Spanish School In Quetzaltenango

Old Feb 23rd, 2015, 09:12 AM
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Spanish School In Quetzaltenango

I've noticed some posts about taking Spanish classes in Guatemala and thought I'd put my two cents in. Last month I traveled to Guatemala to study Spanish for 3 weeks and had a great experience. While there were LOTS of cities to choose from, and even more options for Spanish schools, I eventually decided on studying in the city of Quetzaltenango. It was such a great place to learn. I found Antigua too busy with tourists for my taste and found Quetzaltenango to be rich in culture no matter where I went.

Picking a Spanish school was hard, but after a friend recommended Casa Xelaju, I started investigating and decided it was the right fit for me. The curriculum they use was very helpful. They have a level to fit each student. From intermediate to advanced, and even an accelerated option for students like me who were only studying for 3 weeks, and before I even got there I knew what topics each level covered. Some friends I made while living in Quetzaltenango, or Xela, were studying at other schools that I had also looked into but from what they told me, I was getting the better experience. One friend told me they switched her teacher midweek without letting her know. I would have found that unacceptable! Pretty much, my experience at Casa Xelaju was perfecto! My teacher was wonderful and had new and challenging material each day and I'm extremely happy that I picked them in the end.

For anyone debating between schools in Xela, pick Casa Xelaju!! I promise you won't be disappointed. If you have any questions about my experiences leave a comment. I would love to give any tips I can about classes or living in Xela, or even places you should visit. There's a lot to see in Guatemala!!

Happy travels!

http://www.casaxelaju.com/
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Old Feb 23rd, 2015, 07:02 PM
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What sorts of cultural activities did you do when there? Did you do a homestay? How did a typical day go?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2015, 10:26 PM
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I did notice this is your first post on this forum. Some people are naturally suspicious that the poster is a shill when this happens. But if you can give some good explanation as to what you did and how you lived at this school, that would help a lot.
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Old Feb 24th, 2015, 09:36 AM
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This Spanish school has developed a reputation for soliciting these 1st time posts. The posters are actually doing a disservice to the school because experienced travelers will naturally be suspicious when it happens over and over. It has happened so frequently on the Trip Advisor forums with this school that I would never consider the school even if Xela was my destination of choice.
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Old Feb 26th, 2015, 07:19 AM
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In terms of this being my first post, doesn't everyone have to start somewhere??

During my stay in Xela I first lived in one of the apartments that the school rents, but quickly learned that a homestay was the way to go if I really wanted to learn. It was hard having to communicate strictly in Spanish during meals but it pushed myself to practice my Spanish. Plus it was nice not having to cook all my meals and actually get a taste of authentic Guatemalan food.

Some of the cultural activities that we did included visiting local churches, frequenting the markets, and also we visited a fabric factory that was completely family run. That was probably my favorite activity besides volunteering with children.

One of the downside to studying at Casaxelaju was that as a younger traveler, the other students were mostly 50+, at least while I was there. It would have been a little more fun had I had more people my age to do the activities with. But I think a couple weeks after I left there was a group of students about my age that were coming. Bad timing I guess. And also that the school was very large. at times it was a little overwhelming!
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Old Feb 26th, 2015, 08:11 AM
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Some of the forums get slammed with post after post praising this and 1 other Xela Spanish school; we don't know you since you haven't posted before so a post like this just looks like a blatant attempt on the part of the school to advertise. I don't doubt you are a real person who enjoyed the school, it just isn't the best way for schools to gain attention because it can end up not seeming very believable.

I think the reason the school had an older set was mainly because younger people are more likely to attend during the summer months - US and European vacation time from school and university.

I'm a Spanish immersion program addict and have attended more than a dozen schools in Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala; I'm not a city person, though, and haven't been tempted to study in Xela. For the last 7 or 8 years I've mainly just returned to my favorite school on Lake Atitlán.
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Old Feb 26th, 2015, 08:21 AM
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I'm pretty sure that Xela is the 2nd largest city in Guatemala but you would never know that once you get there. The area where I studied, and where most other schools are, is quite small. I found it hard to walk to the grocery store without running into at least one person I knew. Everything revolves in the 3-4 blocks that surround the central park. So it's really more of a large town and not really a city. Antigua felt much bigger than Xela. Maybe that's because there are like 10x more people there.
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Old Feb 26th, 2015, 05:22 PM
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Hopelist, you are partially right about the reviews to Casa Xelaju. I'm sure many are first time posters who are writing about our apartments, but they are usually not the Spanish program. Trip Advisor encourages our customers to write reviews. They sent me a widget to put on our website www.casaxelaju.com/rent giving our customers the opportunity to write one if they wish, but we have no control over what they write. Because we want to offer the best customer service, we get good reviews and for that reason we have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
I support what MNtraveler6 says about Xela. Most activity for students takes place in the historic center of the city giving it that small town feel while not being surrounded by so many tourists like you would find in Antigua or Panajachel.
In peace,
Julio E. Batres
Director
Casa Xelaju
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Old Feb 26th, 2015, 08:58 PM
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I have spent sufficient time in Xela to develop my own opinions. It is not without its merits and its fans, obviously, but it definitely feels like a big city to me and I prefer the climate in other highland areas at lower elevations. I go there when I need to buy furniture or appliances for my home or want to hike in the surrounding hills but choose to spend the majority of my time in Guatemala - including Spanish study - elsewhere.

I have no knowledge of your school or apartments and have no reason to doubt that what you say is true. That said, I have seen repeated reviews by 1st time posters of your Spanish program on various forums and will continue to feel it isn't the greatest reflection on your school.
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Old Apr 28th, 2015, 05:30 PM
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I just returned from 5 weeks in Guatemala, including 3 weeks in Spanish School at Casa Xelaju. I did hours and hours of research on Spanish language schools in Central America and found the process to be very overwhelming. I ultimately narrowed down my list based on geography as I wanted to go somewhere new and had never been to Guatemala, which is a country known for its immersion programs. I found a number of schools with good reviews (although frankly, reviews are way too difficult to find), but chose Xelaju because of its location (less touristy than Antigua) and because I called them several times to ask for additional information and they were very helpful. I also found them to be very reasonable at $150 a week for five hours of one-on-one instruction every day.

I was very pleased with my experience at Casa Xelaju. I had an excellent teacher who used the right combination of structured teaching mixed with some self-directed elements as well. She has 26 years of teaching experience and was very professional. I felt that I learned a lot and made a lot of progress. She was also very pleasant, which helps when you are spending literally 75 hours in a room together (3 weeks, 25 hours a week!). Now I am back in Chicago, where of course, one-on-one instruction is fifty dollars an hour, so I will unfortunately be taking group instruction from now on. I know there are many good schools in Guatemala, but if I ever return there for more instruction (and I hope I will) I will return to Casa Xelaju. I'm happy to share any other information about the school or about Guatemala that anyone needs or thinks is helpful. happy travels! JK
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