that indeed the OLE language school is well-situated; it had appeared so from the map but sometimes it's hard to gauge these things. It seems that there's only night buses that run directly from Monterrey to San Miguel de Allende on Omnibus de Mexico, while there are a few direct buses from Monterrey to Queretaro (Grupo Senda and Omnibus de Mexico) that run during the day, I suspect since Queretaro is a stop on the well-used Monterrey-el DF route.

If I do end up in Queretaro, I can tell you than I will make efforts to see both San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato even if I'm given lots of homework, as both cities do look awfully beautiful!

Otra vez, muchas gracias y saludos de Montreal donde hace mucho mas frio que San Miguel de Allende hoy! Daniel
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